A MISSIVE OF CONSOLATION: SENT FROM FLANDERS, TO THE CATHOLIKES OF ENGLAND.

LUC. 21.19. In patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras.
1 COR. 1.18. Verbum crucis pereuntibus quidem stultitia est: iis autem qui salvi fiunt, id est, nobis, Dei virtus est.

AT LOUAIN, Permissu Superiorum. An. 1647.

A preface to the Reader.

AFter Nehemias had informed himself of the men of Juda, that came from his country, of the state of his brethren remaining in the land, 2 Esd. 1, 2. and heard that the remnant left in the Province were in great affliction and reproach, he mourned and lamented their case with so sensible an affection, as the sad tincture of his heart had so much discoloured his face, that it seemed to have an unsuita­ble dye to his office of Cup-bearer, in the King Artaxerxes his presence, though God designed the drawing great light upon his nation, from out the darknesse of his looks.

This allusion me thinks may be well fitted to this Mission of my thoughts into my country; for upon the relations of some of our refugi at brethren, comming out of our coun­try, of the great affliction and reproach which the remainder of them groane under, and of the demolishment of the walls of spiri­tuall Jerusalem, I may without affectation, avow the having wept and mourned many [Page]dayes in the sight of my Master, and I may owne the honour of being a Cup-bearer to such a King, as is Soveraigne of all our suffering brethren, and he needed not the symptomes of my face, for the indication of my heart, but knew my sorrows to import a solicitation of relief for my distressed coun­try; and so of his own first gratious motion, proposed the sending me into the land, with a greater Commission then I durst have pretended, which is, the bringing this his Maendat of consolation & provision from him, to repaire the Temples of the holy Ghost, which may be shaken by the battery of this persecution; for humane Nature in extreame pressures, is very apt to call out with J [...]b, what is my strength that I can susteine it, or what is my end that I should doe [...]patiently? but I hope in God, all such questions will finde satisfacto­ry anwsers, from our compassionate Prince of peace, in the contents of my Commis­sion; concerning which, I may say sincere­ly, my mind did at first make to our great King, rather the answer of Moses, then the suit of Nehemias, for I was much more in­clined upon the first suggestion to me of this [Page] Mission, to answer I beseech thee Lord, Exod. 4.14.to send whom thou wilt send, then to propound unto the King, the sending of me unto my Nation upon this great designe, but when I had my owne ruminations, turned into an order, from such a mouth I ought to account, as an Organ of Gods voice to me, Exod. 4.14. me thought I heard this Command, Goe on and I will be in thy mouth, and will teach thee what thou shalt speak, so that it is the hand of Obedience, that hath moved my pen into the motion of a ready writer.

Neverthelesse, after this Injunction issu­ed by the spirituall Court, unto which I deferre all my owne conceptions, I put in this plea, for a suspension of the Order, which may be as pertinently imparted unto you, in respect of your reading, as it was suggested by me, in regard of my writing this Treatise; this it was, that God had long ago set open a Granary of this spiritu­all food, by the hands of a charitable Joseph, in the time of the first famine, that came upon the land in this kind, and this Maga­zine, intitled an Epistle of Comfort, stands open and accessible to the whole peo­ple, [Page]and containeth sufficient provisions, respectively to the exigences of all conditi­ons; so as this Missive of Consolation, which seemeth but an overlay of the same Mettall, might rather seeme an exuberancy of Zeale, then an exhibition of a requisite supply.

To this my demurre, I have beene answe­red, that the spirituall appetite of sick man, which is your present estate, must be treated, as the corporeall, which is not excited by familiar, though the best diet: novelty in these cases is often requisite to introduce nourishment; to which reason I did acqui­esce, considering indeed that if Authors had not still the curious infirmity of Rea­ders, to justifie their labour, in melting and casting of old matter into new formes and figures to attract curiosity to lecture, even the best spirits of our dayes, needed not saile out of their studies, to venture upon new discoveryes, since the whole intellectuall Globe of Christianity hath been long since inhabited, and perfectly cultivated, by the plantations of excellent Authors: But the nature of man considered, I may rather feaxe the finding too many sick fancies in [Page]these evill dayes, longing for variety of com­fort, then doubt that this new transfigurati­on of it should prove redundant to your minds, as already filled with the precepts of Catholique Consolation. Wherefore I may hope the newnesse of this worke may re­concile you to the prejudices of some novel­tyes you may meet in it, as the strangenesse of some words, and the errours of a strange Presse; but since these thoughts are addres­sed to such as are not likely to prosecute the rigour of the law against them, for having taken their character beyond sea, and re­turning into England, to assist their coun­trymen by their faculties, I need not much seeke protection for the illegall and questi­onable points of the impression.

And surely considering a strange tongue, put into the mouth of the Presse, a little stammering may be tollerated, specially, when the Errata's you will finde here, are of a much more dispensable kind, then those we finde in your Country Presses; so that even the errours you shall meete in these leafes, may serve towards the designe of this worke, of recommending patience to you, while the errours of English Presses minister unto [Page]you provocations, and as I had some pain, to make this forraign Mouth speak English, so if I have taken some liberty in making English speak sometimes forraigne Lan­guage, I may be allowed this license, in com­pensation of the other part of my constraint, especially when I may pretend to the curtesie of a stranger, in this point, of excusing some Out-landish accent in my tongue, ha­ving beene nursed with many severall milks, and sucked but little at the breasts of my Mother; but for that milk, which I have drawn from the breast of my spirituall Mo­ther, the Roman Catholique Church, I hope in God there is none of that, turned or sowered by any novelty passing through my pen; for this matter can have no so ill recommendation as novelty, and variety in this kind were a very superfluous present to you in these times; wherefore I humbly refer every line, drawn by my pen, to the rule of the most holy measures, of the Catholique Church, and account this religious defe­rence, as the salt of the Sacrifice, which is no lesse requisite then the frankincense, to give it an odour of sweetnesse.

I shall therefore send my part of this [Page]work, justified with this protestation of the Prophet Jeremy, Jere. 17.16. I am not troubled following thee the Pastor, and the day of man I have not desired thou knowest.ego non sum turba­tus, to pastorem sequens, & diem ho­minis non desideravitu scis; for they who have given all their dayes to God, are ill ad­vised, if they pretend any part of the assign­ment of their exchange, in the night of this Age, or in the vapours of the breaths of Men, and those of our function, that affect much a returne of human praise, from the offices of their vocation, may be said to burn their own fingers while they are lighting the Candlestick of the Temple; therefore my addresse of this Missive shall be

Non nobis Domine non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.

An Introduction to the following Discourse.

WHen Saint Paul (our Christian Hercules) had enumerated so many of his private la­bours, 2 Cor. 11.13. Nothing beyond. as one might have thought a non plus ultrà might have been set up upon them, he seems as it were to slight all those so excellent works, and to e­steem all personall pressures, Those things which are externall. Who is weak and I am not weak? who is scanda­lized and I am not burnt? but as the out-works of charity; and so quitting ea quae extrinsecus sunt, when he will glory in the strength of his charity, he setteth it out in his care and solicitude for the Churches di­stresses, and so maketh Quis infirmatur, & ego non in­firmor? quis scandalizatur, & ego non uror? the ver­ticall point of the Pyramide of his suffering, and acting charity, which remaineth as an entire monument of his glory, after the ruine of all theirs, whose persecutions e­rected it, and raised it to that sublimity of virtue.

And if our Charities have such an analogie with S. Pauls, as our vocations have, and our zeale beare as much similitude to his, as the face of our present times doth to his dayes, our part, which seemeth off from the publike stage of persecution, may be admitted as the most sorrowfull and distressing of all other; for surely all exteriour burthens are lighter to our senses, then an interiour solicitude in a publike concernment is to our spirit, especially when it is in relation to the passions of the Church of Christ.

And this is our case, Solicitude of the Church. Cant. 8. who have solicitudinem Ecclesiae impressed upon our spirit, in an indelible character; so as there is none of your brethrens weaknesses, that doth not make an impression, as the Spouses seale upon our heart, and upon our arme. And it may be, the larger our prison is, the straiter the pressure of it proveth unto us, as it is a restraint upon the exercise of our fun­ctions, in consolating and ministring personally to you, in this your fiery tryall.

Wherefore our hearts being exempt from this separa­tion, [Page]they take fire at the flame you are in, and professe, that none of you are scandalized, with whom they doe not burne; insomuch, that the sparkles of that fornace you are in, fly even through the sea upon us. For eve­ry report of a fresh vexation falne upon you, raiseth and sharpneth the ardour of our fellow-feeling of your tribulations; Cant. 8.7. Many wa­ters cannot quench charity, nor shall floods o­verwhelm it. so that we may say with the Spouse, Aquae multae non potuerunt extinguere charitatem, nec flumina obruent illam, since the fire of your temptations and tryals in England, passeth over seas, and burneth us in Flanders, and there is no matter so apt to take and en­tertaine this flame, as our holy unction.

Desiring therefore much to write you some news for your comfort, in these times wherein the want of Priests among you is none of your least afflictions, I will tell you, there is none of you which have not a kind of cha­racter of Priesthood upon you, being all obliged to of­fer up spirituall hoasts of resignation and self-relin­quishment, and to lay all your naturall senses and ap­prehensions of your sufferings upon the Altar of the Crosse, in adoration of Gods designe upon you; and thus in conformity to Christ, you are to become your selves both the Priests, and the oblations. For whiles your hearts offer up your selves and your substances to Gods holy judgements, your soules exercise a kind of office of Priesthood upon your bodies and goods, which are the materiall part of the oblation; and by this conse­crating of your sufferings, they who would exterminate Priesthood in England, shall consecrate as many of these Priests, as they lay their persecuting hand upon; and as they despoile you of your fortunes, 1 Pet. 2.6. they furnish you with the fatter victimes, in the function of this your holy Priesthood, of offering up these spirituall hoasts, ac­ceptable to God by JESUS CHRIST. Take therfore this order from the Psalmist, Psal. 4. Sacrifice ye the sa­crifice of justice, and hope in our Lord. Sacrifi­cate sacrificium justitiae, & sperate in Domine; and by this your meritorious exercise of Catholike Religion, you shall find, I hope, lesse want of the Ministery of our re­all Priesthood among you, which may be thus supply­ed, even by your owne necessities, while you make of [Page]all your deprivements, matter of sanctification, by your faithfull acceptance of them; and by this disposition, you enter into those holy Orders of Sacrificers, which Saint Paul gave the Primitive Christians in your cases, while you exhibit your bodies a living hoast, holy, Rom. 12.1plea­sing to God.

Nor doth this kind of spirituall sacrificature, claime a lesse precedent then even the Sonne of God; for these were part of the daily Sacrifices he offered his Father while he was upon the earth, his privations, incommo­dities, and destitutions, his not having so much as a house to put his head in, was in this kind his daily eve­ning sacrifice, and these his quotidian sufferances, did continually mediate and interpeale for our remissions. You may therefore now be said to be successors of this Priesthood of Christs life, which is, as I may say, a third kind of Priesthood Christ instituted by his life, differing from the old of Aaron, and that of the order of Mel­chisedec; for it is an offering up to God, the want of bread and wine, for a sacrifice of selfe-resignation. For why may not Christs hunger and thirst, and his other wants and exigencies be fitly said to have instituted this holy order of self-sacrificing and offering up all our temporall distresses to Gods pleasure, in conformity to this quotidian oblation of Christs life? so as those of you, who are not called to that sacerdotall function which Christ exercised in his death, when he was both Priest and Sacrifice, (somewhat like whereunto many of us, have happily by the grace of God, been admit­ted by Martyrdome) seem all called to this holy order, consecrated by his life, of relinquishing all temporali­ties, and offering up your daily distresses, as sacrifices to the glory of God and his Church.

And we, who in all humility may say, 2 Cor. 5.20 We are Le­gats for Christ. Pro Christo Le­gation [...] fungimur, being suspended by the violences of these times, from the execution of our commission, ought by all the meanes feisable, seek to transport our discharges to you; and since we cannot import our duties in specie, I have desired by Gods motion, to make thus over to you, some little parcell of our debt.

[Page]Saint Paul, when he was poorer then we, gloryed, that being needy he enriched many, & having nothing he possessed all things, and the wealth he transmitted by his letter to the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 6. was this coyn of the stamp of the holy Spirit, much patience in tribulations, in ne­cessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons; these were the revenues of the Primitive Christians, who let out all their estates to their persecutors for this Rent (Saint Paul was so well paid in) of superabundo gaudio in omni tribulatione. I doe a­bound ex­ceedingly in joy in all our tri­bulation. We then (who are Saint Pauls heires in his office, though not of his personall estate of grace) may likewise lawfully aspire to that benediction of en­riching others, while we our selves are needy and in­digent.

To make then a convenient present for you in these your necessities, I may open the tombes of the Martyrs, and Primitive Christians, where so much of this spiritu­all treasure is inclosed, and draw out from their rich lives and examples a plentifull support for your vertues, in all the oppressions of your fortunes; for Gods pro­vidence is such towards the reliefe of his necessitous children, as all the wealth which the vessells of election had in them when they were temporally cast away, is not lost, but rather reserved expresly for the succeeding exigences of other times, descending upon the streame of the Churches traditions. And thus out of the wrecks of Martyrs, the chaines of Confessors, and the Testaments of the Fathers, the Church maketh a vast treasure of perswasion, and exemplarity; which duly considered, I may our of this blessed store, present you with sufficient exhortations to patience and longanimity in your pre­sent practices of true Christianity.

I is the nature of man, in any private affliction, pre­sently to look over the single table-book of his own con­science, to try, if by the collation of his actions with his sufferings, he can make a congruous connexion of the sense of Gods justice out of his faults, and his penalty put together. And in common calamities, we straight­wayes resort to all the Church and State-Books, that lye open to our memory, and revolve them studiously, to [Page]make this coherence between the occasion and the impo­sition which lieth upon the publike; And when we find nothing satisfactory upon this inquest, then by busie re­trospection into the Annals & records of times, we set our thoughts to find out a coherence in the present sentence of God, with the precedent irritation, and (though a long Parenthesis might seem to break off the references between the one and the other) we study to make a con­nexion of the sense of the antecedent causes, with the emergent consequences, and we are so fond, to satisfie our reason in this (which seemeth a propriety belonging to it) as we are apt to admit great incongruities, in the collations of times, to make good our sorting of causes to their effects, thereby to joyn any probable coherence between our provocations, and our punishments, because it is some recreation to the pride of man, even in the time of his penance, to be able, as he presumeth, to read the hand-writing on the wall (though it be his owne sentence) after the weighing of Gods provocation.

But there are some, Psal. 38. O Lord il­luminate my dark­nesse, that I may know what is wanting to me. who (it may be) do sincerely make this enquiry with the Psalmist, of Domine illumina tene­bras meas, ut sciam quid desit mihi; and such a search sometimes findeth case in the disquisition of the reasons of Gods judgements, when it enquireth not into the equity of them, but pleadeth for some light, to facilitate a correspondency to Gods designe upon us; but when it is curiosity that rangeth to retrive the order and con­nexion of causes to events, then commonly this agitation proveth the most laborious part of their perplexity, when they are so earnest in the Pharisees Quous (que) ani­mam nostram tollu? dic nobis palam; this desiring God to speak plainer to us, is a familiar unmannerlynesse in our nature. And thus we intricate our minds the more, by this turning and winding our thoughts about, in this maze of co-ordination of causes and consequences in the changes of times, and dazle our selves very commonly in that inaccessible light, where Gods providence re­sides inseparable from his essence.

And I may well presume there are of both these sorts of solicitudes amongst you, and that some with a reve­rend [Page]zeale to Gods justice, mixed with a naturall desire of some refrigeration in the ardours of these times, do call with the holyest of Kings, Psal. 88.47. How long O Lord? Job. 10.2. Tell me who thou judgest me so. Us (que) quo Domine? and others, in some more humane impatience and estuation of spirit, doe cry out with Job, Indica mihi, cur me ita judicas.

The message sent to the Angel of the Church of Smyrna in this same exigence, may be well divided into an answer, to both these interrogations. To the first, which may be an humble solicitation of reliefe, this part seemeth to belong, Dicit primus, & novissimus, scio tribulationem tuam, Apoc. 2.9. I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer, be faithfull untill death, and I will give thee the crown of life.& pau pertatem tuam, sed dives es; because patience and conformity to Gods order, in all his imposures on us, is a more reall treasure, then any wee can be despoiled of, by the worlds pillaging. And to the last, which may be a more anxious petition, this other part seemes to be a pertinent reference, Nihil horum time as quae passurus es: esto fidelis us (que) ad mor­tem, & dabo tibi coronam vitae. This may silence curi­osity, in the demand of the cause, or the limits of our affliction; since it setteth the terme of our fidelity in suffering, no neerer then the end of our life; so as be­ing enjoyned not to seek an exemption untill our death, we should enquire no more why we suffer, then why we live. In conformity to this principle, God hath been pleased to suggest to me the presenting you this animad­version, which may solve the difficulties of many contro­verted points in our weak nature concerning affliction, namely, that you are to state your case, as entred into 3. Covenants of sufferance, out of any of which, I hope in God, there is not any of you would agree to be ejected, even upon this contract, of being raised from Josephs chaine up to his chariot and dominion in Aegypt. The first is, as you are men; the second, as you are Christians; and the third, as you are Catholikes.

A MISSIVE OF CONSOLATION.

CHAP. I. Of the Covenant of Suffering, as Men, the Sonnes of Adam.

TO the first Covenant of sufferance you know we all give our voice, by a naturall instinct, before we have scarce enjoyed so much as light for it; and our eyes may be said to set their mark to it, be­fore we are able to set our hands to this article of eating in the sweat of our browes: for our eyes pay their sweat, which is their teares, for what we [Page]taste, even before we be able to re­ceive bread for it; and as we grow in­to a state to set our hands to the Cove­nant of labour, we know there is scarce any thing we relish much, that doth not cost us sweat and contention; nay we are of such a constitution, that we can have no kind of delectation, the which some want and suffering must not precede, to affect us with the gust of it. So as we are sentenced to pay a great Fine of Pain before-hand for all those fleeting and transitory pleasures, which at best doe but run over our senses, and so passe away, and leave them againe in their drouth and priva­tion. And most commonly, the ad­vance of all our paine and passion, ren­dreth us nothing of what they nego­tiate. So as a man, when he looketh upon himselfe in the best reflexes his temporary wishes can make him, shall find this brand and stigmate of Adam upon his forehead, Gen. 3.10. Thou shalt eate in the sweat of thy brows. In sudore vultûs tui vescêris pane. And this is a mark which God stamped upon Adam, of another kind of signification then that he set [Page 3]upon Cain, for this directeth all things that occur to man in this life, to strike him, and wound his temporall estate in some kind or other; insomuch, as all the creatures do in their severall man­ners execute this sentence upon the sons of Adam, not allowing themselves to be enjoyed by them, without sting­ing them in some sort, either with the anxietie of their appetite to them, pre­ceding fruition, or the distaste of satie­ty following it, or with the vexation of a deprivement of them, during the ardour of their affections to them. So as we may well say, that every thing we finde now, assaults our felicity in this life, in some sort to kill it, and to revive to us the memory of our Cove­nant of sufferance we entred into as soon as we entred into light. For which reason, the a Ecclesia­sticus 40.1 Great tra­vell is cre­ated to all men, and a heavy yoke upon the children of Adam, from the day of their coming forth of their mo­thers wombe, untill the day of their burying in the mother of all; their cogitations, and fears of the heart, imagination of things to come, and the day of their ending, from him that sitteth upon the glorious seat, unto him that is humbled in earth and ashes. Wiseman proclaimeth ele­gantly the tenour of it, saying, Occupa­tio magna creata est omnibus hominibus, [Page 4]jugum grave super filios Adam, à die exitus de ventre matris, [...].us (que) in diem se­pulturae in matrem omnium, cogitationes corum, & timores cordis, adinventio ex­pectationis, & dies finitionis: à residente super sedem gloriosam, us (que) ad humiliatum in terrâ &, cinere.

Neither need we look back upon the defaced images of all conditions, in the dead prints of story, we have such living figures of them before our eyes, as must needs imprint upon our thoughts a lively character of the de­plorable state of all mortals: Whereby out of the ruines of those houses, whereof you lament the demolish­ments, you may pick up some materi­als, to build in your minds this frame, of the instable constructure of the greatest strengths of humane happi­nesse; Eccles. 10. I have seen servants upon hor­ses, & Prin­ces walk­ing on the ground as servants. and thus your friends may in their fall some way support your ver­tue, and your patience, when you con­sider how incident it is to the vicissi­tudes of this world, to expose unto us that changeable Scene, whereof Solo­mon reporteth this to us, Vidi servos in equis, [Page 5]& principes ambulantes super terram quasi servos. And in such capitall Let­ters as these you may now read the articles of the Covenant of sufferance, which man is engaged in, whereof Job maketh a manifest, is signed even by all the Princes of the earth, for we find this under their hands, in all re­cords of them, in some part of their lives, Job 14.1. Man born of a wo­man and living a short time, is reple­nish [...]d with many miseries. Homo natus ex muliere vivens brevi tempore, repletur multis miseriis. In so much, as after man by sinne had made misery for himselfe in this life, it see­meth a mercy of God, to have joyned death with it, before which, even the light of nature is sufficient to shew the Philosophers, that none can be counted happy. And in order to this proofe, we may remarke, that he who first a­bused death by imploying it to make sinne, was thought worthy of no lesse a punishment then the protraction of life, which he had made so afflicting by his fearing to dye; and thus he was made his own torturer, by the ignorance of the evill of life, and of the good of death, which he had so much [Page 6]demcrited the knowing of, for his bro­thers goodnesse, was thought worthy to be quickly relieved by death, and his malice, was adjudged to the paine of apprehending it, and to the supplice of a long life. With good cause then may this be well reflected on, that the first vertuous and godly man was quickly removed out of this hedge of thornes his father had set, and re-con­veyed towards Paradise; and the first impious murtherer, was sentenced to live in the pungencie and asperity of these pricks and bryars of the earth. But yet such is Gods Wisdome, as he can extract medicines out of all the Brambles & thistles our earth is over­run with, and minister them to our in­firmity; for he applieth even those griefes and sorrowes which sinne in­troduced to the expulsion of sinne it selfe. So as this is an operation, worthy of Gods invention, by the labour and exercising of the body to enlarge the freedome of the soule, even by this un­fortifying of her prison, in which she is kept the closer, the stronger the dole­ctation [Page 7]of our senses groweth upon us. Therefore the distancing of the conve­niencie of the flesh, dilateth the com­modities and freedome of the spirit; so as it is a divine artifice, which God useth, by hanging weights of suffe­rings and pressures upon our senses, to wind up rather then to clo [...] our spi­rits, which are the motions, and resorts of the whole frame; and in probation of this experiment, David saith, Psal. 4.1. In tribula­tion thou hast inlar­ged me. In tri­bulatione dilatasti me.

And it is most observable, that God ministred this receipt (drawn out of thorns) to all those sonnes of Adam, whose minds he meant to purge, and clarify; For all the holy Patriarks, tooke this detersive potion of bitternesse and affliction in this life; and it deserveth our attention, to note, how the neerer the time drew to the manifestation of the Son of God, (who was designed the man of sorrow) the passions of Gods children grew the bitterer, and the sharper. For the Patriarks were exercised by divers mortifications, which were [Page 8]not capitall, they staid upon the dis­tresses of their life: some of the Pro­phets as they approched to this full­nesse of the time of passion, tasted, by anticipation, of the cup of death, in which they were all but sigures of Christs cup-beares, as Esay, Jeremy, Za­chary, and others, and so those suffer­ings, which in time were the least di­stant from Christ (as those we find re­corded in the Maccabees) came also the neerest to the horror, 2 Mach. 7. and acerbity of the passions of Christ and Christians, for they went not straight to death, but turned about, to take a compasse of tortures, to make death bitter to those they could not make it terrible; as you may read in the execution of the mother, and her seven children; The very dawning of the day of passion, which was comming on, gave them this light of fortitude.

It seemeth this weight of suffe­rance, and sorrow was all waies in so naturall a motion upon the children of God, that it moved the faster, the neerer it came to the centre, The [Page 9] man of sorrow, who being the Sonne of God by nature, was the centre of all the sonnes by grace and adoption; and therefore all the bloody sacrifices of the law of nature, and ceremoniall, tended and pointed to him, as their last term and direction; in order where­unto S. Paulinus sticketh not to say, that Christ from the begining of all ages suffereth, and triumpheth in all the Chur­ches persecutions; in Abel, he is killed by a brother; in Noah, he is derided by a sonne; in Abraham, he is a pilgrim; in Isaac, a victime; and in Jacob, a servant; in Joseph, he is sold; in Moses, left a de­relict; in the Prophets, he is stoned, starved, and vilified; so as all the lines of holy passions, drawn from the cir­cumference of all ages, tend, and re­sort to this centre of the man of sorrow, the Lamb of God, slaine from the begin­ing of the World.

These evidences may prove unto us cleerly enough the first bond, or Co­venant of sufferances, we are entred into as men; (and even in that notion we seeme to be implicit Christians, [Page 10]since he who suffered sufficiently for all, maketh all virtuous affliction re­ferrable to him;) It had been very easie for me to have exhibited a more pre­cise manifest of this our first designa­tion to sufferings, under the notion of men, there are so many excellent draughts of it stamped by the mora­lists, or naturalists of all ages; but I chose to deflect a little from the letter of the text, that I might make the in­ferences, rather strongly usefull, then critically uniforme; and therefore as I have already stepped beyond the out-court of the Gentiles, into part of the Temple, I will not call back to Phi­losophy, to borrow any demonstrations of this Principle, wherein the proofs are so accumulate, as all sects of Phi­losophers which differ so much, concer­ning the point of the good of mans life, concur in the confession of the multi­plicity of the ills thereof. But I shall not, as I said, walke aside into the gar­dens, and flowry beds of the Gentiles, because I conceive it more proper for your state, to have some wholsome [Page 11]confection to take, then a nosegay of the flowers of Philosophy, to smell to only, in these unhealthful times; for the the large contemplation of miseries of human nature, is not a receipt direct, and expreffe enough, for your present exigencies, for that is but as it were a good ayre of meditation, that may be sufficient for such as are but in light ordinary indispositions of fortune, but your distempers require some more forceable application of comfort, by taking into your minds, the strongest obligations to patience, and longani­mity. I will therefore passe on, Jab 14.22. His flesh while hee lives shall have sor­row, & his soule shall mourn up­on himself to the other two assignments of suffering, which are upon you, as Christians, and as Catholiks, and leave this our single humanitie sealed with Jobs signature, Caro ejus, dum vivet, dolebit, & anima ejus super semetipso lugebit.

CHAP. II. of the Covenant of suffering as Chri­stians, the sonnes of Christ.

VVHat we have said of our first obligation, may well extenuate all we are bound to suffer by the second. For when we behold the infelicity of our condition, as we are men, we may well wonder more, that we were preferred to be Christi­ans, then that we are continued to be sufferers. For sure, if God had consul­ted with Adam, after he saw his owne nakednesse, Mat. 8.8. Lord I am not wor­thy that thou shouldst come un­der my roofe, but only say the word and I shall be healed. and the annexure of all the miseries thereunto, whether he should have bowed the heavens, and have come downe, to repaire this his ruinous condition, by investing his mi­serable humane nature, he would have answered with the humble Centurion, Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub te­ctum meum, sed tantum dic verbo & sana­bor, [Page 13]seeing he, who made all by one word could have redintegrated Adam, with a word, remaining in the simpli­city of his divine nature, without the Word being made flesh; and being as it were, unmade himselfe (as the A­postle warrants us to say) by taking that flesh upon him, which was become, as it were, mans prison, so farre was it from being worthy to be the recepta­cle of God.

When we consider then, how God chose this way of commiferating our nature, not to purge it, by his power, but even by the very infirmity thereof, by taking the passiblenesse of it upon him, we cannot deny, the suffering part to be the most beneficiall proper­ty of it, since God made use of that only for the restauration of it; where­fore, the feeling that portion of hu­mane nature upon us, which is the most ennobled by Gods election, and pre­ference, cannot rightly be accounted a prejudiced condition; whereupon we may conclude, that the blessing of being Christians, may easily reconcile [Page 14]us to the obligation of being sufferers; for what can be the reason why Christ, when by his paines he tooke away the sting of sinne, would not also take off the points of sufferings in this life, which are but thorns of that plant, but because his passions had infused such a quality into our pains, as might pro­duce this strange effect in our nature, to make our root the lesse capable of bearing fruit, by the excrescence, and growth of these springs out of it. For temporall affliction springeth cut of sinne, as out of the root thereof, and nothing drieth up, and infecundateth so much the radicall, fructifying vigor of this roote, as the springing up of temporall miseries and distresses; so as the fruit of sinne which is death, is killed the soonest by the fertility of sufferings in this life.

Since Christ hath then by the vertue of his Crown of thornes imparted this faculty to the asperities of our life, of taking off the growth, as his did the guilt of sinne, we need not wonder, why he hath left all these temporall [Page 15]bitternesses upon our nature, which he himselfe took, expresly to taste of in our nature; so as we may be said to become the more Christians, the more we are called to be Patients. Which Position we shall find the more cleer­ly demonstrated to us, the farther we advance into the Principles of Chri­stianity.

S. Paul, when he wrote to the Ro­mans, in those times, when in a parallel of your cases, the Christians were part­ly immured up in prisons, and partly expelled to the adjoyning fields, thought (it seemeth) to sweeten their condition to them, by representing, that Mortification and Sufferance was their calling and profession. For he asketh them, as of a notorious thing, Whether they knew not this to be the Constitution of Christianity, saying, Rom. 6.3. Are you ignorant that all we who are baptised in Christ Je­sus in his death, we are bapti­sed? An ignoratis quicun (que) baptizati sumus in Christo Jesu, in morte ejus baptizati su­mus? Intimating, that our first incor­poration into the body of Christ, is in effect an expiration to this world, and a translation by the vertue of the death [Page 16]of Christ, into such a sort of life, as he had pattern'd to us, by the inception, progresse, and consummation of his life. And the Apostle presseth thus the proofe of this assertion, Rom. 6.4. For we are buried to­gether with him in bap­tisme into death. Consepulti enim sumus cum illo per baptismum in mortem, to evince this position, that our mun­danity is drowned and buryed in our Christening, and that the life of Christ, which was a continued part of mortifi­cation, is to be (as it were) our breath and animation. And while we are in this spirituall manner buryed in the life of Christ, that is, covered and in­closed with indignities & oppressions, we are acting that part we took upon us in Baptisme, where we listed our selves into that Militia, which was ere­cted by him, who killed death by dy­ing, and hath left the same Discipline to all his Souldiers, to destroy death by dying to the world; Mortificati­ons therefore must needs be the pro­per duties of that service a Christian is upon, and his pay is conditioned ra­ther upon his suffering, then his acting, as the Apostle proceedeth to [Page 17]testifie, For if we become complan­ted to the similitude of his death, we shall be also of his resurrecti­on. Si enim complantati facti sumus si­militudini mortis ejus, simul resurrectionis erimus; so as in a Christians case, the wa­ges of death is life, for if he die here by a privation of the carnall life of this world, he performeth the condition of his life everlasting. For which reason S. Paul, who was the great Commander of the Gentiles in this militancy, (where by this kind of dying, death is swallowed up in victory) hath left us his Discipline in Quotidie morior, 1 Cor. 15. I die dai­ly. and he giveth us those orders, to be the followers of him, as he was of Christ, whom he began not to follow untill he was overthrown in the command he had in this world, & was (as it were) resuscitated by the same hand that had killed him. We may re­member, he was revived by what is di­structive to this life, by being almost fa­mished, and illuminated by this worlds darknes, & restored to corporall light, only to see how much he was to suffer for that name, for which all the suffe­rings he had in his head were to be imployed, but in a manner farre diffe­ring from his designe, for they were [Page 18]signed to be enjoyed by himselfe, not to be dispensed to others by his hand; so as this seemeth the gratification of his Christianity, the having all that treasure of crosses he had prepared for other Christians, appropriated to his owne use, whereof he grew so sensi­ble, as in gratitude to this his prefe­rence, he returned his Superabundo gau­dio in omni tribulatione.

But let us look upon his Master, I doe ex­ceedingly abound in joy in all our tribu­lation. and ours, Christ Jesus, in his owne time of tribulation, and we may represent him to our selves, in the first instant of his conception, accepting this order from his Father, which he gave to his fol­lower S. Paul, of Ostendam illi quanta oporteat eum pro nomine meopati, Act. 9.15. I wil shew him how great things he must suffer for my name be­fore the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel.ut por­tet nomen meum coram gentibus, & regi­bus, & filiis Israel. In which Commis­sion he laboured three and thirty yeeres, wherein, all we are acquainted with of his life, is either laborious, or incommodious, or in extremity dolo­rous and painfull. It seemes the holy Ghost did not think any thing worthy to stand upon record for CHRIST, that [Page 19]was not eminently suffering, and therefore passed over in silence those parts of his life, which we may sup­pose to have been the least distresse­full. If we look upon his way, that is drawn out to us from his Cradle to his Crosse, we shall finde, that tempo­rall honour and ease were so inconsi­stent with Gods designe upon him, as he never had any proffers of them, that did not speedily procure him some sharper vexation. The Star that proclaimed him King at his birth, pre­sently proved his proscription to death; and that the law of suffering might seem enacted in his first step in­to the world, it was put in execution upon innocent babes, whose blood, as S. Augustine saith, made the first tin­cture of Christian martyrdome, so that the cryes of the mothers and the in­fants followed close the voyces of the Angells that glorified him. When the people thought of making him King, it put him presently to flye alone into the mountaines. When the evill spi­rits proclaimed him the Son of God, [Page 20]the Pharisees doubled their spies upon him to traduce him, and sharpned their wits to ensnare him, by captious que­stions. His entring into Jerusalem with the acclamations of Hosanna, hastned the persecutions of his ene­mies, and within few dayes the voyces of the same Jerusalem, strained higher in the Pharisees aire of Crucifige: whereby we may conclude, that hee had so entirely assigned him­selfe to sufferances, and passions in this life, as he did not thinke it a sufficient discharge, to accept the injuries of his maligners, without converting all the dutifull offices of his adherents into seed of affliction.

This was the uneven and painfull way wherein Christ chose to passe through this life, who is the way, the truth, and the life of Christians; and since one drop of his blood, had been a price sufficient for our redemption, shall not the effusion of it all, and the immensity of his griefs and labours be sufficient for our example? It be­ing especially notified unto us by the [Page 21] Apostle, 1 Pet. 2.23That he suffered for us, to leave us an example, that we might follow his steps, wherein this print of sorrow seemeth unto me one of the most admirable markes of it, that he suffered not so much by his passion as by his com­passion. He felt the torments of the Martyrs, the miseries of the Confessors, and the distresses and desolations of his Church, which he foresaw in all ages, more then the persons them­selves who are under them can doe. Vere labores, & dolores nostros ipse tulit, He truly bore all our labors and our griefs. All the anxieties, and contristations that now oppresse you, were in a shar­per degree pressing upon his heart, and since he was content to aggravate all his sufferings by taking on him the sense of your grievances, may not you very easily alleviate all your heavi­nesses by taking into your mind the re­sentment of sufferings, which were designed for your succor in your ten­tations, by the reflection upon his pre­cedent? so that his example, is not a simple injunction on you to suffer, but a conferment of an ability to sustaine [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 22]it, and a meanes to improve, and a­meliorate your state in your coinhe­ritance with him. For the Apostle enforceth this Doctrine with this ener­gy of, 2 Tim. 2.12 A faithfull saying, for if wee bee dead with him, wee shall live also toge­ther; if we sustain, we shall also reign to­gether. Fidelis sermo, si commortui sumus & convivemus, si sustinebimus & conreg­nabimus.

This deserves well our contempla­tion, that the fulnesse of the Divinity did inhabit in Christ, and the cleere vision of God did alwayes illuminate him, notwithstanding this, it was so miraculously disposed by God, that the affluence of joy springing from the Deity, should not overflow his body, and possesse the inferiour portions of his soule, that there might be left room for paine and anguish; the which was manifest in his Passion, insomuch as stupendious miracles were requisite for an admittance of so much sorrow into his most sacred minde; if God were pleased thus to multiply mira­cles, that affliction might have accesse to his beloved Sonne, in whom he was so well pleased, shall we, with whom he hath so much cause to be displea­sed, [Page 23]wonder at any calamity, or tribu­lation whereby he is pleased to correct us, especially when it is a marke of our filiation, and fraternity with Christ? We who cannot be exempt from suf­ferings without a miracle, as we are sons of Adam, shall we be astonished at any imposition, under this notion of Brothers, nay even members of Christ? In which respect S. Bernard saith ex­cellently, That delicate and tender mem­bers are not decent and becomming a head stuck full of thorns. Therefore the pres­sures and pungencies of this life, make the symmetry and proportion of the body of Christianity to the Head, Christ Jesus; who since he did not so much as speak one idle word, all his praises and beatifications of the poore and the afflicted must needs verifie the good of adversity. Mat. 5. And surely Christ did much lesse doe any idle deed, and if the ex­emplary life of his labours and onera­tions had not been directed to our con­formity therein, there might seeme some supervacuousnesse and redun­dancy in his continuall hardnesse and [Page 24]asperity of life. Would God have af­flicted his onely Sonne so, Rom. 8. if it were indifferent to doe, or not to doe as he did? or that it did not concerne those whom he had fore-known and prede­stinated to be conformable to the image of his Sonne, in this point, that he might be the first-born of many Brethren? Our fraternity therefore is derived to us by this similitude. Our sinnes might have been effaced not onely by a drop of Christs blood, but even by a drop of his sweat; wherefore this seemeth one of the chief reasons that did induce the atrocity of his passion, and the austerity of his life, the necessity of such a pattern for our imitation, since our nature was grown so degenerous and effeminate, as no lesse then Gods participation of all the sorts of grievances and injuries thereof would serve to forme in us a cheerfull disposition to the sufferings and infelicities of this life. God there­fore did not intend to vex us, when he placed our salvation in difficulties, and in our natures aversions, for to sweeten [Page 25]the bitternesse of this strong necessity, which was to work upon our nature, to purge us from the love of this world, he was so gracious, as to infuse the company of Christ into this receipt, that the tast of his society might make more pleasant to us the ill savour and acerbity of the remedy. Well there­fore may we say, A greater then Elisha is here, who hath mended these waters by but tasting of them, and hath left neither death nor barrennesse in them, for they are become rather waters springing up to life everlasting.

And we may observe, that in confor­mity to Gods method with his Sonne, Christ continued the same style to his Mother, for she, whom all generati­ons were to call Blessed, was not al­lowed any of what this world calls Blessings, for She, who had borne the Redeemer of the whole world, was not able to go to the highest rate of the Temple, for his Redemption, her poor estate did not reach to pay so much as a Lambe for the Sonne of God, and the Lambe who was to take away the [Page 26]sinnes of the world, had not so much as a Lambe for his ransome. The lowest price that was set for any of the Children of Israel, was the rate her low condition was taxed at. None was set at lesse then a paire of pigeons or a paire of turtles, and the Mother of God was in this inferiour forme of the daughters of men. This may serve to sweeten the bitterest waters of pover­ty. When we ponder this, that Christ would not allow his Mother to taste of any other spring; and though he would not let her taste of the sowrenes of the forbidden fruit, yet he fed her more then any other, with these bitter leaves which grew out of the same root, that is, though he was pleased to exempt her from sinne, yet he would not di­spense with her in sufferings, which we know are but the productions of sinne; and so, she whom we may suppose to have been excepted out of the rule of sinners, was exalted above any in the state of sufferers. And this seems to be very consonant, that as she was Mother to the Man of sorrow, and of no sinne, so [Page 27]she should be a bearer of all griefs, without any guiltinesse. But howsoe­ver this point is accorded by all par­ties, Luke 2.29, 35. that being the purest of all crea­tures, she was neverthelesse the grea­test of all patients. When she came to redeeme her owne Redeemer by the legall ransome, and was to enter into possession of her Son, we may note, that the joyes that were presaged her, by Simeon, in him were very dark and mysticall, but her own sorrows very cleer and manifest. For this mysterie of her having a light to the revelation of the Gentiles in her armes, and the glory of thy people Israel, was hard to be understood of one that was in the lowest rank of the people; but this part was easie to be conceived, of his being a mark of contradiction, and that a sword should pierce through her own soule.

Nature it selfe evidenceth the mise­ries which mothers are lyable to from children, and thus she had here her sorrowes and her sufferings writ to her in the common Alphabet of nature, and [Page 28]her joyes and consolations cyphered out onely to her in the figures and characters of grace, which are so hard to be decyphered, though it may be she had the key of them. But howsoe­ver, her faith was to be exercised by a tedious, and very sudden tryall in af­fliction. She quickly found the sword in her soule, for we may easily con­ceive what a wound her sudden flight into Egypt was, how many feares, di­stresses, and anxieties pierced her ten­der heart in that laborious flight. And sure the sword of Herod that parted so many mothers and children, pierced her soule even while she possessed her child: she may well be judged to have out-suffered any of them in their own losses, for she had the griefe of being the occasion of them all upon her heart, so as the sword that was drawn directly against her soule, though the stroke did not light upon it, as it was aymed, yet it may be thought to have wounded her in a sharper manner, then it did any it fell bloodily upon; for her exquisite charity must needs feel all [Page 29]their anguishes and passions who were thus afflicted, as personating her.

Thus we see, how she began her pos­session of her Son, with the sorrows of a multitude of mothers inflicted on her. And if we look upon her being dispossessed of her Son, there we shall see the sword piercing her soule in so horrid a manner, as the paines which all the daughters of Jerusalem ever had, in the birth or death of their children, were but shadows of her tor­ture. Whereupon S. Bernard saith, Neither tongue can expresse, nor heart con­ceive the dolours wherewith the holy bowels of this Mother were excruciated. Now Blessed Virgin you pay with rigorous interest that pain which Nature was not allowed to exact of you, in your delivery; the pangs which you felt not in the birth of your Son, are infinitely replicated upon you at his death. When we consider the Mother of Christ, standing by the Crosse, and see­ing her Son under those nails, thorns, and scourges, and all the other tor­tures, the picture whereof is enough [Page 30]to wound any Christian heart, with what hand can we hope to touch this dolefull figure of the Blessed Virgin, to give it a lively resemblance? I will therefore leave it veyled, with this rea­son upon it, Par nulla figura dolori; the not being pourtraictable, being the neerest similitude can be made of this figure of disconsolation. That which reporteth most to our purpose, is, that by the not being able to comprehend the immensity of the sufferings, of the Mother of God, we may be the lesse apt to apprehend any extremity in our owne; when she, who had at least no actuall sin to expiate, had so much sor­row to exercise her vertue, how shall we (who have so much sin to satisfie for) wonder at any sufferings, whereof we have so much need to sanctifie us? There is then no reason, why we should feare to be mistaken, in taking crosses for commodities, indignities for ho­nours, poverty for treasure, since the eternall Wisdome, and divine under­standing hath councelled this accep­tation of them, not onely by his advise, [Page 31]but by his Mothers president, and his owne personall investure of them. He who is both the supreme goodnesse, and the supreme power, chose by those low humbled means to redeem us, and by the same we must perfect our sal­vation, the work must be finished by the same instruments by which it was begun.

Christ told his Disciples, there were many mansions in his Fathers house, but never gave them notice of any o­ther way to any of them, but this of the crosses and miseries of this world: And surely as he said of the mansions, so may we say of the marches to them, if there had been another pas­sage, he would have told it them. This narrow way, and strait gate, is all the direction we find, either by his life, his doctrine, or his death. Mat. 11.12 The king­dome of heaven suffereth violence, & the vi­olent bear it away. Regnum coelo­rum vim patitur, & violenti capiunt illud, is the word, or Matte belonging to the Armes of the Gospel; and as Christ said, No body ascendeth into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven; therefore he vouchsafed to come [Page 32]downe, to live out this way, which he imprinted upon his sacred humanity. So that now, this way lyeth so fairly marked out, by the prints of his steps in his return to his eternall mansion, as no body that looketh up to heaven can misse the seeing of it, though it be not the via lactea of the Poets, The mil­kie way. The bloo­dy way. but the via sanguinea of the Prophets and the Apo­stles. It is traced out more fairly in the firmament of a Christian, which is the Gospel, then the other is in the materiall skie. The life of Christ is such a se­quence and connexion of bright and shining sufferings, as shew our souls as intelligibly the way to heaven, as those stars doe our eyes that sensible track in the firmament. We may cast our eye upon this Galaxie, or constellation of humility, and depression in Christs life, we shall see it illustrious and shi­ning in an humiliation under all sorts of creatures. He humbled himselfe to the Angels, he vouchsafed to receive comfort of an Angel, as if his necessity, not humility, had required it. When he was hungry, he was pleased to take [Page 33]foode, as almes from the Angells, when he could have turned stones into bread. He humbled himselfe to man, and woman, remayning obe­dient to his Mother, and to Joseph. He subjected himselfe to Impious Princes, to Herod, Cesar, Caiphas, and Pilate by undergoing their burthens, and their judgements. He submitted himselfe to vile, and infamous ser­vants, as to Malchus, and to his tortu­rers, deriders, and others. He yeel­ded himselfe even to inanimate crea­tures, suffering heat and cold to strike upon him, and by iron, wood, thorns, and reeds, he indured to be violated, and offended; nay he subjected him­selfe to his greatest enemy the Divell himselfe, when he suffered him to car­ry him up to the pinnacle of the Tem­ple; so there is no creature from the sublimest to the meanest, from the best to the worst, to whom Christ did not humiliate himselfe.

And thus you see, this arche of hu­miliation set as it were on another bow, in the clouds of his humanity for [Page 34]a signe of this Covenant of sufferances, wherein I have suggested to you your ingagement; and this bow of his Cove­nant, is so extended as it makes a per­fect circle, it reacheth from the sphere of angelicall, to that of inanimate sub­stances, to both which we see, Christ did submit himselfe, and so his sub­jection toucheth the highest, and the lowest point of his owne creatures. Which consideration of his ineffable humility must needs assure us, of that admirable effect it hath produced, of converting crosses into the nourish­ment of his body left upon earth, and so to bring that, which separated his soule, and his body, now to be the meanes of reuniting the body to the head. For the Crosse is left in his Church, to conjoyne and consociate the members unto their suffering head Christ Jesus; and we may well adde, that this Divine signe of the Crosse set in the Heaven of his Person so conspi­cuously, remains as a sensible marke of his promise to the Church, of never being drown'd in any inundation of [Page 35]crosses falling on her.

Looking up therefore to the heaven­ly object of Christs sufferings, we may be comforted, by our similitude, and we may rejoyce at our security, which this Covenant recapitulateth to us, as of­ten as we contemplate it, insomuch as there is none of you, who groan un­der any pressure, or tremble under any oppression, Heb. 12.2. that looking up upon the an­thor, and finisher of our faith Christ Jesus, may not see him bearing the same crosse with joy, despising the confu­sion of it. Whether you sweat under your burdens, or whether you bleed under the edge of these times, you shall find your persecution both civill and sanguinary patternd to you in the person even of God and Man, Christ Jesus, who hath not left so much as your feares, and terrors out of the ex­emplar of his passions; Mar. 14.33. He began to be hea­vy, and to feare. his Caepit taede­re, & pavere was designed purposely as a cordiall in your fits of fainting; and if there were any point in your af­flictions, which were not exemplifide to you in Christs passions, that circum­stance [Page 36]ought to prove to you, a suffi­cient consolation, in that you had some suffering to offer to Christ of your owne, besides the copye, and pour­traicture of his. But alas, all that we can imagin in our own paines, where­in there is imitation of his, is that which we may better blush at, then boast of, for it is only the guilt of de­serving more then we can endure in this life; this is simply ours in our afflictions, wherein we find no resem­blance in the figure of Christs suffer­ings, which part of our cases, may make us offer up to Christ a thankfull alacri­ty in all temporall penalties inflicted on us, for having taken off from us, the burthen we could not remove by any sufferings, and having left us only such pressures, as may aleviate the weight of that intolerable gravation, which is the guilt of sinne: for our crosses in this life by the vertue of the Crosse of Christ (whereof our heaviest are but chippes, or shavings) doe not only keepe our sinnes lower, but also weigh against the temporall penalty of those, [Page 37]which are in the scale.

It may admit a question, whether it be a more precious Christian exercise, to doe good, or to endure evills; That state is certainly the best in which both are conjoyned, when suffering many grievances, we act as many good as we are able; yet God hath provided mat­ter of meriting in both conditions severally: let them then who have no­thing left to give to God, by way of actions, rejoyce in the faculty of sor­rowes, which furnish them meritori­ous offerings in all their necessities. When King David extols the dignity of man, he raiseth it upon this ground, that God had made him but a little lower then Angells. Psal. 8. But in this re­spect, we may say, that God hath ad­vantaged him above them, by furnish­ing him with more instruments of me­riting then they have, by having cou­pled a body to this spirit, in which he may suffer for Christ, when many o­ther capacities of expressing, his gra­titude are suspended. For man hath not only all the severall powers of [Page 38]his minde, but also the senses of his body given him, as organs of meriting, by carrying the Crosse upon them. With this corporeall furniture, man is enriched above Angells; so as man may even out of the greatest infirmi­ties of his constitution, extract matter of glorification. This vertue hath been imparted to the vility of flesh and blood, since God vouchsafed to be invested in it, our flesh received this priviledge not only of being admitted into heaven, but of contributing to the soule's degrees of glory, by the pro­portions of the bodies fufferings, and as S. Paul saith, Rom. 8.13. It is no wonder that God, having given his owne Sonne to human nature, should have given all these other prerogatives with him.

Out of this state of our mortality, the Saints shall rise as high, as they should have done from the state of in­nocence & immortality, which shews, that they are equally sanctified in the brevity & shortnesse of their life now, to what they should have attained in many ages, if they had remained im­mortall. [Page 39]The multitude of sorrowes and crosses, by the grace of Christ, countervaileth and compensateth the numerousnesse of the yeeres of our service. Our Redeemer hath left this compendious way of meriting, by the necessities & molestations of our flesh, the which he would not expunge in it, that he might present his Father the children of his most precious passions, as much purified in a little time, as they should have been in the efflux of many ages. He who raised above the highest heaven, the heavinesse of our earth upon this Engine of the Crosse, hath left it us, to winde up the easilyer our terre­strial qualities upon the same machine. This was the means which S. Paul made use of, in all his elevations up to the third heaven: Christo confixus sum cruci, Gal. 2.20. With Christ I am nailed to the Crosse. carryed him up to that sublimity; and he kept himself so close nayled to the Crosse all his life, as when he was weak he was strongest, and never esteemed his raptures so much as his revilings and ignominies. He professeth to glory willingly in nothing but in his humili­ations, [Page 40] Libenter gloriabor in infirmitati­bus meis,2 Cor. 12. Gladly wil I glory in my infir­mities, in contume­lies, in ne­cessities, in distresses for Christ, &c.in contumeliis, in necessitatibus, in angustiis pro Christo, propter quod pla­ceo mihi in infirmitatibus meis, in persecu­tionibus, because he found power was perfected in infirmity. Whereby we are convinced, that those who are cal­led to Christianity, are assigned to all sorts of crucifying.

All the iniquity of a Christian con­sisteth either in doing what Christ did not, or in refusing to doe what he did, and none can excuse themselves, by an incapacity of imitating Christ in that, wherein he hath been pleased to state Christian profession; for every one may be poore, and patient, and mortified, but every one is not qualified to attain to riches, honour, or learning. This is the wisdome and love of God, to have those things made the best contributi­ons to our eternall felicity, which may not onely be reached by every one, but can even scarce be missed by any, which are the afflictions and adversi­ties of this life; wherefore those, who it may be would not have had the zeal [Page 41]to affect a similitude to Christ, in these hard touches of Gods hand, must not be so ungratefull, as to repugne to this operation of God upon them, or be ashamed and confused to see this figure of deformity, in the worlds eye, im­presed upon them, in poverty, infamy, destitutions of friends, reproaches of enemies, and all other assimilations to Christ, but rather acknowledge a mer­cy of God, who having called them to these tryals as Christians, whereunto they have answered but ill in other times, that now he vouchsafeth him­selfe to place them in the society of the passions of Christ, remembring what the great Doctor in this worlds miseries, and the others felicities, re­monstrates to us, 2 Cor. 1.7. That in the same mea­sure you are partakers of the passions,1 Pet. 4.1. Christ therefore having suffered in the flesh, be you al­so armed with the same cogi­tation.you shall be of the consolations of Christ.

With good reason then I may urge this to you in S. Peters name, Christo igi­tur passo in carne, & vos eadem cogitatio­ne armemini. Which must not be one­ly to suffer all patiently from your e­nemies, but even to be disposed to suf­fer [Page 42]for your enemies, if Gods glory should propose it to you. O! shall not this lover of you, and benefactor of his enemies, be able to heap coales upon your hearts, to inflame them with a desire of this imitation? Put then, I be­seech you, the sad heart of Jesus, as a signet upon your hearts, that he may find you according to his heart. You need not be disheartned to finde your persons and estates become according to the hearts of your enemies, since you know, Tradidit eos in desideria cordis eorum, 1. Rom. 24. God hath delivered them up into the desires of their own heart. proveth often an unhappy pre­valence, and you, looking upon all your deprivations and passivenesse un­der the notion of Christians, have this lesson given you from that naked bo­dy on the Crosse, whereof you are mem­bers, who did but pittie those that were dividing his clothes, and casting lots for his upper garment, (which was a figure of his Church) and the action no ill figure of these times in the re­gard of casting lots; and Christ, when there was nothing left to extenuate their guiltinesse but ignorance, plea­ded [Page 43]that for them to his Father, in Dimitte illis, Luk. 23.34. Forgive them for they know not what they doe.non enim sciunt quid faci­unt, and sought thus to cover their nakednesse, who had so profanely ex­posed and violated his; and sure, Ne­sciunt quae faciunt, is a proper plea for your charity, to make now in defence of your afflictors; it is writ upon the face of most of their actions, and we may well use the Prophets Quis scit si convertatur, Ionas. 3.9. Who knoweth if God will convert, and for­give.& ignoscat Deus? Who knoweth whether Gods mercy doth not designe another work, then that which they think they set their hands to? and so they may be doing, they know not what, in the best sense we can understand it: S. Gregor. Moral. lib. 6. Ca. 13.14. for as S. Gregorie saith pertinently to this purpose, God who is just and mercifull in his disposure of humane actions, accordeth some things as he is gracious, and permitteth some as he is angry; and the things he doth but per­mit, he tolerateth them so, as he turneth them to the use of his counsell and purposes. Whereby it is effected, in a wonder­full manner, that what is acted with­out Gods will, is not done against it; [Page 44]for while ill deeds are converted to good uses, even those things beare armes for his designe, that militate and repugne against it; and we may well say, not by way of Prediction, but of Prayer, Who knoweth whether the Spirit of God may not be pleased to move upon the face of those waters which now cover our land, and out of this abysse and Chaos, extract light and clarity. But as Saint Peter said, to consolate and confirme the Christians in their persecutions, you have a sure word of Prophesie to rest upon, Jo. 16.33. in all your agitations, the eternall Word it selfe prophesying that his members should have all sorts of pres­sures and crosses in this world. To which you shall doe best to attend, as unto a light shining in a dark place, Act. 15.15 till the day dawne againe; and looking upon the verification of this Prophesie, To our Lord was his owne worke known from the beginning of the world. Luk. 9. in all ages we may rest upon S. Pauls ground, for the re-edifying of the ta­bernacle of David, and repayring the breaches thereof, and setting it up so, as the residue of men may seek after the Lord. Notum à seculo est Domino opue [Page 45]suum. Leaving therefore the know­ledge of times and seasons to his pro­vidence, as the prerogative thereof, we must husband our properties of Christians, which is, to take up the crosse daily, and to follow Christ. This is the inheritance of a Christian, the Passion of Christ, the which he may improve to himselfe, by the culture of Meditation, and must take heed of venturing to plough up the ground of Gods Providence, and sowing it with his owne Reason, that it may beare him satisfaction of the causes of his sufferings, or the Churches persecutions. For this is a labour he is forbid to sweat in, for which reason, this sweat of his brain shall not afford him bread. Our Father in this case onely gives a stone to him that asketh him this bread, to feed his scruple, or his curi­osity; whereas a Christian, by an hum­ble acquiescence simply to Gods in­scrutable order and providence in all events, may turne even stones into bread, his afflictions into spirituall ali­ments, and draw oyle out of the rocks [Page 46]he is cast upon: while he studieth not to solve Gods riddles, the intricacies of his Providence, he shall have Samp­sons riddle explained, and applyed to him, Judg. 4 4. for Out of the eater shall come forth meat, and out of the strong shall issue sweet­nesse. The Lyon of the Tribe of Judah hath infused honey into the teeth of all these Lyons he lets loose upon his Church, and a resigned patient shall taste more the honey, then he shall feele the teeth of the beast that quar­tereth him. They therefore who will finde the suavity of persecution, must suck it out of Christs Passion, where it lyes ready made, and not amuse them­selves to work it out of the order of Gods providence, wherein it rests im­plicated in the folds of many myste­ries, and our curiosity in seeking it, will return us rather Sauls anxiety upon his enquiry of Samuels ghost, then Samp­sons sweetnesse in the Lyons jawes, which he found when he looked not for it. And out of S. Pauls mouth, who was once a raging Lyon, till he was killed by him, of whom Sampson was a [Page 47]figure, we may take this hony to dul­cifie all those bitternesses of our lives, 2 Cor. 4.18. Our tri­bulation which pre­sently is momenta­nie and light, wor­keth above measure exceeding­ly an eter­nal weight of glory in us. Quod in praesenti est momentantum, & le­ve tribulationis nostrae supra modum in sub­limitate aeternum gloriae pondus operatur in nobis.

HAving thus seene and considered Gods hand and manner in the fi­gure of his dearly beloved Son upon the Crosse, by which he conveyed him to his Coronation, let us now consider also Christs method in order­ing his Church, after he professeth that all power is given him both in heaven & earth, so as the sufferings of the Body, to such an Head, must needs be by or­der, not infirmity. For after he had suffered sufficiently for more worlds then he shed drops of blood, and for as many ages as worlds, he might well have allowed the members of his bo­dy all joy and felicity for the rest of those few Ages this world was to sub­sist. But he who was Wisdome it self, chose another method, as he told his [Page 48]dearest friends, Ego dispone vobis, sicut disposuit mihi Pater meus regnum. He co­pyed his Fathers hand upon himselfe, in his drawing and figuring his Church upon earth, Lu. 22.29. I dispose to you as my Father disposed to me a king­dome. so as after his glorious bo­dy was enthroned at the right hand of God, he left his mysticall body hang­ing as it were upon the crosse in Calvary for some Ages, wounded by the laun­ces of the Gentiles, and vilified by the scornes of the Jewes. In this posture it hung, exposed many yeers a scandall to the eyes of the one, and folly to the understandings of the other, insomuch as the extreme passions of this body, might well have extorted out of flesh and blood, a Deus meus, ut quid dereli­quisti me? The afflictions were so intol­lerable, as no body, that had not a God for the head of it, Mat. 27. My God, why hast thou forsa­ken me? could have growne and prospered in so bleeding an infan­cie. It seemeth Gods unsearchable Wisdome, designed Christs mysticall body to be formed on the face of the earth, as his naturall body was in the wombe of the Virgin, in the compositi­on whereof, there was onely the Spirit [Page 49]of God, working upon the pure blood of the Virgin, and in like manner, the vertue of the holy Ghost came upon the blood of the Martyrs, forming and ani­mating the Primitive Church. For in those times we find the vertue of the Spirit working most upon blood, to forme and procreate the body of the Church. And thus by the admirable vertue of Christs Passion, it seemed not an effusion, but rather a transfusion of all the blood was drawne, convey­ing it into other veynes, and the same spirits seemed to be carryed in it, into other bodies, which successively ma­king the same use of it, might make one think, it had been the very same blood infused into other veyns, which like channels rather then owners of it poured it out againe so freely; and in this way of generation, the Saints and Martyrs procreated the descent of the family of Christ, for above three hun­dred yeeres. The Apostles seemed to poure out their blood into the veynes of their Disciples and Successors, and they in like manner to transfuse theirs [Page 50]into those discended from them, and by this successive transmission, the Progeny of the Church was deduced through the Primitive Persecutions. This was the operation of that one heart, Act. 4.32.and one soule, the Apostle saith was then in the multitude of the Beleevers. And indeed, the records of those times may well make one reflect on the do­ctrine of Pythagor as, in his transmigra­tion of soules; for in those times the spirit of acting and suffering which was transmitted from one to another, see­med so much the same, as one might fay there was a transmigration of the soules of the first Martyrs into the sur­viving issue of their spirit. Herod is said to have suspected, that the soule of S. John Baptist had passed into Christ, when he said, Mat. 14.1 This is John the Baptist, he is risen from the dead, and therefore vertues work in him. Hic est Joannes Baptista, ipse surrexit à mortuis, ideo virtutes ope­rantur in eo. The doctrine of transition of soules from one body to another was much followed in those times. But we may wel in a pious and sober sense, say, that the soule of S. Peter seemed transmigrated into his successors for [Page 51]many yeeres, for the same spirit of fervour, in watering with their blood the Rock whereon Christ had planted his Church, possessed above thirty Popes successively after S. Peter; and so all their bodies seemed to be cast as a mold of earth upon that rock, where­upon the faith of the Romane Church did spring; the plants whereof, even all acknowledge their Churches to be, who have now severed themselves from that radicall communion, and forget­ting the benefits of those Josephs, who sed them in the famine of their Faga­nisme, are now laying burthens on their children.

In this manner, the Primitive Church was nourished in her cradle; instead of having milk given her to make blood of, she sucked blood, and made milke of it, by the which she hath nursed the succeeding times; for in all the Churches following persecuti­ons the faithfull have been sustained and refreshed by that milk, which the blood of those times did make for them, for their examples descending [Page 52]with their doctrines, hath confirmed and strengthned as well as alimented all their future progenie. It is an admi­rable evincement of the truth of Chri­stian Religion, to remark, that as it was founded upon a supernaturall con­junction of a body that might suffer, to a person that was impassible; so it was propagated by the destruction of those bodies, which were the organs of tra­dition of it to posterity, for the wounds of the Apostles and the Martyrs seemed but so many more mouthes, opened to speak out louder the mysteries of the Gospel, and to prove those verities by daring to dye for them, which were not to be demonstrated by the cloquence of any living men or An­gels; and thus the tongues of the Mar­tyrs spoke more plainly the mysteries of their faith, when they were torne out of their mouthes by their tortures, then while they were tutoring their Disciples. Whereupon Tertullian saith to the Persecutors, Exquisitior quae (que) iniquitas vestra, illecebra magis est sectae; the more exquisite their iniquity grew, [Page 53]the more efficacious allurement it proved to Christian Religion. For, as he explains it, every one being struck with wonder at the vertue and pati­ence of the sufferers, began to think that worthy the enquiring into, which men thought so much better worth then their lives; and these reflecti­ons converted more then the best ver­ball expressions, to such auditors, as thought life not to be equivalenced by any compensation. Wherefore Saint Cyprian, who was one of the brightest mirrors of these reflections, saith, The Heathen were wont to conclude, that it de­served to be studyed, and fully penetrated, that perswasion which could induce a man to suffer so much, and to dye so willingly. And this Lecture of the bodies of the Martyrs, convinced more then the books of the Fathers; it wrought more upon flesh and blood, to see as it were the whole body set to their faith, then the single hand; as we saw in Malta, the Vipers teeth moved them more then S. Pauls tongue; and in like manner, this wrought those present effects fre­quently [Page 54]upon multitudes, the conside­ring the mindes of Christians, shaking off the stings of tortures, which hung upon their bodies, the peace of their soules remaining inviolated, and un­offended by them. And those admi­rable effects of such causes as were na­turally opposite to them, were demon­strations of this dictate of Saint John, You are of God, 1 [...] Joh. 4.and overcome the world, because greater is he that is in you, then he that is in the world, whereof he was one of the most egregious marks, be­ing preserved for a spectator, after he had been himselfe a patient in the scene of Martyrdome: for being condemned to suffer at Rome in a caldron of scald­ing oyle, he came out of it more re­freshed then the Emperor out of his baths of precious oyntments; he rested in it, with little lesse case then he had done in the bosome of his Master. For Martyrdome may well be termed the bosome of Christ, as it is the nee­rest part of his body, joyning to the suffering head upon the Crosse, and as it is the neerest accesse towards a con­junction [Page 55]with the glorified head in heaven. And thus the Martyrs did daily verifie this position, That he that was in them, was greater then the world; for they who had subdued the world, could not suppresse Christianity. Christ chose to triumph over the tyrannie & power of the Emperors of the world, before he would vouchsafe to be ser­ved by them, to evidence this for his glory, that it was not his necessity that required, but his grace that admitted Kings to be nursing-fathers, & Queens to be nursing-mothers to his mysticall body upon earth.

This also deserveth our animadver­sion, that soone after the Church came to suck at those brests, she fell into fits of Convulsion, interiour Heresies, which endangered, her more then all the exteriour wounds of Persecution she had received. Whereby appeareth, that the milk of Princes was not so healthfull for her, as the blood of Martyrs. For even in Constantine the Great his time, who was the first Princely Foster-father of the Church, [Page 56]Arianisme began to breed in her, The deny­ing the Divinity of Christ. and this disease in his time, notwithstand­ing all his cures and remedies admini­stred, lay still so neasted in her, as pre­sently after his death, the corruption broke out into desperate convulsions, and the very brest of her temporall nursing father, was cancer'd with this Heresie. For the second sonne of Con­stantine, named Constantius, to whom, in the partition of the Empire, the East was assigned, revolted professedly to Arianisme, and in a few yeeres this poyson had so spread by his diffusion, as the leprosie had over-run almost all the Easterne Churches, insomuch as Christianity seemed more endangered by this canker in the breast of an Em­perour professing to nurse it, then it had been by all those raging Lyons that sought to devoure it: So much more dangerous was it, to part Christs Divinity from the Church, then to have the whole world united against her, while that was acknowledged, and re­lyed upon for the support. This perill sprang out of Prosperity, when the [Page 57] Emperours of the East, seemed to think their Religion supported strongly e­nough without the Divinity of Christ, whereas Rome, which was then fallen away in all temporall diminution, maintained the intire profession of Christian faith, against all the gates of hell, which the Emperours under pre­tence of being watchmen upon the to­wer, had opened against her, and for many yeares, S. Peters barke floated as it were in an Ocean of Arianisme, which had covered the Eastern, and had broke in upon many parts of the Western Empire. It were too long a work, to make a journall of the voy­age of S. Peters barke through all those ages, in which it hath beene ex­posed to the stormes of diverse perse­cutions, and the sands of innumerable heresies it hath passed over with safe­ty. That which respecteth most my purpose, is to clucidate to you, how temporall adversity, and tribulation have alwaies contributed to the purity of the Doctrine and manners of the Catholike Church, for I doe not meane [Page 58]to touch any Controversie, but in de­fence of those, you may unjustly ac­count your adversaries, which are the crosses and afflictions of these times, and to dispute for the use, and benefit of them, against your diffidence, and irresolution, in this hower of your ex­amination; which I hope, by the grace of God, may be effected in some de­gree by this suggestion to you, of those Covenants and obligations of suf­fering, wherein you are engaged, which I may urge to you in the termes of the mirror of sufferers S. Paul, 1 Thes. 3.2I have sent this to you, and exhort you for your faith that no man be moved in these tribulations, for your selves know that we are appointed to this.

Me thinks this should lenify, and disasperate all the sense of our afflicti­ons, to reflect, how under these two notions of the Sonnes of Adam, and the Brothers of Christ, we are designed to sufferings. For as men, the holy spirit telleth us, Job 5.7. Man is born to labor, and the bird to flight, insomuch as we should wonder no more at our troubles, then [Page 59]at our nature. Wherefore S. Gregory upon Jobs scraping his soares with a piece of a broken pot, saith, He made clean one dirt with another; for the holy man reflected from whence that was taken which he wore, and with a frag­ment of one piece of clay he scrapes another broken vessell, so as conside­ring himselfe in that fragment of clay, in the cleansing and extersion of his sores, he did also dresse and medicine his minde. And this is a ready re­freshment, which we have alwaies by us, when we are upon our dunghill, to wipe and cleanse the corruption of our sores, with this recogitation of the vi­lity of our nature, which is as naturally liable to this breaking out into ulcers of miseries and tribulations, as earthen pots are to be broken. Therefore we may learn of Job to take off the pu­trefaction, and ordure from our sores, which is murmur, and repining, with this recollection, that we suffer it in order to our nature, and so reluctancy to this condition, may, in this respect, seeme more unnaturall then resigna­tion.

[Page 60]And for the other Covenant as Chri­stians, what can be more positive then S. Pauls exhorting distressed Christians not to be moved, 2 Cor. 4.8. In all things we suffer tri­bulation, but are not in distress; alwayes bearing a­bout the mortifica­tion of Je­sus, that the life of Jesus may be manife­sted in our bodies. as knowing they are appointed to tribulations; And in or­der to a discharge of this obligation, he exhibiteth to us the state of a Chri­stian, In omnibus tribulationem patimur, sed non angustiamur, semper mortificatio­nem Jesu in corpore nostro circumferentes, ut vita Jesu manifestetur in corporibus nostris. So as we see, a Christian is to coppy, and manifest the life of Jesus; and we cannot render it so easie to be known by any way, as by having his most notorious markes visibly upon it, which are Crosses: for we cannot possibly draw the figure so resembling in sanctity as in suffering, (for our bodies are helps to us in this simili­tude, as impediments in the other.) We must then seeke to finish this fea­ture of Jesus, as exactly as we can, since in this respect we must be all Je­suites as well as Christians; and thus these times may cōduce to the making you all Jesuites, according to this order [Page 61]of S. Paul. And if you enter piously into this society of Jesus, you will not feare how you stay here, or when you remove from the society of men; for if you have the figure of Jesus stam­ped upon you, in any pressure whatso­ever, or cut out in you, by the sharpest violences, you shall rise from the want of bread, up to that nuptiall feast, in which your present nakednesse shall passe for your Wedding garment, and from the bar of men you shalbe called up to the throne it selfe, where the Cru­cified sits to condemne all that ap­peare not with that impression on them.

This beleefe of a Christian's being pressed to serve under the Crosse, was so received in the Primitive times, as S. Ignatius, who lived in the age of the Apostles, when he was first bound, pro­fessed that then he began first to be a Christian; and S. Augustine in confor­mity to this opinion telleth one, That if he had not yet beene entred by any tribu­lation, he had not begun to be a Christian; and Saint Martin was so imbued with [Page 62]this Doctrine, as when the Divell ap­peared to him in a glorious forme, sug­gesting to him that it was an appari­tion of Christ, Christ doth not appeare to his ser­vants in this life, but on the Crosse. he answered, Christus non nisi in cruce apparet suis in hac vitâ, intimating, that a Christian must not understand felicity in this life, to be a proper image to represent Christ to his servants. And it referreth to this, what is recorded of Christs apparition to S. Peter, when he was stying out of Prison in Rome, by much perswasion of the Christians a little before his Mar tyr­dome. For Christ met him with a sad afflicted countenance, and being asked by S. Peter whither he was going? He answered, To be crucified againe: by which the Apostle understood his Ma­sters order, and obeyed it cheer fully, returning back to the Prison, and soon after to the Crosse, which was annexed to his Commission of Pasce oves meas, Feed my sheep. Follow me in this Schedule of Sequere me. So as Christs bequeathements to his dea­rest friends upon earth, are but severall crosses in the procession of this life, through our valley of teares. The ha­tred [Page 63]of the people, the malice of the Magistrates, imprisonments, and fla­gellations, were the onely Legacies you know Christ left his Disciples, and in this he made them his heires, first in this world, giving them all he dyed possessed of, so as the more you share in this his temporall estate, you are the truer heires of this his Testament, which was writ in his martiall hand, but signed and sealed by his eternall: for the Hand of his Deity is set to all the Donations of Glory, which he made in his Testament, to the performers of his Will, by a cheerfull acceptance of these his affignements in this world. Whereupon S. Augustine adviseth us, not to consider what paine we have under the rod, but what part we have in the Will. And for this cause, the A­postles were not styled by Christ, Mat. 5.10 blessed in their power over Devils, or the grace to raise the dead, but in their subjection to sufferings; he annexeth a beatitude to this estate of their being cursed, persecuted, and vituperated, with all sorts of injuries, to this condi­tion [Page 64]he assigneth joy and exultation ex­presly, Be glad, & rejoyce, for your reward is great in heaven. Mat. 5. Gaudete & exultate, quia merces vestra copiosa est in coelis.

And we may note, that of the eight states of Beatitude which Christ exhibi­teth in the Gospel, foure of them consist directly in suffering, and that those also that are somewhat referred to action, (which are the being mercifull, and the being peace makers) are made half also of passive matter. For there must be misery and troubles, for the subjects of mercy and pacification. And for that of spirituall hunger and thirst, it is set after poverty and mourn­ning, as if they had got us this good appetite; and the other of purity of heart, comes in as it were after the soules having beene strained through those pressures, as though this passing of it, were requisite to bring the heart to this cleannesse, and depuration; and when we consider Christs life, how he walked himselfe in this nar­row way to this beatitude, we cannot reply against this order of following him through many tribulations into [Page 65]his Kingdome, for if Christ suffered so much that he might justly give us his glory, what ought not we to doe and suffer that we may receive it? It must needs be then a great folly, to imagine we can attain this glory without pains, when even God laboured and suffered so much that he might dispose of it. For Christ himselfe telleth us, Joh 5.23, 27. That the Father hath given all judgement to the Sonne, and produceth this as the rea­son, Because he is the Sonne of man, that is, for having merited it by the labours and passions of this humane life; and S. Paul explaineth this cleerly, where he saith, Ph l. 27. Christ humbled himselfe made obedient to death, even the death of the crosse, for the which thing God hath exal­ted him. So that here Christs power is referred to his purchase of it by his passions. Therefore a Christian that re­pineth at any affliction in this life, see­meth to forget what he oweth the Crosse for his redemption from misery, and to what he was sealed by it, when it was laid upon him in water, to in­gage him even before he could beare [Page 66]it in a heavyer matter, and to oblige him to serve under all those crosses of fire or water this life should passe through, for after this comes a stron­ger baptisme of fire in the tryals of a Christian.

Those who are not Christned with the signe of the Crosse, may have some pretence, not to understand the use or obligations of it; but you, on whose heads it hath been laid in Baptisme, and pressed (as it were) into them by Confirmation, can have no colour to mis-conceive the use of Crosses; and since it is a defence against evill spi­rits, the making but the signe, or fi­gure of the Crosse, with our hand, it must needs be of greater efficacie against both the world and the devill, the having of them made upon us by the hand of God, who chastiseth every child he receives, and so crosseth his children alwayes either to expel some evill spirit, or to mark a lodging for the better reception of his holy mission into it. In this signe thou shalt over­come. Look up therefore to heaven, and you shall see In hoc signo vinces [Page 67]ingraven upon all your Crosses.

I will close up this proofe of your second covenant as Christians, with this advise to you, how in all the ship­wracks of your lives or fortunes in this storme, you may save your selves by a right use of the Crosse. The Fathers doe usually call the Crosse, Tabulam naufra­gii, that plank whereon humane nature was saved, when all her goods were cast away, and you must take the man­ner of saving your selves by your crosses, from that conception of ma­king them planks to beare you up; and you know the same piece of wood, lying upon you, will sink you, which would carry you if you lay upon it. In like manner, if the weight of your present crosses lye upon the sensitive part of your soules, and you consider them meerly as sensible oppressions and gravations in this world, flesh and blood will be dejected, and sunk by them; when that feeleth all the charge upon it, the mind may easily be cast downe by the heavinesse of the senses; but if you lay your minds upon your [Page 68]crosses, that is, extend your thoughts orderly upon the meditation of the Crosse of Christ, from which all yours derive a vertue and efficacie to work upon you, the image of the Sonne of God, laying your minds in this posture upon your crosses, they will beare up your hearts instead of sinking them; and thus this storme shall but drowne your worldly and earthly affections, and your crosses in this posture under your minds, shall carry and land you in the land of the living. Wherefore I beseech you to cast your thoughts in this posture upon the Crosse of Christ, 2 Cor. 13. For al­though he was cruci­fied of in­firmity, yet he liveth by the po­wer of God, for we also are weake in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God. resting upon it with confidence, that it will support you; and rest your minds upon your owne crosses, as conceiving them to be rather carriages of your soules to spirituall aspirings, then ma­teriall onerations upon your bodies, and then you may easily apply to your selves this comfort of S. Paul out of the crucifixion of Christ, Nam etsicru­cifixus ex infirmitate, sed vivit ex virtute Dei, nam & nos infirmi sumus in illo, sed vivemus cum eo ex virtute Dei.

CHAP. III. Of the Covenant of suffering as Catho­liques, the Champions or true Church of Christ.

IN my preceding discourse, having (I hope in God) sufficiently proved this your second bond of sufferance by the two irrecusable witnesses of Christs life, and his death, I shall pro­ceed to put the third in suit against any reluctant and querulous humor which flesh and blood may breed in you to plead against your spirituall conformi­ty to your temporall condition; that in poverty of spirit you may be suited to the penury of your fortunes, when you consider seriously your selves bound by this triple cord to crosses & adversities in this life. The third of your Covenants I proposed to you, was, the being Catholiques, which no­tion seemeth to be like the wheele in [Page 70]the middle of a wheele in EZekiels Vi­sion, for the Catholique Church is con­tained within the greater circle of Christianity as a lesser sphere within a larger: and we may properly say that the spirit of life is in this smaller wheele; for the being a Christian in the large acception of it, will admit many stations of Religions, without the inclosure of the Catholike Church, wherein the Symbol of the Apostles in­circleth the true Christian Faith; and because this terme, Catholike, is now the notionall distinction of your true Religion, from all other, whose sects are comprehended in the amplitude of the terme (Christian) it will not be im­pertinent to explain unto you in a few words the Churches sense of this deno­mination, Catholike.

We know the first followers of Christ, were called Disciples; It seemeth Christs humility would not admit so much honour in his life, as the faming of his name by this celebration of it, which men affect especially to set up­on the front of their intellectuall edi­fices: [Page 71]for Christ all his life endured the meannesse of his earthly habitation to be branded upon his Disciples who were called Nazareans, or Galileans, rather then the gloriousnesse of his office to be charactered upon them. For his sir­name of Christ, which is Anointed, hath a reference to the highest dignities of the world; so as it was long after his death, before he admitted his follow­ers to that honourable name of Chri­stians, for you know it was at Antioch that the Disciples began first to be na­med Christians, and he who never slee­peth, was early up sowing tares, for Simon Magus, Act. 11.26 who was his first seeds­man, sowed even in the same furrows the Apostles were plowing, and his fol­lowers wore the badge of his name, and many other Heresies sprang pre­sently up, all which covered them­selves with this large cloake of Chri­stian; in so much as the name of Chri­stian was justly odious in that appre­hension the Gentiles had of it. For the Heresies that were clothed with that upper garment, were in their owne [Page 72]nakednesse, foule and execrable in all sorts of pollutions. For those we call now Simoneans, and Gnosticks, and Ebio­nites, and many other, which by the Authors of their Sects are now stig­matized, in those times were all invol­ved in the latitude of Christians. Whereupon before the death of all the Apostles, this denomination of Ca­tholique was peculiarly affected to the sincere and orthodox Christians, which sir-name we take from our Mother the Catholique Church, notified so for the single, and onely Church of Christ by the Apostles Creed; and in the sequence of ages, as the tares grew up in the large field of Christianity, the pure and sound part of the Church assigned this as a speciall and specificall difference between the Heretiques and the legiti­mate Christians, and so it hath been ac­cepted ever since as a notional discern­ment between them.

The word, Catholike, signifieth lite­rally, Universall, and was meant to sig­nifie that faith to be onely sincerely Christian, which was universally and [Page 73]unanimously promulgated by the Apo­stles, and conserved by the general con­seat and fidelities of their disciples, and so transmitted by all the concurrent te­stimonies of that age to the next suc­ceeding it. So as the Church is not cal­led Catholike for the actuall extention of it into all nations, but as the major part in respect of all Christian societies, or in reference to the promise of this expansion over the whole world. So that it hath alwaies been one of the visible markes of the Church, the be­ing the greatest society of Christians of any one communion. And as all sects came out of the true Church she retaineth still the name of the whole, as the body of the tree doth after ma­ny branches are torn off from it. So as the Catholike Church neither is, nor ever was a comprehender of all the sects of Christians, but a compriser of a greater portion of them, then any other profession which was sepa­rate from her; and this majority the Catholike Church hath had in all Chri­stian ages. When we say then the [Page 74] Roman Catholicke Church, we doe not meane to exclude all Churches from being Catholike besides the locall Church of Rome, but as that is the head, and spring of Catholike communion, by way of dignity and preference above all other particular Churches, we give Rome that single appellation, as the head of all other Churches, or by reason of the derivation of the Catholick faith from her to the rest of the Churches of the world, as being the Chaire of S. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, who was constituted head of the Universall Church, and as the same authority and prerogative is descended upon his suc­cessors the Bishops of Rome, in these respects, in regard no Church is accoun­ted, nor is Catholicke, that doth not adhere to her communion, we stile the particular Roman, the Catholike Church.

For if we speake formally and ex­presly, the Catholike Church signifies the body of all particular Churches uni­ted in communion with the Vniversall, and by way of participation any parti­cular [Page 75] Church may be called Catholicke as it partakes with the intire body. In this respect the Church of England be­fore the separation was a Catholike Church, and so are all Churches which remaine united to the Catholike Com­munion. So as when you heare it objected that Roman and Catholike seem as incompatible as particular and Uni­versall, you may satisfy your selves, that Rome doth not claime the title in that contradictory sense, to say that the single and locall Church of Rome is the Universall Church, but that Rome is the head of the Universall Church, in which all particular ones are to be ac­counted Catholike (in this sense of or­thodox, and true Churches) as they are united to that head. If the Protestants acknowledged any one particular Church to be the head of their communion, that Church might be said to be the Universall Protestant Church by way of eminency; and in this sense the Roman Church is stiled the Universall or Catholike Church. I have said this as falling within the verge of [Page 76]the word Catholike, without intending to passe further then the frontispice of the Church to read to you this inscripti­on only of Catholike, which is often misunderstood by those who will al­low Universall Religion, but no Catho­like.

And, I hope, the signification of this your surname may minister great assurance to you, when you consider that you suffer under that title and no­tion, which hath alwaies been the dis­cernment of true Christian Religion. For S. Irenaeus (one of the Primitive Fathers of the Church) marketh, that none of the sects of those ages did ever arogat this title of Catholikes. Psal. 90. With a shield his truth shall encom­passe thee, a thousand shall fall on thy side, & ten thousand on thy righthand, but to thee it shall not approach. It seems it hath been preserved miraculously among the insolences of all various errors, which never durst lay violent hands upon this lovely intemerat vir­gin name of Catholicke; the protection of the Psalmist hath been verifide upon this name, Scuto circumdabit te veritas, & cadent à latere tuo mille, & decem mille à dextris tuis, ad te autem non appropinqua­bit, for of all the swarms of waspes [Page 77]and hornets which have flown out of the Church in all ages, never any did so much as taint this name by their hiving themselves in it. There hath alwaies descended upon the pro­jectours of Babel this designe of, Let us make to our selves a name. Facia­mus nobis nomen; they have alwaies af­fected the celebration of their own name, that have set up for themselves any new sect, and their master hath payed them that vanity, for labouring in his high way, to allow the stamp of their owne names to be set upon the coine, whereof he is the Prince, and the Father. This priviledge the divell hath allowed to all Arch-hereticks, and hath communicated so much of his prerogative as to leave their names impressed as a signature upon their er­rors; but none have been permitted to vitiate the name of Catholike by an imposition thereof upon any sophi­sticated Religion.

It is not my worke now to exhibit to you the proofes of the legitimate genealogy of your Religion from the true ancient Catholike stock, I beleeve [Page 78]these very times may read to you the evidences of your antiquity by the aversion which all novelty declares a­gainst it, I purpose only to convince the controversies of humane nature in the point of sufferings, not to handle any contention in matter of faith, be­leeving you have more neede of helpe against the fingers of Pursivants, then against the armes of Pulpits, and this reflexion may serve you to con­fute the arguments of your flesh and blood against patience in all your per­secutions, in that you suffer under that notion which only can sanctifie the sufferings of any persecuted Christians. Conclude then your selves happy in these times, since you are in a capacity of making treasure of all your tribula­tions, when others, who it may be are under as heavy a temporall yoake as you, drawing not in the same cari­age of the Catholike faith, will find the weight, even in this world, more in­tolerable.

They are much more to be lamen­ted to whom we cannot apply S. Iohns [Page 79]comfort to the distressed Catholikes of his daies, when he saith, Apoc. 1.9. I your bro­ther, and partaker in tribula­tion, and the king­dome, and patience in Jesus Christ. Ego frater ves­ter, & particeps in tribulatione, & in reg­no, & patientiâ in JESU CHRISTO. For it is a deplorable sight to see our kin­dred, and friends out of that state, which (as S. Paul saith) Operatur tole­rantiam earundem passionum quas & nos patimur. 2 Cor. 1.6. Which worketh the tolera­tion of the same passi­ons which we also suffer. For which cause one of our greatest prayers ought to be, that as they are partakers of the passion, so they may be also of the consolations; for Saint Austin saith, One may cary all things with him out of the Catholike Church but charitie, as baptisme, the sacramēts, and the resolution of suffering. But we know how little comfort S. Paul giveth to those who have all the ma­teriall parts of Christianity, and want the formall, and animating spirit there­of which is Charity. 1 Cor. 13. How much then ought you to praise God in all your Covenants of sufferings, to see your selves comprised in the infallible Cove­nant and contract of reward which is passed to his Catholike Church; Rejoyce & be exceed­ing glad. where­fore I may properly say to you, Gaude­te [Page 80]& exultate, because you are under the best notion of the afflicted in these times, when sufferings are so vniver­sall, and the cause of them so little Ca­tholike.

Upon those words of the Apostle S. Paul, Col. l.24. I accom­plish those things that want of the passions of Christ in my flesh, for his bo­dy which is the ChurchAdimpleoea quae desunt passionum Christi in carne meâ pro corpore ejus quod est Ecclesia, S. Augustine asketh how there can any thing be said to be wan­ting to his passions who was God and Man, and taking vineger for his last tast of this world, declared giving up the Ghost that all things were con­summate that had been written of him; and answereth the question thus, that all the passions were compleated that belonged to the head, there re­mained the sufferings of the body, which is the Church, to render it sutable to the head, and the Apostle as a princi­pall member of that body might well say he was to fill up his share of what was required thereof. So as it is not the insufficiency of Christs passions that needs a supplement of his Churches pressures, but the order of God, who [Page 81]hath designed the application of Christs passions and merits to his Church by this her conformity to his passive pe­regrination through this world.

And may we not say, that to unite his Church the more firmly to him, he hath left her fastned to the Crosse upon earth, that this his body might seeme to be so much his owne, as it might appear rather his naturall body crucified, then onely a mysticall sig­nification thereof? For his passions being continually iterated upon reall flesh and bloud, which have the ho­nour to be called the Temples of the holy Ghost, they may seem to have a more then ordinary representation of the passive body of Christ. For if all the sacrificed bodies of the Synagogue, and all the blood of irrationall crea­tures effused in the Temple, were fi­gures of his naturall body, why may not those sacrificed bodies which are themselves Temples of God, well be said now to be an admirable manner of somewhat more then representing Christs living body? Therefore it see­meth [Page 82]that Christ, to have a continuall view of the glory of his suffering bo­dy, hath lest his Church in a bleeding posture, to present God his Father with a perpetuall show not only of a picture, or image, but as it were a reall exhibi­tion of himself suffering in his Church; and no sight propitiateth God to the sonnes of men so much, as this of see­ing them as it were acting the sons of God, under this notion of hoasts and sacrifices. In the quotidian unbloody sacrifice of his now impassible body, the offering is of more dignity, but the object seemeth not so affecting, and moving compassion, as the torne and wounded figure of his Churches tribu­lations, the body whereof seemeth to be designed to bleed continually for a lively memoriall of Christs merits in the sight of God, and for a solicitor of an effusion of fresh graces, upon the necessities of this body, untill the bleeding and the beatify'd body be both united into one conformity of glory.

This is the order God seemes to [Page 83]have setled in the continuation of his Churches sufferings, the which attract succours convenient at the same time, that it may remaine a perfect image of Christs body, alwayes grieving, and al­wayes glorying, in a complyance with the designe of God, and in the procla­mation of the triumph of Christ, who when he led captivity captive, gave these gifts unto men, whom he left to triumph by the same Armes where­with he had overcome, which are Crosses, Sufferances, and Passions. Which consideration may easily in­duce us to acquiesce to the order of the sufferances of the Catholike Church, since the pressures thereof are not on­ly continued memories or imitations of that object which is so pleasing to God, the passions of Christ, but even accomplishments of what was want­ing of his passions, (according to the meaning of S. Paul before related) which was the finishing and consum­mating the effect of his sufferings, by rendring the body so fit for the head, as Christ may have glory by the perfe­ction [Page 84]of this work, as wel as the Church beatitude by this sutable incor­poration.

Since S. Paul saith, Heb. 2.10. That it became God to consummate the Author of our salvation by his passion, we must needs conclude it necessary, that we who are to be the matter which is to be saved, and glorified, should be purged and perfected by the same manner; and we may well say, that to answer to the single bloody sacrifice of such a head, the perpetuall sanguinary im­molation of the body, during to the end of the world, is but a decent con­formity. With good reason therefore, as the head of the Catholike Church was once victimated and offered up in bloud to the glory of his head, a 1. Cor. 11.4. who is God, it is but just that the body should be continually immolated, as a bleeding hoast to the glory of his head, who is Christ. Whereupon Saint Paul expressing the proper state of the Church, 2. Cor. 4.11. saith, We that live are alwayes delivered unto death for JESUS, that the life of JESUS may be manifested [Page 85]in our mortall flesh; so as the Church seems appointed a durable sacrifice to manifest and set forth the life of Christ to his Father and himselfe. And upon this ground, the Church may be said to be in some degree to Christ, what he is to his Father, that is, as he is the mirrour which reflects to the Fa­ther his eternall life and being, so the Church in her passions reflecteth to Christ his owne mortall life and exi­stence. Which figure of Christ upon earth, when the Father contemplateth, Heb. 1.3. and at the same time seeth him to be the brightnesse of his glory, and the figure of his owne substance, this must needs propitiate God infinitely to that body, which representeth to him such an honour he hath received from the head thereof, who being equall with him, did thus admirably subject him­selfe for the exaltation of his glory. Doth not then the suffering Church rememorate to God continually the highest point of all his glory? For the holocausting or incineration of in­finite worlds, in honour of the Ma­jesty [Page 86]of God, would not have been an oblation equivalent to the least drop of blood drawne from the person of Christ; and therefore Christs designe in leaving his mysticall body in a suf­fering posture, is one of the highest straines of his divine providence, both in order to the honouring of his Fa­ther, Ephes. 4.13. and the purifying of his Church, till The body and the head meet in the perfect man, in the age of the fulnesse of Christ.

It then we review the state of the Church, even since the Empire of the world undertooke her protection and repose, we shall finde her still continu­ing an image of the life of Christ, who we know had divers intermixtures in his course through this world; some­times he was in want and hunger in the desart; sometimes declared in the glory of his miracles, feeding multi­tudes, and curing all diseases; and a­gain, sometimes we find him with­drawing and hiding himselfe from the fury of the people; and then at other times we behold him in authority and [Page 87]magistracy, expelling the prophaners of the Temple, and casting out the evill spirits out of the images of God, and converting them into the temples of the Holy Ghost. These vicissitudes we finde also in the state of his Church, sometimes prospering, spreading, and feeding those multitudes which so­dainly after have risen against her, and forced many of her members to fly out of their reach into desarts and more dispeopled places; in some times again she hath propagated mira­culously, and established her doctrine and her jurisdiction among many un­beleeving nations in a wonderfull feli­city, and in sequence of time hath beene banished and eliminated out of these dominions. These alternative mutations are evident in the progresse of her dispersion through the world, and we know she shall extend her selfe at last to the ends of the world, and if not cover the face, yet leave some of her markes upon the whole face of the earth. Wee see her now as it were shipped away almost quite from Afri­ca, [Page 88]where she was so firmly planted many ages before America was so much as knowne to be in the world, and now shee spreads there to a good growth, while her plantation in Afri­ca lies waste and desolate, and the good seed which is falne in that ground seemeth to answer for the semination of those tares which the Enemy hath cast into these territories of Christi­anity. And we may note, that all the ancient heresies which so much infested the Church in former ages, are now al­most eradicated according to the fate of them. Sap. 4.3. Spuria vitulamina non dabunt radices altas, and the new ones which are now so flowerd, and full blowne, will shed and fall away, like Tulips, which commonly vary their colours every yeare somewhat, till the roote it selfe in a few yeares leaveth bea­ring; and these varieties of vexations will successively spring up to the Church; out of the ruines of some er­rors, new wilbe erected; and thus she shall be exercised to the end of the world, till the man of sin, Antichrist, [Page 89]shall come to purge her by a generall conflagration, as it were of the whole world in the flames of his blasphemy, which shalbe the last perfecting fire of tribulation, shall reduce the Church to the finenesse of that gold which must pave the heavenly Jerusalem.

This is Christs method and designa­tion of the manner of his Churches pas­sage through this world up to him, in whom since there can be neither im­potency nor severity to this his body, for the Apostle tells us, Ephe. 5.29. He nourisheth and cherisheth it as a man doth his owne flesh, we must resolve that this order is in reference to the presenting his Father with a continuall intuition of his suf­fering body, whereby he is the most eminently honoured, Ephe. 5.27. Not ha­ving spot, or wrin­kle, or any such thing, but that it may be holy, and un­spotted. and to refine this body to the most perfect degree of purity, which this locall separation from the head can admit of, to reduce it at last to that glorious estate, Non ha­bentem maculam, aut rugam, aut aliquid hujusmodi, sed ut sit sancta, & immacu­lata. Wherefore I may properly say to you as members of this suffering [Page 90]body, 1. Pet. 4.12. from S. Peters mouth, Thinke it not strange in the fervour which is to you for tentation, as though some new thing happened unto you, for all that you are exposed to is in consequence of that or­der wherein Christ conducts his Church through this transitory world.

TO clucidate farther this position, That God is propitiated by the sight of Christs suffering body, we may make this animadversion upon the con­stitution of the Catholike Church, That soone after the issue of bloud was sten­ched, so as the bodies of the Martyrs did no longer afford that object of passions, the Holy Ghost (who had charge to preserve the Church in the most acceptable condition to God) presently infused a spirit of voluntary mortifications and sufferings into the Church, whereby many holy persons were divinely inspired to congregate bodies and societies of sufferers, which should be united by a vow of perpetu­all afflicting and exercising their bo­dies, [Page 91]and making themselves lively images of Jesus Christ crucified by the rules of selfe-abnegation, and ex­hibition of a life intirely sacrificed in the toleration of all sorts of austerities. This spirit wrought upon both sexes, and hath produced those admirable orders of mortified, and crucified Christians, which are so eminent in the Catholike Church; so that the strongest powers of flesh and blood have been subdued by the weakest portions of it; Virgins in the succeeding times have been as sanctified by their civill death, and spirituall mortification, as they were by the violent destruction of their lives, & consecration of their bo­dies in martyrdome, to this ministery of the Churches sufferings, which were wanting to the passions of Christ; and so this order of selfe-sacrificing, seem­eth to have succeeded in the Church, to the vacancie of the Martyrs, where­by God hath this spectacle continued to him, in the passions of the body of Christ, in bodies and societies expres­ly set apart from the world for that [Page 92]intendment, which are all the religi­ous orders of the Catholike Church, whose lives are nayled to the Crosse by many vowes of austerity, penance, and self-crucifixion; and these make such a propitiating sacrifice of their lives to God, as we may be assured he smels it as an odour of sweetnesse, since hee breatheth downe such a suavity and savour upon all their most asperous re­gularities, which are of so ill an odour to nature, as the holy Spirit must needs incense and perfume them to make them tolerable. And surely the purity of these living hoasts doth mediate po­werfully for Gods patience and lon­ganimity, which he affordeth to many multitudes of such members of Christs body, as doe rather crucifie againe to themselves the Sonne of God, as the Apostle saith, Heb. 6.6. then exhibit themselves images of Christ crucified.

And thus Christ is so infinitely mer­cifull, as he suspendeth the justice of his Father against those, in whom he still seems to suffer, by presenting to him that part of his Church, which [Page 93]suffereth in him, whereby God hath stil various remonstrances set before his eyes of the passions of Christ, to ingra­tiate his Church to him in these later ages, wherein God hath been pleased to take the sweet savour of his Church, more from the Altar of odours and incense within the veyle of the San­ctuary, then from that of bloody sa­crifices; that is, from the consecration of the religious orders of his Church, which doe as it were evaporate their lives in a continuall fume of self-con­sumption, by the fire of mortification. In this estate the Church may say, Psal. 39. Sacrifice and obla­tion thou wouldst not, but eares thou hast per­fected to me. Sa­crificium & oblationem noluisti, aures au­tem perficisti mihi: For God hath been pleased to perfect the eares of his Church, in the attention to his E­vangelicall counsels of chastity, and relinquishment of all to take up the Crosse. And this is remarkable for e­vincement of the single legitimation of the Catholike Church, that no other communion of Christians have their eares so much as opened to the coun­sels of Christ.

[Page 94]It is strange, that they who have their eares open to nothing but the letter of the Word, should be so deal to those so literal words as recommend these Evangelicall counsels; 1 Cor. 1.18 The word of the Crosse. but as it is Verbum Crucis, we may feare it see­meth stultitia to them; but to the Ca­tholique Church, The power of God. it is Virtus Dei. For sure it must be a singular operation of the Spirit of God, to dispose the corrupti­on of our flesh and blood to vow it selfe to such a lasting martyrdome, in which, as out of an ingot, or wedge of gold, the Wyer is hammered, and drawne out by continuall macerations and percussions upon the flesh; and as the matter may be said to endure more by being wrought and drawne out into small Wyers, then when a piece of gold is stamped and coyned at one blow upon it; so those bodies which are extenuated, and filed away by lingring mortifications, and mace­rating austerities, may be truly said to have a more painfull kind of Martyr­dome, while they are thus wrought as it were into the image of Christ, then [Page 95]those who have it marked & impres'd upon their bodies all at one incision; which is the case of Martyrs, that at one blow have Christ stamped upon them; the others are long under the Presse, whilst (as the Apostle saith) Christ is formed in them. Gal. 4.19. And these are such as according to the advice of Saint Paul, doe exhibit their bodies a living hoast, holy and pleasing to God, (which he calls A reasonable service) to wit, a spirituall and rationall offering of soule and bo­dy, by internall purity, accompanyed with extinction as it were of the life of the flesh, by vigilancie, abstinence, and attention to divine offices.

And surely there are many of these unbloody sacrifices, which are no lesse acceptable to God, then the vi­ctims of the Martyrs. For certainly it is a harder work to keepe our blood continually from running the course of nature in our veines, then it is at once to poure it out of them. The first is a continuall combat, and an un­certain victory, for the enemy who is overcome every day, is still equally to [Page 96]be feared. The last though it be a sharper conflict, yet it is a present dis­patch, and a perpetuall extinction of all enmitie. Wherefore S. Chrysostom saith, He admireth more Joseph remaining unscorched in the flames of such a sollicita­tion, then the three children coming with no scent of fire out of the furnace; and S. Bernard saith, he accounts a chaste soule not only to be celestiall by origin, but even heaven it selfe by similitude. And thus Christ who hath carried our nature in­to heaven above that of Angels, hath left it a capacity even on earth to be­come Angelicall. So we may say now that Christ in his Catholike Church pre­senteth his Father with Crucified An­gels, to represent to him his passion, for the Virgins who crucifie their flesh with all the vices, and concupiscences of it, may well be sayd to be Angelicall Crucifixes. And thus the wisedome of the Holy Ghost, hath as it were varied the manner of Martyrs in the Church, and subrogated crucified lives to offi­ciate in the place of the sanguinary vi­ctims of the Primitive ages, to make [Page 97]the same representation. Whereup­on, as Christ did leave the unbloody sacrifice of himselfe, to commemorat, and apply the virtue of his passion, so it seemeth the unbloody obligations of the religious bodies of his Church, were instituted by the Holy Ghost to continue that part, which was acted in the victims of the Martyrs, which was a representation of the passions of Christ to God the Father, wherby a continual influence of fresh graces is impetrated for the support of the Catholike Church in all her pressures; Eph 5.32. This is a great Sa­crament in Christ. and in his Church. so as we may say with the Apostle, Sacramentum hoc mag­num est in Christo, & in Ecclesiâ.

All this tendeth to illustrate to you, how the Church is designed by her head Christ Jesus to remain a suffering body in this world, to the end, you who by Christs great mercies are members of it, may not be tempted by the infir­mity of nature to reply with Gedeon to the Angels of the Church, Judg. 6.13.If our Lord be with us, why have those evills apprehended us? but rather in an holy assurance that God cannot be removed from us [Page 98]but by our owne diffidences, let us answer with Eli to the message of ruine to our houses, 1 Reg. 3.18 It is our Lord, let him doe what is good in his eyes.

It is observable, how to that Church of God, to which no temporall suffe­rings were medicinally appointed, there was no reward but temporall felicity manifestly proposed: for as all the sacrifices of the temple were but figures of the blood of the Church of Christ, so all their promises were but darke shadowes of heaven, the which is as much cleerer, and better exposed to us, as the sufferings of men are wor­thyer then those of beasts; and it was but just, that they who had but water appointed for most of their purgati­ons, instead of the fire of Christian dis­cipline, and mortification, should have but earth measured out to thē for their possessions, when the others who had all sorts of afflictions prescribed to them, had heaven fairly laid open to their expectations. And so there is more difference between the joyes, & glories that are proposed to Christians, [Page 99]in the sight of God, and the tasting the grapes and figs of Canaan, conditi­oned with the children of Israel, then there is between the being but asper­sed with blood from the hand of a Priest, and the being our selves the bloody sacrifices.

All our sufferings are then compen­sated by that measure of joy, running o­ver into our bosomes, which is a pro­mise of becomming Gods, while the acquisitions proposed to our elder brothers, were but the prosperities of men. Wherefore we may note, that untill the Crosse had opened the gates of heaven, God did not make that, the key, wherewith his children were so precisely ordained to unlock them. For the ancient Patriarks who were to stay long without the doores were not set to forge this key out of the fire of tribulation, with so much sweat and labour, as those who were presently to be let in upon the perfecting of their worke prescribed in the Gospell. And so we may observe a far differing order in the promulgation of the Law, and [Page 100]of the Gospell. For to the Generalls of the Law, there was given a promise of great temporall victories, triumphs, and subjugations of their enemies, but we know the Champions of the Gospell had very different Commissions, which consisted in all temporal sufferings, de­features and distresses. These were the articles which Christ pend for their in­structions, That they should fly before their enemies from place to place, be taken, scorned, scourged & vilified un­der all worldly indignities; In the world you shall have distresse. John 16.33. In mundo pressurā habebitis, is one of the last orders Christ gives his Commanders, so that we may see S. Peter, and S. Paul, di­versly equipaged for their expeditions to what Moses and Josuah were for their enterprises. And yet the conquest of the first, was to extend to the whole earth, and the victories of the last but to a mole-hill in respect of the other. So much more virtue Christs person hath conferd upon crosses and suffe­rings, then God did allow to temporal prosperity.

Upon this foundation, Christ, to [Page 101]raise this point of afflictions which is annexed to his Church, as high as na­ture can carry it, exalts it by a revolt of nature it selfe against all innate in­clinations, advertising his Church, that even their fathers, brothers, & friends, shall deliver them up to persecutions. And I pray God you have the next following mark of the Disciples of Christ as evidently upon you as you have these, which is, Luk 21.17, 19. In your patience you shall possesse your soules. This is the onely shield Christ hath given his Church to cover her in all those sho­wers of fiery darts which are to fall upon her. He hath left her patience, and permitted the world to furnish her with passions, as necessaries for the exer ise thereof. So then as you are members of the Catholike Church, you must stock your best possession, and resolve to live upon that in all your other sequestrations, which is, the pos­sessing your soules in patience. For in­deed, no body can possesse his soule, (that is, remain master of it) but by this security, for without this hold of [Page 102]our minds, the world hath power to alienate them by all casualties and vi­olences that invade them; and this is the reason why Christ, who conside­reth nothing in his Church but soules, having left this safeguard for them, hath exposed all the rest to the inju­ries of the world, as not worthy his protection; so as having a sufficient power given us to maintain the pos­session of our soules, we need not feare any dispoyling of such things, of which, the deprivement may improve that possession, more then the fruition; for the burning of our houses, and the consumption of all our temporalties, make such ashes, as are the best soyl­ing can be cast upon our earth for the bearing of patience; and so we may fructifie this possession of our soules, even by the perishment of our for­tunes; since I may then say with the Apostle, Heb. 10.36Patience is necessary for you, that you may receive the promise of possessing your soules. I may assure you conse­quently, that you may improve the best part of your estates, as Catholikes, [Page 103]in all your sentences, and sequestrations under that notion, for you have the best treasure of the Church to undamage you, which is the conformity to Christs sufferings, which are better then indulgences granted out of the redun­dant treasures of his passions, for these doe but deduct from temporary pains, and the other doe improve eternall glory.

All you therefore who are suffering under the predicament of Catholikes, have no worse a cause to claime that disposition of you, which S. Heb. 10.34 Paul com­mends in the Church of his dayes, in those great fights of affliction she su­stained, when the Christians took with joy the spoyle of their goods, knowing that they had a better and a permanent substance, since the same permanent assignment is made to you for all your privations, and in some respect your portions are mended since that day, though the purchase cost you not so deare as it did the then persecuted Ca­tholikes, for the accidentall beatitude of heaven is augmented since those [Page 104]dayes by the addition of many milli­ons of glorified soules, every one of which is some encrease of joy mutual­ly to each beatify'd soule, by a parti­cipation reflected from one anothers joyes, and so the number of the bles­sed soules, in this regard, as it riseth, raiseth the glory of heaven. Where­fore it may now be better challenged of you this rejoycing in your traffique for heaven, with the losse of your goods, since you give lesse for it then the tortured Primitive Christians, and have more in it.

For this consideration then, you who (as the Apostle saith) have accesse through your faith into this grace wherein you stand, Rom. 5.4.and glory in hope of the glory of the sonnes of God, ought also to glory in tribulations, knowing that tribula­tion worketh patience, by which Christ hath ordained you shall possesse your soules. And it may well be, that those who spoyle and dispossesse you of your houses and lands, doe restore your soules to you, which were too much possessed by them, and thus you [Page 105]may be re-estated in the best part of your selves, which peradventure was sequestred by your owne estates. For you know this was the case of the young man in the Gospel, whose soule was under the seisure of his owne possessions, which did put a worse re­straint upon him, then is upon any of your persons, when he had nothing to hold him from following Christ, but the bands of his owne abundances, the which proved both sequestration, and imprisonment of his soule. Where­upon Christ asketh, Mar. 3.37 What permutation shall a man give for his owne soule? since there is nothing a condigne exchange for the possession of our soules, you may chance be much beholding to those who have given you your owne soules at so low a rate as that which they have taken from you.

The great builder of Magazines had his soule sequestred the same night his Works were finished; and it may be many of your souls have been restored to you the same day your houses have been plundered, and your lands seque­stred, [Page 106]for the next degree of leaving all to follow Christ, is the having all taken from you for his sake; and there are many vocations which doe not admit the relinquishing of all temporalties, but there is none dispensed with, in point of a cheerfull acceptance of the losse of all for Christ: so that to repine at any privation for Gods sake, is not onely below the perfection, but with­out the obligation of Christianity. [...] Cor. 6.6.Ca­tholikes therefore must put on this ar­mour of righteousnesse, either on the right hand, or on the left; some by a voluntary disseisure of all, which an­swers to the right hand as being Chri­stian perfection, but all must weare it on the left hand at least, as a shield in the warfare of this life, which relateth to a patient submission unto all the vi­olences of this world, which dispoyle and expropriate us of such temporali­ties, as we might possesse for the ser­vice of God, according to the severall necessities of our callings; the which when they are extorted from us by the injustice of the world, we must ac­count [Page 107]as called for by God, to some other use, and so we may say of our goods, as S. Paul doth of our lives, Rom. 14.8. Whether we live, we live to our Lord, and whether we die, we die to our Lord. If our goods continue in our hands, they are consecrated to God; and if they be torne from us, they are still offered up to him by our acceptance of his will, unto which, our obedience is our sacrifice; so that we ought to say al­wayes of our Fortunes, Whether they live, or dye, they are still our Lords.

In conformity to this, Saint Paul describeth to us the state of true suf­fering Catholikes, By honour and dishonour, 2 Cor. 6.8.by infamie and good fame, as seducers, and as true, as they that are unknowne, and knowne, as dying, behold we live, as chast­ned, and not killed, as sorrowfull, but al­wayes rejoycing, as needy, but enriching many, as having nothing, and possessing all things. These times afford you without asking the one half of these properties of Saints; and you must be humble suitors by your prayers, that [Page 108]God (by the intercession of the Apo­stles, and others whom he hath been pleased to make thus compleatly Saints) would vouchsafe you the grace of the other halfe of these qualities, which the world cannot give you, that you may say with S. Rom. 8.37 In al these things wee overcome, because of him that hath loved us. Paul, In his omnibus super amus propter eum qui dilexit nos.

Among all the figures which the Fathers have found in the bush that fla­med, and did not burne, this seemeth one of the most apposite, The state of the Catholike Church; for she hath al­wayes been in the fire of tribulation, which hath illustrated, and purified, ra­ther then at all consumed her. The Spirit of God residing in her, hath gi­ven that quality to her fire, which the Fathers say was in that of the bush, which became more fresh and verdant in the midst of the flame; and they who look upon the Church in all ages, shall find both inflamation and ver­dure conjoyned in her perpetuall passi­ons, and her propagations. It was the same fire, that which came down upon the heads of the Apostles, and that [Page 109]which flamed in the bush. Wherefore it is not strange they should both have those correspondent qualities of ar­dencie without combustion. When you see therefore the Church on fire, you need not feare the consumption, knowing that God is in the flame. And the holy Spirit, to intimate to us, that the Church is of proofe against all ele­ments, Psa. 45.5. telleth us by the Psalmist in pre­diction of her estate, The violence of the river maketh the city of God joyfull, the Highest hath sanctified his tabernacle, the very torrents that break in upon her shall water and fecundate her.

Whereupon I may fitly say to you in all your exigencies in the name of our Pastor bonus, Feare not little Flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a Kingdome, out of which the whole multitude of Churches, and states that are now set up against you, cannot ba­nish you. Remember that he who sent the dearest of his flock as sheepe a­mong Wolves, could have sent them as whelps of the Lion of Juda, to have destroyed all those beasts he exposed [Page 110]them to, but as they were members of the Lamb, not of the Lion; that is, of his humanitie, not of his Divinitie. So he chose to make them sutable first, to his infirmer portion, before he would assimilate them to his triumphing con­dition. He could have sent S. Paul to Rome in greater triumph then Nero, but he was better pleased to send him thither in chaines, and S. Paul charged with his fetters, glorieth as in his pro­per throne, remembring so much his being raised up together, Eph. 2.6.and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, as he seemeth to minde little his present de­pression in his chaines, wherein he boasts as in the seale of his Commission and Legatship. Eph. 6.20. This was the order of Christ upon his choicest ministers; so as you need not wonder at any tem­porary distresses you are reduced to as members of that Church, whose be­ing exempted from error, overpayeth her being exposed to affliction; for sure the burthens of the Israelites are much to be preferred before the dark­nesse of the land, out of which, they [Page 111]were excepted. How much more then are they to be pittyed who are making such Churches as have need of temporall armes for their subsistence, then are those, who are suffering in such a Church as no human violence can demolish? For Christ having left unto it his passions, hath also promised the presence of his person unto the consummation of the World. Mat. 28.20.

I will conclude this point of the Covenant of suffering as Catholikes, with this cleere evincement of it by S. Pauls testimony, who saith, 1 Cor. 15.19 If in this life onely we be ho­ping in Christ, we are more miserable then all men. Si in hac vitâ tantum in Christe sperantes sumus, misera­biliores sumus omnibus hominibus, so as our portion in this life seems to be de­creed so constantly miserable, as we are not allowed to flatter our selves with the hopes of felicity in this world. Justly therefore, where the Apostle bids us Be rejoycing in hope, Rom. 12.12 he joyneth to it, the being patient in tribu­lation, knowing all our hope must rise out of sufferances, as they are the li­gaments, and connections of the body to a crucified head. Wherefore I [Page 112]will desire you for your comfort, as well as your conviction in this point, to cast your thoughts upon the Crosse, and consider only the last miracle which Christ was pleased his body should exhibit to us, after his soule was departed from it. You may note how out of that wound which Longinus the Souldier gave him, after he was dead, there issued the two greatest my­steries of the Church, to oblige us to beleeve that much more the head him­selfe never woundeth or permitteth to be offended any of the members of his living body upon earth, but upon some speciall reason, which alwaies re­sulteth to the good of that part he stri­keth, unlesse the part it selfe prove the impediment by some miscarriage in the state of cure.

Wherefore that portion of his body amongst you, which is now bleeding under his hand, need feare nothing but their own ill diet, & irregularity in their hurts; for they may prove so health­full to you, as they may convert even the diseases of your naturall bodies, [Page 113]into a good constitution of your souls; and the regiment of your selves in this case is prescribed by S. Paul, 1. Cor. 16.13. Watch ye, stand in the faith, doe man­fully, and be streng­thened. upon oc­casion of the same infirmity in his time, Vigilate, state in fide, viriliter agite, & confortamini. This prescript con­taineth a direction to your three con­stitutions of Sufferers; Doe manfully, re­lateth to you as you are men; Be strengthened, belongeth to you as Chri­stians; Watch and stand in the faith, re­specteth you as Catholikes; and if you apply these remedies respectively to your infirmities, even every one of these your three, Vae, Vae, Vae's upon earth, shall afford you a Sanctus in hea­ven; and so as Men, Christians, and Ca­tholikes, weeping here, you may attain to the singing eternally of Sanctus, San­ctus, Sanctus, in heaven.

CHAP. IV. Of the manner of discharging these duties of Sufferings.

WE may observe, that Christ spake neither so frequently, nor so cleerly of any one thing to his Disciples, as of the sufferings and passi­ons he was to undergoe; and yet they never understood him in them. They were alwayes either in such feare, or such wonder concerning them, as they never durst aske the question for the explication of their perplexities. They quickly sought the explication of all his Parables, Mar. 9.31. that seemed referred either to his power or his promises; but in this point of his disparagements, and his passions, they seemed so little desi­rous of an illumination, as when he was ready to be seized according to his prediction, and upon the point of sepa­ration from them, he is faine to re­proach [Page 115]them that they were dejected only, not desirous to be informed whither he was going, John 15.5.6. whereupon de­pended all their reperations. The apprehension of sufferance and passion se [...]meth to have such a quality as is re­ported of the Torpedo, for it often stu­pifies, and benummeth our nature so, as it leaves not so much as even curio­sity stirring in it towards an inquisition of reliefe.

In like manner there may be many who have heard much of our exposure to sufferings and afflictions in this life, and yet remain little inlightned in the right conception of them; and which is worse, little inquisitive of that me­thod, whereby we must extract bene­fit and utility out of them. Wherefore it is requisite to exhibit as faire a copy of that method as I can let forth to their comprehensions, that they may not be dismaied by this Onus Domini, Jer. 23. The bur­then of the Lord. nor be deluded by this supposition, that they are all the spirituall children of Abraham, who have this marke of the Covenant of sufferances upon their [Page 116]bodies, or their fortunes; for it is not this moral circumcision, or uncircumcision, that intitles us to the promises, but the spirituall signature of Christ upon the heart; it is not the exterior infliction of misery, that qualifies us for the reward proposed, nor a present immunity and quiet, that ejects us out of the society of Christs passions; it is the interior dis­position in both cases, that constitu­teth the rightfull title to remunerati­on. In those who are actually exer­cised under their crosses, it is the pati­ent, and pious resignation which inti­tleth them to the conditions of the Co­venant; and in those who are in a pre­sent suspension, or truce, enjoying a serene conveniency, it is the prepara­tion and disposure of their hearts, to accept humbly all orders of God, in how sharp a stile soever they shall be issued against their persons, or estates. This frame of the mind, is their evi­dence before the eyes of God, of their right to the contract of suffering mem­bers of Christ. Job's disposition in his quotidian sacrifices, was no worse an [Page 117]odour to God, then the suavity of his patience, fuming up from that meane altar, whereon he lay offering up his ashes. The materiall part of affliction, doth not sanctifie, no more then the same part in alms, or charity, doth ex­piate: they are both but Egena elementa, Gal. 4.9. Barren e­lements. of themselves; the heart, and the spi­rit wherewith they are designed, ani­mateth and enliveneth them.

Wherefore we may say of sufferings, that which Christ said of a case not much unlike to this, Mar. 7.15 That no affliction which goeth into a man doth actually san­ctifie him, but it is the spirit of sufferance which resideth in him, that must render him holy, for out of the heart only good in­tentions, and humble conformities doe issue; so as the externall crosses that fall upon the man, doe not formally purifie him, it is what comes out of the heart, as the emissions of humility, pa­tience, and charity, which his heart sendeth forth to meete, and imbrace all Gods pleasures, which can one­ly hallow, and sanctifie the man. Therefore I may very fitly say, if any [Page 118]man hath eares to heare let him heare, that you may not prove so unhappy, as to beare the weight, and heat of the day, and to forfeit at last your hire, for though God saith He chastiseth every child he receiveth, he doth not say, He receiveth every one that he chastiseth.

S. James therefore when he propo­seth to his distressed country-men, The esteeming it all joy, their fal­ling into various trialls and temptati­ons, coupleth this reason with his pro­position, James 1.2. Knowing that the probation of your faith worketh patience. So that the benefit must be derived from the effect of tribulation, which is the pro­ducing of patience, the which doth not naturally spring out of misery, for this is but the matter, or the subject whereon this virtue is exercised, not the spirit, or forme of this holy dis­position. For which reason the Apo­stle compleateth his advise, by pro­ceeding to direct them, how to com­passe this necessary adjunction to the matter of their afflictions, to render [Page 119]them subjects of joy, saying, If any of you want wisdome, let him aske it of God, who giveth it to all men abundantly. So as this joy, is a spirit extracted out of patience, not inherent in the matter of passion; and patience is a virtue too celestiall to be educed as it were ex traduce, by the materiall body of af­fliction. It is infused by the holy spi­rit, which S. Paul confirmeth, when he saith, Rom. 5. that Tribulation worketh pati­ence, shewing the reason of this opera­tion in the next words, after the se­quence of many good productions, derived from one another, he setteth this for the effective cause of all, be­cause The charity of God is powred forth in our hearts by the holy Ghost. Rom. 5.5. So as it is the spirit of God, moving upon these Waters, which divideth the light from the darknesse, not the Chaos it selfe, that actively produceth these two lights of patience and hope, al­though the troubles and confusions of this world, may be the elements, out of which the spirit may extract them. For sufferings seeme to be to patience, [Page 120]that, which matter, is to the artificer; for though the art be seated in the minde, yet it cannot be actuated, and expres'd, but by some matter that sup­ports it; so patience, though it be a spirituall disposition inherent in the soule, cannot be exercised but upon some passion, and contrariety, which is the subject that renders it visible, and discernable; for the Theory of this virtue can no more assure us of our abilities in it, then the studie of all the Geometricall rules of Sculpture, can ascertain a Statuary of his suffici­ency, untill he hath experimented it upon either stone and brasse, or waxe, or clay at least; some matter is requi­site, to reflect to him the sight of his notions formed and reduced to their last terme, which is a visible exhibiti­on of them. So there must be some afflictions, though not the severest, yet some at least of a softer quality, which must minister some matter of contrariety and vexation, to be as the ground, and subject, exposing to our selves the worke of our patience upon it.

[Page 121]Wherefore as joy in tribulations must be derived from Patience, so this vertue must be acquired by Prayer. They who look lower then God for patience, doe commonly look also lower then heaven for the order of their afflictions, and so fall short both in the knowledge of the nature of their evils, and their remedies. For they who rely on nature, or morall reason for their cure, may well be judged to impute their malady to Fortune; Whereupon S. James giveth this fur­ther advise, to that of our petitioning, and postulating of wisdome, James 6. that We must aske in faith, without any doubting or haesitation; not tossing in an irresolution of referring our crosses to the eye of Providence, or to the blindnesse of Fortune. Such a wavering aestuation of spirit the Apostle saith, must not ex­pect to receive any thing. Our prayer therefore must be as fixed in the be­liefe of Gods speciall providence in all contingencies, as it is in the confession of a God, for the one involveth the other; and then we shall finde such a [Page 122]joy in patience, as our reason it selfe shal witnesse to be divine, as being be­yond her reach so much, as she must avow it to be Digitus Dei. Wherefore I beseech you to beware of the fluctu­ation of these times, betweene the strength of morall reason, and the rest of faith; for there is nothing so injuri­ous to reason, as under the pretence of exalting it, to raise it out of the owne sphere of activity, exacting such ef­fects of Reason, as are not to be found lower then the orbe of grace. For they who assigne themselves peace and re­pose in all tribulations, out of the stock of Phylosophie, prejudice Reason much by their over-promising for it. For Morall Phylosophie at the highest, is but as it were a Meteor suspended in the ayre, betweene the earth of a meere sensuall, 1 Cor. 15. The first man of earth earthly; The se­cond man from hea­ven hea­venly. and the firmament of a spiri­tuall man. It is not so much raised a­bove the man, who is de terrâ terrenus, as it is below him, who is de coelo coele­stis; wherefore all the sweet-sounding and harmonious tongues of the Phylo­sophers, are but sounding brasse, or [Page 123]tinkling cymbals, when they come to be used, without the charity infused by the fiery tongues of Sion. We shall find the hollownesse of such tongues which raised their noise to our eares, very light, when we take them into our hands to weigh against the heavi­nesse and gravations of sad crosses and oppressions.

Methinks many of the Heathen Phy­losophers, supposed in their prescripts concerning the minds insensiblenesse in all the passions, and pressures of the body, that the body had but such a coexistence of place with the mind, as we say those bodies of aire have with the Angels that assume them, in which those spirits are onely as movers in a moveable subject, not at all united, or affected, th [...] matter appeareth about them, which is not informed by them, but assumed by them, to expose them to our sight, and so is only moved by them without any connexion to them. So sure their suppositions, that the minde may remaine uncon­cerned in all the sufferances and tor­tures [Page 124]of the flesh, require that our bo­dies should be but such ayery matter, rather moved only, then informed by our soules. For that apathie, the Stoicks propose in all the bodies di­stresses, cannot hold in that connexion our soules and bodies have with one another; and so whosoever shall re­lye upon their conclusions, shall finde their conceits ayery and vacuous, and their owne bodies too solid, and too closely conjoyned to their souls, not to be affected with the burthens and pressures of it. Wherefore our faith teacheth us, to resort to a higher Principle residing in our soule, and yet is no part of it, which is the Holy spirit of God, infused by his grace, where­by we are instructed in the incapaci­ties, and deficiencies of our owne na­ture; and the detection of our minds inability, in her own single power, proveth her enforcement, nay inable­ment, to resent all the bodies grievan­ces, & yet to bear them without distra­ction or reluctancy; and this discern­ment of that obnoxious state the soule [Page 125]is exposed unto, showeth her, That as she can doe nothing of her selfe but suffer, and complain, so in virtue of that supplementall aid, she can rejoyce in tribulations, and professe, Phil. 4.14. I can doe all things in him that streng­thens me. Omnia pos­sum in eo qui me confortat.

Whereupon we must be possessed of this principle, that peace of minde doth not spring up in affliction, as the plants did in Paradise, Genes. 2. without either raine or culture. Patience which is the dew of heaven, must be drawn from thence; and this, as it is attracted only by the meanes Elias used to open hea­ven; so likely, it holds this analogy with his small cloude he could scarce discerne at first, which by degrees, came to a fulnesse equal to the necessi­ties is was desired for. In like manner, we must not look our prayer should in an instant produce an effusion of patience and comfort upon us; at first, it begins to show us some little visible token of Gods conversion towards us, & so by a sequence of more apparence of his grace, we come by these paces, into that full measure of patience, [Page 126]which the Psalmist acknowedgeth, in secundùm multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo, Psalm. 93.19. Accor­ding to the multitude of my sorrowes in my heart, thy consola­tions have made my soule joy­full.consolationes tuae laetificave­runt animam meam. And the holy Psalmist, who is the King of patience, and of prayer, hath left the Church his treasures in both of them, out of which she extracts most of her pub­like prayer. And certainly whoso­ever shal follow this method in prayer, of patience, perseverance, and expect­ing our Lord, shall finde the same fruits springing out of tribulation; and God hath preserved for us, Davids confections, to minister to all our distresses, the which wee may take at all howers, out of the divine custo­diary of the Psalmes, which are prog­nostiks of all our diseases, and a ready confection of remedies wee may re­paire to in all occasions and emer­gencies.

With good reason, I would there­fore humbly advise all in their severall necessities, to resort thither, both for a patterne of prayer, and a precedent of the rare effects of it. There every [Page 127]suffering condition may finde this ad­vise, Exultent, Psalm. 39. Let all that seeke thee re­joyce, and be glad upon thee.& laetentur omnes qui quaerunt te. The very seeking of God in sincerity, is the first breaking of the light of gladnesse, through any cloud that hangs over us. And this day o­peneth farther, upon all those who ad­vance in the fervour of prayer, untill at last they come to this meridionall point of Laetati sumus pro diebus quibus nos humiliasti, Psal. 89. Wee have rejoyced for the dayes wherein thou hast humbled us, the yeares wherein wee have seene evills.annis quibus vidimus ma­la. Not only dayes shall passe away lightly, with all the weight of their evills upon them, but even yeares of persecutions set upon this carriage of consolation, shall rowle away as fast as daies. When prayer hath atracted the spirit of patience, we know then from whence wee receive it, and so looke alwaies upon him for this pro­vision in tentations, that we may sup­port them, and are not anxiously stu­dious how to fence with the world, and put by the injuries, and injustices of the times; which unquiet, and di­stracting solicitude in our defence, proveth often the sharpest vexation, [Page 128]as it is more internall then other vio­lences, whereas if we were resting with the Psalmist under the covering of the wings of Prayer, Truth should compasse us as a shield, and we should not be afraid of the feare in the night, Psal. 90. or the arrowe flying in the day, of bu­sinesse walking in darknesse, or of the mid-day devill. Here are exemptions from the prejudices of all sorts of per­secutions, Psal. 61. But yet my soule be thou sub­ject to God, be­cause my patience is from him. which these times will adapt easily enough without any cleerer application; but all is comprised in this disposition, of replying to our na­tures in all her refractory motions, Ve­runtamen Deo subjecta esto anima mea, quoniam ab ipso patientia mea.

CHAP. V. Of the dignity and use of Patience.

YOu having been presented in the precedent Chapter, with this expedient of Prayer, as the spirituall arme which must reach down Patience to you, I beleeve it may be now con­ducent to the calming and sedations of your spirits, to expose unto you a little the beauty, and dignity of Pati­ence, which is the only pleasing figure these times can set before you.

The paternall care and tendernesse of God hath provided for the preser­vation of our feeble and fainting nature an admirable medicament, which is Patience; in order whereunto, he disig­ned by intervals severall egregious do­cuments and patterns of men, which (like knots upon a weake reede that confirme and strengthen it) might sup­port, and fortifiye the fraile substance [Page 130]of humane nature by example; untill even the image of the invisible God, Coloss. 1. and the first-born of all creatures, nay the Creator himselfe of all things, was to come in the fullnesse of time, to take this reede of our humanitie into his hand, and to make of it a scepter of Patience, with which he would exer­cise his dominion over passion, and death it selfe. In the meane time, lest the world should want some marks to guide it selfe by, in misery, he sent before him divers precursors of his Patience; and his first Commissary, was set out in the very morning of the world; this was Abel, who hath left to innocence the right and inheritance of suffering, and of patience: Adam was the Founder of Passion, and Abel of Pa­tience, the remedy is exhibited so neere to the mischiefe; sufferings were the inventions of sinne, and the salve of them the prescript of innocence; for which cause, as their owne peculiar right and propriety, Patience is not on­ly dearer to them, but more abundant in the innocent, then in any other. And [Page 131]the holy Ghost hath staid longer upon the finished copy of another picture of Patience, then upon any one subject in all the draughts of his pencil; for Job hath more time allowed upon him, then any one image of this holy hand, before the Originall of all patience ex­hibits himselfe; whose becomming passible, is so much above our com­prehension, as it leaveth no wonder in his patience; and his vouchsafing to suffer, maketh, in some respect, impa­tience now rather a prodigious thing, then a naturall, in his members. For if we consider our selves participants of the divine nature, it may seeme strange the humane should be predominant in us. For which reason, Christ seemeth to suppose he had imparted this power and dominion to the divine portion in us; for when he had left his dearest members upon earth, with a sentence of all manner of sufferings upon them, he telleth them neverthelesse, that He leaves them his peace. Indeed it is far different, as he saith, from that the world giveth; for his peace is to over­come [Page 132]come the world by patience: and so the holy Ghost, in whom Christ promised as much as himselfe, when he removed from his distressed friends, shewed the vertue of his Commission of Comforter, in nothing so eminently, as in Patience, which he conferred upon Sufferers. Surely even the power of working Miracles, seemed not so great a gift, as this faculty of Patience; for the Apostles and Martyrs found lesse controversie in the vertue of their divine manner of suffering, then they did in the prodigi­ous part of their actions: these were often imputed to the power of the de­vill, but the astonishing part of their meeknesse, equanimity, and patience, the devill himselfe knew not how to calumniate; his pride would not allow him to own such expressions of power; and so that temper of passivenesse was accepted as divine, often, when the thunder and lightning of the other side of their Commission, passed for diabo­licall.

Patience then seemeth a property, which God doth not allow the devill [Page 133]so much as to counterfeit the possessi­on of; He is permitted to transfigure himself into an Angel of light, rather then into the forme of a resigned con­tented sufferer, as being an unalienable prerogative of Christ, and the most dangerous delusion, whereby he could worke upon the spirits of men; and therefore this is the speciall difference between the suggestions of good and evill spirits to us, when they come both clothed in pious supervestures, that the hand of the proud spirit leaves alwaies some elation, disquiet, or im­patience in us to vent and divulge the virtues and graces he seemeth to dis­pense; but the sincere inspiration of the holy spirit, alwaies calmeth, and stilleth any emotion or impatience in the possession of his graces, and leaves no heat or glowing in our hearts, that solliciteth us to evaporate that spirit of joy and peace by which they are so­laced, but humbly and patiently to enclose them within the humility of our own breasts. And thus true Chri­stians by the virtue of their Comforter, [Page 134]cording to Christs advice, possesse their soules in patience, which giveth them so inviolable a possession of their mindes, as the devill can neither distraine them by the power of his ministers injuries, nor distract them by the paintings of his owne artifi­ces.

Wherefore God doth punish the devill, by allowing him the exercising of the patience of his Saints, as S. Gre­gory saith, Holy Job was more Sathans tor­turer, then Sathan was the others tempter▪ for Jobs felicity was not repealed by God, but only translated out of pro­sperity into adversity, which is the mother-tongue of the Saints. Patience is so unintelligible even to the devils subtilty, as if he could conceive it, he might quench his flames with it, but God in punishment of his first strange impatience, in not resting quieted with his condition, hath made eternall im­patience the fuell of his tortures; and on the contrary, Patience which induceth an equality in the Saints, in all their various vexations of this life, [Page 135]is a kinde of image of the state of their beatitude, while in all their externall commotions, they retaine a smooth, and even composure of mind, which is a kind of image of eternity, that is al­waies the same; and in relation to this, S. Paul states the highest virtue of the glory of Christ, in this, Coloss. 1.2. of remaining in all patience, and longanimity with joy; so as that work, which all the voluptuary arts are long about, and after much labour make but a little joy, and quick­ly looseth it again, patience finisheth in a moment, and converteth all into de­light and satisfaction, and treasureth it up as an eternal provision: nay patience is so powerfull, as it can turne into pleasure, all those occurrences which sensuality must run away from, to save her petty joyes. All sorts of injuries of fortune, or of time, are presently translated by this vertue into nourish­ment and delectation; for patience, as Tertullian saith, hath God answerable for all she layes up in his hand; if she deposite an injury in his hand, he is her revenger; if a losse, he is her re­imburser; [Page 136]if a sickness, he is her medi­ciner; if death, he is her reviver. What a freedome doth God allow Patience, to make him her debtor of all she com­mits to his trust? And thus we see, un­less we can finde somewhat that God cannot convert into joy, there is no­thing that doth not return that profit to Patience.

The Philosophers commended Pati­ence highly, because they accounted suffering, an evill, which that did as­swage and mitigate; but a Christian may in regard that it is good for him to suffer, esteem Patience as the best of his virtues, because it keeps him the longest in that which is so good for him. Fortitude, or active courage, runs through difficulties with all the haste it can; Patience goes on leisurely, and enjoyes the good of suffering, and on it begets mortification, and humi­lity, which are the legitimate issue of a regenerate man; and by this constant assuefaction & inurement to sufferings, some become by degrees (as it were) impassible, and lovers of trialls, for [Page 137]as fire doth no longer burn ashes, the which receiving no hurt from it, doe seeme to love the fire, and to cherish and conserve it, so one that is consum­mated in Patience, comes often to a state of being no more diminished by afflictions, then ashes are by fire, and to desire rather to keepe alive the fire of his tribulations, then to exstinguish it; for perfect Patience doth not decline suffering, but suppresses immoderate sorrow, which is the best office, for it is so provident, as not to deduct at all from the matter of our meriting, but only to mitigate the molesting part of our affliction; and thus contriveth our advantages so well, as we may enjoy the deserving portion of our troubles, and not be desolated or oppressed by the sorrowfull property of them.

We see also Christs method, in car­rying them who were to convert the world through all sorts of tortures, that their Patience might be a merito­rious miracle, which was a better qua­lity, then their powers of speaking all tongues, casting out of devills, or [Page 138]curing all diseases. Their patience in their own wounds, was a more ad­vantageous grace, then their gifts of cures upon all maladies, for by that they improved their own soules, and by this, they did but repaire the bodies of others; they were but organs to passe these miracles into the world, but they were owners of the other divine quality. And the residence of the Holy Ghost in them, may be said to be express'd by their Patience; and by their other miracles, only a transition of him through them. Whereupon S. Chrysostom saith, that to suffer patient­ly, is a greater gift then to raise the dead; for indeed we are but debtors to God for this, and we have Christ our debtor for the other; and it may be, there will be as many pearles even in num­ber, hanging upon the crownes of the Apostles, and Martyrs, depending on their Patience, as on their powers. S. Justin Martyr (one of the greatest lights of the primitive times) confes­seth that the stupendious equality and constancy of the Christians in all their [Page 139]pressures, convinced him of a divine inspiration thereof; and Antiquity testifies infinite numbers of conversi­ons, upon the same perswasion. Be­fore Christ dignified Patience, and ren­dred it so meritorious, the Heathens were so disposed to honour it, by the light of nature, as this transcendency of it in Christians, easily prevayled with them, to seeke an author of it, even above all that they had before ac­cepted for their gods, of whom they had no records, but of their delights, and volupties.

The Philosophers extoll Patience so much, as they set it even above Fate, to which they subjected their gods. One of them saith very elegantly, O admirable power of patience! Other vertues doe in some measure seeme to con­tend against Fate, Patience onely seemes to expugnat it; for those things which Fate hath decreed immutable, and necessary, Pa­tience in some manner changeth, turning what was necessary, into the being volunta­ry; and as he that doth ill, perverteth his owne goods into evills, so he who suffereth [Page 140]evils, well, converteth them into goods, because by a vertuous tolerating of evils, he himselfe becomes good. What shall Christians then say in honour of Pati­ence, when the true author of Fate, (to whom nothing could be a necessity) was pleased to subject himselfe to a necessity of patience? For his humane state may be said to oblige him to it, as it is inseparable from sufferings; and he chose even the most passive inci­dents to that nature, as poverty, paine, and ignominy, and by all these onera­tions designed the exalting of this ver­tue of Patience. Wherefore as the Hea­thens said, it was a spectacle worthy of God, a patient man wrestling with Fortune, we may say much more, that it is a declaration of our partaking of the divine nature, our patient submissi­on to the injuries of Fortune, since in nothing we exhibit a cleerer testimony of Christs communication of this dig­nity to us, then in this of suffering in a temper of patience above our na­ture.

And it is not onely the excellency of [Page 141]this vertue, which recommendeth it to Christians, but the necessity of it, for the subsistence of all other virtues, for Patience doth that office to all the other, as moysture doth to the earth, which compacteth and consolidateth the parts thereof, which otherwise would moul­der away, and be inconsistent; and so all good dispositions of the mind, must needs scatter and dissipate quickly, if they were not united and combined to­gether by patience; the wind of temp­tations that bloweth so continually up­on them, must needs disperse them, if they had not this compression of pati­ence, to hold them fastned together. For which cause, S. Paul telleth the Christians in this case of their probati­on, Patience is necessary for you, Heb. 10.36.that doing the will of God, you may receive the pro­mise; for patience is the next disposition towards perseverance, to which all the promises are annexed, for finall perse­verance is but a line of Christian patience, drawne to the end of our life: Faith, Hope, and Charity, cannot persevere without this basis of patience, to sustaine [Page 142]them in this valley of teares, wherein we are now sojourners. Insomuch that Tertullian accommodateth to patience, that sequence of vertues which S. Paul assigneth to charity, 1 Cor. 13. and saith, Love is not elated, nor froward, and suffereth all, by this quality of being patient. Chap. 8.9. I purposed therefore to bring her to me to live to­gether, knowing that she will com­municate with me of good things, and will be a comfort of my cogita­tion, and tediousnes. Much may be said of patience, but sure no­thing more sublime then this of Tertul­lian, who investeth her with all the rights of Charity in this life. Which considered, I cannot be said improper­ly to commend patience to your condi­tions, in these considerations of the Wiseman, Proposui ergo hanc adducere mihi ad convivendum, quoniam mecum commu­nicabit de bonis, & erit allocutio cogitatio­nis & taedii mihi. She may be so good company to you, as you may neither want your friends, nor your fortunes.

CHAP. VI. Perfect Patience defined; imperfect con­solated, and directed.

NOw I have set up to you, Pati­ence, as a kind of brazen serpent, to cure all the stingings you are expo­sed unto, I must desire you to under­stand cleerly the integrall constitution of this virtue; for I ascribe so much efficacie to it, supposing the Patience I handle, to be an habit, or disposition in herent in our wills, which receiveth humbly, and beareth uncomplaining­ly, all sorts of temporall grievances and passions, in order to a conformity to the will of God, and our similitude to Jesus Christ: or as S. Augustine saith, True Patience ordaineth us to indure all kinds of evills of paine, to avoid all manner of ills of guilt. These definitions doe not admit either a lame, or a pyde Pa­tience, to enter into this high forme of [Page 144]efficacie, that is, if it be peccant, either in progresse and continuation, or im­perfect in the integrity that is required in it, of submitting to all sorts and de­grees of sufferances, as comming all from one providence. If we have any exception against any of this Jury of Gods choosing to try us by, it is a sign our patience is but spotted, and party-coloured; or if it be intermitting, and by fits onely, this betrayeth the un­soundnesse of it. Wherefore we must endeavour to reertifie our nature in these two deficiencies, to which it is very lyable. The first is, of having re­fractory intervals, in which we let in impatience, and murmur, to detract at least from the intirenesse of this vertue, and suffer our senses to speak too freely against that which offendeth them. The other is, of our aptnesse to make motions to God, for some speciall ex­ceptions in our tribulations, resigning our selves but partially to his designe upon us; and likely this deprecation is of the present crosse that is upon us, beleeving we could place any other to [Page 145]sit lighter upon us, if that were remo­ved, with which we are actually char­ged; and thus we are commonly temp­ted, instead of suing for patience to God, to desire his patience in our repug­nancies, and that he would change his minde rather then ours. This is a fa­miliar irregularity in our natures, in the point of our sins, as well as of our sufferings; there are but few, but would relinquish all other, upon condition to have some one bosome sin dispenced with; and so in our afflictions, there are very few, that have not some bosome sorrow, that they would compound for the being exempted from, and offer a resignation to all the rest. But this is that he sitation, or stammering, as I may say, in out patience, which is a great impediment in our conversation with God.

I doe not censure the first motions, or the propensions of our nature to such eases and discharges for such a fault as should distract or scandalize any body with their owne imperfecti­on in this kinde; for as S. James saith, [Page 146] In mult is offendimus omnes; Jam. 3.3. In many things we offend all; if any of­fend not, in word, this is a perfect man.si quis in ver­bo non offendit, hic perfectus est. These inclinations to ease, are (as we may say) lapsus linguae, non mentis, but such trips and faltrings as are hardly fully to be redressed: therefore this animad­version, is intended onely for advise, to every one that finds these knots and stonds in their patience, to endeavour to work them out faithfully by Prayer, and not to stop, or hang willingly upon them. But the interruption or disconti­nuance of our patience, and breaking out into fits of intemperate complaints, is much more to be precautioned and marked for reformation. For according to S. Augustines similitude, this is not onely to strike out of tune, but even to break the instrument. For he compa­reth Patience to a Lute, and tribulations to the strings, which while they are well touched, make musique; and so whilst patience praiseth God, and gives thanks in tribulations, it yeeldeth a sweet melody to the eares of God; but when we fall into querulousnesse, and murmur, we break the Lute. When [Page 147]therefore we are so far advanced to­wards victory, as the having our senses disarmed by affliction, (the pleasures of which are our enemies sharpest in­struments) we must watch, that hee forge not new armes out of our pains, which God hath given us as armour against his shafts; and when he hath scarce any art left to wound us by sen­suality, through the hardnesse of our conditions, then he tempteth us by the weight of our armour, to bring us to throw it off by impatience and repi­ning: which indeed is to cast off the defensive armour, that God giveth the Spirit against the devill and the flesh. When the tempter hath nothing left but paine whereby to provoke us unto offences, one would think he were not to be feared, since all impatience is but a new paine, which is proposed to us, let us therefore consider that conse­quence, when we are solicited to unqui­etnesse and reluctation.

When we suffer by the violence and injustice of our enemyes, the Devill would get nothing by this negotiation, [Page 148]if we should beare it patiently, and ver­tuously, for hee would lose as much on the one side, as hee had got on the other. What he had gained upon those he had made his officers, and emissaries of iniquity and injustice, he would lose as much by the sufferers improvement and sanctification, and so his malice would be unprofitable unto him; therefore when he hath prevailed with the one part, to act his suggesti­ons upon the innocent, then he turneth to the other passive side, and labours to excite there, murmur, fury, or im­patience, that his trade may render him profit on both sides, a great prize by the malice he imports into the hearts of his factors, and may have some gaine also exported to him, out of the minds of the patients. Wee know when Sa­than had set the Sabaeans, and the Chal­daeans aworke against Job, he left no art unessayed to infuse the fire of mur­mur and impatience into his brest, and he took the subtilest way; for he got fully into that half of him, that lay in his bosom; and though he did not [Page 149]kindle any sparke of rebellion in his own holy brest, yet we may say his heart was a little overheated in the ardors of that fiery furnace he lay so long in, for his breath savoreth a little of some distemper which he found in it. By which we are not warranted to let our tongues loose, when they presse, and straine to break from us, to run after some provocation to mur­mur, and complaint, but rather war­ned to be exactly vigilant in all such motions, since he, whom God chose for his Champion, as having not his like upon the earth, had such words shaken out of him in his storm, as we may be­leeve he resented more their having escaped him, then he did all the violati­ons he had suffered from his adversary, for he never wished any thing recalled but his words. Job 30.34.35.

This then may justly be a forceable motive to us, to set a watch over our lippes, when God hath set such a guard over our heart, as affliction, especially in a good cause. Let us not then, when there is no fault in [Page 150]the cause, make one in the calamity by our impatience, since we ought rather to render double praises, both for our affliction, and our innocence. When we are punished for crimes, we ought to have patience; and when we suffer in­nocently, we may well adde gladnesse to it; and we find a good cause produ­cing this effect, in the Macedonians, when they were in your cases; whom the holy Ghost hath left upon record as a precedent for you, 1 Cor. 8.2. In much experience of tribulation they had abundance of joy; and their very deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their simplicity. All this treasure of vertue issued out of the mine of Patience and long animity, which ma­keth by the power of grace even the duration of the pain an antidote against impatience.

But by exhibiting unto you this high mysterie of Patience, which is, as I may say, a sacred confirmation of all ver­tue, I doe not intend to discourage those, who are but yet initiated, and catechized in this mysterie; for this ultimate perfection of rejoycing in [Page 151]tribulation, is not a precept that claim­eth our performance, but a councel that sheweth the excellency we may aspire unto; which the grace of Christ hath set within our reach, to exercise that vertue, which though it seeme super­naturall, is but sutable to the members of such an head. Those therefore, who finde not in their natures this finished disposition, need not perplexe them­selves with any scruple of faultinesse, for if they are but in this temper, of sincerely and humbly demanding of God that grace, which is requisite for the discharge of their duties in these cases of tentations, though they finde for the present some aversion and rem­tencie in their minds against their mi­series, they may safely conclude, that God wil minister and suppeditate grace sufficient for their support, from falling into any direct sedition, so long as they feele a sound and rectified desire to ad­vance in the state of perfect abnegati­on. Let them not disquiet themselves, with their distances from the top of the mountaine, so long as they are faith­fully [Page 152]climbing. In this case, the indul­gence of Christ is very applicable, when he saith, Those that are not against him, are with him. So long as we finde not our will joyned with our weaknes, against this self-denyall, we shall not be charged with disloyalty.

There was a great cloud of infirmity in that fathers faith, when he began with Christ, Ma [...]. 9.21. If thou canst any thing help us. I doe be­leeve, Lord, help my incre­dulity. in Si quid potes, adjuvanos; yet as soone as he was advanced to Credo Domine, adjuva incredulitatem me­am, his suit was granted. In like man­ner, when we begin with much imper­fection, we must not distract our selves in apprehensions of our faintnesse, but proceed sincerely to I desire, O Lord, a perfect conformity to all thy orders, help my inconformity. This prayer constant­ly pursued, will certainly obtain the expulsion of that spirit which casts us often into fire and water, into severall distempers in our afflictions. Let us re­member Christs lesson in this case, All things are possi­ble to him that belee­veth. Om­nia possibilia sunt credenti; if we aspire faithfully to this perfection, we shall quickly find we have no dangerous [Page 153]enemies left, when we have once un­dertaken ingenuously our own reducti­on. We must not expect to taste sud­denly the good relish of mortification. The first fruits of Canaan were held to be unclean, to figure to us, that there is alwayes some impurity in our first thoughts, and designes of a spirituall conformity; we must expect such a progression in this perfection of Chri­stianity, as Isaac made in the digging of his Wells in the Land of Promise. The first water he called contention, the se­cond enlargement, & at the last he came to that he called abundance, when all strife and difficulty was ceased. So we shall in the beginning of our digging for this refreshing water of Patience, finde the inhabitants of our earth (our sensitive appetities) raise great opposi­tion, and in our pursuance and pro­gresse we shall meete with lesse con­tradiction, Job. 7.38. Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. and more enlargement of our spirits, and at the last after a faith­full prosecution we come to that abun­dance of water, which Christ promi­seth, Flumina de ventre ejus fluent aquae [Page 154]vivae; which is not only acquiescence, but joy and exultation in all pressures and distresses. This is the method of our advance in spirituall graces, as the Psalmist designeth to us, Psal. 87. They shall goe from vertue into vertue. Ibunt de virtute in virtutem.

Wherfore we must not be dismayed and relaxed, when at first we encounter difficulty and contestation in our senses, against patience and conformity, but re­member how gracious and indulgent God is to a little tender vertue, that hath but the quality of sincerenesse; Apoc. 3.8. Behold, I have given before thee a doore o­pened, which no man can shut, be­cause thou hast a little power, and hast kept my word, an [...] hast not denyed my name. as the holy Spirit intimateth by the Angel in the Revelation, saying, Ecce dedi coram te estium apertum quod nemo potest claudere, quia modicam habes virtutem, servasti ver­bum meum, & non negasti nomen meum. So as here we see, God, to a little dis­position, openeth a large passage to­wards plenitude and consummation. When therefore we finde our hearts set to keep Gods Word, and that in the first inchoation of our vertue, we doe but accept afflictions in his name, he that is Sanctus, The holy one, & the true one.& Verax, will open that doore of perfection which the violence [Page 155]of the whole world shall not be able to shut any more against us. Wherefore in all our straits and coarctations, ei­ther of our spirits, or of our fortunes, let us remember how the holy Spirit calls to us, Dilata vs tuum, & implebo illud. Psal 8.11. Dilate thy mouth, and I wil fil it. As long as we doe not contract and shrinke our hearts in a perverse chagrin, we need not feare the finding them yeeld, and give a little at first in the pressures of affliction; and though we never arrive at this last station of per­fect Patience, of joying in tenrations, there are many mansions in heaven, which answer the severall promotions upon earth; Non omnes Apostoli, 1 Thes. 5.14. Not all Apostles, not all Prophets.non omnes Prophetae; the Angel promiseth their reward, Timentibus nomen tuum, pusillis, & magnis; so long as we acknow­ledge our own minority, we may hope for our portion among the little ones. Apocal. 13 To them that feare thy name, little and great. This I say onely by S. Pauls warrant of Cōsolumini pufillanimes, suscepite infirmos, for I perswade every one to this holy ambition of ascending as high even as the steps of persecution can raise them; and there is no ladder so good as this [Page 156]of the Crosse, to scale by; and in our in­vitation to the nuptiall supper of the Lambe, it is not humility, but rather pusillanimity, to aime to sit down but in the lowest place; they who point no higher, design to stay too neer the door, and so may more easilyer fall short of that, then they who aspire to the place of those who have left all for Christ, which is the throne of judging nati­ons.

With good cause then, I humbly ad­vise every ones aspiring to the supre­mest pitch of patience and resignation; And I have warrant to discharge every one from dejection and confusednesse in this case of imperfection, when they doe loyally and ingenuously enter­prise a proficiency in this virtue. Phil 3.15. Let us as many as are perfect be thus minded, & if you be any other­wise mind­ed, this al­so God wil reveale to you. And for this reason the Apostle when he ad­viseth perfection, yet admitteth infir­mity to an expectance of Gods perfe­cting thereof, saying, Quicun (que) ergo per­fecti sumus hoc sentiamus, & si quid aliter sapitis, & hoc vobis Deus revelabit. They who are not already stated in the oc­complishment of this vertue, may hope [Page 157]for a further improvement by the com­passion of God to ingenuous addres­ses.

Gods indulgence to the incompleat­nesse of our Patience must therefore be taken hold on, onely as a stay to keepe us from falling into dejection, and is not to be used as a rest, whereon to leane the wrynesse and bent of our per­verted nature; for so we may insensibly in duce an habit of crookednesse and petulancy into our owne dispositi­ons.

Let us therefore have this direction of S. James alwaies in our designe at least, Let patience have a perfect worke, James 1.that you may be perfect, and intire, failing in nothing. By this we may rest assu­red of the perfection which is contain­ed in Patience, since the Apostle ascribeth this integrity, and indeficiency to it in all things; So that when we are posses­sed of this compleatment of Patience, then we are instated in a fortune, which is so unobnoxious to the distresses of any want, that all privations administer to us the end of all possessions, which [Page 158]is joy and satisfaction. This hath al­waies been the state of the Saints, 1 Cor. 6.10. by which having nothing they were pos­sessing all things. For out of this trea­sury, they who lose parents, children, houses, Mar. 10 30 and Lands, for the Gospell, have their assignment for the hundred­fold now in this time. And, in confir­mation of this truth, we finde by expe­rience, that there is no condition so per­fect in this world, that hath not often need of Patience, to make it tolera­ble; and they who have perfect Pati­ence, never want any other possession to make their conditions acceptable. All which duly pondered, I shall not need say more in recommendation of this excellent virtue; but it is requisite to close up this point with the recalling to your memory that our only addresses to this plenipotentiary consolation, is a constant re-search of it by prayer. 2 Thes. 1. Our Lord direct your hearts in the charity of God, & patience of Christ. In that order therefore I shall leave it to you with this petition of S. Paul for the Thessalonians upon the same occasion, Dominus dirigat corda vestrain charitate Dei, & patientiâ Christi.

CHAP. 7. Of the great benefits may be extracted out of affliction.

AS I have produced your obligation to suffer, signed as you are men, sealed as you are Christians with the signet of the Crosse, witnessed and deli­vered as you are Catholikes, in the Sacra­ment of Confirmation, (wherein you deli­ver your consent as your owne deed, whereof the chiefe officers of the Church are witnesses) I have also sugge­sted to you the most expedient meanes of losing nothing by this engagement, which is, to procure Patience to be given you for your counter-security from God, to whom you stand bound in this contract of suffering. This is a celestiall manner of negotiating, the demanding of him to whom the Indenture is made, the meanes of discharging it; but this is the method of God, and worthy of [Page 160]himselfe, to require nothing of his creatures, but what they may be fur­nished with first from him, for but ask­ing it. I have therefore proposed pati­ence for your discharge, and Prayer for your acquisition of patience; and since Prayer may accommodate you with what you have most need of, your ne­cessities may be said to provide against themselves, for commonly they are in­fallible furnishers of Prayer.

And having thus brought you out of the Hospitall into the Temple, desiring you to raise your thoughts out of the infirm and wounded part of your condition, to the contemplation of your being imitators, or rather types and figures of that glorifyed body, which chose this way you are now passing in, to en­ter into glory, I may hope the having disposed your taste, for the good relish of this chalice of Mount Calvary, where­of you are now to take your part; And this draught you are making, hath more of the cup which Christ promised his Disciples should pledge him in, then the Sacrament of the Novellists hath of the [Page 161]cup of the last Supper, since they re­ceive it but as a bare figure, and simple commemoration of the blood of Christ; so as you may comfort your selves, that even in the interdiction of your Religi­on, there appeareth as good an image of the passion of Christ, as in the highest exercise of theirs. For even the un­bloudy part of your sufferings, are signs, images and symboles of the pas­sion of Christ, and they challenge no more, even for the honour of their Sa­crament. Wel then may this serve you, to answer that common reproach of your wanting halfe the Sacrament, that it ill becomes them to object this, who themselves want it all, having taken both from Clergie and Laity that rea­lity, wherein consisteth all the vertue and efficacie of it. But this hath inter­vened as a Parenthesis of offensive Arms, in this contexture of defensive, which is the work I have onely taken in hand. I will therefore reconnect this thred of my discourse, to that web I have my pen upon, which is, The extracting of benefits out of afflictions.

[Page 162]Many things have usurped the glori­ous title of goods, by the power of common fame, (which in our naturall bodies is a conspiracy of the multitude of our senses against our soule) where­by the received felicity of the world, is placed in things so perillous, and ob­noxious, as they are really the lesse goods, the more they are reputed so. Which easily appeares, in the testing and tryall of all those flecting fruitions which our cupidities pursue, as riches, honours, pleasures, and the like, the duration whereof is likely the lesse, the more the desire proves solicitous thereof. The prejudging of our senses, induceth this so unsafe opinion, for their ruling and injuring of us is coetaneous with us, and our reason is not of the same age, which is the cause, why our senses anticipate the apprehension of good and evill; insomuch as our reason being much later called in to advise us, can hardly confute this preoccupation, even by a demonstration of the abu­sivenesse of such received fallaeies. For Man, as if he studyed nothing but to [Page 163]elude the sentence is upon him, seemes to set his heart upon nothing, but the eating of his bread without any sweat, and the meeting with no thornes upon the earth. So far are our senses from acquiescing to the sentence of God, as even the society of God himselfe in labours and crosses, doth hardly con­vince us of the benedictions contained therein, albeit he hath not onely read this lesson upon them, but hath perso­nally infused that quality into them. And shall our faith assent to so high a mysterie, seeming so contrary to our reason, and shall we not credit this as­sertion, of the good of sufferings, be­cause it is averse to our senses? Shall we beleeve, that under the sordid and despicable veyle of flesh and blood, the Creator of heaven and earth was covered, and shall we not easily accord, that un­der the dark and obscure covers and ca­ses of temporary miseries & afflictions, there remaine reall glories and benedi­ctions? since as the first is cleerly De fide, the second cannot reasonably be denyed to be Proximam fidei.

[Page 164]Me thinks this sense of Crosses, should easily be accepted by Catholikes, who are imbued with the beleefe of so high mysteries, when they beleeve, that which appeares Bread in the blessed Eucharist, to be really the glorious bo­dy of the Sonne of God, there should be little difficulty, to allow those suffe­rances, which seeme ills to our senses, to be really such goods as they are as­serted by our faith; for surely, if they have but neere so much patience, to make this conversion, as they must have faith to beleeve the other, all cros­ses and adversities in this life, are really converted into blessings, while they re­maine under unhappy and unlikely ap­parencies, after such a manner as the body of Christ is truly present in the holy Sacrament, though covered from our senses under the veyles of no way resembling species.

Since God then covereth and retect­eth the greatest blessing he can conferre upon his Church, (it being even his own Sonne) under so improbable appearan­ces, we may easily beleeve his correcti­ons, [Page 165]though they are overcast with ne­ver so unlikely out-sides, to have an in­teriour goodnesse, and benediction, ac­cording to his word, especially, since we are sensibly convinced of this verity by frequent experiments in our selves and others, but in the other sublime mysterie, our faith is alwayes put to straine up to it, and that never descen­deth to a manifestation to our reason. Besides, most of the things of this world, which seeme to us never so veri­table, and sincere, are but veyles and cases of somewhat else then is extant in their superficies. For we see the sub­stances and essentiall forms of nothing, onely the figure, colour, and other ac­cidents of all things sensible; and so the colours and shapes of evils in this life, cover and infold eternall goods, and the specious figures and appearan­ces of pleasures, Psal. 11.8. It is good for me that thou hast humbled me. Luke 16. I am tor­mented in this flame. shadow over to us e­verlasting miseries. Whereupon many come to confesse with the Psalmist, Bonum mihi quia humiliasti me, and too many to complaine with the rioter in the Gospel, Crucior in hac flammâ, for [Page 166]having wanted the gentler fire of this life, Thou didst re­ceive good things in thy life time. Iob. 21. They lean their dates in mirth, and in a mo­ment they goe down to hell. and having had too much of Rece­pisti bona in vitâ tuâ. For, alas, how many doth this sentence of the holy Spirit surprize, Ducunt in bonis dies suos, & in puncto ad inferna descendunt!

Although prosperity in this life be not formally an evill, yet as there are many aliments, which are in them­selves sound, and harmlesse, yet un­healthfull respectively to severall con­stitutions; so the felicities of this life, find very few such constitutions as can digest them, and convert them into the increase of the body, unto the edifying it selfe in charity. This is the advance and growth which is expected from the members of Christ, Ephes. 4.6. the augmenting in charity; whereof we may too truely say at least, Iob 2 8. It is lately found in the land of them that live pleasantly Rarò invenitur in terrâ suavi­ter viventium. Wherefore holy Saint Bernard upon the rich mans being cast into flames, and the reason being gi­ven him, that he had received good things in this life, infers from thence, That the blessing of suffering must be greater in this world, then that of frui­tions; [Page 167]and argueth it thus, That the Divine judgement did not cast Man out of the garden of pleasure, to allow him by humane invention to contrive ano­ther Paradise for himselfe, out of the earth, but left him with a sentence of being borne to labour; and so if he de­cline travaile and pains, as he avoideth what he was borne to in this world, so he shall be excluded from what he was designed to in the next. In which consi­deration, S. Gregory saith, A man who passeth carelesly on, crowned with roses through this life, is like a Prisoner carryed through pleasant fields, and delightfull gar­dens, who being amused with the agreeable objects in his passage, forgets what he is, and whither he is going. So dangerous a conveyance is worldly felicity, as the Devill dares trust that, even alone, without any provocation, but even plenty it selfe to bring us to him. For the adherence to the commodities of the earth, quickly raiseth such a damp and indevotion in our spi its, as there needs no crying sins to mend our pace. This very stilnesse, stupefaction, and [Page 168]spirituasi Lethargie which we sleepe our selves into, in the love of this world, is one of the safest wayes the Devill can wish us into. Wee may therefore fitly say of the state of many mens prosperities, that which S. Basil said elegantly upon the cleernesse of the skye in a great drouth producing a famine, that It was a sad serenity, in which the very fairenesse and purity was a punish­ment. So the smoothe, and undisturbed felicity of many fortunes, proveth an unhappy calme, occasioning a great sterility in all spirituall productions. Our love to Christ thrives best, in such a mould as his to us was planted in; which we know was an abundance of all sorts of passions; and such a soile is so much more proper for our faith and charity to prosper in, as the same temp­tations which master us in felicity, are defeated by us in adversity; as S. Gre­gory noteth in Jobs tryall, saying, that Man who was overthrowne in Paradise, overcame upon a dunghill; there the Serpent overcame him by a woman, here he vanquish­eth both the Serpent and the woman.

[Page 169]So as we may say, That sufferings seeme to render even our decayed na­ture, stronger then felicity could pre­serve our intire. For Adam was ruined by the same attaques, which Job re­pulsed. Scarce any thing can endeare the vertue of affliction, or raise the ob­noxiousnesse of prosperity above this instance. And surely, although there were not so much facilitation towards our being perverted in temporall hap­pinesse, yet me-thinks this defect which is so notorious in it, should discredit the affectation thereof; for it is evident, that we cannot have so good a tryall of our loves to God, whilst we are under his sensible caresses, as under his severe corrections. We see Satan had so much colour for that argument, that in pro­sperity there can be no tryall whether a man love God or no, as he presseth it even to God himselfe in Jobs case, asking, Doth Job feare God for nought? alleadging that Gods benefits did not admit of a totall proba [...]tion of that ser­vant whom God himselfe commend­eth. Therefore he putteth God to the [Page 170]tryall and examination of his love, when it hath nothing but pure duty, and no temporall interest to feed it; and it seemeth God allowed this as a good argument, when he changed his condition into that which was the pro­perest for the examination of his love, and might prove an irrefragable evince­ment of his sanctity. For a patient ac­quiescence, and a faithfull praising God in affliction, doth not only silence even Sathan himselfe in his office of accuser, but setteth us so much out of his com­mand, as to render us his impeachers and accusers before the throne of God. For there cannot be a higher charge a­gainst his contumacie in his beatitude, then mans returning praises to God in his miseries.

You may see then that Affliction doth not onely furnish us with armes defen­sive against our enemie, but also mini­streth offensive armes in Gods cause against his Rebell: for nothing woun­deth Lucifer deeper with this point of his ingratitude, then a Lazarus playing the Angel, finging Gods praises in all [Page 171]his sores and provocations. And it seemes very equitable, that they who are to possesse the estates of the delin­quent Angels, should serve God thus here on earth, against them whose con­fiscations are assigned to them. And in order to this, we may observe, how God hath alwayes imployed his dea­rest followers in this service, to shame and confound the Devils first impatient pride, by their equanimity and calm­nes of Spirit in all their pressures and desolations, making the praises of the scourger, as S. Augustine saith, the plai­ster of their wounds. For which cause, holy Iudith, when she undertaketh to comfort her brethren in a desperate extremity, suggesteth to the Priests, to represent to the people, that their fa­thers had alwayes been tempted, to try whether they did sincerely love God; and biddeth them remember how Abraham was [...]proved by many temp­tations, and so made the friend of God; and Isaac, Jacob and Moses passed the same way of probation. And conclu­deth with this inforcement of the [Page 172]vertue of afflictions, Judith 8.2. All that have plea­sed God through many tri­bulations have pas­sed faith­full. Omnes qui placue­runt Deo per multas tribulationes transive­runt fideles.

We may remark also that among all the Patriarks and Prophets, who had the honour to be types of Christ, we finde but one exempted out of the list of his precursors in diverse passions, and af­flictions; and Solomon onely passing through the smooth delicious alleyes of this world, fell so dangerously, as the holy Ghost hath not set him up again before us; whereby we may conclude, that God intended the leaving of Solo­mons case undecided, as a terrible ad­monition to us, of the perillous estate of prosperity, since so great an organ of the holy Ghost, is not manifestly resto­red to his place, where all the rest are evidently fixed, following the suffering Lambe, whom they had the honour to precede, and to prefigure. So as al­though we may hope well of Solomon, we may safely condemne continu­all prosperity, as a formidable sedu­cer, since worldly felicity leaveth us in suspense of the salvation of Solomon, and [Page 173]affliction giveth us great hopes of the reconciliation of Manasses.

And it may well be observed, that the first Angel which is recorded in scripture to have been sent to the earth, was upon the occasion of an extreme distresse; Gen. 16.12. which was to Agar flying in the desert; and the Angel giveth this testimony of the reason of his mission, Because the Lord had heard the voice of her affliction; so as Agars being in misery, bringeth her to be honoured by the ministery of an Angel, sooner then Sa­ra's being mistresse, and in authority; and so distresse had quickly obtained pardon for undutifulnesse. Where­fore all they who have faults to expi­ate, may be glad to have sufferings for intercessors, for they speak in vertue of that blood, which calls for better things then that of Abel; they mediate reconciliation, and deprecate revenge. And therefore we finde God vouch­safe to say, Cum ipso sum in tribulatione; I am with him in tri­bulation. and his presence is often so manifested in tribulation, as they who had scarse heard of him before, come to know [Page 174]him, and acknowledge him in that apparence. Which made S. Bernard to say very elegantly, D [...]n. 3.93. that God appeared so visibly in the tribulation of his children in the fiery furnace, that even the heathens themselves confessed he was there, affir­ming that the fourth was like the Sonne of God: so that it seems, God will permit the divell to passe for a God, with them who are in the power and dominion of the world, rather then reveale him­selfe to that presumption, and chuseth to enlighten the blind of Babylon, only by the fire of affliction. And for that end, he preferd the furnace, for his Temple to appeare in, before all the sumptuous edifices of Babylon. In like manner, when God resolved to shew himselfe to Nabuchodonosar, he would not vouchsafe to come into his palaces, but carryed him out into the fields, and laid him as low as the grasse that fed him, and then in this posture of being neerer a beast then a King, vouchsafed to visit him, to shew him how much more he esteemed misery and confu­sion, then temporall glory and magni­ficence. [Page 175]And thus we see, how man in honour, becomes like the beast that perisheth; and man in dishonour, being reduced even to the likeness of a beast, recovereth and restoreth the image of God in him selfe, which his other con­dition had almost obliterated.

Nay affliction is so proper to finish and perfect Gods image in us, as Dani­el had that given him for an improve­ment of his sanctity, which he had by order from God, prescribed Na­buchodonosar for expiation of his im­piety. He for having destroyed those Idols, which the other had adored, was sent among the beasts for a reward; the lions den is given as it were for a recompence of his service, against both the spirituall, and materiall dragon; and devout Toby was brought into darknesse and the shadow of death, Tob. 12.14 as a gratification of all his pious fami­liarities with the dead; for when the Angel remembreth him of his owne merits in these offices, he telleth him, that Because he was acceptable to God, is was necessary that tentation should prove [Page 176]him. So as the tribulation of this world, seemes the penny conditioned for in this life, and due as wages to the travail in Gods service. And indeed the weight, and heat of this day, or rather moment of this life, may well be accounted our best salary in it, since the Apostle telleth us, that Light and momentary tribulation worketh in us ex­ceedingly above measure an eternall weight of glory; 2 Cor. 4.17. and so God who knoweth how the crownes are to be given out by weight, according to that we bring in of crosses, marked by Gods stamp upon them, he may well load us here, in that order, to the elevating of us, by his justice, as well as his mer­cy.

Whereupon all the Saints, the liker they grow to the image of Christ under Gods hand, discern the cleerlyer this designe of God, and so rejoyce in their tribulations, proportionately to the light they receive, by these openings of their owne mudde walls, wherein they are immured; and so by Gods making as it were through lights in [Page 177]their bodies, the soule comes to have the clearer prospect on all sides of her, whereby she discerneth, that God in this work of breaking down the mat­ter of carnall appetites, which are like walls about us, removeth but dust, and bringeth in light; and therefore we see, how the Martyrs rejoyce while these windows, as I may say, & through lights, were beating out in their bodies; while they were made transparent with wounds, the soule had the more light given her; and so they looked upon their enemies, as set awork to break down their prison, alwaies paying them their prayers for their labour. And we need not look back into story, for such lights as these, whereby to read the joy of sufferings, for I may say of these examples, as Moses said of his precepts, They are not beyond the sea, Deut. 30.12.that you may pretend, and say, which of us can passe over the sea, and bring them to us, that we may fulfill them in worke? For such patterns are neere you in your owne sight; you need not travell into the remote regi­ons of Antiquity, for such precedents [Page 178]of hearts rejoycing, while these doores of their breasts are breaking open, to set them at liberty. God hath provi­ded for you the lights of the Primitive times, as well as he hath permitted you to remaine long in the same necessi­ties. You can therefore have no ex­cuse in being ignorant of the good of sufferings, since you have both the matter abundantly among you, and the manner excellently patternd out be­fore your eyes.

It is well said of one, that wee may wonder that all the stones under the feet of the reprobate, doe not turn into roses, for some solace to them now, in regard of what they are to suffer. And therefore we need not wonder, if all things under the feet of the elect, doe turne into thornes to punish them for their sinnes, since their transitory paines augment so much their eternall blessednesse. Well then, and fitly may I say unto you in this your state of try­all, 2 Cor. 13.5 Know you not your selves, that Christ Jesus is in you, unlesse perhaps you be re­probate? For now you have that work [Page 179]in hand, of interpretation of the word of God, the word of the Crosse, where­in you your selves are best expositors, whether you finde in your hearts, an humble understanding of the will of God upon you in these siftings and cri­brations, unto which the enemy hath now subjected you. If you find this humble and patient conformity, you may rightly conclude you have the right sense of the word of the Crosse.

Me thinks I may say now to you, that you have as a mercy afforded to your offences, your book given you, and if you can reade in it, your present bur­nings in the hands are far from being brands of infamy, The stig­mats of Christ. they are rather stig­mata Christi, which are the characters in which your names are written in the Book of Life. Your chiefe study there­fore now must be, to reade currantly Gods hand in this your book which you are put unto, and by a right under­standing of Gods mercy in this volume of your crosses, you make it such an one as was given to Ezechiel, Ezek. 3.3. you may finde it even as honey in your mouth. Upon [Page 180]this ground, Saint Augustine was wont often to aske his heart this question, Is the word of the Crosse foolishnesse to thee? 1 Cor. 1.18. He knew, that was the infallible tryall of this adherence to the will of God, the accounting the Crosse the wisdome of God, and consequently the best mark of his predestination. There may be many glorious externall shews of pie­ty and sanctity (which may be like the gift of Tongues Saint Paul speaketh of, 1 Cor. 14.14. where the Spirit prayeth, but the understanding is without fruit) that may draw the eyes of the world upon the appearancies, but not the eyes of God upon the interiour disposition; but a patient, and vertuous exemplari­ty in suffering is like prophecying in a knowne tongue, it both bettereth our selves, and edifyeth the Church of God. Wherefore I may properly desire you, now you are, Ver. 4. 1 Cor. 14.39. Therefore brethren be earnest to Prophe­cy. as I may say, prohibited to speak with Tongues, (as this answe­reth to a publick exhibition of your de­votions) Ita (que) fratres amulamini prophe­tare, that is, to endeavour to edifie the Church of God by your patience, [Page 181]longanimity, and suavity in the holy Ghost.

Gods mercies are so much above all his works, that even all his justices in this life are mercies, as we may per­ceive in many things which to us seem severities, and are truly indulgencies in Gods Order; as many times when he findeth a dumbe, and a deafe soule, so possessed by the world, as he will nei­ther heare, nor answer to the ordinary voice of Gods Ministers, then God in mercy layeth violent hands upon him, and, as I may say, puts his fingers into his eares, Mar. 7.33. as Christ did to the man in this case, as it were to force them open by some stronger operation then the or­dinary ministry of his Churches medi­cines and applications, and in this case, the fire God applyeth, is not rigour, but medicinall compassion.

Besides, there is commonly a speci­all divine authority in Tribulation, wherein the holy Ghost breathes himself out more efficaciously then by the Pro­phets, or by the holy Scriptures: for we often resist the Word of God, and[Page 182]slight the admonition of the Fathers, and Doctors of the Church, when af­flictions though they speake in a shar­per, and more unpleasant stile to us, yet take our eares, and bring us to an­swer more promptly, speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.

Whereupon the Psalmist expresseth thus both the nature of man, and the virtue of tribulation, Psal. 15.4. Their in­firmities were mul­tiplied, af­terward they made haste. Multiplicatae sunt in­firmitates corum, postea acceler averunt. So as God oftentimes lameth us, to make us mend our pace towards him; & the maimes given us by Gods hand, prove like Jacobs lamenesse, which made him the fitter for his journey. And as it hath beene aptly accommodated to the credit of affliction, that Jacob was flying, and sunk with labour to the earth, with his head upon the stones, when God first appeared unto him, and set his soule upon that ladder which reached to heaven, while his body lay prostrate upon the earth, so wee may well adde this, that as soone as we wake out of the sleepe which the pleasures of our senses cast us into, [Page 183]we shall confesse concerning crosses, and tribulations, as Jacob did after his dreame, Verè dominus est in loco isto, Gen 28.16 Indeed our Lord is in this place, & I knew it not.& ego nesciebam. For though wee trem­ble at first, and finde the place terrible, yet we may truly say, Non est hic aliud nisi domus Dei, & porta coeli, This is no other but the house of God, & the gate of heaven. for the holy spirit seemeth to set this inscription (of the gate of heaven) upon tribulation, advising us, that by many tribulations we must enter into the Kingdome of heaven.

I have presented you with this draught of your owne states, that you may see, you are now in the elements of the Saints of both Testaments. Where­fore the Apostle telleth the Christians in your conditions, Behold, Act. 14.21now is the time acceptable, now is the day of salvation. But you must remember also, what Christ said to those that are in this day. 2 Cor. 6.2. Work while you have light, lest the night over­take you. For the day it selfe will but give you light, not legs to carry you on your journey. You must not lye downe under your burthens, as if af­flictions were vessels you had under [Page 184]you, which will carry you on though you walke backward and forward in them, between murmur, desire of re­venge, and some intervals of confor­mity and resignation to Gods pleasure. This tossing, and estuation of spirit is a leake may endanger you, if it be not stopped. Necessarily therefore I must often rememorate this unto you, that if you have faith to beleeve crosses to be the treasures of Christ, you must ne­gotiat with the talents you are trusted with; for if you bury them in enmities, maledictions of your enemies, repi­nings, and diffidences of Gods provi­dence, you will give so ill an account, as you may chance after all your suffe­rings, to be remitted thither for your rewards, where affliction produceth no­thing but curses and desperations. For it may be fitly said of Tribulations, They are the good odour of Christ, 2 Cor. 1.but to some the odour of death unto death, but to o­thers the odour of life unto life. Of which party that you may prove, you must act this lesson of Saint Paul, Colos. 1.11.2. to walk worthy of God in all patience and longanimity with [Page 185]joy, giving thankes to God and the Father who hath made us worthy unto the lot of the Saints in light.

CHAP. VIII. Answers and Resolutions to some subtile Temptations.

AFter the chiefe Priests, Scribes, Mar. 12. and Elders had laid before Christ Jesus all the stones of offence and scandall their wits could pick out of the Law, or the Prophets, all which he converted in­to touch-stones of his wisdome and humility, and so rendred all these try­alls, attests of his purity and sincerity in these excellent graces; then they ex­cogitated a more subtile temptation for him; which was, to tempt him by his owne perfections. For then they sent to him some of the Pharisees, Ibid. 12. and of the Herodians, who were to work upon his tendernesse, and compassion of the publick, to ensnare him by his benig­nity, [Page 186]and charity to others; and to that purpose they moved him in a point of commiseration to his Countrey, asking him with a Preface of his praises, whe­ther they might not ease themselves of the publique tribute? And this they thought a likely way to insnare his goodnesse, when all their other pro­jects could not infirme his vertue: In like manner our subtilest enemy may have found many of you answering, and corresponding faithfully in all his examinations of you, in your own par­ticular sorrows, losses, and distresses, and finding you thus armed in your owne persons with JOB's Dominus de­dit,Iob. 1.21. Our Lord gave, and our Lord hath ta­ken away.Dominus abstulit, he is very likely to attempt you by your owne graces of piety, and tendernesse of others, and devotion to your Countries redemp­tion from error, or a present apprehen­sion of a totall extirpation of those few seeds are still dispersedly left in it of Catholike Religion. And this tentati­on may well be presented you with praises of your owne vertues, and pres­sed more upon your devotion, as a so­licitude [Page 187]properly affected to the love of your Religion. This is so fine, and soft an insinuation of motions to dis­quiet and discordance from Gods or­der, as you may very easily be slid into it, upon this so smoothe, and faire sug­gestion thereof, as a practise of vertu­ous duty. I shall therefore endeavour to detect unto you the danger of this so subtile illaqueation, and insnare­ment, in this net may be made of your owne pieties. For when Sathan stands among the sonnes of God, he is in the most dangerous position for the chil­dren of men, that is, when in the shape of some vertue he introduceth a temp­tation.

First then we must lay this for ground-work of all our peace of spirit, a firme immovable perswasion of the divine providence in all occurrencies. This rock the devill doth not attempt to batter in the minds of sober, and pi­ous persons, but worketh to under­mine it by arguments, and consequen­ces. When any thing occurreth in­congruent to our reason, concerning [Page 188]the government of such affaires as seeme properly to appertaine to Gods interest, as the miscariage, and adversi­ty of Gods cause and his Churches peri­clitation, in these advantages the ser­pent hath over our weak and dim po­wer of reasoning, he alwaies inforceth this subtilty upon us, That Gods hand cannot be in matters so opposite to his good­nesse. To which our faith answereth easily enough, when it is awake; but when our mindes are in that state the Psalmist confesseth even his to have been reduced unto, Psal. 118 28. My soule hath slum­berd for tedious­nesse. of Dormitavit anima mea prae taedio, when our spirits are growne drowsie and heavy under the burthen of their encumbrances, then he presseth this point upon us, when the vivacity of our faith is a little re­laxed; Psal. 72. But my feet were almost moved, my steps al­most slip­ped see­ing the peace of sinners. and by watching this opportu­nity we know the tempter hath shaken even the greatest Saints, as we know David himselfe avoweth in Mei autem penè moti sunt pedes, penè effusi sunt gres­sus meì, pacem peccatorum videns. So as this is a temptation to be precautioned by the best advises can be provided. [Page 189]For what the enemy aimeth at in the first place, is not to subvert directly our faith, but to supplant our peace, and quiet of spirit; and when he hath raised this mist in our discoursing faculty, then all the images are set before us, seeme to have farre different proporti­ons from the realities themselves.

One of the most safe admonitions therefore is to watch upon our prone­nesse to passion, either in griefe, anger, or enmity; for an intemperance in any of these, upon the several occasions which respect each of them, doth first cloud that serenity of mind, which should keep the light of Gods providence cleere to our apprehension, and then insensibly we sink into chagrins and dissavours of Gods present judgements. Therefore let us alwayes check the first motions to any excesse of sorrow, though the occasion be never so legitimate as even for the persecution of the Church; in that case, we must seek to represse any immoderate resentment of it, though the colour seeme such, as admits of no over-doing in it; yet all extremities, [Page 190]even of zeale in this exigence, weaken and enfeeble our Reason, and so leave us worse armed against our opponent, who alwayes seeketh to deduce some reason of repining, and disrespect to Gods order, out of this argument of Gods unconcernment in the safety of his children. Therefore in all provo­cations to griefe, we must attend the preserving of our spirits as little over­cast by sadnesse as we possibly can, for in this obscurity the enemy soweth what we feele growing up before we see it cast into us. For which cause, let this be a generall receit for all emergencies in matter of disconsolation, to oppose studiously the first motions towards any inordinate sorrow or resent­ment.

That I may then give you some par­ticular satisfaction in this case of yours, which may seeme so devout a disquiet, in order to the Churches sufferings, I must desire you to lay this in your minds as a deep and immoveable foun­dation, That the verity of the Church is not questioned by the vicissitude of [Page 191]states into which she is translated. You may consider that your faith telleth you, the roots of the Church are grow­ing in a rock, and are watred, and kept alive by a supernaturall irrigation, with the dew of heaven; so as no storm can loosen them, nor no heat penetrate so far as to offend them. The particular branches of this stemme may wither, or be removed according to the in­temperance of the places they are planted in, as we see that many single shafts and bodies of particular Chur­ches, which are but sprigs in respect of the Universall, are now eradicated even in the first ground they were planted, as we see in the desolation and barrennes of Mount Sion it selfe, and the land of Canaan, which we may call the garden of Eden, where the tree of life first sprang up, and where the Church seemed to all humane reason, rooted so deep, as nothing but the dissolution of the world could evert it, and yet we see it so extirpated out of that place, as there are only some few fruits (of those roots which S. Peter left fixed at Rome) [Page 192]now visible in that Country, which are, as we may say, gathered in these parts, and transported thither. For most of the Christian Religion now exercised in the holy Land, is but in the societies of some few of the Religious Orders of the Church of Rome, which are but as it were granaries of the bread of life, not seminaries, or fields, in which there is a naturall provision for a succession of Christianity, being there are few, or almost no secular families of Christians in the Country. And on the other side of the Globe, in the West Indies, the Antipodes to the Holy Land, being then the patrimony of the Prince of dark­nesse: those parts which sate so long in darknesse, and the shadow of death, have now seene the great light, and have it shining on a candlestick, while Jerusalem it selfe sits mourning in dark­nesse. These are the inextricable folds wherein God wraps up his providence, The sear­cher into majestie shall be oppressed by glory. which they who will attempt to depli­cate by their reason, shall find the veri­fication of Scrutator majestatis opprimetur à gloriâ.

[Page 193]Let this then be our rest, (to keep us either from sinking into diffidence of Gods vigilancy over us, or from sliding into a curious inquisition into his order of conducting us) the concluding, That God is wiser, juster, and more merci­full then we can imagine; and remain­ing assured of our being incorporated in the true Church, we may answer all our perplexities concerning it, that God hath obliged himselfe to conserve and propagate it; which he must needs per­forme better then we can designe. And in this conclusion let us calme all our anxieties, taking this result of the Psalmist as an opiate to [...]llay the fames of all our distempers, Psal. 118.52 I have b [...]n mind­full of thy judge­ments from ever­lasting, O Lord, and was com­forted. Memor fui judicio rum tuorum à saeculo Domine, & consola­tus sum.

In cases of publike concernments, wherein the acts of Providence are ir­regular according to our known Laws of Gods justice, the very unintelligi­blenesse of the order of such events, speaks plaine enough to us, Gods mea­ning to addresse these hand-writings to our faith, not to our reason, and we [Page 194]must receive them with this admira­tion of the Psalmist, Psal. 91. Thy cogi­tations are made very profound, O Lord. Nimis profunda facta sunt cogitatioms tuae Domine! The thunder, and lightning of Mount Sinai, was not set out to be studied by the naturall reason of Meteors. The words of the tables were directed to their understandings to conceive the equity of them, but the forbid­ding the approach of any beast neere the mountaine, was left as a mistery of which the people were not to ar­gue the justice. And we are yet but in a little more elevated state of illu­mination, wherein our reason cari­eth us to the curtaines of the taber­nacle, our faith is to passe into the veile, and there to reverence that cloud, wherein the divine providence resideth, whereof the particular acts, are very often almost as high myste­ries, Psal 65.5. Come and see the works of God, terri­ble in counsels over the sonnes of men. as any our religion imposeth on our faith, whereunto the Psalmist summons only our admiration, with Venite, & videte opera Dei, terribilis in Consiliis super filiis hominum. And for this reason, when God showeth [Page 195]the Prophet Ezechiel an heap of dryed bones, and asked him if he thought those bones could return to life, he answered wisely, Lord thon knowest; Ezek. 37. though such a reanimation seemed never so improbable to him, yet he suspended his conclusion, and refer­red it to Gods designe, and provi­dence, knowing Gods will and his power to be equally omnipotent.

And this figure of the deliverance of the children of Israel from their captivity, may afford an apposite in­struction for your present conditions; for though Catholike religion seeme in England now, but a dead carcasse, reduced to arifyed and dryed bones, yet when your pious solicitudes que­stion your reason, whether it can con­ceive how these exsiccated and mace­rated bones can be revived? your faith must answer as the Prophet did, Our Lord knoweth; this restauration is as easie to him, as impossible to us; and though we cannot prescribe a time, yet we may safely perswade e­very one to be confident, that in Gods [Page 196]fulnesse of time this reanimation is designed. So that I may without presumption, repeat to you this pro­mise of the Prophet, Ezek. 37.5Thus saith the Lord to these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live, I will lay sinews on you, and make flesh grow up­on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath into you that you may live, and you shall know that I am the Lord. This I am sure is proper at least for a Prayer, which you are all obliged to make; the answer whereof we must expect with fidelity, and it may be your chil­dren may gather the fruits of the prayers you plant now for them, more likely then your selves. But we must not abate of our fervour, by the little apparence we see of an answer to our Petition, for as S. Augustine tells us, It is more grace to pray resignedly, then to be heard presently. It is no great matter to be heard, saith he, the Devils were heard when they were sent into the swine, and Sathan obtain­ed Jobs affliction. Set not therefore your hearts upon any thing so much, [Page 197]as upon Gods pleasure, to whom all the sequence of time, is but as a pre­sent moment to us; so as all things happen in this appointed time, which cannot alwayes concur with ours; therefore I beseech you be not too urgent with Us (que) quo Domine? How long O Lord? even in the Churches behalfe, to such a degree as may savour of impatience, & haste to be served, for that alwayes discre­dits the suitor to God, and doth not at all advance the suit. Be resolved then, I beseech you, to move God with your affiance, and reference of your selves to his time, and draw up this answer for all your charges in these times, Psa. 18.42 I shal an­swer a word to them that upbraid me, be­cause I have ho­ped in thy words. Respondebo exprobrantibus mihi verbum, quiae speravi in sermonibus tuis.

There is one particular consolation I may fitly suggest to you, in order to your hoping for Gods mercy to the distressed Church of our Nation, which is, that no other Christians have the blood of Martyrs offered by the hands of their brothers to intercede and me­diate for mercy to their nation; and [Page 198]though in some respects there be much of the blood of Abel in them, as they are acts of the hands of brothers, yet in order to the interceding for the pre­servation, and advance of Catholicke Religion, their bloud speaks in the same voyce of that of Christ, it calls for mercy, not revenge even upon the shedders of it. So that when you are shaken with an apprehension of the ex­tinguishment of that little light is left in our nation, Judges 13 23. let your faith answer confidently with the wife of Manoah, If the Lord would have destroyed us, he would not have taken of our hands such holocausts; The memory of which, you ought to offer up daily, not only as interpellati­ons for your owne comforts in your necessities, but even for the necessi­ties of your persecutors, whose wants are far more important then yours. Therefore in all your private trepidations respecting your selves, and in this publick earthquake refer­ring to your Religion, Heb. 20.23 fix your selves upon this centre of the Apostle, Let us hold the confession of your hope undeclining, [Page 199](for he is faithfull that hath promised) and let us consider one another unto the provo­cation of charity; and when your hearts are in this conformity, 2 Cor. 7.6. though you be in the same Apostles case, Your flesh ha­ving no rest, but suffering all tribulation of combats without, and feares within, God who comforts the humble shall com­fort you.

Accept this therfore I beseech you as a provisionall advise, against the yeelding to any violent melancholy, even upon the most pious occasions, for that motion is alwaies to be su­spected, that proposeth discomposure to your spirits, upon any warrant; for at the best it is but Gods hand counter­feited, by him who transfigureth him­selfe easily into an Angel of light; And when we admit a dejection & conster­nation upon any incitement, Psal. 4.18. In peace in the self­same will I sleep and rest, be­cause thou Lord hast singularly setled me in hope. the divel hath his matter softned to his hand at least, to work upon. So that we must in such temptations repaire to Davids couch to rest upon, concluding, In pace in idipsum dormiam, & requiescam, quia tu Dominus singulariter in spe constituisti me.

[Page 200]But I may with probability expect to be asked, whether this calme of spirit in all publick calamities, and pri­vate vexations, imports so dead a stil­nesse, as shall admit of no emotion, or resentment in the distresses of the Church, the gravations of our friends, and all the pressures whereunto we our selves are subjected?

To this I can readily answer, that I doe not propose this Stociall apathy, or insensiblenesse, in all accidents; for I know the passions of sorrow, and fear, are not only inherencies in our infirm nature, but even injanctions, and ordi­nations of grace in many occasions. We know Christ Jesus wept for his friend; which few drops (showred from heaven, upon the ocean of this salt water, with which our earth is sur­rounded) were defigned to sweeten, and sanctifie those waters, by the effu­sion of Christs Communion, into such expressions of our compatency, and simpathy with our brother. So that teares may, upon many occasions, sa­vor more of the grace of the second [Page 201] Adam, then of the nature of the first. And for that cause we are councelled by the Apostle To weep with them that weep; Rom. 12 15 for our eyes doe as it were af­ford currents, which carry our charities easilyer to their effects, then any o­ther conveyances, as they sooner infuse a credit to our affections, then our reason can send it by discourse. For as they are sensible pledges of our com­munion with our neighbour in his grie­vance, they give him the readiest se­curity of our loves; and so this water above the nature of all other, retaineth and exposeth the impression, and signature of what is impress'd up­on it, which is our charity, and so our teares are taken by our neighbours as seales of our fraternall dilection.

With good reason then in publicke exigencies, and in private occasions of just lamentations, such sensible ex­pressions of our consociation, and con­cernment in the cause, are often requi­site, for the efficacie of our charity ad­dressed to others. For as Saint Gregory saith, No body can consolate a mourner that [Page 202]doth not show some concerdancy whith his minde; and our heart must be first softened, that it may be congruous to the intendred heart of the afflicted, and thus fasten it selfe to the necessity it is to work upon. Iron is best conjoyned to Iron if they be both melted toge­ther in one fire. The apparence then of this simpathy is often manifestly necessary for the rendering our offices of charity beneficiall. Wherefore S. Paul doth often leave the print of his teares upon his epistles, as the best seales of his cordiall dilection. And those passions of greef, and feare which Christ was pleased voluntarily to raise in the inferiour part of his mind (which passions yet never went higher then his reason aimed them) were all inten­ded, to consolate us in our passions, to qualifie and mitigate our sense of the infirmity of ours, and to propose to us, an endevour of moderating the inor­dinatnesse thereof, that we may accor­ding to his councel, aim at a similitude of that holinesse, to which we cannot project an equality; and his precept im­porteth no further duty.

[Page 203]And when Christ confessed, that his soule was troubled, Joh. 12.27 he both alloweth and instructeth our troubled soules, which uses S. Augustine doth excel­lently derive from these words, addres­sing himselfe to Christ, and saying, Lord you command my soule to follow, but I see your soule troubled. What foundation shall I seek, if the rock it selfe sink? But I per­ceive your misericordiousnesse, O Lord; for you are troubled by the election of your love and charity to consolate, and support the in­firme, from bending towards desperation. To this end our head took upon him the senses and affections of his mem­bers, and as he doth excite us to high aspirings, he doth sympathize with us in low imbecilities. So we may sup­pose Christ, as he doth, speaking thus unto us, You have heard the voice of my fortitude calling to you, and you have heard the voice of your owne infirmity speaking in me; I minister force that you may run, nor doe I retard or excuse you from making haste, but owning your timidity, I levell the path of your ascensions.

Hence is cleerly collected, that a [Page 204]moderate griefe delivered in decent expressions, and proportioned to the importance of either publike or pri­vate occasions, is not onely alwayes pertinent, but very often meritorious; and S. Gregory sheweth, how holy Job complyed with both these duties of grieving, and not transgressing; Blessed Job kept his Mind in an excellent equality, that he might neither seeme insensible of the hand of the corrector, nor incensed a­gainst the judgement of his sufferings. Therefore when he had lost all his substance, and his children, it is said, he rose, and tore his garments, shavea his head, and falling to the ground he adored.Joh 20.His rending his robe, and his shaving, and falling to the ground, declared that he was sensible of the paines; and what is joyned, that he adored, manifesteth, that in all his sorrow he did not seek to reclaime or retract the judge­ment of his senteneer. Therefore he was not moved, lest he might offend by an excesse of resentment, nor unmoved lest he might seeme to slight the corrector by insensible­nesse. But as there are two precepts of cha­rity, the love of God, and the love of our [Page 205]neighbour, to the end that he might per­forme the dilection of his neighbour, he did exhibit mourning, and sorrow for his children; and lest he might trespasse against the love of God, even among his sighs he rendred his adoration; and as he fell under the blow, so he adored in the fall, and thus compleated the offices of a son of man, and a child of God.

Surely these words of S. Gregory doe fully regulate your case, that you may sorrow and grieve in order to the expressing a sense of your chastise­ments, and paying the duty of trater­nall charity. But you must alwayes joyne the worshipping of God, by an humble and cheerful conformity to his finall design [...]s, even upon the publick, as well as upon your personall senten­ces. And being setled in this dispositi­on, Psal. 65. My mouth hath spo­ken in my tribulati­on, holo­causts with marrow wil I offer thee. you are in that state in which the Psalmists heart was setled, when he said, Locutum est os meum in tribulatione mea, holocausta medullata offeram tibi; wherein is the good odour of all offe­rings. For in this feeling of our owne stripes, and our fellow-feeling of the [Page 206]stripes of others, and our sacrificing of both to the love of God, we fulfill the two precepts of love, which containe discharges of all the rest.

Now we have admitted sorrow, with such due restrictions as the Apostle alloweth it contributary to salvation, being, 1 Cor. 7.10 A sorrow according to God, which worketh pennance unto salvation: there is another question, very oovious in these conjunctures, which requireth a solid resolution, as, how farre we are obli­ged to conform our wills to the decla­red wil of God in publike judgements, and in cases of the prevalence of inju­stice, and violence over right and equi­ty? This case is thus regulated in Di­vinity; We know the Will is, or ought to be carryed to the object thereof, ac­cording to what is proposed by Reason; and it hapneth often, that the same thing may be diversly confidered by Reason; so that which in some respect is good, in another may be ill; there­fore when our will defireth any thing, as it hath the nature of good, our defire is licite and rectified; and if another [Page 207]desireth the contrary in the same thing, as it hath in his sense the nature of a good, that opposite Will is also good and approvable. As the will of a Judge is just, when he voteth the death of a Malefactor; and the desire of the wife, or son of the condemned, which oppo­seth the other, as they apprehend the husbands life under the notion of a good, is also lawfull and vertuous. The Judge governeth his will by the com­mon good of Justice, and the wife by the private of her family, and so both their wills are ordered respectively to their severall reasons. Now it is the good of the whole Universe, that is pri­marily in the apprehension and concep­tion of God, who is the Maker, P [...]eser­ver, and Ruler thereof, whereupon all that he willeth is in order to the com­mon good, which is his own goodnesse, and that is it which is the good of the Universe: But the nature of the crea­ture is to apprehend good as it is par­ticular, and proportionate to her na­ture; and there are matters which have the nature of particular goods, which [Page 208]doe not hold so in an universal respect, and the same holdeth convertibly: Whereby it comes to passe, that some will is good, desiring a thing in order to a particular good, which God doth not will, because man wisheth according to the light he hath, and his owne ap­prehension, which cannot extend to the discernment how the particular he wisheth, concordeth, or discordeth with the universall benefit which he is obliged to prefer, as far as he is infor­med onely: So that to constitute a re­ctifyed will, in the desire of a particular good, the private may be wished mate­rially, but the common and divine good must be intended formally, that is, the thing we desire, may be affected as the matter of it is a good to us; and the end of our affecting it must be as we conceive it good and agreeable to the common order of God upon the world.

Therefore the wil of man is obliged, to be conformable to that of God, in the thing he wisheth, in this respect, of referring it to the fulfilling of the uni­versall [Page 209]designe of his Creatour: But he is not commanded to annex his will to every particular matter wherein Gods will is declared, because he is not in­formed how that special course condu­ceth to the common good; so as he may wish the accomplishment of Gods purposes, by those wayes, notified to his reason to be most equitable and consonant to the divine goodnesse. And because we cannot judge how the ruine of a good cause, doth contribute to the common good, we may well dissent in that particular marter, and yet still re­maine resigned to the Universall Pro­vidence. In this order many of the Saints have deprecated even Gods re­vealed judgements to them, as Abraham in the case of Sodome, and it is evident, and frequent in all the Prophets, when they appeal from Gods severity decla­red, to his mercy which they solicited; & some so vehemently even after ma­ny prohibitions, as God is faine to si­lence them; as Samuel in the case of Saul, and Jeremy in the behalfe of the captived people, and many the like ma­teriall [Page 210]inconformities we find in the Saints. But this kind of discrepancy is better called a Velleity, or wishing that Gods order were otherwise, then a dissenting from it: and this incomplete concurrence with the Divine will, is dis­pensed with in this our imperfect light, which we receive but through a dim glasse; and till we come to be above all sense of sorrow, we shall never be exempted from a defective perspection through the causes of all calamities in this world; and so there is no more con­formity exacted of us, then there is il­lumination imparted. The blessed, who see many present acts, and the sequen­ces of the Divine providence, in that light which showeth all satisfaction at first sight, have their wills as intirely united, as their understandings con­summately informed; Wherefore if we have a rectifide sense of the de­fective adherence of our wills to God, even that resentment may be very sup­plymentall to the deficiency of our pre­sent condition.

It seemes cleere therefore that in [Page 211]all common calamities, wherein the violations of justice are manifest, our wills may safelyer be, as I have explai­ned, unconformable to Gods will de­clared in those grievances, remaining in a confession of our incapacity, to conceive the reference they have to his glory) then our wills may be concurrent with Gods, moved by the presumption of our understanding, up­on the concluding it selfe rationally sa­tisfied with the causes of such events. For this adherence is upon a worse ground, then the other suspension, in regard it resteth upon Reason more then upon Faith. So they who are conformed to Gods pleasures, as they suppose themselves informed of the equity of them, may be better said to adhere to their own sufficiency, Psal. 138. Thy knowledge is become marvail­ous of me, it is made great and I cannot reach to it. then to Gods sentence. Therefore in all temp­tations of inspection, and prying into the causes of various successes, let us quickly break off all such consults, with this of the Psalmist, Mirabilis facta est scientia tua ex me, confortata est & non potero ad eam; and in such a disposition [Page 212]even our sorrow may be acceptable, when our self-fufficiency on the other side is much more unconformable to the will God, though it produce an acquiescence to the present occurren­cies. We ought then with great care and vigilancy to oppose this propen­sion in our nature, to retrive satisfacto­ry causes in all our crosses and exigen­cies. For this is a crooked line from the first point, and so distorts our thoughts the more, the farther they are extended in it.

All these premisses well weighed, will afford us clearly this conclusion, that in publick adversities, and private afflictions, our will may seem to differ frō Gods, in the matter of present cala­mities, as in the prevailing of injustice, or the detriments we suffer by our ene­mies, so our wills be conjoyned with the divine will, in the reason of our desiring what we doe, that is, when we wish that difference, only, as we conceive it more conducent to Gods glory. And so the very rise of our dis­cordancy, is from the stock of a finall [Page 213]conformity; Jer. 17 4. I am not troubled, and the daies of man I have not desired thouknow­est. and in this disposition of our infirme nature, we may say with the Prophet, in all our imperfect adhe­rence, Et ego non sum turbatus, & diem hominis non desideravi tu scis. When our desires are not referd to any hu­man projects, but directed to the Vni­versail accomplishment of Gods or­ders, Psal. 106. The just shall see and shall rejoyce, and all ini­quity shall stop her mouth, who is wise and will keep these things, and will un­derstand the mer­cies of our Lord? they fall not under the notion of desiring the daies of man, but of God. And so I will pertinently, as I con­ceive, close up this point with the Psal­mist, who after having given much councell, and consolation to the af­flicted, maketh up, and sealeth all with Videbunt justi, & latabuntur, & omnis iniquitas opilabit os suum, quis sapiens & custodiet haec? & intelliget misericordias Domini?

CHAP. IX. Advises of the readyest way to consolation in all afflictions.

WHen Christ Jesus was much lesse beleeved, then he is now by you, and did but command blind Bartimaeus to be called to him, Marc. 10.49. they who were sent for him, advised him to be of good comfort, only upon this motive of his being called, as if Christs taking but notice of him, had been suf­ficient security even for the miracle he wanted. May not I then very justly counsell you, to take comfort, and bringing you a more consolatory mes­sage, which containeth not only a call, but a contract for your reliefes, the which is specified in this voice of Christ addressed to you, Mat. 11.28. Come ye to me all that labour, and are burthened, and I will re­fresh you; take my yoke upon you, and you shall find rest to your soules. If the blind [Page 215]man then cast off his garment, & came leaping to his single call, you may well put off all coverings of darknesse and disconsolation from your hearts, and come cheerfully not onely to this vo­cation, but to this covenant, which is as a counter-security given you by God, to save you harmlesse in all your en­gagements in the three Covenants of sufferance, wherein I have shewed you your obligations. For here is rest to your soules passed by contract to you, by the word of Truth it selfe; & when you are possessed of this peace, and case of your hearts, they shall feele the retrenchment of your worldly ac­commodations, little more, then our bodies doe the abscission of some ex­crescent portions: For faithfull hearts are as little damnified by any such re­scinding or diminution of the conveni­encies of this life, as bodies by losse of haire. Therefore as the remedy of all, consists in the assecution of this pro­mise of Christ, so the onely meanes of compassing it, is the resorting to him for it, in that manner prescribed by his [Page 216]call, you may all think your selves no­minated in this Proclamation of grace, as you are qualified with the conditions specified, of being in labour and under burthens; and yet you may easily mi­stake, what loads you are called to bring first to be discharged of; your temporall gravations that lye upon you, may goe neere to hasten you too much, in your starting forward into this course of reliefe, without looking out, and laying uppermost that burthen which must be first removed, before you can hope for this lightning and ex­oneration which is proposed unto you. And indeed these times, without a par­ticular prevention by the grace of God, are likely to tempt many, to come to Christ with their first suit, as he did in the Gospel, that came with his first motion of complaining on his brothers detention of his inheritance, and desi­ring Christ to right him in that oppres­sion; Luk. 12.18. this was the heaviest burthen whereof he was sensible, of some un­just sequestration lying upon him. But we know Christs answer cleereth this case [Page 217]to us, that his call doth not summon such pressures to come in for ease in the first place. The greedy man who had constituted Christ for his temporall Judge, made himselfe a Delinquent, in what he was a Judge of, and found him no Judgel, in what he would have had him one. And so shall all those, who come to Christ to commence their first suit about any temporall damages, find this plea cast out rather then admitted, and their burthens will but grow the heavier, by this earnestnesse to be dis­charged of them; they will be but like weights taken off from their backs, and laid upon their heads, where they will more annoy them.

It most importeth us then to be right­ly resolved, of what burthen we ought first to seek our discharge; for it is one of so strange a nature, as the increase of the weight diminisheth alwayes the feeling and sensiblenesse of the carry­er. And this insensiblenesse, as it aug­menteth, doth likewise aggravate the weight, so as there is a great perill, to leave never so little of this matter, that [Page 218]hideth it selfe by the same degrees it heightens in us. These qualities are so little sortable to the temporal burthens of crosses and afflictions, as they cannot be conceived to be the grievances we must first complain of. Nothing but sin is to be found counter-marked with these notes upon it. That then is the burthen you are first advised to bring in to be delivered of; this weight which the world commonly laboureth and sweateth most to charge it selfe with; and yet it is truly so strangely onerous, as even God and Man Christ Jesus, did sweat blood under the weight thereof, although he carryed but the lighter halfe of it, the paine onely, not the pol­lution. This is then the first oneration, whereof you must intend the demission and deliverance. For they who begin with calling to Christ for alleviation of temporall burthens, or solicite him to transpose their loads upon their ene­mies, setting these articles of ease and animosity before all the rest in their Petitions, doe (me thinks) as if the Le­per in the Gospel should have sued to [Page 219] Christ, to have given him clothes to co­ver him onely. For when we have the uncleannesse of any foule sinne upon us, to intend any thing, before the delive­rie from that, is but to beg a covering, or palliation of our distresse. And we know, temporall commodities doe of­ten hide and clothe the leprosie of sin, but seldome contribute to the emun­dation; and they who lift up their hands in the first place, to draw down venge­ance, even from him to whom it be­longeth, doe (me thinks) as if the rob­bed and wounded Traveller in S. Luke, should have desired the good Samaritan to have followed the theeves to appre­hend them, and deliver them to justice, before he had thought of dressing his owne wound; it is but such a preposte­rous application, to pursue even Gods enemies, while we have our own sins crying out, and endangering our souls, and crying for revenge against us, un­der the same notion we prosecute our enemies.

We must all then retaine this princi­ple, that the first exoneration we must [Page 220]designe, is, to be this of the burthen of our sinnes; and when we are delivered from them, our crosses will prove ra­ther our carriages then our burthens; for as death is formidable in this face and aspect of the wages of sinne, (and that countenance may justly fright us) but when we look upon it as a debt on­ly, we must pay nature before we can passe to eternall life; in this view, it see­meth rather officious, then offensive to us; in like manner, when our afflictions and crosses are charged upon us as wa­ges of our iniquities, still growing in us, as in the cases of Pharaoh, and Antiochus, then they have an intollerable heavi­nesse in them; but when they are con­sidered but as fees and duties we must pay in our passage through this mise­rable life, unto a blisfull perpetuity, and that all the Saints have paid them in their pilgrimage, then they appear ra­ther serviceable then formidable unto us: So hereupon I may say, that when our sinnes are heaped and accumu­lated on our crosses, pressing and hol­ding them upon us, then the charge is unsufferably grievous; but when our [Page 221]sufferings are imposed and charged upon our sinnes, and that they presse our faults so hard upon our conscien­ces, as the pressure of our offences groweth intolerable, and so forceth us to come creeping humbly under our loade, to this promise of releefe which Christ exhibiteth to all such labourers, and loaded soules, then our affliction proveth an happy surcharge, that hath sunke through our hearts, that other sad portage of our sinnes, which before peradventure did not disease us, and then the heavinesse of our crosses which remaineth, will comparatively with the other we are released of, seeme ve­ry easie, and portable; as one that should rise from being bedrid with the Palsie, or Sciatica, after he were cured, would find a little charge to carry his blankets upon his back. There is such an analogy, between the weight of sinne and of sufferance, as between these two different heavinesses; And sure the Paralitike, who went back charged with his bed upon him, found lesse heavinesse, then when he was caryed upon his bed. So when af­fliction, [Page 222]that we finde hath partly con­tributed to our spirituall rising, and recovering out of our bed-rid habits of sinne, remaineth upon us, we carry it so lightly, as we handle it rather as a benefit then a burthen. Then we find sensibly, the verity of this assertion, of Jugum meum suave est, Mat. 11.30 My yoke is sweet and my burthen light. Jere. 48.11.& onus meum leve. When we have found rest for our soules, all other agitations are but (as the Prophet saith) powring us out from vessell into vessell, to purge us of our dregs, and faeces which we should settle in againe it may be, if we were let stand.

And to evidence this principle that we must first begin our addresses to God with the Prodigals Pater peccavi, before we sue for casting off our rags, and being apparelled with convenien­cies, we may consider, how God doth not account himselfe so much as spo­ken to by us even in all our clamours, untill, Jerem. Thren. as the Prophet saith, the cloud be removed that intercepted our prayer from passing. For David affirmeth this experience, saying, Because I held my [Page 223]peace my bones are as it were waxen old, while I cryed all the day. So as you see, all Davids clamours are but as dum­nesse to the eares of God, so long as his sinne sleepeth within his brest, though his throat grow hoarse, he doth but as it were strain to cry out un­der water, while his iniquity like wa­ters are gone over his head. Hereby, we see, that all vociferation while our sinnes are quiet and tacent in our af­fections, is no more audible, then si­lence; and on the contrary we may note that God accounted Moses to have made a loud exclamation, when we finde he was silent; his heart being not obstructed with sinne, uttered a voice which penetrated the heavens while his tongue had no part in the convey­ance of it. Exod. 14. And Moses removed the whole red Sea, more easily with this silence, Psal. 3. then David could draw back those few drops of iniquity, he had drunk in; all the ejaculations of his voyce did not pierce the cloud, untill his sighes had broken through it, and then after his heart had once strucke [Page 224]upon that key of confession of his fin, in this note of I have made my sin known unto thee, and mine iniquity I have not hid, then every whisper of his to God is au­dible, for we finde him professing this also, Psal. 55.10. In what day soever I shall in­vocate thee, lo I have known that thou art my God. In quacun (que) die invocavero te, ecce cognovi quia Deus meus es. So as here we see the divers effects of Prayer, while our sins cry the louder for our silencing them, no other vociferation is made but theirs, which we do not utter; & when they have first lifted up their voice, through the organ of our voluntary proclamation of them, and a sorrowful invocation of mercy, then every brea­thing, and smallest inspiration of our souls in prayer, is a tone loud enough to reach heaven. Then as David avou­cheth, we shall find him our God at all houres we seek him, and discern the reasons, why we are then heard, and why we were not before regarded; which are these two David giveth us, of the first he saith, If I have beheld ini­quity in my heart, our Lord will not heare; and of this other, in case of having purged this impurity by our penitence, [Page 225] Our Lord is neere to all that invocate him in truth, Psal. 65.he will doe the will of all them that feare him, and he will heare their prayer, and save them.

Whereupon we may observe, that the Prophets in all publique calamities, did exhort the people in the first place to purifie their hearts and their hands, by a discharge of their sinnes, before they presumed to lift them up to hea­ven for receits of temporall degravati­ons. For when the people wonder that their Fasts and Humiliations are not regarded, Esay 58.3. the Evangel call Prophet Esay disabuseth them in that point, and in­formeth them, why their offerings were so unsavoury, because God smelt their owne wils in them, that is the de­liverance from those secular pressures that lay upon them, not the demission of those spiritual burthens which were inherent in them. Wherefore the Pro­phet ordereth them, to begin by dissol­ving the bands of impiety, and loosen­ing the bundles that over-load. When they have exonerated themselves of those weights which are offensive to [Page 226]God, then their owne spirituall light­ning and refreshment follows in a due order and procession. God telleth the distressed people by the Prophet Jere­my,Jer. 15.9.If thou wilt separate the precious thing from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth; and when we come to be as Gods mouth, there is no feare of our being not heard by him; but while our mouths are liker the feet then the head of the Statua in Daniels Vision, Dan. 2.33. consisting of iron, and clay, and not of gold, that is, while either revenge against our e­nemies, or reparation in our earthly dammages, take up the first places in our prayers, and not the purer ore of charity towards God and our neigh­bour, this sordid composure of our pe­titions, doth not answer that separati­on, which God conditioneth for an ad­mittance to such a neerenesse as secu­reth our audiency.

S. Chrysostome remarketh, that the holy Magdalene was the first that came to Christ to seek pardon and grace; o­thers sought health and sensible sola­ces in their first addresses, but she even [Page 227]in her first choice, elected the best part, and upon her kissing of our Savi­ours feet, B. Pet [...]us Dam [...]anus one of the Fathers raiseth an excellent instruction, That the two feet of Christ, doe mystically signifie Mer­cy and Judgment, both which must be kissed in order, for the fixing upon the one alone, may produce a temerarious secur [...]ty, and on the other single, may suggest a timerous despaire. And in conformity to this method, I may pro­pose to you such another in your pray­ers, to lay them alwayes first at the feet of Christ, before you raise them up to his hands; that is, to direct your re­quests first to the pursuit of mercy, and remission of your sinnes, before you commit to them the solici [...]ing of any other solace, or benefit; and when your prayers have ascended by these regular gradations to the hands of Christ, 1 Ep. S. Joh. 3.22. If our heart doe not repre­hend us, we have confidence toward God. having first opened your hearts in a sincere confession of your sinnes, you may with far more confidence ex­pect the opening of his hands, in ans­wer to your necessities, by this war­rant of the beloved Apostle, Si cor no [Page 228]strum non reprehenderit, nos fiduciam ha­bemus ad Deum. This is then the first at­tention, whereunto we must addict our minds in all emergencies of publike or peculiar calamities, to purge our soules by a faithfull perquisition of our lives past, and by a profound sorrow for all our faulty actions, or fraile omissions; we must first sue for the washing and cleansing of our hearts, before we pro­pose to God the wiping away the tears from our eyes; and in this order we may hope to attaine to that safe po­sture, wherein the Spouse proclaimes her security, Cant. 8.3. having Christs left hand under our head, and his right hand em­bracing us, that is, by S. Gregories ex­position, to have his left hand holding and sustaining our head, so as to pre­serve that from growing dizzie or con­fused in all the agitations and circum­volutions of this world, and his right hand embracing and cherishing our hearts, with the delicious promises of eternall rest and stability.

This is then the soundest advise I can present you, respecting your rea­dyest [Page 229]consolation, to intend primarily the casting out of every small mote out of that eye, (which our Saviour meaneth, when he saith, Luk 11.34. If it be simple the whole body shall be lightsome) before you sue for the casting off those beams, which may chance to lye heavier up­on your carnall eyes, then the other; for sensible afflictions doe commonly weigh more in our degenerated nature, then spirituall onerations; and yet there is truly so much difference be­tween these two burthens, as they who are discharged of the malignity of the last, feele little the gravity of the for­mer; and they who remaine charged with their sins, and have their suffer­ings sequestred upon their Petition, are to be feared as sunk into that depth of Gods displeasure, where they are nee­rer stupefaction then degravation; for it may be God taketh off his hand, in the sense he said to the Prophet Esay, Why should I strike you any more? Esay 5. This release is the unhappiest of all impositi­ons. Let none then account them­selves gratified by the relaxation of [Page 230]their sensible taxes, while they are conscious of any grosse immunditie, which the waters o [...] affliction have but run over, and not removed; for in that case, what is left is the misery, and what is taken off was the mercy mis­understood.

But though we ought not to recurre to Christs promise of ease and refecti­on, assigning it first to the redresse of our temporall grievances, yet subor­dinately we may hope for their allevi­ation. And certainly we shall finde, though not an immediate, yet a conse­quent deliverance from their incom­modities, for all weights are easie, or grievous, by the proportions of strength, and ability are found in the bearer, so that to adde such a degree of force and capacity as may make a great masse, an easie carriage may be truely said to be a lightning and dis­charging of the bearer. And in this manner, we are alwaies relaxed in our sufferings, when we are disburthend of our sins; for Christ gives alwayes upon our casting off our crimes, a proportion [Page 231]of strength, commensurate to that weight we are to beare in all sorts of tentations, so as being furnished with this ability, adequate to our charge, we may well be concluded eased, by this extenuation of our burthens; for being thus entred into Christs yoke, we finde that gentle, and our cariage very portable: God doth then give vertue, and vexation concomitantly as the Apostle affirmeth, God is faithfull, 1 Cor. 10.13who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but will make also with tempta­tion, issue, that you may be able to sustein. So that I may safely promise in Christs name, what he did to his Disciples, when they were entering into the lists of persecutions, that all these signs shal follow all those, who do intirely strip and devest themselves of the pressures and incumbrances of their conscience, They shall take serpents in their hands with­out offence,Mar. 16.27and though they drink poison it shall not hurt them, though they remain incircled with the thorns and stings of affliction, they shall not feele any noxi­ous sharpnesse, or asperity in them, and [Page 232]they shall drink of the cup of sorrow, without any aversion, or nauseous­nesse, but shall rather cheerfully pledge Christ in it, saying in conformi­ty to him, shall not we drink of the Cup which our Head hath given us? And this cup which the Psalmist calleth the Wine of compunction, shall then have a much better relish then that of Babylon, which we have eased our hearts of. For as the Holy spirit saith, Pro. 27.7. A soule that hunge­reth taketh all bitternesse for sweet, and such soules Christ calleth blessed in their hungering, and thirsting; and yours, after this pious motion, and exercise, in resorting to this call of Christ, and unloading themselves, of all their spirituall onerations, will cer­tainly get this good appetite, which our Saviour calls a blessed hunger, and shall be satisfied with present peace, and tranquility of spirit, and an hope­ful expectation in a future blessednesse. The sooner then, and the sharplyer we deplore our sinnes, the readier and greater deduction we make from all our other sorrows, according to the [Page 233]assertion of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 7.10.The sorrow that is according to God, worketh pennance unto salvation, that is stable. Upon which words S. Chrysostome saith excellent­ly, sorrow is given us not to grieve for any thing we cannot remedy, and so it is onely a receipt for the cure of sinne, for it augmenteth all other evills whereunto it is applyed, and recovereth us onely out of that extremest of all mischiefs. Therefore sorrow was onely made for sinne, out of which it was first extra­cted, and so like a moath corrodeth and consumeth the matter that produ­ced it. And this holy corrosive, is so powerfull, as it will eat away not onely all the dead flesh whereunto it is appli­ed, but even take out, and obliterate the foulest brands can have been im­pressed upon our hearts.

Therefore if any for feare of a little burning in the hand, in the heat of these times, hath chosen rather to stigmatize his heart with the marke of apostasie, let not even such a desperat character, doubt of an effaceing by the virtue of sincere contrition, for as soone as it is [Page 234]rightly applyed, the operation is un­questionable. Let not then any such, set Caines stamp upon this his first brand, for could Judas have applyed this corrosive, he needed not have used his cord to suppresse the noysome stenches of his conscience. This receipt would have broken his heart so happi­ly, as to have kept his bowells from bursting; for we know that a broken and contrite heart, repayres even all her owne breaches. If in these evill dayes then, there should be any that hath done worse then the disciple, that left his mantle, and fled naked to save himselfe, for if any to save their clothes, and coverings of convenien­cyes, should have left Christ, and have joyned with the party armed against him, yet even he is called by this voice of Come all ye that labour, to come back, and unload himselfe of this unfaithfull pusillanimity. No weight that sorrow can bring in, can be too much for him to take off who carieth all things by the power of his word, and whose mercy is above all his works, and con­sequently [Page 235]must needs be far above all ours. Wherefore Despaire seems mi­serably to vie against the superiority of Gods mercy; in this accursed dejecti­on there is this derogating contention, whereas faithfull sorrow hath alwayes an obliging confidence. He therefore that cannot find in his heart to give so much as sorrow towards the redemp­tion of his sinnes, ought not to expect so much as pitty even in their eternall vindication.

Wherefore in this particular pre­script of Consolation, I may aptly say with the Apostle, 2 Cor. 7.10 2 Cor. 2.Who is it can make me glad, but he that is made sorry by me? For the efficacy of all I can minister unto you, dependeth upon your orderly ap­plication of this godly sorrow for your sinnes, which may reconcile you to the man of sorrow, who under that notion, was the mediator between God offen­ded, and man condemned, and so ad­mitteth not even his owne merits to mediate peace between God, and man, after his offending him, without the intervention of this sorrow of man; [Page 236]so that this house is as much better then that of feasting, as reparation of a house is better then ruining, in so much, that though you have no other house left to put your heads in, this of penitence (which it may be the ruines of your other have built up for you) may prove such a receptacle of peace, and rest, (when your sinnes are rased, and demolished) as you shall confesse in comparing the change of houses, that Your bricks are fallen down, Esay 9.10.and you have built with square stones, and have by the hands of this holy contrition, converted your ruinous tenement into reedified temples, from whence all the devout fighes, are breathed up as an odour of perfume unto heaven; and as the fire which was to light the odours upon the table of Incense, was to be brought from the Altar of the bloody Sacrifices, so the incense of our prayers, and petitions must be kindled first by the ardency of our sorrow, and contri­tion for our sinnes, (which answer to the outward, and first Altar.) From thence the fire of all our zeale [Page 237]must be first taken, that is, all our peti­tions must take their rise from our pe­nitency, and when they are offered up in this order, they doe often impetrate more then they sollicite, for they ob­taine not onely spirituall acquiescence, but even temporall refreshments. We must remember then, that this holy sorrow is a kind of spirituall Baptisme, which is the first gate of the Church tri­umphant, through which all our re­quests must passe up to the altar; so that we shall doe well to set this in­scription of the Psalmist upon this por­tall of contrition, Psal. 117.20. Open ye the gates of justice to me, be­ing entred into them I will con­fesse to our Lord, this is the gate of our Lord, the just shall enter into it. Aperite mihi portas justitiae, ingressus in eas confitebor Domi­no, haec porta Domini, justi intrabunt in eam.

Besides the obligation of this me­thod which I have remonstrated to you, there is a satisfaction resulting thereout, which may be very agreea­ble to many, who may be tempted to perplex themselves in search and inve­stigation of the causes and irritations that have moved God to these severe examinations of you. For when you [Page 238]recollect your comportments in the former times of more serenity, if in the audit of your consciences, you finde these old debts of an abuse, and insen­siblenesse of that calme, you neede stu­dy no farther the matter of these me­teors, which was then exhaled out of the fatnesse of your earth. Let every one therefore turne over his owne re­cords, and consider respectively to his condition, what mundanities, what ri­ots & excesses some can charge them­selves withall; others with what ava­rice, worldly wisdome, and over tem­porizing they can impeach themselves; others of what indevotion, tepidity or scandall they can endict themselves; and they who find themselves standing convicted of these recusancies and in­conformities to the Laws and Statutes of Catholike Religion, let them not won­der to see these heavy fines set upon them; for even the lightest of these misdemeanours, deserveth a higher amercement then all your temporali­ties can be extended unto. And truly I am afraid, upon what I have heard of [Page 239]these latter times, of moderation and indulgence, that it may be too truly said as the Prophet Esay did, Esa. 26.15 Thou hast been fa­vourable to the Na­tion O Lord, thou hast been favourable to the Na­tion, wast thou glo­rified? in no unlike occasion, Indulsisti genti Domine, indul­sisti genti nunquid glorificatus es? And if you find your selves lyable to this im­peachment, you need enquire no far­ther for a cause of this judgement. It is a harder taske of the two, the giving a reason of Gods trusting you with this second mercy, as I may well term it, of paternall correction, after your having abused your first trust of the indulgence & benignity: so that while you examine your cōsciences, you may not only find a reason of your present afflictions, but that reason may disclose to you this secret, of their being such graces, as you wanted most. For surely if these infirmities, (which I may well call a spirituall scurvy) were growing upon you, ease, repose, and stilnesse would have much advanced this disease, and now this revolution, and exercise, (joyned with the grace of him that mi­nisters them) is very like to stay, and cure this surreptitious infirmity which [Page 240]creeps in likely into the softnesse and conveniency of life; and God knoweth when to work upon our nature with Simples, and Benedicta, (as Physitians say) and when to use Mineralls. And we find by experience, that this kind of steele is the proper key to this sort of obstructions and opilations in our minds, of slacknesse, desidiousnesse, and indevotion. Therefore you may well apprehend, the hardnesse of your pre­sent conditions to be ministred to you, as remedies of some indispositions, breeding by the softer qualities of o­ther times. I beseech you therefore to conceive your selves in a course of Physick, wherein nothing but your own ill diet can render it inefficacious, as I hope I have before competently re­monstrated unto you.

Upon these reflections I hope in God you wil confesse with the Psalmist, Lord thou hast not dealt with us according to our iniquities, Psal. 102.10. and not fall under the censure of S. Ambrose upon the persecu­ted Catholikes of his time, who com­plaines, that Vidi multos humiliatos, sed [Page 241]paucos humiles; that he had seen many humiliated, but few made humble. But we confidently trust of you better things, and neerer salvation, although we speak thus, and that you will re­solve with S. Paul, Phil. 1.19.That these things shall fall out unto your salvation, by the submini­stration of the spirit of Jesus Christ; and determining to rectifie all your former bendings and deflections from the straightnesse of your Religion, every one of you may make his Catholike Pro­testation,Phil. 1.20.Now Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death, acknowledging to God this great tole­ration, how that after your having been unfaithfull in the menaging of his indulgencies, he would be pleased to give you occasions, to redeeme that forfeited time, by a virtuous corre­spondency to his present designe upon you, in exhibiting patterns of constan­cy, longanimity, and fervour, in all your tentations, in order to the magni­fying of the grace of Christ, appropria­ted to the Catholike Church; to the do­ctrines whereof, you may peradventure [Page 242]sooner reconciliate your enemies, by your practicall vertues of Patience, meeknesse, and charity, then we by all our rationall evincements. These your Apostolicall traditions, of joy in tribulati­on, longanimity, suavity in the holy Ghost, sincere dilection of enemies, may work upon those, that are never so averse and repugnant to tradition. Therefore as I told you before, you were all be­come Priests in one respect, so now I may say to you, in this relation, you are now made Doctors to promulgate the Catholike Faith, by the perswasions of your uncontroverted virtues. For me thinks what S. Paul saith, in comparison between the speaking with tongues, and prophecying, may be not unfitly applyed to your practicall parts, and our speculative reasons towards the conversion of the unlearned, 1 Cor. 14.27. and unbe­leevers: For they who hearing the ar­guments of the Schoole, may be so uncapable of them, as they may ac­count them madnesse, when they see all you Catholikes humbly and cheer­fully accepting all your crosses, rejoy­cing [Page 243]in your prisons, singing Gods praises in the midst of the fornace, wherein not so much as the garments of your minds, your exteriour graci­ousnesse and composure are tainted by the flames, and that your zeal and cha­rity to your countrey and your enemies are onely the more inflamed, in this your fiery tryall; these evidences, whereof the illiterate are capable, may convince them so, as falling on their faces they may adore God, and not their private spirits, pronouncing that God is in you indeed.

This is truly that sort of practicall reason which S. 1 Pet. 3.15 Peter saith every one should have ready to satisfie those that aske a reason of that hope which is in you; not the arguing & fencing with that sword of the Spirit, which is so hard to weild, even for the strongest hands; and so we see, how unhappily the children of this age cut and wound themselves when they are so bold with it. You are not set by the providence of God, so dan­gerous a taske as to wrastle with all arguments may be set upon you, (the [Page 244] Church hath her proper champions for that exercise) your part is to exhibit demonstrations of the vertue of your faith, by the practices of the verities you receive from a sure hand, (your Catholike Mother the pillar and strength of truth:) That as the Prince of the Apo­stles adviseth his Disciples in your conditions, 1 Pet. 8.9. you may be all of one mind, lo­vers of fraternity, modest, humble, not ren­dring evill for evill, nor curse for curse; but contrariwise blessing, that in that which they speak ill of you, they may be confounded which calumniate your good conversation in CHRIST. This practical part of your Religion is that which falls within eve­ry one of your capacities; this is the good fight you are to fight, wherein you are not disarmed by being mana­cled. For me thinks I may say as Seneca did of Seaevola, That he was happyer in suffering, then he could have been in acting; as it is a more admirable thing to overcome an enemy by suffering the losse of our hand, then by that of stri­king with it. So this your suffering e­state may prove more successefull to [Page 245]you then that desperate design of some few acting many years agoe, which no good English Catholikes doe justifie; for by your patience and equanimity, cha­rity for your Countrey, in all your los­ses and sufferances, you may perhaps overcome, that is, sweeten and miti­gate the fiercenesse of your enemies, by the most admirable, and most Chri­stian way that can be projected. And thus proving your selves innocent of those combustions wherewith you are charged, you may become holy incen­diaries of true zeale and charity in your Country, by these virtues shining and flaming in your sufferances.

In the close of this proposition to you, I must recall to your memorie, that as by these evidences of your so­lid virtue you may adorne the doctrine of our Saviour God in all things, so there is no accesse unto these holy dispositi­ons, but through the entry whereunto I have directed you, of humble, and sincere sorrow, and contrition for your sins, whereof I shall not now need to inlarge any advises, since it is a subject [Page 246]well handled by every body, though the precepts are seldome well obser­ved, even with the help of affliction to enforce them. Therefore I must close up this point, presenting you with part of the three childrens prayer, upon the occasion of their tryall in Babylon, which may be apposite in many cir­cumstances to your conditions, in re­gard of the terrours and comminations you are now exposed unto, Dan. 3. Because O Lord we are diminished more then all nati­ons, and are abused in all the land this day for our sinnes, and there is not at this time nor sacrifice nor oblation, that we may find thy mercy, but in a contrite mind, and spirit of humility let us be received, so let our sacrifice be made in thy sight this day, that is may please thee.

CHAP. X. Instructions in the duties of fraternall dilection.

SUpposing you now purified by this Christian ablution of sincere peni­tence, having had, as the Apostle saith, your hearts aspersed with this cleansing water, I will lead you to the Altar of Christ, to make your oblation of Chari­ty to your brethren, as well as to those who are but your half brothers, being of a diverse mother, as to those who have their uterine fraternity with you, as children of the Catholike Church. And because there are two principall articles of your present examination, your behaviour concerning the dome­stikes of faith, and your discharge of the duties of your faith, relating to the aliens of Israel, I conceive it very per­tinent to my subject, the endeavouring by the grace of God, to present you [Page 248]some brief animadversions in these two Christian offices; and your present conditions, facilitate your compliance with the first, as they bring impedi­ments to the correspondency with the later of them; for the association in sufferings, conducteth to the straight­ning of the bands of Charity, between persons thus combined; but the pres­sures of afflictions doe naturally loosen and relax our minds, in those tyes, whereby Religion conjoyneth our Charity to our enemies; so that this un­fortified part of our nature, requireth a strong guard of Grace to defend it, against our spirituall enemy, when he stormeth it by the injuries of our owne brothers, and headeth his fiery darts, with the asperity of our owne former friends. When the great Maligner of our nature, bringeth in such enemies for the imbraces of our charity, we had need have our brests well stored with those flames which many waters cannot extinguish, when streames even of our owne blood, Cant. 8. are thus powred out in enmities upon them; and it re­quires [Page 249]surely much of that love, which is stronger then death, to return love to that animosity against us, which is so much stronger then nature in friends, and brothers. In this case, it must needs be specially requisite, that you who are thus assayled, by these most powerfull temptations, should be furnished with the armour of God, Ephes. 6. for no lesse then the shield of the Catholike Faith, to which is coupled the helmet of salvation, can be of proofe against these fiery darts, where­of there are now vollyes flying against you.

As touching the first of these two dutyes, I may say as Saint Paul saith to the Thessalonians in the like occasion, concerning the charity of the fraterni­ty, We have no need to write to you, 1 Thes. 4.9for your selves have learned of God to love one ano­ther. The remisnesse of our vitiated nature in this precept, is commonly quickned, and invigorated by the same degrees, that a common persecution is strained upon us; wherefore I may trust even Vox populi, in these times to [Page 250]preach fervour to you in this practice. It will be then more requisite for me, to insist upon what the Apostle procee­deth to recommend in the same place, That you walk honestly towards them that are without. I shall then onely stay to set up some few lights before the shrine of this sort of Charity, referred to your friends, and fellow citizens of the Saints, Eph. 2.16. and domestikes of God, and proceed to the saying of the office more amply of the other part of Cha­rity, the dilection of enemies. But in­deed both these duties are but divers branches, which have a continuity and unity in the same shaft, before they part, and break themselves into these two severall armes, of acting for friends, and affecting of enemies, and so we cannot touch the one, without some report, and relation to the other. For these two exercises, are but lower and higher boughes, growing upon the same shaft of the charity of God powred forth in our hearts by the holy Ghost which is given us.

Heaven is the orbe of mans joy, and [Page 251]earth the element of his misery, and love is both the conveyance of man to heaven, and the consummation of his joy there; and the holy Ghost contri­veth the raising of this our conducting love, very often, out of our consortings in the miseries of this life; for society in suffering here, exalts mutuall love, as communion in joyes, there, doth heighten reciprocall charity, which is some accession to the blisse of heaven. And in order to this, we see that the bleeding of the mysticall body of Christ, hath alwaies offered a kinde of spirituall cement to unite and compact the parts thereof. Whereupon the holy Ghost, who hath this commission to produce an union in the mysticall body of Christ, John 17.21, 23. resembling that of the Blessed Trinity, (whereof he is the union) as he performeth this effectively by love, so he raiseth this love very often instru­mentally by persecution. For we know in those times, when opposition to this tender body was most fierce, this union was so firme, and indissolu­ble, as the holy Spirit seemeth to glory [Page 252]in this operation, as having wrought this similitude of unity so perfectly, as he pronounceth The multitude of belee­vers to have had one heart,Act. 4.32.and one soule; so that here was that similitude accom­plished in them, which Christ asked thus of his Father, for the beleevers in him, Job. 17.22 that They may be one as we also are one. For this seemeth a good resem­blance of that union is in the Blessed Trinity, wherein there is distinction of Persons, and unity of Essence, since here, the multitude consisting of divers per­sons, were all one heart, and one soule. This simplicity, and unanimity slakned, even in those times, by the same de­grees that the pressures which lay upon this arch of the Church, were lightned, and removed. But in all times we finde that a common persecution hath in some measure straitened and com­bined the minds consorted in that band of Religion, which is the cause of their pressure, and gravation. So as we can­not doubt but these times have in a good proportion closed, and compa­cted more your hearts in a mutuall [Page 253]zeal, and charity towards one another; which unity of spirit is very sutable with the uniformity of your Religion, and no violence can suppresse a free exercise of this act thereof. And as this sort of communication to one ano­thers necessities, is a means left you still to exercise your charities, so I hope in God, you are very faithfull, and active in this commerce with one ano­ther, and that both sorts drive a greater trade of charity in your severall facul­ties then ever.

Those who have beene in the office of giving materiall almes, doe now I hope endeavour to compensate the losses of the poore, Pro. 19.17 He lend­eth to our Lord that hath mer­cy on the poore, and he will re­pay him the like. who are Gods re­ceivers, by proving themselves, the devouter, and better beggers of God, releefe for the common distresses, and they who have received much from others upon Gods tickets, do I hope now bring them in to God more fervently then ever, showing him what they have received upon his account, and so may be earnest solicitors, for the payment of that Interest, which they [Page 254]doe witnesse to be due upon this con­tract of the holy Spirit, Faeneratur Domi­no quí miseretur pauperi, & vicissitudinem suam reddet ei; and thus both parties, may still commerce for their severall accommodations, those who have beene Gods creditors, in the sense a­foresaid, may seeme more sensible of the suspension of this quality, then of their personall deprivements, and may most zealously intercede for the sup­plying of that office by some other means; and those who are miserably distituted now by the obstruction of this conduit of reliefe, may be so gratefully zealous, as to intend more the bringing into God the accounts due to such ministers of his, as stand now suspended, then their owne pri­vate suppeditations, and both shall by this means, hold their proper parts in this consort of charity, the one shall forget their good works before God, and the other shall remember him of them.

Thus spirituall good works, may still multiply among you, while the [Page 255]one part of you sorroweth most for the intermission of the practicall mi­nistry of them, and the other feeleth more their religious gratitude to their distressed benefactors, then their pri­vate grievances. And this kinde of weeping, in your widowes, and shew­ing the coats and garments which the Dorcases were wont to make them, Act. 9.59. who are now dead to that function, is one of the likelyest meanes to obtaine their resuscitation, and re-instating in that condition. For as the Wiseman saith, It is an ea­sie thing for God to accommo­date the poore. James 5.11. Facile est Dec honestare pauperem, and the Apostle S. James proposeth Jobs tempo­rall resurrection and restauration as an object of comfort to faithful expecters of Gods time; and therefore these two duties faithfully performed by both your conditions, may make the highest poverty amongst you abound unto the riches of simplicity, the which may also intercede so powerfully for the other part, as it may prove such an Angelicall mediation as is spoken of in Job, Job 33.23.If there shall be an Angel speaking for him, one of thousands to declare mans equi­ty, [Page 256]he shall have mercy on him, and shall say, Deliver him, that he descend not into corruption, I have found wherein I may be propitious to him; the voyce of the poore, bringing in these testimonies of their former equities for your Jobs, (whom their friends doe not know sitting in the ashes of their consumed fortunes) these I say that have not made the eyes of the widdow expect, nor have eaten their morsell alone, such bills and evidences brought in to Christ, as debts wherewith he hath charged his per­son, may perhaps procure Jobs latter daies, for such who have passed thorough his first estate, and are now sitting in his second translation. But in all cases, these notes of the hands of the poore shall be sure assignments for that better and permanent substance which the Apostle saith is their inheri­tance, Heb. 10. of those who have susteined a great fight of passions, and have had compassion on them that were in bonds, and have taken the spoile of their goods with joy. For which rea­son this mutuall commerce of spiritu­all [Page 257]charity, is that I now recommend unto you, for the exercise of fraternall dilection; that while you cannot turnish the Altar without the veyle, with the fat of your flocks, you may the more largely serve the table of Incense, with these odours of internall cha­rity.

What I have said in way of direction to these interiour acts of charity, is to extenuate the paines of those Tobi­asses, who it may be are now reduced, from being almoners to be their owne almes-men, having scarce left for their support that which was heretofore their waste, that ran over, and fed their brothers. But I doe not intend this as a dispensation to any, who have yet any thing left which they may pru­dently deny themselves, in contributi­on to the releife of such, who have no portion of subsistance. For now every one should square his mind, by the new modell of these times, and the same clay that the potter hath beene pleased to turn from a larger into a lesser vessell, must attend to his present [Page 258]forme, and not reflect upon his other measure, and designe his charity upon his proportion of selfe-denyall, not up­on his present possessions, estimated with the requisites of his former condi­tion: & thus, every one should now be the best husband of the state of pover­ty, to improve that to the highest rent of merit it may be raised unto, which is to be done by straining somwhat, even upon their incommodities, to minister to the more pressing necessities; so that every one should now tax their owne state of suffering, with some voluntary imposition, laying upon it the privati­on of some part of what is remaining in their power, offering it up to the common necessity; and thus every crumme, given out of your owne crums, will be no lesse a Pacifike offe­ring, then heretofore your whole cakes of fine floure covered with oyle, which were then (it may be) the crums of your tables; and by this ingenious way of manageing the fortune of poverty, you may make out of it, the complete benefit of all your former fortunes, [Page 259]for thus, you give still all you ever had to dispose of. For you prove mani­festly, that you would still distribute what you had done formerly, when you give what you cannot well spare. So that before God you appeare offe­ring more then ever, when you must rob your nature to be able to give any thing. And thus you exercise two singular virtues in one act, Charity, and mortification; and if almes and fasting in their owne nature, are so accepta­ble to God, how much must they be endeared, by this supererogatory cir­cumstance, when we are faine to im­pose fasting on our selves to raise almes for others? I humbly therefore recommend this excellent oeconomy to all such, as have yet a stock capable of this improvement. And though this may seeme somwhat asperous to nature, to presse her thornes farther into her, yet this may be sweetned, when it is considered, that we are members of that head, who trod much harder upon all the thorns he felt then was precisely requisite; when we pon­der, [Page 260]how he that was richer then we can conceive, made himselfe poore, that by his poverty we might be rich, can it seeme rigorous, when we are involun­tarily made poore, willingly to make our selves a little poorer, that by this our poverty he may be somwhat more accommodated? For we know, the nakednesse we cover, and the hunger we stay, never so little, is all referred to his solacing; and he tasts much better a little that we take out of our owne mouthes, to give him, then much more of the leavings of our satiety. Every cup of cold water taken from our own thirst, and given to his, is turned into the best wine of the feast, by another manner, then that of Cana, for here Christs receiving it, maketh the conver­sion, and every one shall see this kind of Charity, acknowledged in that best species, wherein Christ shall owne the having received his refreshment.

Upon this reflection, let none omit this conjuncture of acquiring that me­rit, with a little, which in the fulnesse of his fortune he could not have had [Page 261]for a great deale more; for to suffer himselfe, in the act of giving to others, in other times of plenty, would have cost him much more, and no circumstance can more enrich pra­cticall charity, then an intermixture in it of our proper patiency, or self-di­stressing and incommodation. Wee know Christs judgement upon the Widdows donative, given out of the abundance of her heart, and the penury of her substance; and Gods remunera­tion to the Widdow of Sarepta, who did not consult her owne wants, when the Prophet stood in need of part of her substance; and we may from hence de­rive a good inference, for the esteeme of this sort of charity, wherein acting and suffering are conjoyned, since God was pleased to be served by it, for the reliefe of his dearest friend upon earth, Elias, rather then to imploy still his owne immediate hand, in the first mi­racle of feeding him in the torrent of Carith. 2 King. 3.17. For God could have furnished water there still, as easily as bread and flesh before the torrent was dryed, [Page 262]therefore he seemed to have transpor­ted Elias expresly, to give an occasion for the acting of this disposition in the Widdow of Sarepta, as thinking this virtue worthy the sharing with the miracle of his preserving the Prophet, and so he joyned his reward of this charity, in commission with his love to Elias, making the charitable Widdow partner in the benefit of this second miracle, of multiplying the floure and the oyle for both their sustenances. So as we may say, Gods love seemed e­qually divided here, between this cha­rity of the widdows heart, and the ad­mirable sanctity of the Prophet.

May I not then safely recommend to you this way, of making the best of your estate of sufferings, by retrench­ing somewhat that is left in your po­wer, to offer still to God upon his Al­tars, of your more distressed brothers? And these cares of corne offered up as first fruits, even out of the gleanings you now live upon, will certainly have the vertue of that grain of wheat, which falling into the earth bringeth [Page 263]forth very much fruit; for though I cannot make you the promise which Elias did to the Widdow, yet I may assure you as S. Paul did this kind of fidelity, Heb. 6.10. God is not unjust that he should forget your worke and love which you have shewed in his name, which have ministred unto the Saints, and doe minister. Let eve­ry one then that hath any competent stock left whereon to make this assesse­ment, lay some little tax upon it, to­ward the succor of the common indi­gency. You have models before you of weekly meales, upon worse occasi­ons, and this surcharge of incommo­dity rated by your own will hath most affinity with the dispositions of Christ, who indured because he would have it so, as the Apostle saith, Oblatus est quia ipse voluit; So that I may fitly say as Saint Paul did to the Corinthians in this same perswasion, 2 Cor. 8. I speak not as comman­ding, for it may be this solicitude is without the obligatory precept of charity, therefore as he saith in this point, I give councell. 2 Cor. 10. [...] For this is pro­fitable for you who have begun not [Page 264]onely to doe, but to be willing; where­by it may be inferd, that the willing­nesse in this act of charity, over-prizeth the materiall value of it; wherefore a little now taken by your owne wills, even from your necessities, to give to other greater exigencies, out valueth a great deale overflowing from your former replenishments.

I beseech you then hearken to this advise of the Apostle of growing rich in good workes, 1 Tim. 6.9. for your present conditi­ons doe not disable you, since the a­batements in weight are made up in the species of your charities, which are all refined gold, when they are thus drawn out of the fire of your necessi­ties, and so you may now make with a little, as much friendship towards your being received into the eternall Taber­nacles, as when you had more of the Mammon of iniquity to make a greater number of friends. And thus while you are freed from all the temptati­ons of riches, you are possessed of their greatest advantages. Old Tobyas saw this light in all his darknesse, and [Page 265]poverty, Toby. 4.8. when hee counselled his sonne, As thou shalt be able, so be merci­full, if thou have much, give abundantly, if thou have little, study to impart also a little willingly, for thou dost treasure up to thy selfe a good reward in the day of ne­cessity. And they who thinke seriously on that great day of necessity, will thinke little of their momentany in­commodities, but in contemplation of providing their part in that day, will easily offer with Saint Peter, John 13. not only their feet, but even their hands, and their heads to the will of their master; they will not onely disperse faithfully what they can spare conveniently, but also deny their owne wants somewhat of their demands, to supply greater necessities which call to them in the person of one much worthyer then themselves, one from whom they have received themselves, and from whom they expect himselfe for retribution; O, how blessed a thing is charity, that hath no lesse then God for the subject it worketh upon in time; and no lesse then the becoming like God for the salary in eternity!

CHAP. XI. Of the dilection of enemies.

THis last tincture whereinto we have now infused the minde, is ve­ry neere the colour of the more perfect dye of Charity, ingrained in the love of enemies. For this disposition exerci­seth it selfe upon our friends, in a re­spect, wherein they have sometincture of enemies; as th [...]irs, when the acting of our charity requireth such a cros­sing and offending our selves as to strain our owne sufferings upon our selves. Then our fellow sufferers, who demand this selfe-distressing, are in this regard adversaries to our na­ture, that repugneth against incommo­dity, whereby our friends in this case, may be said to be proposed to our love with some colour of enemies upon them. So that they who overcome their nature, in this aversnesse to offend, [Page 267]or incommodate themselves, in pre­ference of the ease of their fellowes, are well advanced towards the loving of such direct enemies, as doe violently impose sufferings and prejudices up­on them. For they are already half way, being arrived at the loving them, who are the occasion of some suffe­rings, and inconveniences unto them, and so the other moiety is the easilyer reached, which is but the loving all that contribute to their injuries, and offences.

And such, who are thus rectified in the sense of the matter of sufferings, are well prepared to advantage them­selves by all the manners of them; for having their senses exercised, as the Apostle saith, in the discernment of good and evill, they will facilely accommo­date themselves to the measure of evills, whereby they are to be exerci­sed, being perswaded that the propor­tions of spirituall goods, are raised to them by the same degrees, that the difficulties of their performances are heightned against them; so when they [Page 268]are to straine their charity up to the love of all enemies, and maligners, they doe not deliberate so much upon the pleadings, and redargutions of their nature in this case, but resolve upon the expresse precept of the author, and Judge of nature, who maketh this love of enemies, a necessary concomitancy with all our good offices to friends, to form that complete summe of Charity, which we are to account to him, wee owe our redemption, paid in this species of Charity to enemies; and if even when we were his enemies Christ reconciled us to God by his dying for us, Rom. 5.10. we may well be reconciled to this kinde of love, to which we owe our eternall life.

Considering then our obligation to this sort of love, we may say, our un­complyance with the love of enemies, falls under the same vice as our un­worthinesse to friends; for it must needs be an high ingratitude, not to corre­spond with that quality, whereunto we owe our redemption, which is the love of enemies; and it was not severi­ty, [Page 269]but even excessive charity to us, that imposed this love upon us, for it was ordained by Christ rather to assimi­late us to himselfe, then to sentence us to a penalty. And to cleare this point to us, he hath set this love under such a relation, as may justly make it agreea­ble, even to our nature, our enemies being proposed to us as fellow-mem­bers of his body, for it is under that no­tion, he enjoyneth us the loving them, not in the respect of their being ene­mies.

So that when our reason examineth this injunction, we may finde, that this excellent virtue hath not so much as an ill aspect, to avert us from it. For when we look upon Man as the image of God on the one side, or as the copie of Christ on the other, either of these sides of the medall, are lovely objects in Christians, who have this double sig­nature of God upon them, and so can­not be prospects of aversion on either of their sides, for this colour of ene­mies, is but as it were an over-lay of colly upon a statue, which doth not al­ter [Page 270]the forme, and this ill colouring is cast upon the figure of man, by the hand of the enemy of his nature; the which foule cover we are not required to love, for as men offend and injure one another, they are the devils en­gins in that respect, not Gods images, and therefore simply as enemies they are not presented to our love, for so they are ills, which God cannot re­commend to us, but the vitiating of our nature doth not efface the character of God in it, and that is the object of our love in all men. So what we are obli­ged to love, hath the impression of good, and amiable upon it, if our passi­on doe not stay upon the superficiall deformity, appearing in our enemies, which exteriour supervesture is the de­vils artifice, not the work of God; therefore our minds looking upward to God, pierce this veyle of private in­juries, and look through it either on the image of God, or upon the figure of Jesus Christ, in which they see the in­juries they themselves have done him born with love; and moreover, they [Page 271]find this charity of suffering patiently the same provocations reflecting to them a new love from Christ; And thus there remaines nothing unlovely in his view of enemies.

After all these considerations, how deplorable is it, that there are so many Christians, of whom we may say in the point of this precept of loving enemies, as the Apostle saith of the Jewes, in re­spect of the Gospel unto this present day, when this commandement is read, 2 Cor. 3.14.a veile is put upon their hearts, for a great part of Christians are as studious to find eva­sions out of the unpleasing sense of this precept, as the Scribes and Doctors of the Law were unfaithfull in the expli­cation of the commandement of lo­ving our neighbours as our selves, and out of which this position of Christ is naturally deduceable. And yet the de­praved natures of the Scribes, would ex­tend the love designed by God to all his images, no farther then the twelve Tribes; nay within this circle they made a second circumscription of their loves within the tormes of mutuall friend­ship, [Page 272]teaching that their loves were not obliged to goe further, then to a correspondency to them that affected them, and against others that provoke their passions, they let them loose upon them; in this prevaricating sense of Gods commandement, Mat. 5.4. our Saviour we know found the people, when he reproacheth them the being mis-led by this license apprehended, of hating their enemies; wherein he rectifieth them, commanding them in ex­presse termes to love their enemies, and to doe good to those that hate them.

Therefore Christians, who have not this latitude of the term of Neighbour, to shift senses in, (being positively restrained, and coupled as it were in this bond of love with enemies, by a formall command of their Law-gi­ver.) Since the subject whereon they are to act this charity cannot be mi­staken, are very studious, to mitigate to their vitious nature, the displeasing part of this order, by restraining this love in the proportions, whereof, they [Page 273]cannot dispute the adjudgment to the persons, and therefore many are very inquisitive in the kind, and the quantity of love assigned unto enemies; so as now a dayes they, who are as willing to justifie themselves as the Lawyer in the Gospell, Luk. 10.30 and cannot aske the Church this question, who are we to love? since the case is so plainly ruled, as the very Samaritans are not excluded, now they put her this case, how much are we to love our enemies, and what ex­teriour testimonies are we obliged to render of our Charity?

The rule of forgiving enemies, is so much exempted from dispute among Christians, as they dare not claime of God any discharge of their sinnes, but by the measures of their own compli­ances in this duty. Our Lords Prayer, hath set this condition upon all our petitions for mercy, to aske our recon­ciliation to him only in the same de­grees we are conformable to this or­der, of our releasing the debts of our offenders. You then who sue to God still in the Lords Prayer, cannot be un­disciplined [Page 274]in the precisenesse of this duty of forgiving enemies. Those who make little use of this forme of prayer, may have more excuse for their pretermitting this observance, and so are likely to give you the more occa­sion to remember this duty, wherein your faithfull discharge will provide you a better condition, then any have that are so truly unhappy, as to fur­nish you with the matter of this excel­lent practice, wherein these times af­ford you the means of exercifing this fidelity in the suptemest degree, which is in the forgiving of friends, and kin­dred. And in this case holy King Da­vid testifieth the difficulty, and conse­quently meritoriousnesse of the act, when he faith, If myenemy had spoken ill of me I would verily have born it, but when his guide, and his familiar was the tempation, he professeth, that was the greatest stresse of weather his cha­rity could be put to steere her course in: and as this case was figurative in David, so we know it was accomplished by Christ upon the provocation of the [Page 275]man typified in the Psalmes, in these words, Of him who had walked in the house of God with consent, and how did Christ behave himselfe to this man? He re­ceived him with a strange benignity, treating him still with the termes of familiarity, and love, Mat. 26. Friend wherefore art thou come? Amice ad quid venisti? That even under that notion of a perfidious friend, which is the most demeriting irritation of our nature, he might exhibit to us a pat­tern of this perfection, of forgiving injuries.

But alas! too many are proner to follow David after the letter in this case, then the Sonne of David after the Spirit, and apter to take these words from Davids mouth, Psal. 4.16. Let death come upon them, and let them get downe quick into hell, then to draw their copie from Christs mouth, of meeting with a kisse, and receiving Judas with Friend, Where­fore art thou come? Whereupon it will not be alien from our subject, to cleare David of those suspitions of animosity, of which he may be indicted upon the letter of his expressions in this and di­vers [Page 276]other encounters with his ene­mies. For in this case, the blind and the lame doe often resort to this City of David to take sanctuary in his prece­dent, for many intemperate asperities in these occasions.

Wherefore to vindicate David in these imputations, we must understand all the literall imprecations we meet in his mouth, in one of these three man­ners: First, that his maledictions in some places are by way of prediction of what shall happen to his enemies, not in order of his prosecution against them, Psal. 9.18. as when he saith, Let sinners be turned into hell, here he denounceth as a Prophet that sinners shall have this judgement, and doth not solicite this sentence against them, upon his pro­vocations. In a second manner, they may be conceived as wishes, but so as the desire is not referred to the paine of the persons, but to the justice of the punisher; Psa. 57.11 as when he saith, The just shall rejoyce when he shall see revenge, he shall wash his hands in the blood of a sinner; this appetency of revenge is in order [Page 277]simply to the honour of Gods justice, for God himselfe doth not delight in the destruction of the wicked, but in the exercise of his justice; Or in a third sense, these wishes and optatives of evills may be assigned, and directed to the removing, and suppressing of the crimes only, that the persons may be preserved, and the faults abo­lished.

In one of these three senses, all Da­vids vehement insectations of sinners are to be accepted, and none of them afford any patronage of personall ma­levolence, or animosity against ene­mies; not under the pretence even of fighting under Gods Colours, and woun­ding them in this quarrell; For David being sincerely comprehended, sug­gesteth to us no countenance of any private malignity. Saint Augustine, (unto some who it seemeth sought to extenuate the foulnesse of those sinnes in themselves, wherein they had truly Davids precedent) answereth, that they who are bold to sinne, because David did, doe that which David did [Page 278]not, that is, sin by precedent, or seek to palliate his offence by example. I may then well say, that they doe much more perversly, that wrest, and bend David into a patronage of any rancour, or virulency to his ene­mies; for they must be guilty of tradu­cing him, as wel as of transgressing the precept, when they, upon misconstru­ction vouch his authority for this li­cence of maligning enemies. I shall request then every one in all their de­sires, or prayers, respecting their ene­mies, to follow this unquestionable precedent of David in Non nobis, Psa. 113.9. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glo­ry.Domi­ne, non nobis, sed nomini tuo [...]a gloriam, and so you may glorifie God as well in your suffering charitably under your enemies, as in executing Gods judge­ment upon his enemies, when that shall be ordainded you, as the active part of your militancy for him.

Having given you this key to all the Psalmists imprecations, (which may be said to be the harder ciphers, the plainer they seeme in the letter and al­phabet of ordinary curses and maledi­ctions) [Page 279]I will cast back upon the two queres, which may perplex many well affected sufferers, which are, What de­grees of interior love we are obliged to afford our enemies? Secondly, what actuall evi­dences we are bound to exhibit of this charity?

To give a solution to the first que­stion, we may consider our love to ene­mies in three respects; the first is, as they are simply enemies, and we are not called to love them in this regard, for this were rather repugnant then consonant to charity, to love any thing in that respect wherein it is an evill, which the enmity it selfe of our ene­mies alwayes may be reputed. The second notion under which we may contemplate them, is, in the nature of men, images of God, or members of Christ, and in this consideration, we are bound in pain of the breach of charity, to love all our enemies, and to serve them with all the offices that appertain to this ac­ception of them, that is, not to exclude our enemies out of those benevolences spirituall or temporall, we afford to the [Page 280]generall of our neighbours. The third maner may be, to consider enemies in this respect, of being moved with a particular affection to them, to such a degree as in reference to the love we owe God, we attaine to surmount and overcome the aversion of our nature, and to be touched with a sensible kind­nesse even to our adversaries.

This excellent degree of charity is rather of perfection then of expresse obligation; thus much is onely of ne­cessity required, that we prepare our minds, in case our enemies ne­cessity should demand such an ex­pression of our love, to render them this testimony of it. But the actuall conferring of this kind of love upon an enemy, for Gods sake, without the point of this necessity, belongeth to perfection, not precisely to the precept of Charity. What wee are then absolutely bound unto in the behalfe of our enemies, is, to remit en­tirely all their offences, and violations of us, never to pursue any reprisall or retaliation upon them, in reference to [Page 281]our offences, and to comprise them in all our generall charities distributed to our brethren, either in spirituall suc­cours, or materiall supplyes, so as not to exclude any never so ill affected to us, not so much as by our wishes, out of any common benefit, which we di­spense to our brethren, either in alms, or in any other accommodations whatsoever. These are the bands we are engaged in to our enemies by pre­cept, which relateth to the interiour disposition of our minds to wards them; and so resolveth the first demand.

The second concerning what exte­riour ministeries we are obliged to af­ford our enemies, is partly determined in this discussion of the first. But for more elucidation, we may proceed to deliver it to your further explicated. The particular benefits, and kindnesses then, with which we pleasure friends, as all sorts of solaces, and gratificati­ons, which are the commerces of friendship, are not due to enemies, but in cases where their necessities and ex­igences require such correspondencies; [Page 282]as when our enemy hungreth or thirst­eth, then the feeding and refreshing him is obligatory; and this rule hold­eth in all other distresses of our ene­mies, consisting with the charity wee owe our selves. But beyond these ca­ses of necessity, to straine the course of charity to pleasure, and accommodate our enemies, is passing into the upper region of perfection, which indeed is truly evangelicall. The other, in respect of this, may be termed but legall per­formances, remaining in the infirm and barren element of absolute obligation; for the bare defiring not to be over­come by evill, savoureth somewhat of the apprehending Christ but as anste­rus home, Luke 19.12. An austere man. and proposing to bring in as much onely as will just serve for a dis­charge; but the industry to overcome evill with good, Loved much. relisheth much of the fervent Magdalens Multùm dilexit; and the forgivenesse of many of our inju­ries to God is assigned thereunto. 1 Pet. 4.8. Charity covereth the multi­tude of sinnes. For in this exercise of it we may justly say, Charitas operit multitudinem pecato­rum.

[Page 283]Having shewed you the measure of the Sanctuary, which you are obliged to compleat, I doe not meane to counte­nance the giving no corollary, or sur­plus, but rather to solicite you all to presse downe the measure, and give it running over into the bosomes of your enemies, for in the same measure, the charity of God poured forth into your hearts by the holy Ghost, shall be mea­ted to you. This spirituall Manna of charity differeth much from the mate­riall, in these properties, that if we doe not fill our Gomer, what we have gathe­red of it is so far from becomming our just proportion, as all we have provi­ded, corrupteth and putrifieth, and all we lay in above the precepted measure multiplyeth and bettereth all our pro­vision. For if we render any lesse then our precise obligation in this duty, all we present is of no acceptation, and what we offer above our debt, aug­menteth and sanctifieth all the rest.

Whereupon I must beseech you to remember, that the love of enemies is not performed after the manner of ga­thering [Page 284] Manna in the Law, but after that, of managing the talent in the Go­spel. For it doth not hold in this cha­rity, 2 Cor. 8.15 that he who hath much aboundeth not, and he that hath little wanteth not, but this other rule is verified herein, that to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound, and from him that hath not, that also which he hath shall be taken from him, since any deficien­cy in the precepted part of this charity, which I have delivered you, invali­dates all the rest of our performances. The least graine of malice to any one enemy, voideth all our acquittances in this obligation; and every graine of love given above measure, proveth an increase of our stock, 1 Cor. 13.7 Heb 6.9. We confi­dently trust of you my best belo­ved better things, and neerer to salvation, although we speak thus. as it is seed of new grace, which is the root of that excellent charity which suffereth all, be­leeveth all, hopeth all, and sustaineth all.

Whereupon in order to that charity I owe you, I will put on S. Pauls con­fidence of his Countrymen, and say, Confidimus de vobis dilectissimi meliora, & viciniora saluti tametsi ita loquimur. I will beleeve that you doe play the [Page 285]good husbands in that stock you have now in your hands, of not onely forgi­ving, but loving enemies. For the ru­ines of your houses, and the destroying of your woods, afford you matter to make these coaies of charity, which I hope you heap upon the heads of your enemies, in continuall prayers for their resipiscency, and in a preparative di­sposure of your minds, to render good for evill to the extent of your abilities, unto all their occasions.

These are the coales of fire, the Apostle saith we should cast upon the heads of our enemies, Rom. 13.1 not in order to the aggravation of their faults, as some understand it, but referred sincerely to the kindling of their charity to God, and us. And this vertue blazing among you, is the most probable way to ex­tinguish the flame of your persecution; for this ardent Charity may by the mer­cy of God fire your neighbours hou­ses; and if the love of enemies take hold of them, you will partake of the operation of this vertue. And thus you may convince them of your undeser­ving [Page 286]the name of enemies, by doing them the offices of friends, in this cummunicating to them so excellent a vertue as charity to enemies; and while you thus benefit your selves, by your oppressions, if you infect your adver­saries with Charity, you may introduce into the nation, the good husbanding also of prosperity, which oeconomy hath been little practised hitherto in all her secular advantages.

For alas! how truly may it be ap­plyed to our nation what God reproa­cheth by the Prophet Esay, Isa. 57 12 Because I am hold­ing my peace, and as it were not seeing and thou haft for­gotten me.Quia ego ta­cens, & quasi non videns, & mei oblita es. Wherefore it will be an enterprise worthy your religion, to endeavour by the fervour of your Charities, to satisfie in some degree for the oblivions of your brethren; and thus in honour of the Catholike doctrin of Satisfaction; you may render it beneficiall even to the enemies thereof, while your abun­dance of Charity in this present time supplieth their want, your virtues de­figning to appease God, 2 Cor. 8. as much as you feare their violences may incense him [Page 287]against the nation. So that if one part be liable to the exprobration of the Prophet, in forgetting God by the abuse of prosperity, the other may have this claime of the Psalmist to intercede for both, At the voice of the upbraider, Psal. 43.17, 18.and the reproacher, at the face of the enemie, and persecutor, all these things have come upon us, neither have we forgotten thee, and our heart hath not revolted back­ward.

When we find our loves then start­ing, or flying backward in the incoun­ters of our enemies, let us remember this military discipline and rule, That there is lesse danger in fighting, then in flying; for very often wee overcome evill, by contending with good against it; and when we fly to evill, to bring that into the field against our enemies, though we master a Forreigne, we raise a Domestique enemy, which is the more desperate mischiefe; for even the successe of revenge kindleth those passions in our hearts, which demand [...] lesse their slavery for their pay, ma­lice, anger, and intemperancy, remain­ing [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 288]instead of auxiliaries to our enmity, owners of our hearts.

So that though it were in your po­wer to overcome vice by vice, it were both the nobler and the safer way to vanquish it by vertue, and to imploy rather love, which is sure to be faith­ful, and to preserve an intrinsike peace, then to trust hatred, which is very un­certaine of any successe in offending o­thers, and alwayes sure of injuring our selves. Christ Jesus, who had revenge more in his power, then his enemies had their provocations, would not countenance it by taking the least grain of it in all his life. He seemed neerer being angry with his friends, that but proposed any resentment, then with the strangers for their irritations. The sonnes of thunder were reproached of being strangers to his spirit, more then the Samaritans for being exercisers of his patience. So as in this case, Christ seemeth to have provided a cautionary instruction for us, against any eager promptitude in revenge, under the co­lour of his quarrell, because the edge [Page 289]of our owne nature, is so apt to be set upon the weapons we pretend to whet in his cause, when we are in a sharp prosecution of our enemies. The sword is commonly that of our own spirit, and the sheath only the Word of God, for we cover familiarly our private a­nimosities with Gods assignations, when indeed we rather take God for our second in our owne differences, then combat sincerely for his de­signes.

This is a pravity so cleaving to our nature, as we may note, that Christs Disciples, who had heard so many in­culcations of this designe of Christ to suffer, and submit himselfe to all sorts of offences and violations, did never comprehend his meaning in this mat­ter, and never answered him any thing upon this discourse, but as soone as he did but touch upon what sounded like a purpose of vindication and revenge, Luke 22. as when he had signified to them the approach of his danger, and given them but a little hint of arming themselves, they presently answered as if they had [Page 290]been cleere sighted in this proposition, Behold here are two swords. The Crosse, and scourges, whereof he had so often acquainted them, did not so much as awake their curiosities, and having ne­ver spoken before of any offensive weapons, or instruments he would im­ploy, our nature was as quick in the acceptance at the first notice of this re­solution of revenge, as it had been hea­vy in conceiving the frequent intima­tions of yeelding unto the offences of enemies and persecutors: but we see they understood Christs meaning as little in this point, as in the other; for Christ came not to follow the vitiated nature of man, that dictateth with the Scribes, Mat. 5.Thou shalt love thy friend, and hate thine enemy; but to make man par­taker of the divine nature, the which f [...]rnishes the just and unjust with the same sunne for light, and the same clouds for refreshment; nay he gave his owne Sonne, universally for the whole world, even for those he knew would be so unworthy of him, as not to accept him.

[Page 291]Whereupon this Sonne of God, this self-sacrificer for his enemies, hath good right to impose exact duties upon us, in reference to our enemies, the which are more his enemies, in the very act of being ours. So as in this or­der to us, he sheweth the way to this benignity, since his command of these succours for them, manifesteth his in­dulgence to them, enjoyning his friends (those that are conformable to the perfection of his Father) these three good offices for his enemies and theirs, (which are all in order to the reclaim­ing them, and reducing them to a reda­mancy of him) Benedicite, benefacite, & orate. These three invitations he ap­pointeth towards the resipiscence of enemies; he will have them invited by our heart, by our mouth, and by our hand, by being beloved with the first, blessed by the second, and benefited by the last. And in all these acts of charity, Christ Jesus hath exhibited his life and his death as a mirrour of refle­ction, to cast back these rayes of love upon our hearts, as the Prince of the [Page 292] Apostles expresly intimateth to us, ur­ging our vocation to these duties in this respect, 1 Pet. 2.21. because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you may follow his steps, who when he was reviled did not revile, when he suffered he threat­ned not.

So as those who think this a hard saying, and goe back upon it, are, if they consider it aright, guided by their enemies, as much as they are led aside from the steps of Christ, and are made in effect, followers of their maligners, rather then of their maker. For when they are drawn by the example of those that leave Christ to follow their passions, they seeme to credit even those whom they hate, more then Christ whom they pretend to love. These incongruities are found in the passion of hatred, the deferring more to the example of those we professe to disaffect, then even to the pattern of him we pretend to adore.

Those then who will not follow Christ in these paces of his love to ene­mies, must know they follow the ene­mie [Page 293]of their nature, and their owne ac­cuser, and he that insisteth upon the foot-steps of Christ, avoideth such a leader, as he ought to take this course, if it were for nothing but to fly from such a guide, and taketh such a guide as he ought to follow, though he had no ill to avoid. How much the more then is he obliged to this course, when both these are coupled, to follow the best, and to fly the worst, to incline to God, and to decline Sathan? So as by a just hatred to this unalterable enemy, we may well reconcile our selves to all convertible adversaries.

For this reason Christ Jesus loved us, not for any good that invited his Cha­rity, but for the goodnesse whereof our nature was susceptible; which capacity in us, was sufficient for Gods innate goodnesse, to diffuse it selfe into the loving us; and for this reason, God see­meth to have enjoyned all those that we injure and offend, to love us, that our nature might not be withdrawn from evill, by this most powerfull at­tractive of undeserved love, which [Page 294]gives a most naturall cause of re-affect­ing, even to the worst natures, the be­ing first beloved, so undeservedly; in proofe whereof, it was said of S. Atha­nasius, (the great touch-stone of this sort of love) that he was Percutientibus adamas, & dissidentibus magnes; by be­ing an adamant to his offenders, he be­came a load-stone to his dissenters; and thus remaining unmoved with in­juries, he removed heresies, copying well his Master, who cured greater wounds by bearing of lesser; to which imitation you may addict all your cha­rities to your enemies.

But abstracting from this effect, who can account this precept rigorous, when every modest soule may con­clude, there is more remitted to him then exacted of him, by this generall injunction to all men, to forgive, and love one another, since it were arrogance to beleeve himselfe lesse peccable then others, and so likelyer to be sinned a­gainst, then himselfe to sin against his brother. Humility then will easily shew us, we have rather a good bargain then [Page 295]an unequall burthen in this command of Love your enemies, Mat. 7.44doe good to them that hate you, pray for them that persecute you, that you may be children of your Fa­thern who is in heaven; since you have this mark upon you of your legitimati­on, the being under the correction of your Father, I beseech you to endea­vour the producing this other com­pleating note thereof, the dilection of your brothers.

There is a memorable precedent of this sort of charity, in S. Gregory Nazi­anzen being Bishop of Constantinople, who allayed the heat of his Catholike flock in a high provocation, and in a faire conveniency for revenge upon their enemies, the Arrians, who in the time of Valence an Arrian Emperour, had bitterly prosecuted the Catholikes, and upon his death, and the succession of Theodosius a Catholike Prince, the people designed to put the law of retaliation in force against their enemies; to which intention their holy Bishop opposeth himselfe in these termes, It is not this, my deare flock, that CHRIST requireth. [Page 296]nor what the Gospel teacheth us; let this be our revenge, to solicit their salvations, who very probably have furthered ours by their injuries: therefore let us knowingly confer benefits on them, who unawares by their malevolence have contributed to our benedictions. But if your minds doe so estuate with anger, as they cannot be turn­ed to this benevolence, doe at least the next best to this, refer your revenge to Christ, reserve it for the future Tribunall, since the Lord saith, Revenge is his, and he will retribute. And this exhortation did so prevaile upon the people, as they re­signed their animosities, and did ac­quiesce unto his temper; and I may expect your acceptance of this pro­position, for I hope you are as good Catholikes as they; and I am sure you want halfe of their temptation, which is a present commodity for revenge, that is not the weakest part for the pro­vocation.

Wherefore it may be easier for you to retaine the quality of Lambs, when you have no capacity of playing the Lions. And to dispose you towards [Page 297]the complyance with this condition of Lambes, in your minds you may re­cogitate with what nature our Savi­our chose to qualifie his Disciples, who were to work upon perverse adversa­ries, he sent them, as he saith, Mat. 10.16. as sheep among wolves. Upon which words, S. Chrysostome saith elegantly, Let them be ashamed who like wolves prosecute their ad­versaries, when they may behold troops of wolves overcome by a few sheepe. And truly so long as we are sheep, we easi­ly get the better of our enemies; but when we passe into the nature of wolves, then we are overthrowne by them; for then we have no longer the protection and succour of our Pastour, who doth not feed and patronize wolves, but sheepe. I pray remember then, that while you suffer like your Pastor, you overcome by his victory, and when your angers and hatreds will assault your enemies, you quit Christ, who is much stronger then your adverse party, and undertake of your selves, who are much the wea­ker side; and thus you wave the pri­viledges [Page 298]of Catholikes, to defend your selves by the infirmities of men.

If you will then secure to your selves an admirable reparation of all the violences and injuries of your ene­mies, you must remit them all from your hearts, and offer up to God not onely your continuall prayer, but e­ven all the merit of your religious suf­ferings, to mediate their conversion; and if you prevaile for any, you draw out of the good you doe them, incom­parably more advantage then from any wish that could succeed against them; for if you bring an enemy to heaven, he giveth you eternall satis­faction, for all his joy shall be set up­on your crowne, as an enrichment of it, and that improvement of your glo­ry shall also be an addition to his joy.

These then are designes fit for the members of Christ Jesus, and the tem­ples of the holy Ghost, to raise our ene­mies up to our owne joyes, and to ex­alt our joyes by this elevation of our enemies. This was the method of [Page 299] Christ Jesus our head, Phil. 2.9. by humbling himselfe, and preferring his enemies, he heightned himselfe, 1 Joh. 3. as the Apostle telleth us, For the which thing God hath also exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names. And all these actions were designed by Jesus, for the converting enemies into friends; and they who pretend to be made like him, when they see him, must procure to looke like him now upon their ene­mies, that having sanctified them­selves, as he is holy, and being transla­ted from death to life by this love of our brother, 1 Thes. 4.17. we may be thought wor­thy to sit together with him in hea­venly places, when his enemies are his foot-stoole, when the destruction of enemies affordeth a joy perfecting our charity; and untill then, we must endeavour to accomplish our charity, by procuring to our utmost power the lessening of the number of these ene­mies, that remaining in charity in this life, we may be admitted into that re­gion of love, where life everlasting is in eternall charity, and where we shall [Page 300]never see an enemy enter, nor a friend depart. Wherefore I will hope in God that you endeavour by your charity to bring your present enemies into that e­ternall tabernacle; and by this course, though you should faile of drawing your brothers, they cannot of carrying you unto more elevated mansions in your Fathers house.

CHAP. XII. Motives of joy to all sorts of Religious Sufferers.

HAving giving you this Evange­licall safe convoy through your en [...]mies quarters, Rom. 12.20. by shewing you how the danger of this passage consisteth in your acting, not enduring hostility, (since Saint Pauls precept agreeth with Elishahs practice in this point of not stri­king, but setting bread and water be­fore enemies blinded with their: pas­sions) now at the end of this narrow [Page 301]way, I shall endeavour to shew you how the issue thereof, openeth into the spacious place the Psalmist saith his feet were put into, which is spirituall joy, tranquility, and enlargment of heart. For upon faithfull compliances with these duties I have discoursed, I may present respectively to each of your conditions, this Evangelicall con­gratulation of Gaudete & exultate, Mat. 5.12. Be glad and re­joyce for your re­ward is great in heaven.quia merces vestra copiosa est in coelis.

To those that contested the proces­sion of Christs Doctrine from God, he proposeth this cleare decision of the question, the observing first the will of God, whereby they should discern the verity of his asseveration, If any, Iohn 7.17. saith he, will doe the will of him, he shall understand of the Doctrine whether it be of God. And I may in like manner boldly put this doctrine of the blessednesse of affliction upon the same triall, affir­ming that whosoever shall doe the will of God, Iam. 1.11. shall evidently perceive this to be a principle of Divine verity, Blessed is the man that suffereth tentation. Where­fore upon supposition of your confor­mities [Page 302]to the rules of Catholike doctrine which have been delivered you in the manner of your sufferings, it is that I adjudge unto you this assignation of Christ, Mat. 5.10 Blessed are they who suffer persecuti­on for ju­stice, for theirs is the king­dome of heaven. of Beati qui persecutionem patiun­tur propter justitiam, quia ipsorum est regnum coelorum.

So that you may convert all the Ordinances, that dipossesse you of your transitory tenures in your country, into evidences to entitle you to this King­dome, and make your enemies your best Stewards of your estates, and conse­quently, you may be accounted the only blessed party in this conjuncture; What an advantage is it for those who are in this pious paine of the Psalmist, of What shall I return to our Lord for all he hath bestowed? to have God vouch­safe, as I may say, to serve himselfe, and take from them that which is made more worthy of him by his taking, then it could have beene by their gi­ving. For even in the sacrifice to God of all their estates, they might perad­venture have been mistaken in the ap­plication of it to the most acceptable [Page 303]designe of God upon thē, but they who part cheerefully with what God taketh from them, are sure it is disposed in the way of his choice; and this is to give to God according to his owne election, which is much securer then our owne designation.

I am not ignorant of the preference given to active Charity in this point, in strict comparisons, yet this seemeth an advantage, which privation for Gods sake hath above action, that we are certain of our vocation to that sort of service which God declareth to us, by his imposition of it, and we cannot be so secure, in any project of our own for his glory, that the time, the manner, and other circumstances are rightly consorted to Gods present purpose; whereas in suffering religiously, what is actually inflicted by God, there can be no mis-judgement in these circum­stances. This is then an advantage, every one may be assured to make, in accepting piously their losses, and de­privements, to conclude their goods are more infallibly imployed accor­ding [Page 304]to Gods present will, then their own hands could have addressed them to Gods purposes; and so their devoti­ons may be solaced in this desire of retributing somewhat to God, even after their hands cease to be ministeri­all in that office. For they give him by this faithfull resignation all he resu­meth, and present him with their ac­ceptance of the manner of his pleasure, which is more valuable then the mat­ter of any oblations.

Blessed are they to whom it is given to know these misteries of the kingdom of God, for Afflictions seem not onely Parables, but even Paradoxes to such as have not the key of the Crosse of Christ wherewith to open them; 1 Cor. 1.18. for the Word of the Crosse to them that perish will be foolishnesse, but to them that are saved, that is to us, it is the power of God; and to finde the power of God in all your crosses, I must desire every form of sufferers among you, to examine it by this Principle, That Crosses are not to be judged of according to the Praedicament of Quantitie, but of relation, that is, you [Page 305]must not amuse your selves with think­ing how much your are afflicted, but apply your minds to finde how much you make of your afflictions. The first is to stay with the Murmurers in the Gospell, pondering the heat, and burthen of the day, the other is to weigh with S. Paul against momentany tribulatiōs the eternal weight of glory; 2 Cor. 4.17 which ballan­cing of your cōditions, must needs draw from you all this confession, that your masters yoke is sweet, and his burthen light; nay you shall finde that your carriages are rather a support then an oppression to you, according to this elegant conceit of S. Bernard, In our course through this life, the faster we run, the casier it is for us, and the light burthen of our SAVIOUR, as it increases, growes more portable. Doth not the numerousnesse of the plumes and feathers elevate, and not onerate the birds that beare them? Take away the feathers and the rest of the body sinketh downward by the remaining weight; so the discipline of Christ, the sweet yoke and burthen of the Crosse, in their rejection and deposition, only prove our depression, because they ra­ther [Page 306]carrie us then as loads are carried by us, while our minds feele the worth of that weight which they beare. And I hope I have shewed you in conformity to this, how God hath alwaies set plumes of this kind, unto such as he hath designed to raise, as the Prophet saith, above the al­titudes of the earth. Those Eagles which are to be congregated to the Glorious Crucified body, have their wings formed of these plumes, of crosses, persecuti­ons, defamations, and such like ma­terialls, on which they make their mounties up to their rest. So that very often, when in tendernesse to our friends we wish their deliverances from pressures and tentations, we vote as impertinently their good and exalta­tion, as if in pitty to birds in summer, we should wish them unfeathered, that they might be cooler & lighter. For the sweet yoke, and the light burthen of Christ are to Christians, what plumes are to such creatures, which are caryed by this kinde of their owne portage, since our minds like their bodies, would lye still upon the earth, if they [Page 307]were not raised and elevated above it, by these exercitations.

Wherefore confiding onyour virtues, I doe lament most their miserable e­state, that while they are now stripping and denuding, you are feathering and imping out these spirituall wings for your elevation, and are fastning mil­stones about their own necks, by this scandalizing the little ones, who are under his protection, that hath inter­minated this sentence against their of­fenders; Nay all the power and pro­sperity of this world is so vaine and variable even in the scene of this life, as abstracting from the menaces of the other world, there is nothing worthy of emulation in them, relating onely to this age; Esay 40.30. and what the Prophet Esay saith is very accommodable to the con­dition of your persecutors, and your fidelities in this persecution, Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shal renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as Eagles, they shall run & not be weary, they shal walk [Page 308]and not faint. In contemplation of this improvement of the faithfull, S. Aug. saith, the divell little knows how much good he is doing, while he is in his highest point of raging, for he is indeed, but blowing the coals of Gods furnace, where his gold is refining, and blow­ing out the flames of his owne impure forges; For as God served himselfe of the Angels of Sathan, to blow out in Saint Paul those sparks of vanity, and selfe-love, which are glowing still in our most mortified nature, lying but raked up [...]n our ashes, not extinguished: so doth the holy Spirit make use of the breath of the maligne one, to abate and mortifie the flames of pride, ava­rice, and sensuality, while he bloweth the coals of persecution, and purgati­on of the children of God.

This considered, may not I justly ad­dresse my selfe to all ranks, and po­stures of mourners amongst you, in these termes of Saint Paul to his countrvmen in our conditions, Heb. 13.22. Heb. 10.34. I desire you brethren that you suffer the word of con­solation, for with the more joy you take the [Page 309]spoile of your goods, the greater share shall you have in that better and permanent substance you are purchasing. Doe not therefore lose your confidence, which hath great remuneration; your firmnes and perseverance is an adornment of the doctrine of your Saviour, a jubilati­on of the Angels that are lookers on in your combat, and a contexture of your own crowns, which when you have finished by perseverance unto the end, you shall finde in them, all the ornaments you have set upon your Sa­viours doctrine, and the gladnesse you have afforded the Angels, and Saints in your laborious framing of your crownes, so many severall prerogatives of glory shining in them, and the joyes your victories have contributed to the blessed Spirits, shall then be rendred you by every one of your partners, in so incomprehensible a measure and manner, as each one shall pay his for­mer receipt of joy from you, and in the same act acquire infinitly more by your receiving theirs, and your Masters joy.

While I am upon these motives of [Page 310]joy, June 30.1646. the Letters of this week bring me one very proper to remit back unto you, which is, the glorious martyr­dome of one of your brothers, which newes I take me thinks (as the women did what the Angel told them of at the tombe concerning Christs Resurrection) with feare and great joy. Mat. 28.8 For in one re­spect Fluminis impetus latificat civitatem Dei; Psal 45. The vio­lence of the river maketh the city of God joy­full. in order to the fortifying and confirming your pieties, such objects of the power and grace of Catholike Re­ligion are to be rejoyced at; and to­wards the propitiating of God unto all your necessities, such oblations are very efficacious; for they are so many Com­missioners, sent from time to time from amongst you, to solicite fresh supplyes of graces for the rest of you who are in the same militancie; but as they lye under the Altar, Apocal. 6.10.crying with a loud voice for revenge of their blood on those that dwell upon the earth, in this respect the charity we owe our Nation, intermixeth a sad and trembling apprehension, to find the measure of their fathers still filling up, which when it comes to be [Page 311]commensurate to that proportion God hath permitted it, will draw downe vi­als of wrath, for every drop of this blood, wherewith the Land is conta­minated, by the unjust effusion of it.

Doe you then for Gods sake strive, to make as much benefit as the occasi­on offereth. Wherefore all you who are his brothers of the same Tribe, and so by the Law, his next heires, ought to account your selves (as indeed you are) left executors of his labours, cha­rities, and pious offices to your bro­thers, and enjoying your owne legacies of fervour, patience, and fidelity, which his example hath left you, you may also faithfully dispense the seve­rall benefits of this holy pattern, which respectively belong to all the conditi­ons of the Nation, that are the remoter kindred of this blessed Testator, who hath left the whole Catholike stock of the Country, proportionate meanes to their callings, of being edified by his Testament, the which you must endea­vour to dispense to them, according to their severall qualifications; and while [Page 312]you doe providently manage this por­tion of example he hath left you, you may enrich your selves so, as if Christ shall please to call you to the honour of drinking of this his owne cup, you may also leave this rich talent of Martyr­dome, improved to your survivors and heires, that every Martyr may seeme to adde somewhat to the stock of the Na­tions merit, to counter-balance in the sight of God, somewhat the provoca­tion of the other part, and that by the descent of this spirit of sacrifice amongst you, there may be a successive provisi­on made of such holy hoasts, out of this family of God, (the which will alwayes propagate by this genera­ting death) to the end, this spirituall progeny may be continued, by the fruitfull seed of Martyrdome, untill it shall please God to regenerate the whole Nation, by that way which may seeme strange to many Nicodemuses, by making her enter againe into her mothers wombe. Wherefore I may lawfully charge all you that are his heires and executors, with this Com­mission [Page 313]from him, Take an example, Jam. 5.10bre­thren, of labour and patience, the Prophets, which spake in the name of the Lord: Be­hold, we account them blessed that have suffered.

And for that part of you which re­maines in the outward court of the Tabernacle, and so are not appointed to the Altar of Holocausts, you are called to take an instruction from this sacrifice, which may silence all your com­plaints, to wit, that your clothes, as it were, are but used, as this your bro­thers person was, for it is your goods onely that are quartered, and drawne from you; so that if you should seeme too sensible of that separation, it might be reproached to you, that your worldly substances were more invi­scerate in your hearts, then the hearts of those your brothers were in their bodies, whereof they so cheerfully ac­cept the sequestration. I beseech you then by the bowels of Jesus Christ, to act your parts as graciously, and to bring in your offerings with as much alacrity, every one according to the [Page 314] severall divisions of graces, 1 Cor. 12. and the same spirit, that each of you may be, as S. Peter saith, a good dispenser of the manifold grace of God.

And thus while you offer your diffe­rent oblations, with the same fidelity the service of the temple may be consum­mate between you, when one part of the body furnisheth the blood, and the other the fat of the sacrifice. Psal. 65. My mouth hath spo­ken in my tribulati­on, holo causts with marrow wil I ofter to thee. By this consort of zeale in all parts, the Church among you may sing with the Psalmist, I ocutum est cor meum in tribulatione mea, holocausta medullata offeram tibi. And this is the most promising course can be pursued, to plead for a mitigation of Gods chastisements on his little flock, and to mediate the reduction of the straying part of the Nation into the fold. Wherefore the Apostles advice to his Countrymen, is very apposite in this occasion of yours, Meb. 13.7. Remember your Prelates, who have spoken the word of God to you: the end of whose conversation be­holding, imitate their faith.

I will not follow this invitation; which seems to call me to say over the [Page 315]office of the Martyrs, in honour of this supremest vocation of Christianity, since I may presume, that all those among you, who stand candidat for this dignity of whitening their robes in the bloud of the Lambe, are better qualified then my selfe for this election. Wherefore I will rest in this payment, of my hum­ble reverence to this particular Saint, who hath so lately overcome with the same armes of the Lambe of God slaine from the beginning, & so is now accor­ding to his promise, Apoc. 3.21 sitting with him on his throne, invested with power over nations, humbly beseeching him to in­tercede unto his Head Christ Jesus, for those hands (unhappy unto them­selves) that have been so beneficiall to him, and to solicite him for his bro­thers remaining in the foulenesse of this earth, that those who are not cal­led to the honour of washing their robes as he, may at least be furnished with the grace of watching and keep­ing their garments, Apoc. 16.15 that they walk not naked, and shew their turpitude, but may be found in all their temporall [Page 316]despoilments and devestures, clothed with that silke which is the justificati­on of the Saints; and so may be dressed in their wedding Garment for the marriage supper of the Lambe. Apoc. 19.8 And this, which is my supplication to Christ by the intercession of this Saint, desires all that be witnesses of it to be part­ners in the same petition, to the Lambe of God, and to him who sitteth upon the throne.

After this little usuall Parenthesis, which stands like an Island in a stream, (that rather beautifies the river in brea­king a while the course of it) I wil carry you on in the same current of Motives to joy we were upon, which I designed to branch out into severall channels, that might run through, and refresh the dif­ferent estates of the sufferers among you, unto all which the Apostle offereth this generall congratulation, Phil. 1.28. To you it is given for CHRIST, not only that you beleeve in him, but also that you suffer for him. These are words that do highly extoll the grace of sufferance, for Saint Paul paralleleth it here with the grace of beleeving, nay it seemes an exagge­ration [Page 317]of that of suffering, to a degree above the other, his saying that to them was given not only to beleeve, but to suffer, as some superaddition of an extraordi­dinary gratification from God. And surely if we reflect considerately upon the grace of suffering virtuously for Christ, we shall finde, that it is the ac­complishment of our faith, and the last term of Christian perfection in this life, for it is not only a demonstra­tion of our faith, and hope, but an un­questionable evidence of our love. For what the Apostle Saint James saith of beleeving, and working, James 21.18. supposing the occasion, holdeth adequately between loving, and suffering; for to any who shall confide in their untryed love, I may say with the Apostle, You have love, and I patience, shew me your love without patience, and I will shew you my love by my patience; you love God while you are bene­fited, doe not the heathens doe the same? This application doth quadrate, me thinkes, to this case, for indeed it is not possible to shew our love, when we are called to suffer, without mani­festing [Page 318]it by a religious patience, and by that we doe cleerly evidence our love.

Therefore it is excellently said by a holy man, That a Christian who knoweth not how to suffer, knoweth as little how to love, for as love is the soule of Christiani­ty, so suffering is the soule of love. God himselfe who could not be prescribed this way of expressing his love, chose it from eternity. So as to doubt of this Verity, is to shake the whole frame of Christianity. Wherefore we must not desire to try our loves by those affecti­ons we may feele to act for Christ, when we are in the state of induring for him, for it may often rise from na­turall propensions, 1 Pet. 4.13 Commu­nicating with the passions of Christ, re­joyce, that in the re­volation also of his glory you may be glad re­joycing. this promptitude to action, but the acquiescence to privati­on and suffering is most assuredly the operation of Grace. Therefore you ought now to judge of the proportion of your loves, by that measure of con­formity you finde in them, to this ad­vise of the Prince of the Apostles, Com­municantes passionthus Christi gaudete, ut in revelatione gloria ejus gaudeatis exul­tantes. [Page 319]For every different state of suf­ferers among you, shall be r [...]ted by their recompenses, not by their pro­portions of paines they have endured, but by the measure of joy they have felt in suffering for Christ; for it is the manner of their acceptance, not the matter of their impositions, whereup­on they are to be adjudged their repa­ration. In so much as in your cases, I may invert Christs words to distinguish his true Disciples amongst you, from the worlds adherents, saying, Iohn 16. The first shall rejoyce, and the other weep and la­ment, and this gladnesse shall be turned in­to more joy, and that sorrow into more discomfort; for they deserve not hea­ven, that [...] are so farre from giving all they have for it, as to lament the being assisted in the purchase by Gods owne hand, in taking from them as much as he asketh, and demanding on­ly their good will to the bargaine. Whereupon in this exhortation, I may use the words of the Apostle in the same manner I have done those of our Saviour, 2 Cor. 2.2. Who is it can make me [Page 320]glad, but he that is made glad by me?

The first estate I will present in par­ticular this parabien of their sufferance, shall be that, which we have neerest in our eye of the refugiats of our nation, which have taken sanctuary in Catholike Countries, whereof there are even from the Cedars of Lihanus to the rushes of the fields; and I conceive the Queene her selfe may be presented un­der this notion, for I would to God Catholike Religion were as much natu­ralized in England, as I have heard she is to the Nation; and it were me thinks unjust, not to assigne her a due propor­tion of joy, who hath so large a portion of the nationall suffering, in this parti­cular respect of Catholike. Therefore I doe humbly present her with the para­bien of all her crosses and vexations re­lating to her Religion, for even the de­feature of her hopes in this life, may arme her the better for that victory she cannot faile of, by but vertuously ac­cepting all her defeatures. For though it hath not pleased God, she should have the Emperour Constantines suc­cesse, [Page 321]yet she hath the same signe to promise her a more glorious Empire, for looking up by faith, she shall see in all her clouds the Crosse with this in­scription, In this signe thou shalt over­come. It is at the feet of the Crosse then, I lay that joy I offer to her present condition, presuming she looketh of­ten there, and so will not faile to find it.

I could easily shew her many Queens in this procession of the Cruciad, char­ged with heavier crosses then hers, but I doe not desire to ease her by the consideration of what she doth not suf­fer, but by the right apprehension of what she doth, for that is the most no­ble, and most christian manner of so­lacing her, not to lighten her burthen in her imagination, but to strengthen her will for the bearing and toleration of it, that she may think her crosse com­modious, in respect of the hand that layeth it on, not of the company that hath carryed it with her, and so aspire to be a greater Saint then she is a suffe­rer. And the way to attaine to this so­veraigne [Page 322]prerogative, is to expresse a religious and Christian joy, in this her state of communicating with the passions of Christ, whereby she may sup­ply this defect of her present condition, the inability to relieve her Catholike Subjects, the way she hath formerly, by communicating to them now joy in their tribulations, by the vertue of so operative an example; and thus while she remaineth suspended from the pro­pagating of Catholike Religion among her Subjects, by way of amplification, or extent, she may still advance it in degrees of intention and eminence.

And I may truly without endange­ring the blotting these lines with flatte­ry, that are drawn towards her, give her joy also of the great improvement of her piety, in the opinion of all com­petent judges in this time of her tryall and probation; in so much as I cannot doubt, but her soule acknowledgeth to God with King David, Psal. 118.17.It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications. So I beseech God to advance her to that degree, in the [Page 323]understanding of the Crosse, as her heart may avow with that holy King, Psal. 86.7. The habitation in thee is as it were of all re­joycing.

There is another here in these our asyles, whose eminent quality may ju­stifie a particular salutation and welco­ming into the society of the Crosse, and this may seeme the more due to her, in regard of her names being so notori­ous for temporall felicity, not onely in our Nation, The Lady Dutchesse of Buck­ingham. but the rest of Christen­dome; and now we look upon her, as a wreck of Fortune cast upon these coasts; whose secular ruines may serve to disabuse the commercers in the un­faithfull sea of this age, and whose spi­rituall composure and virtue may be usefull towards the inlightning of low­er ranks, in the benefits of adversity; wherein she seemeth so illuminated, as she is retreated further out of the world, then misfortune could chase her, and hath taken sanctuary as it were within the inward veile of the Taberna­cle, and so doth not onely piously beare her owne Crasse, but zealously take up­on [Page 324]her another voluntary crucifixion, seeming not to seek case, but rather activity in the way of the Crosse, by her adventuring so vigorously to repaire to a more sanctified manner of suffering, wherein she is now ingaged, and doth act in this course as vigilantly, as if she had neither quality, nor persecution to recommend her.

So as from her virtue, there may be these two publike utilityes expe­cted, the silencing of many complaints that have farre lesser sufferings to claime pitty upon, and the exhibiting this reccipt to others, of curing the in­juries of the world by the contempt of it. For truly nothing takes out so well the fire of tribulation, as the flame of zeale and devotion. Which remedy I beseech God to impart, to all those of the nation who are now in their fiery triall. And for the parti­cular of this worthy person, I hope it will not seeme unbecomming my of­fice, to incense her a little with these good odours of her owne estimation in these countries, being it is not like to [Page 325]stuffe her head with any vanity, but onely to delight her the more with the savour of piety and religion. Therefore I will leave her, laying this sweet me­ditation at the doore of her cell, a per­fume taken out of the cabinet of a great and holy King, Psal. 118.96. Of all consummati­on I have seene the end, thy commandement is exceeding large.

There is another person of the same sex, and quality within the Kingdome, (which though it be out of the limits I had now prefixed my selfe of this side of the sea) yet her commemoration cannot come in more properly, The Lady Marchi­onesse of winche­ster. in re­spect of the company, her case deser­ving a special remarke, and as I am in­formed, her virtue meriting a peculiar note of estimation, to be transmitted to posterity. And I am certain the singularity of her suffering, requireth an extraordinary animadversion, for imprisonment to her sex & quality for religion, is a primitive severity, and her zeal, patience and humility is reported be such, as they seeme to have moved God to illustrate them by such a triall, [Page 326]as only the Primitive Saints have had, among which she may finde many precedents of her case, and faire draughts of all those Christian virtues, which shall be pleased to passe down by her tradition of them to poste­rity.

Let her therefore consider herselfe set up for her sex to copy, that as her sufferance draweth many eyes upon her, so they may be all invited in see­ing her virtue, to draw by her the manner of suffering; and thus her im­prisoment may impart to others, a no­bler liberty then her own person is de­prived of, and contribute somwhat to her finishing the samplar of piety and confidence, she is to exhibit to her sex. I finde one figure in the primitive times, very fit to fet before her eyes, which Saint Basil painteth forth to us in excellent colours, it was a Lady of great quality called Julitta, who ha­ving been called by the Magistrats to answer the accusation of her faith, and being perswaded by her lesse Christian friends, to dissemble her beleese so [Page 327]farre, as might probably exempt her from the rigors proclaimed against the professors thereof, and when it was argued, that her sex might wel extenu­ate her declining such terrible penal­ties, as were decreed upon the refusall of compliance with the times, she made this heroicall answer, Woman is made by the same hand as man, and equally capable of virtue, for unto the construction of wo­man, flesh alone was not applyed, but of a bone of the bones of man she was composed, which signifies, that we are obliged no lesse then men to exhibit to God, and to the world evidences of the firmnesse of our faith and constancy of minde, courage, and patience in all adversities; And in this disposition she answered her examiners, in so ma­sculine a style of virtue and religion, as she was presently condemned to pri­son, and soone after to a most exem­plary martyrdome.

If I be not misinformed, there are many notes of the same key in these two Ladies lessons, but howsoever I am sure they are both consorted, in the harmony of virtue in the suffering [Page 328]for the profession of the true religion of Christ; therefore I shall humbly de­fire this Lady I now give joy of her suf­ferance, that as she is thus far advan­ced in a similitude with this glorious Saint, she would endeavour to perfect her disposition of sanctitie, that she may honour, and edifie her sex by her exemplary life, and martyrdome of her liberty, as the other hath done by her sanguinary martyrdome, and I may make up my present to her in this precious cover of Saint Peter, 1 Pet. 4.14If you be reviled in the name of CHRIST you shall be blessed, because that which is of the ho­nour, glory and virtue of God, and the spi­rit which is his, shall rest upon you.

By my instancing in particular these two most eminent persons of our nati­on, I doubt not but the other virtuous sufferers of their sex, will judge them­selves rather honoured then obscured, and the other sex cannot question this civiltiy, and deference to such remark­able persons, being pressed as it were by such memorable circumstances in their conditions, nor doth my designe [Page 329]point at any particular acquisition of resentment, my profession being (thanks be to God) out of the reach of private gratifications, and indeed I de­signe it for a publike monument of the virtue of the nation, the impressiō of the memory of these two eminent persons, up [...]n the face of time it selfe, in a more durable character, then the fading ima­gery of cursory discourse, that as far as it shall please God, to suffer these thoughts of mine to passe downwards towards succeding times, the names of these two excellent women, may have their due commemoration, while mine rests in a deserved conceal­ment.

Returning now to the generality of our persecuted refugiats, I must desire them to acount themselves, but tra­vailing in the accomplishment of a vow, for indeed all Christians are vo­taries in baptisme, of an incessant pil­grimage through this world, and a convenient locall establishment, doth commonly banish the memory of our vow, whereas flight, and exile keeps [Page 330]us upon the stage of our profession, whereupon Saint Justine Martyr saith properly, in commendation of the minds of the primitive Christians, That every forreigne region was their country, and all their country a forreigne region to them. Therefore S. Basil when he was threatned to be banished out of his Bishoprick, answered his persecutor, That he might be sent home, but could not be banished in this world, when all places were his way to his country, and no place here his country. For indeed it is as Saint Augustine saith, Every man is made a stranger by his birth, and by death only makes his remigration. Account your selves then rather imployd upon seve­rall commissions, as Christs Disciples then forced out of your habitations, and every time you look up to heaven, think you are reading your instructi­ons in these words of Saint Paul, Heb. 13.13Let us goe forth therefore to him, without the camp, carrying his reproach, for we have not here a permanent city, but we seeke that which is to come.

O think then on him who descended [Page 331]from heaven, and appeared on earth as a stranger to seek you, when you were lost, and yet had not so much as the compassion of being a stranger to recommend him, and was so far from finding any good usage for his Religi­on, as that was the subject of his per­secution. In how much an easier con­dition are you, who are in the way from earth to heaven, and whose estate of strangers, and persecuted, affordeth you freedome in your Religion, and commiseration to your persons? when you balance your present estates, and your vocations together, you will find this yoke sweet, wherein Christ hath not onely drawne in person, but is still drawing with you by a consociation of his grace, of whom you should rather implore the grace of well disscising your selves of that native earth you carry about you, then the being resto­red to that whereof you are disposses­sed. And you may judge of your dis­positions towards this point of Christian perfection, by the rule given by an holy Father of the Church to his fellow pil­grims, [Page 332] Hugode S. victore. He is yet too tender, to whom his na­tive country seemeth sweet, he is strong, to whom every land seemeth his country, and he is perfect to whom the whole world seemeth an exile. The first hath fixed his love in this world, the second hath disper­sed and scattered it upon it, the last hath extinguished his love to it. And why should I not hope for your aspiring to this perfect relinquishing of the world, when you are assisted by so much improbability, of ever return­ing to any tempting portion of it?

Therefore the steps of these your peregrinations, must not be halting be­tween two wayes, turning your heads backward upon that country from which your bodies are removing. This looking awry may easily cause you to stumble in your way, therefore for Gods sake keepe the whole man straight, alwayes advancing forward in the easiest and safest posture, loo­king to that home, from whence you are truly exiled, and are the more di­stanced, the more you account this your remove from your earthly habi­tation, [Page 333]to be a bainshment. Remember Christ marching before all his Disciples up to Jerusalem, with so much vigour and alacrity, as they who followed him were astonished at his diligence. When you set your hearts after this disposi­tion of Christ in your travailes, this your Law-giver will give you blessings, and you shall goe from vertue to ver­tue, having disposed ascension in your heart in this vale of teares; and they a­mong you, whose hearts, as the Apostle saith, confesse they are pilgrims, and stran­gers upon earth, and say these things, sig­nifie, That they seeke their true country.

Wherefore for the close of this peculiar instruction, I offer you with Saint Paul, the reflection on your father Abraham, whom you resemble more specially then others in this feature of your peregrination. You know if he had been mindfull of the Land from whence he was called forth, he had time and convenience to return, which is more temptation then you have, and yet he continued faithfull in his sequestration from his country, behold­ing [Page 334]the promises much farther off then you doe now; and saluting them with a beleeving acquiescence to his word that had promised them; for as the Apostle saith, Heb. 10.40 for you God hath provided some better thing, a present issue out of this strange sejourment, into the land of promise. Therefore you are more obliged to that faith is required of you, which hath a shorter tryall and a sooner recompence. As farre then as you are the onely legitimate sonnes of Abraham, in point of faith, doe I beseech you to doe the works of your Father in point of perseverance and longani­mity, Heb. 6.14. that out of Abrahams tents, you may remove into his bosome, who by patiently enduring obtained the pro­mise.

Now looking over into England, For priso­ners. the first place a messenger from the Crosse ought to land at, is, the Prisons of the Country; for there he is the likelyest to find those he seeketh, therefore I make there my first salutation, giving them joy of these bonds and irons that are appertenancies to the Crosse of [Page 335]Christ; for as the Church triumphant hath orders, and degrees of beatitudes, so hath the Church militant formes and sta­tions of sufferances, which qualifie e­very one respectively for that prefer­ment which is to be answerable to the degrees of similitude to the passions of Christ, which every member attaineth unto, in this time of crucifixion.

In the figure of Christs life, which is the exemplar of all our dispositions in sufferings, we find but a little glimpse of imprisonment, from which we may draw a copy of our comportment in that state; for there is but one nights bondage in all his life extant, and ex­posed for our study; so as this condi­tion seemeth one of the least exempli­fied and innobled portions of the Crosse by Christs person, but in recompence, to honour this state of suffering, he is pleased to be personated by every pri­soner, and so this state of durance, which hath been honoured but a short time by his person, may be looked up­on as dignified by a continuall repre­sentation of him. And surely Prisoners [Page 336]have this particular meanes of meri­ting, (the being put to represent Christ, in one of the postures which is the most averse to our nature, being the losse of liberty) and so may expect a commensurate elevation of their na­ture, in the state of the liberty of the sonnes of God. And the difficulty of your parts seemeth raised by this cir­cumstance, of being debarred all man­ner of acting for God, or exteriour worship of him.

This removall from his presence in his ordinances, is a privation you may boldly pretend a great restitution upon, and out of all the unpleasant­nesse of your parts, you may derive this consolation, That it is a crosse hath nothing of your election in it, and so the likelier to have the more of Gods designe, and consequently to prove the more purgative and depu­ring of your nature, for imprisonment is a crosse of such a quality, as it is often the most proper expedient for our im­provement in grace, and yet it is not possible for us to take it, without being [Page 337]helped to it by some necessity, there­fore we should alwaies ascribe this state to Gods knowledge of our want there­of, since our nature may very often re­quire this receipt, and can never know our wanting it but by experimenting the operation of it for Gods designe upon us, may demand the severing us from some adherence, which we could not judge opposite to the order of our grace, untill we finde our selves by degrees disingaged from it; for we may be appointed by God to some vocation, we could not imagine, till he had by meanes appropriated for that qualification, inlightned, and pre­pared us for the discharge of such a calling.

In many cases, no lesse then the losse of what we could not part with but by force, which is our liberty, is requi­site to conveigh to us, what is better worth then all we could have wished, before we had received that addition, which is, an inlargement of grace, and a straighter inclosure of our wills with­in the pleasure of our Creatour. [Page 338]Wherefore we ought alwaies to attri­bute the deprivement of our liberty, to some speciall purpose of God, which we must enquire, by the best use we can assigne our time unto, which is prayer and study, and by them God doth commonly (as from under the wings of the two Cherubims) speak to us his design upon us.

This state of sufferance, hath been much honoured by the persons of the Apostles; the prisons seemed their Innes in their perambulation of the world. Wherein we may remarke a speciall kindnesse of God to prisoners, who being not in an estate of hearing the doctrine of Christ, as it passed through their country, was pleased to send the Apostles as it were so much out of their way, to seeke prisoners and minister it to them. For surely such lodgings, may to human reason, seem much out of the way, to such as were to circuit the whole world. And me thinks we cannot render a more apposite reason of Gods bestowing so much of the Apostles time upon prisons, then his spe­ciall [Page 339]grace, and indulgence to this di­stressefull state of sufferers. For in all other respects, this immuring of the Apostles, who were so few, and had so long journeys set them, might seem an impediment of their Commission, and rather a putting that light under a bu­shell, then a way to illuminate the darknesse of the whole world, by the diffusion of it; and yet we see how much of Saint Pauls time God allow­eth to prisons; two years in Casarea, as many interpret it, and certainly two whole yeares in his first bonds at Rome, besides all those other interjections, of those links of this chaine, as at Philip­pi, and other places in his progresse, where we see him dissolving the bonds of his companions, by touching them at his owne, and fastning ma­ny to the Crosse of Christ, whose irons he converted into nayles for that service.

And Ecclesiastical records deliver unto us eminent and numerous conversions, wrought in prisons upon the same miracles, which were effectlesse in the [Page 340]streets, and the temples; and this may well be impured to the congruity, and simpathy there seemeth to be, between the vocation of a Christian, & the estate of a prisoner; for as the first is a dy­ing to the world, the last is a civil death unto the same; so as this Sequestration from the world, must needs be a con­gruous disposition, to a spiritual depar­ture from the life of the world. And besides this literall analogy, which there is between being buryed with Christ, & being intombed in the world, this similitude is very operative, as well as consonant; for this state of separatiō from the objects of our worldly affe­ctions, worketh much towards their extinction; so that in many respects, the state of imprisoment, hath much consonancy with the requisitions of Christianity.

If then imprisonment being simply considered, hath much report and ana­logie with the profession of a Christian, that durance which respecteth directly the profession of true Christianity, must needs be a state of very neere allyance [Page 143]to Christ, and so may well be congratu­lated in those who should pursue no­thing so seriously, as this estate of their patron Saint Paul, of being crucified to the world, when they are crucified by it.

Wherefore I beseech you studiously to co-operate with the facilitation, this your condition affordeth you, to break prison and to dissolve more per­nicious bonds, then those which hang but on your out-sides, such fetters as liberty and prosperity doe commonly frame within us, binding our soules so subtilly in their prison, as they per­ceive not their owne captivity. This is a work for which you cannot wish a fitter time, to file away by degrees these your chaines of all worldly cu­pidity, which you will find hard e­nough, when you come to work upon them, though they are so soft and sup­ple, as you scarce feele them while they lie intire upon you. And by this enlargement of your soules, you may come to S. Pauls blessing as well as to his posture, That your brethren may know [Page 342]that the things which have happened unto you are falne out rather to the furtherance of your Religion, when considering your exemplary improvements, every one may be edified by the grace and vertue of your faith. And thus your chaines may in some proportion have the ef­fects of those of the Apostle, That many of your brethren in our Lord, having con­fidence in your lands, may be much more bold in the profession of their faith.

You may observe for the honour of your conditions, Phil. 1. that S. Paul some­times waveth the dignity of Apostle, and pleadeth this of Prisoner of Jesus Christ, as an equivalent preheminence. Upon which chaine of S. Paul, S. Chry­sostome sticketh not to say, That it is a more illustrious estate to be a prisoner for CHRIST, then either Apostle, Doctor, or Evangelist: and pursueth thus the endearement of this state, Nothing can be more blessed then this chaine, I doe not repute Paul so happy for his rapture into Paradise, as for his restraint in those bonds. It seemeth a greater favour for me to be ill treated for CHRIST, then to be ho­noured [Page 343]by him. And proceeding to bla­zon the coat of this noble condition, he saith, So Peter was bound and loosned by an Angel; in this case if one should have asked me, which I would choose to be, either Peter inchained, or the Angel striking off his irons, I should have taken the place of Peter; the grace of this bondage is a grea­ter gift then to stay the sunne, or to move the world, or to command the devils.Acts 16.The prison was shaken in pieces, where Paul was bound, and the bands of all the Prisoners were broken. Mark the nature of these bands which dissolve the bands of others, for as the death of our Lord killed death, so Pauls chains, unchained fetters, shooke prisons in pieces, and broke open doores. So that Paul bound hath dominion over all bands; nay more, when he sailed in bands, he stayes, and bindeth up the storme, freeth the ship wrecked, and restraineth the venome of the viper. These reflexions on the opinions of Saints, may direct you in the sense of your condition; for though you are not endowed with the gift of dissolving bands, and opening prisons, yet if you find in your selves the disposition of [Page 344]piously and cheerfully staying in them, and a desire of improving this time towards the loosening the cords of Adam in your selves, by acquiring con­trary habits of the spirituall liberty of the second Adam, you shall possesse your selves of the greater grace; for it is an higher estate, to be with S. Paul nailed to the Crosse with Christ, then to be rending the foundations of prisons, or shaking the vipers that are upon your hands into the fire. For they are the rods, wherewith S. Paul himselfe was strucken at Philippi, which make new rayes of glory in his crowne, not the chains which he struck off from his fellow prisoners.

Wherefore I beseech you all, not to intend so much the loosening of your irons, as the converting them into that gold wherewith the heaven­ly Jerusalem is paved, which is celestiall charity. Hoping therefore in God that you assigne this your time of civill death to the study of a spirituall life, I will set this blessed Epitaph upon your tombe for you to reade, You are dead, [Page 345]and your life is hidden with CHRIST in God: when CHRIST shall appeare,Colos. 3.34your life, then shall you also appeare with him in glory.

The next visit I make, shall be, For the dispoyled. to such as heretofore have practiced Christian medicine upon the distresses of others, and now are patients them­selves in this point of necessity. Me thinks when I come into such families, with the Angels message, Toby 5.11. to give them joy, I may well expect such an answer as old Toby gave in this case, What joy can we have, sitting in this darknesse of fortune, seeing no light of any reliefe or restitution? To such, though I cannot answer as the Angel did to Toby, Be of good cheere, for your cure is neere at hand from God, yet I have a message to them of no lesse comfort from the master of that Angel, Thus saith the first, Apoc. 2.12and the last, who was dead, and liveth, I know your tribulation, and your poverty, but you are rich. What this riches meaneth, they cannot mistake, which know by expe­rience, that no materiall substances, which may be so easily removed and [Page 346]alienated, ought to be accounted the riches of a Christian; Christ Jesus left no such moveables for Christians to reckon their estates upon, as could be plundered, or sequestred.

Your treasure then is this similitude with Christ, 2 Cor. 8.9.who being rich, became poore for you, that by his poverty you might be rich. You are advanced halfe way to­wards this compleat imitation of him, for of rich you are made poore for his sake. But in this part, it may be there is little desert towards him, because your wills have wrought little upon this part of the copy. The other halfe then that remaineth to finish, must be perfected by the acts of your owne wills, which is, to endeavour that Christ may be made rich by your po­verty. This may be done (you being members of Christ) by your becom­ming rich in all that spirituall treasure, which may be digged out of this rock of poverty; as patience, humility, con­tempt of the world, and the love of God. For every member of Christ, that accumulateth such treasures of [Page 347]grace, enricheth the body of Christ. This is an honour that Poverty is al­lowed, to enrich Christ, by the same meanes whereby he hath made us rich, to wit, by our indigence and ne­cessity, to conferre treasure on his Church, since all the opulency thereof, is an addition to his estate.

You need not wonder then, that I offer you joy in this your condition, when your taking it, & shewing that you have it, is the means of your enriching Christ by this your poverty. For since you have not one of the hardest parts of poverty to contend with your na­ture in, which is, the dipossessing your selves, of those eases which your sen­ses have still hold of, and strive to retaine, you having but the accep­tance of your privations left to obtaine of your nature, may account your selves carryed by accident, halfe way to the end of Christian perfection, of relinquishing all for Christ. And surely if you doe now joyfully embrace your wants and destitutions, you may be said to recover the merit of having given to [Page 348] Christ all you have lost. For they who give all away in preference of this state, of the poverty of Christ, doe not please God so much in resolving to want, as in actually feeling the incom­modities thereof, and joying in that conformity to Christ: so that your re­joycing in the present distresses of po­verty, is the point which valueth this condition, and so bringeth you to the meritorious part of a voluntary donati­on of all your violent deprivements; and on the other side, if you repine and murmur at your losses, you doe commit a kind of mentall sacriledge, in desiring to take back what God see­meth to have applyed to the honour­ing the poverty of his Sonne, which is, the reducing the opulent to imbrace and rejoyce in indigence, in order to an attendance upon the necessitous con­dition of Christ.

Therefore you may wel accept with alacrity this order of God, and con­clude, that if you are conscient to your selves of Christian largenesse of heart, in the abundance of your fortune, that [Page 349]God out of mercy hath with his owne hand given you these last touches of the image of his Son, that you might have both these resemblances of him, the having been poore as well as boun­tifull. In the first of which features, you know God is so much delighted, as he hath so disposed the world, that it affordeth him much more of that object, then of the other; for there is far more poverty upon the earth then charity. And it is so ordered, as toge­ther with the act of charity, there is al­wayes extant the object of necessity, and this latter is often existent single without the other, so as you may ac­count this state of poverty and passive­nesse you are now in, no lesse accepta­ble to God then that of abundance and dispensation to others, from whence you are translated.

And surely you may conclude this your present estate of sufferance and purgation, to be fitly ministred for the cure of some infirmity, wherewith your selves were unacquainted. For we have all sinnes, which are secrets [Page 350]even to our owne sincerest inquisition. We know David after his confession, Psal. 18.23. desired to be informed of God of his omissions, and to be cleansed of his secret sinnes; and Saint Augustine prai­seth Gods mercy, for the sins he had not committed, by the grace of Gods prevention. You may well then im­pute this change of your estate, either to a mercifull purpose of God, to draw out some worme, growing im­perceptibly in the full bodie of your temporall commodities, or to keep out some snake, which God foresaw would have insinuated it selfe into those co­vers of plenty and abundance were standing in your former conditions. So as in either of these cases, you may re­solve this change to be a mercy, veiled under this mysterie of your affliction.

Whereupon I may fitly present you with this comfort of the Evangelicall Prophet, Isay 54.8I hid my face from thee for a mo­ment, but with everlasting kindnesse I will have mercy on thee, saith the Lord, thy re­deemer. And if you may well take it for a favourable Composition, the [Page 351]being taxed at some few dayes re­venew in this life, for a discharge of the least delinquency against your Crea­tor and Redeemer, how justly then ought you to rejoyce at this bargaine, where­in there wanteth but your setting your heart to it, to make it a valid convey­ance of all your estates over to the land of the living, and so to convert your momentany privations, into an improvement of your eternall posses­sions? when you may make this bles­sed clayme of the Psalmist, Psal. 38.8.Now what is my expectation? is it not our Lord? and my sustance is with thee. These conside­rations I am certain, may justifie my giving you joy of your present condi­tions, and if you take it, you will need solicite no other reparatory, for if the poverty of Christ doth thus enrich you, O! what may you hope for, in the plenitude of his treasure from such a master, as is able to furnish joy to the followers of him in his sorrow? what may be expected at the entring into that masters joy?

Thus I have visited the principall [Page 352]stations of our Crosse-bearers, and accor­ding to my best capacity, I have offe­red the hungry meat, the strangers hospitality, the prisoners society: I have served every one faithfully with their severall portions of consolation, which the great master of the family distributeth to them, through my hands; therefore I shall now exhibit unto them all collectively this Pharma­cum Catholicum, this Canonike, or univer­sall receipt of Saint Paul, applyable to all conditions, Phil. 1.28. In nothing be terrified of the adversaries, which to them is cause of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God; for to you it is given, for CHRIST, not only that you beleeve in him, but also that you suffer for him.

CHAP. XIII. A Summary of the precedent Treatise.

WHen I view these sheets, mee thinks they call to my minde the Booke sent to the Prophet Ezekiel, written full with these three Con­tents, Lamentations, A Song, and Wee, whereunto the three Covenants of Suf­ferance, (the subject of my lines) may be not improperly accommodated. For the first of them as Men, answer­eth well to the Lamentations of the Pro­phet, as consisting altogether of sor­row and labour. And the second as Christians, reporteth to the Song, which signifieth praising and gladnesse, for under the notion of Christians, we may fitly sing and rejoyce in our obligation to suffer. And the last as Catholikes, re­lateth not unfitly to the third of Wee. For as Persecution and the Crosse was the Mother, so affliction hath alwayes [Page 354]been one of the nurses of Catholike Reli­gion: And the state of Christians, stan­ding in the middle, doth like the Sun in the Skie, inlighten the orbes above and below it; for this condition of suf­fering as members of Christ, disaspe­rates the thorns left in the sides of the sonnes of Adam, and sweetens that Cuppe mingled with Myrrhe, which we take from the hand of our mother the Catholike Church, who gathereth Myrrhe with all her Aromaticall spices.

And I would to God there were but as much similitude between the persons, as between the Commissions of the Prophet and mine, for he was sent to treat of these subjects, with people in your condition, the Church of God in persecution and captivity, to enjoyn them Lamentation for their sinnes, to promise them joy to their obedience, and to denounce Woe against their inconfor­mity. Which offices I have discharged to the best of my capacity; and I may owne the charge from God, in that order, wherein all good gifts come from above, Jam. 1.17 from the Father of lights; [Page 355]and more precisely by Saint Pauls di­rection, 2 Cor. 3.9 of Communicating to the necessi­ties of the Saints, Rom. 12.13 without arrogating any thing, towards the least glimpse of pretending an extraordinary warrant. The Apostle investeth us with this ho­nour of being Gods coadjutors. Where­fore the meanest of that function may avouch his Spirit for the author of what tendeth to the communicating of his good impulses to the refection and solace of his desolated brothers; So that whatsoever in these lines, shall bring any drop of consolation, passeth my pen, but as through a pipe, which giveth conveyance only, no virtue, to what is transfused. And I desire there may be no more ascribed to my inke, then ought to be to the durt, or the water of Siloe, John 9.24 which were used in the blinde mans cure; for it may be truly answered to all such as shall receive any benefit by my pen, Give glory unto God, for we know this man is a sin­ner.

They who will benefit by these my prescriptions, must be desired to enter [Page 356]into a serious consideration, of these three points, which doe naturally issue from the heads of our triple covenant. The first is, the misery of our estate as sonnes of Adam; The second is, the dignified condition of the members of Christ; The third is, security of being such by our incorporation into the Catholike Church, the which only is his body, and his spouse. The first may be ministred against all refractory hu­mour, that exasperateth our grievan­ces, the which we may-sweeten by this reflection, that We are born to sorrow as birds to fly. Job 5.7. This may well asswag our distempers, to consider sufferance not as an estate of compulsion, but of consonancy to our condemned nature. The second, may present to us our sen­tence of sorrow, converted into a gra­tification, by proving the means of our connexion to such an head, who by putting the griefs, and dolours of our nature into his bosome, hath taken out the sting, and hath taught us to [Page 357]kill their venome by imbracing them; And the third ascertaineth us, to be within that circle, wherein the eter­nall benefit of all the sorrows of the head or members are limited, and determined. This triangle of medita­tion, is well proportioned to all your suffering hearts, in which forme I have drawn this present of my heart unto you, and having borrowed of Saint Paul the most of what I have presented to you to make up the want of weight in what is of mine owne stock, I will borrow this also from him, 2 Cor. 12.15 This little labour I most gladly bestow, and will my selfe moreover be bestowed for your soules.

If I may make a request to you upon this present, it shall be, to retain ch [...]if­ly the second of these three points I have treated; which are, your obliga­tion to suffer, your manner of bearing the Crosse, and your merit in the faith­full carriage thereof. There is little danger of your forgetting the first, in these times, nor any feare of Gods for­getting of the last, both in this time, and in eternity. Heb. 6.10. God is not unjust that he [Page 358]should forget your work and love, which you have shewed in his name. So as all the dif­ficulty rests in your cōplying faithfully with the Evangelicall manner of suffe­ring exhibited so fairely to you in the practise and precepts of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who as Saint Peter urgeth it to us, 1 Pet. 2.21 suffered for us, leaving us an ex­ample, that you may follow his steps; which I have set out before you, as fairly, fi­gured and impressed upon these papers, as my skill can afford their edition. I have shewed you their Marches, to­wards friends, and their Postures to enemies, in the exercises of all sorts of charities, active and passive; I have ex­posed unto you the Apostles and the Martyrs following of Christ in the same track, all making one procession of the Crosse; I have removed all those stumbling blocks and stones of scan­dall I could find in your way, that might endanger you in your following and carrying your Crosses safely and graciously in this traine; I have cleered all those scruples, and dis­sipated those temptations, I con­ceived [Page 359]the most obnoxious, and the most subtile the enemy could ob­ject to amuse you, or excite, to seduce you. Against both which impediments in the way of the Crosse, (to wit, of doubts which might keep you unresol­ved, and of offers that might divert you) I have given their precautions, and defences respectively to the natures of the dangers.

Having thus furnished you, the armes of righteousnesse on the right hand, and the left, with all sincerity, and as much ability as God hath pleased to impart unto me, I may use the termes of the beloved Apostle upon the same occasi­on, 1 John. 14. These things we write to you that you may rejoyce, and your joy may be full. For surely if out of these principles of Ca­tholike Religion, you doe but extract some drops of joy, Psa. 109.7 Of the tor­rent in the way shall be drink, therefore shall he exalt his head. now while you are drinking or the torrent in the way with him of whom the Psalmist saith, De tor­rente in viâ bibet, propterea exaltabit ca­put; with what a torrent of joy shall you be refreshed when you come to be united to that exalted head, and drink [Page 360]as it were with his mouth, tasting the same volupty which he feedeth, and li­veth upon? In this contemplation, me thinks it should be no harder a matter for you to be pleased now in your pres­sures, and vexations, then it is for a Ge­nerall to rejoyce, while his wounds are dressing, though with much sensible paine, which are the memorials of a glorious victory. All the paines and asperities of temporall affliction, unto a heart fastned to the Crosse of Christ, Act. 5.41. (in which posture there is an actuall tri­umph) are but such smarts, and pun­gencies, as the body of a Conqueror may feele in his hurts, while his minde is elevated with a superiour Joy and De­lectation.

There may be such a present dolo­rousnesse in the senses of those victori­ous sufferers, while their spirits are go­ing rejoycing with the Apostles, in these stripes, which their persons re­sent; for Saint Paul the great Doctor in consorting this suavity and asperity, telleth us, Heb. 12.11. All discipline for the present truly seemeth not to be of joy but sorrow, but [Page 361]afterward it will render to them who are exercised by it, most peaceable fruit of ju­stice. Therefore a Christian who liveth by faith more nobly then by sense, rests not upon what he feeleth, but passeth on to what he beleeveth and hopeth, 2 Cor. 4.18 The things that are seen are temporall, but these that are not seen are eter­nall. considering that Temporalia sunt quae videntur, quae autem non videntur aterna. Me thinks Job upon his trium­phall arch raised upon the consumpti­on and ashes of all his temporalities, prefigureth to us the estate, and direct­eth the course of a Christian, He hath set me as it were a proverb for the common peo­ple, and the just shall hold his way, and with clean hands shall adde strength.

These contrarietyes must be ex­pected, yet this rectitude in the way, and this proficiency in the advance, must be endeavoured, and by those, gaining upon our selves, we attain to that joy which our Saviour hath promi­sed, none shal take from us, for our King hath associated two things, more incō ­patible in the state of our nature, then the Emp. Merva was so much celebra­ted for, in the state of civill regiment, [Page 362]which was, that he had conjoyned two things before his time insociable, Em­pire and Liberty; But our Prince of peace, hath consociated even the sword and peace, for he professeth he came to separate the neerest alliances of nature, and yet to confederate joy and sorrow in these separations. And this capacity imparted to our nature of rejoycing and suffering all together, seemeth a resemblance in us, of the in­effable union in him of his Divine and Human natures. For these two opera­tions Angelicall and Humane, seeme now conjoyned in the faculties of man, when he rejoyceth as if he were an Angel, while he suffereth as a Man.

This concordancy hath Christ made between these two antipathies of joy and sorrow, by that power which joy­ned himselfe to us, in such a sort, as no mortal shal ever conceive the manner of it. And the same power, giveth us this capacity, of issuing as it were out of our selves, in such a kind, as we cannot comprehend that virtue, by [Page 363]which we are thus enabled to joy, and sorrow in the same conjuncture. But though we doe not conceive fully the virtue by which we act, we are cleerly informed of what we are to endeavour, in all distresses never so averse to our nature; for where he, whom we be­leeve equall to God, returned him thanks, and prayses for all his crosses and passions, we who are but wormes and dust, cannot doubt how we are to comport our selves in our chastise­ments and corrections, under the hand of our Creator.

The Apostle in these instructions gi­ven to the Roman Catholikes for their behaviour in persecution, compriseth and summeth up in a few words, all my ratiocinations, Be fervent in spirit, Rom. 12.rejoy­cing in hope, patience in tribulation, in­st [...]nt in prayer. These are the Wedges, out of which I have by way of expan­sion drawn all the leaf-gold, which I have laid upon these sheets, out of which every one of you may take stuffe enough to gild over his Crosse; and now I present you with the barres [Page 364]themselves out of which each of you may draw that fire-tryed gold, which the Angel counselleth them to buy, that would be made rich. For as the prince of the Apostles saith of these same dispositions, and in little differing terms, 2 Pet. 1.8. If these things be present with you, and abound, they shall make you not vacant, not without fruit in the knowledge of our Lord JESUS CHRIST.

And you will please to remember, that I have marked you out the way of having this presence and abundance of these graces and endowments by fervent and indeficient prayer, which openeth the eares of even the unjust judge, and much more his, who hath given us this expedient for all our re­leefs, Luk. 18.2. It beho­veth al­wayes to pray and not to be weary. 1 Thes. 5.16. Oportet semper orare, & non deficere, so that this precept of our righteous judge, and mercifull master, cannot be too much iterated, and urged upon you in this time of your tentation. And certainly Saint Pauls Rejoyce alwayes, and his Pray alwayes, are fitly set to­gether, for they are Correlatives, prayer being the father, and joy the [Page 365]sonne. In this life our necessities re­quire continuall supplies, and in the other life where we shal know no want, these two shall change their relations, joy shall be the parent and prayer the issue; for there the fulnesse of joy shall beget perpetuall prayer, whereas here the abundance of prayer, is it, that pro­duceth a continuation of joy.

It is prayer then that is the anchor of our joy in this world, Heb. 6.19. which may be fastned to the inner part of the vayle, where Jesus the precursor is entred; he hath left us this anchor to cast upwards, to stay our peace in all afflictions, and storms of this sea we sail up and down in for a while, and if in any calm of spirit we lessen our prayer, we doe but as if in faire weather, a Ship should cut off her anchors, confi­ding in the continuance of this serenity, and consequently it can be no lesse then desperatenesse, not to be very in­stant, and intentive in prayer in the foule weather of persecution. This prescription then of the Apostle, is the most soveraign that can be ministred [Page 366]to your exigencies, 2 Tim. 8.2. I wil ther­fore that men pray in every place, lift­ing up pure hands without anger or altercation Volo ergo vires orare in omni loco, levantes puras manus sine irâ, & disceptations. When your hands are thus lifted up to Heaven, the Amale­kites are easilyer defeated, then while they are retorting back their own darts of malices, and animosities.

Whereupon David in his Canticle of resurrection, wherein he acknow­ledgeth his marvailous restaurations, assigneth all to the vertue of Prayer, saying, Psal. 65.19.20. Therefore hath God heard, and at­tended to the voice of my Petition. Blessed be God, who hath not removed my Prayer, and his mercy from me. Upon which words Saint Augustine gives us this rule, That as long as we find not our Prayer removed from us, we may be sure Gods mercy is not far from us; for God doth often misericordiously deny our prayers, that are in order to temporall reliefe, as the Physitian know­eth better then the Patient, what may be conveniently granted him; but while he giveth us this perseverance, he bestoweth his will upon us, which must needs be better then our owne; [Page 367]it may be we beg a serpent, and he gi­veth us bread infallibly, when he inspi­reth this indeficiency in Prayer.

Wherefore in resemblance of Saint Augustines excellent ejaculation of Lord give what you command, and com­mand what you please, I will propose to you this adjunction, in the unsuccesse­fulnesse of all your petitions, Lord be pleased not to deny us the persistence in Prayer, and deny us what you please of our prayers. This is then the universall re­medy I humbly offer to all your wounds or distempers exteriour or in­trinsike, the constant application of Prayer, which is as the Spirit to the body of Religion, whereof no violence can interrupt the exercise, which I shall leave recommended to you with this testimony of the holy Spirit, Prov 31.29. Many daughters have ga­thered to­gether ri­ches, thou hast pas­sed them all. very ap­plyable to the prerogatives of Prayer, Multae filiae congregaverunt divitias, tu su­pergressa es universas.

Upon the premission of all these principles of Christianity, I may justly charge you with this injunction of Saint Paul to his brethren upon the same oc­casion, [Page 368] Heb. 12.12 For the which cause stretch up the slacked hands, and the loose knees and make straight steps to your feet, that no man halt­ing, erre, but rather be healed. Cast off then all faintnesse, and pusillanimity, let not your hearts hang down as op­pressed with that weight, which grow­eth the lighter, the more your hands are elevated and lifted to heaven. And nothing is more opposed to the cure of your hurts, then this halting the Apo­stle disswadeth, to wit, the favouring of your nature in that part it is offended by the world, still leaning and swaying your thoughts towards the desires of temporall restitutions, towards animo­sities to enemies, and limping a little between repining and resignation. These are the haltings, in which our nature seemeth to ease her selfe; but in effect, this is but to favour a sore part, by which tendernesse we may suf­fer the nerves to contract, and the mem­bers may be by degrees rendred use­lesse, by this error of indulgence.

For this cause we are advised to make our steps straight, to tread confi­dently [Page 369]in the vestiges and footsteps of our Saviour, who, Heb. 12.2. joy being proposed to him, sustained the Crosse, and the power of walking upon the same waters, is de­nyed to none, who have faith enough to tread confidently upon them, when they are called to come to him, in those his paths of many waters. He who hath bid us all take up our Crosse and follow him, cannot be answered, John 14.5 Lord we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way? For we know he hath entred into his glory this way, and hath set our glory at the end of the same passage, wherein not onely his precedencie gui­deth us, but the concomitancy of his grace and vertue supporteth and carry­eth us, and that the easilyer, the more we leane upon them.

Therefore turne not your heads a­wry out of this narrow way, to looke upon the broad flowrie passages of sinners, but making straight steps in your owne track, follow your glorious Crosse-bearer, crying to him with the Psalmist, Psal. 93.12, 13.Blessed is the man whom thou shalt instruct, O Lord, and shalt teach out of thy [Page 370]Law, that thou mayst give him quietnesse from the evill dayes, till a pit be digged for the sinner. There is a Mine digging un­der all the rosie banks of full blowne prosperity, and it is not our parts to know the times, or moments of Gods springing this mine. Let it be then your application, to draw as many as you can by your prayers from under this hollow ground they are walking, and building on, and not your study to cal­culate, or prognostike the day of their destruction. This you may be assured of from the mouth of the Prophet, and compassionate their sentence, in com­parison of your present sufferings, Upon the ground of my people shall thorns and bryars come up, how much more upon all the houses of the City rejoycing? You may therefore rejoyce, Esay 32.13. that you are but scratched a little by those thorns and bryars, while others are in danger to have their roses and flowers turned in­to the fuell of eternall flames.

O then, how much more are you to be accounted blessed, upon whom is entayled that inheritance incorrup­tible, [Page 371]and incontaminate, conserved in the heavens, Wherein you shall rejoyce, 1 Pet. 1.6, 7.a little now if you must be made heavy in divers tentations; that the probation of your faith, much more precious then gold (which is proved by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory, and honour in the re­velation of JESUS CHRIST. There­fore in all the provocations of these times, either by our personall distres­ses, or by the contumelies, and expro­brations of your religion, let your spi­rits answer the reluctant impulses of your sensitive nature, 2 Tim. 1.2 I suffer these things, but I am not confound­ed, for I know whom I have be­leeved, & I am sure that he is able to keepe my deposite unto that day. Apoc. 13.10 Apo. 22.11 with this reply of the Apostle, and Master of the Gentiles, Haec patior sed non confundor, scio enim cui credidi, & certus sum quia potens est servare depositum meum in illum diem; remembring alwayes, that there is no promise but upon fidelity even unto death. Here is, as Saint John saith, The patience, and the faith of Saints, which expecteth Gods time for all mutations, and untill that fulnesse of time be come, we must acquiesce to what the Angel sig­nified to Saint John, and you may take it for an instruction apposite to these [Page 372]times, He that hurteth let him hurt yet, and he that is in filth let him be filthy yet, and he that is just, let him be justified yet; and let the holy be sanctified yet. And these two effects, are consequents of one an­other, for the impiety of the unrighte­ous, is raised by their exercising and perfecting pious patients whose sancti­ty is refined by the others inquination.

Gods wisdome maketh use of all evills, which he permitteth but to ex­tract goods, and so alloweth all vicissi­tudes their times, untill he Who is the first, and the last, cometh to render to every man according to his works. Wherefore doing good let us not faile, for in due time we shall reape, not fai­ling: Let this be then your consolation in all that displeaseth you, that it pro­ceedeth from his order, who can be pleased with nothing, but what is just. Having thus summed up all the par­cells, and fractions of these lines, I shall seale the totall with this signet of our Apostle, and Doctor of all sufferers, glorious Saint Paul, Gal. 6.9.Thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory by our [Page 373]Lord JESUS CHRIST.1 Cor. 15.57.58.Therefore my beloved brethren, be stable, and un­moveable, abounding in the work of our Lord alwayes, knowing that your labour is not in vain in our Lord.

Now me thinks, upon my delivery of this masculine issue of Catholike Reli­gion, the throes of my labour may be easily forgot; but there is a harder worke belonging to this birth, which is to Christen it with sincere humility, the Sacrament, as I may call it, that en­treth all these sorts of children into that Covenant, whereby they become ac­ceptable to God, as being marked with the Character of Christs spirit and dis­position, who sought not his own glo­ry in any of his works, and hath left this rule, John. 7.18 He that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and injustice in him there is not. Wherefore in all hum­blenesse raising my heart, and bending my knees to the originall Crucifix, upon whose image I now fix mine eyes, I lay myselfe, and this issue of my spirit at his feet, unfainedly acknowledging the first motion of this designe, to have [Page 374]issued from his holy suggestion to me, a particular zeale for the procuring you some comfort in these times of your destitutions of all ordinary succours, and the abundance of extraordinary ten­tations.

I humbly therefore praise his good­nesse, in this choice of me the youngest of his house, to blow these sparkles of consolation among you, riseing from that coale, wherewith he hath been pleased to touch my lips: and in a true sense of his mercy, and my own mean­nesse, I ought not to beleeve any thing I have written in this work, so worthy the offering up to God, as what I have not writ in it, which is my name. This manner of consumption, and annihila­tion of self-regard, may breath out some odour of humility, which is like to be of better savour then any other qua­lity of the oblation.

If now then I most humbly offer up to the honour of his holy Spirit all my propriety in this labour, that the work thus consecrated may have this proper­ty of an hoast, the having no longer [Page 375]any owner but Gods name, and that by this means, there may be no thoughts shed upon the author, by the way, but the whole praise and glory may passe up directly and intirely to the holy Spi­rit, the Father of lights, from whom all good gifts descend, this is the greatest contribution I can bring, towards the obtaining a blessing upon this worke; that by the immediate and single glory which you render to God, in acknow­ledging to him this solicitude for your necessities, he may be moved to give the greater efficacy to these admini­strations of comfort. Cast then I be­seech you, your thoughts, at least up­on such an object as my eyes are now fixed upon, and looking on the Author of faith, Heb. 12.1 and the consummator Christ Jesus, who, joy being proposed to him, su­stained the Crosse, contemning confusion. Let me beseech you to joyne with me in this Petition to him, for a blessing upon my labours, and his promised be­atitude upon your sufferances.

A Prayer to CHRIST, represented by a Crucifix.

GRacious Lord Jesus, casting our eyes and thoughts upon your Crosse, and considering how by your owne disfiguring, you have repaired in us the image we had defaced, of our creation, we may joyfully ac­cept this image of our Redemption, stamped upon us by our present Crosses, whereby we are conformed to you crucified, and so in­titled to that similitude we may expect, by but looking upon you glorified. O! let this present object, have in some degree such an operation, and make us like you upon the Crosse, by looking on you in that distressed exposure, that we may derive now from that sight, these virtues of Patience, Humili­ty, and Charity somewhat perfected, as we shall then partake Joy, Glory and Love, consummated by that other vision of you. Glorious Lord Jesus, who are now risen from this throne of your humility, to that of your Majesty, give us leave to chal­lenge [Page 377]this your promise, of drawing all things after you, when you were thus exalted; be pleased then to draw our humility and fide­lity after yours, that they may extend even unto death; that when we finde any naturall reluctancy against our crosses and humiliati­ons, we may feele a more powerfull attracti­on of our conformity after your precedency. O! we have no excuse left, when we looke upon your hands, stretched out upon the Crosse in an equall expansion on both sides, to active, and passive Charity; the one ex­tended to the reliefe of the necessities of o­thers, the other reached forth to the tolerati­on of all their injuryes, whom you were relie­ving, encompassing thus the whole globe of Charity. Be pleased O Lord to fasten us in this manner unto the Crosse with you, that being perfect Crucifixes in our dispositi­ons, as well as in our disfigurements by the World, we may have the neerer configurati­on to your image; when we shall no longer neede to labour a likenesse to you, but the very seeing you, shall transforme us into the same similitude. Grant then O Lord while we are in this laborious resemblance of you, that the character of your patience [Page 378]may be as visible upon us, as that of your passion, and that our enemies by the virtue of our wants, may be releeved in their own necessities; while our prayers growing the richer by our patience, we may the better purchase their remissions. This effect was a grace pertaining to your Crosse, which we humbly beg, may in some measure be con­ferd on ours; that upon this ladder we may scale heaven our selves, and open the gates to our enemies. These were the consequences of your Crosse, and we may (become one Spirit with you by our adherence to you) sub­missively plead, for some such resultancies from our sufferings, that being enabled by your grace, to say with you, that we have glorified God upon earth, and consummated the work that was apointed us, we may expect our presentation from you unto the glorious Trinity, in the list of those that are come out of great tribulation, and having abun­dance of teares in our eyes to wipe off, when we come to be led by the Lambe, to the fountaines of the Water of life, the plenty of these waters have stood here in our eyes, may fill our vessels the fuller of those celesti­all springs. Be pleased then O Lambe of [Page 379]God! that we may follow you now so faith­fully, through the streets of earthly Jerusa­lem, without clamour, or contention, as we may be qualifide for our following you wheresoever you goe, in that heavenly city, where our duty, and our delight will be in­cessant acclamations of your glory, which shall be answerd by a continuall replication of our own Beatitude. In the mean time, grant that the meeknesse and humility of our spirits, under our crosses, may extoll the virtue of your crosse, and the praises of your Catholike Church, over which the gates of hell shall never prevaile, and the which only, shall prevaile, upon the gates of Heaven.

Haec est victoria quae vincit mundum,
1 Joh. 5.4
fides nostra.
Quia propter te mortificamur totâ die,
Rom. 8.36.
asti­mati su [...] sicut oves occisionis, sed in his omnibus superamus propter cum qui di­lexi [...] nos.
FINIS,

Faults escaped, correct thus.

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