OF THE LOVE OF OVR ONLY LORD AND SAVIOVR, IESVS CHRIST.

Both that which he beareth to Vs; and that also which we are obliged to beare to Him.

DECLARED By the principall Mysteries of the Life, and Death of our Lord; as they are deliuered to vs in Holy Scripture.

With a Preface, or Introduction to the Discourse.

IHS
D. Aug. Confess. lib. 10. cap. 29.

O Amor, qui semper ardes, & numquam extingueru Charitas, Deus meus, accende me.

O thou Loue, which euer burnest, and art ne­uer quenched! O Charity, my God, do thou enkindle me.

Permissu Superiorum, M.DC.XXII.

TO THE MOST GLORIOVS AND EVER-BLESSED PERPETVALL VIRGIN MARY the All-Immaculate Mother, of our Lord God.

RECEAVE this Trea­tise, O Queene of Hea­uen, with thy Hand of grace; which the hart of thy Seruant, doth pro­strate at thy purest Feet; as a token, wrapped vp in words, of the most reuearing, and ad­miring Loue, which he owes, & wil euer be striuing to pay to thee. And vouchsafe (of thy Goodnes) to present it to thy Son [Page]our Lord, the sole Redeemer, and Sauiour of the World; since it aymes at nothing els, but his glory, which with infinite mer­cy, he hath vouchsafed to place, in the ex­change of Loue, with mortall Man. Thy selfe, and thou alone, art that happy Crea­ture, who by the aboundant sloud of his Grace, wert made able to swim, through all the moments of this life, in the Purity, and Perfection of this dunne Loue. Nor didst thou euer fayle therof, from the first instant of thy Immaculate Concep­tion, in the bowells of thy blessed mother, to that other of thy Assumption, in the ar­mes of thy most beloued Sonne. O suffer not his Creatures, who are also adopted sonnes of thine, to be still so vnlike their mother; as to disperse, and dissipate them­selues, by inordinate Loue, vpon the transitory obiects of this world. It is in­ough, it is too much, that hitherto, we haue defiled our soules; and that forsaking the cleere, vntroubled spring of diuine Beauty, we haue bene miserably glad, to stifle, and drowne our selues (whilst yet we are the workes of his Hands, and the ioy of his Hart) in the muddy pooles of profane Delight. Behold how we sigh, & [Page]groane in thy sacred eares: some of vs, vn­der thè seruile yoke of present sinnes; and some others, vnder the sad effects, and consequences of our former wickednes; since we are full of weakene; towards good workes, and of an auersion from ioyfully and perfectly complying, with the superexcellent, wise, and holy will of God. Demaund of that God, obtaine of thy Sonne; that he will print himselfe fast vpon our Soules; that so (O glori­ous Queene, O thou most certaine Com­fort of the Afflicted) we may be dischar­ged by thy prayers, from these chaynes, which are striuing to dragge vs downe as low as Hell. And once being free, we may fly vp, from whence we are fallen, and adhere to God, with thee, by an E­ternall Loue.

THE PREFACE, DECLARING THE POWERS belonging to the Soule of man, with their proper obiects and acts: and how all the whole world liues by Loue; and that the obiect of our Loue must be only God, di­rected by meanes of Iesus Christ, our only Lord, and Sauiour.

IT is the ancient, and iust Com­plaint of our Holy, and Wise forefathers, that men affect the knowledg of certaine f [...]rraine, and fruitlesse things, not ca­ [...]ing to consider, or euen know themselues. We are apt to wō ­der at the huge height of mountaines; the vnwearied walke of riuers; the subtile course of seas; the perpe­tuall motion of planets; and in the meanetyme, we reslect not vpö that which growes in our owne bosomes, which yet is a fitter subiect for our admiratiō to worke vpon. The most inestimable riches of the whole materi­all world, is but beggary, and misery, in compa­rison of the mind of Man. For what Monarch, had euer such Ambassadors, and Spies, as are his Sen­ses; or such Solicitours, as are his Desires; or such Officers, and Executioners, as are his Passions; or such a Lord Steward of his Houshould, as is his Reason; or such a Secretary of State, as is his In­uention; [Page]or such a Treasurer, as is his Memory; or such a President of his Coun [...]aile, as is his Vnder­standing; and which of them, had euer, so absolute a Dominion ouer his Countries, & Vassalls, as man hath ouer himselfe, by the vse, and exercise of his will?

Of all these Powers, the Vnderstanding, & Will are the most important; as being they, to which the rest are all reserred. Verum, or that which is True, is the Obiect of the Vnderstāding, & the Obiect of the Wil, is Bòn̄, or that which is Good. The Act which the Vnderstāding exerciseth, towards his Obiect of Truth, is Knowledge; for the Vnderstanding, doth euer desire to know; & that which is exercised by the Wil, towards the Obiect of God, is Loue; for al creatures which cā Loue, are carried to a desire of that which is Good, or at least which seemeth good to the. And indeed it may be truly sayd, if it be discreetly vnderstood, that there is no creature at all, which hath not a Loue, that it lookes after.

Euen all the inanimate Creatures, do moue with a restles desire to their proper Cēter, through a quality which is impressed vpon them, by the common Creator, of them, & vs. Fire flyes vpward, & earth falls downe ward; they are driuen by their weight, they aspire to their places. By force you may with hold them, but if you leaue them to themselues, you shal quickly see, where they haue a mind to be. And as the actual Loue which a reasonable creature bears to any Obiect, is accōted for the weight wherby he is car­ried to his iourneyes end, Amor meus pondus mē, eò feror, quocumque feror; D. A [...]. Confes lib. 13. c. 9. so the weight or Vir­tus motiua of inanimate Creatures, may well be accounted, & called their Loue, wherby they are car­ried [...] [Page]knowledg of Good & Bad; so also must he needs haue a more vniuersall, and noble meanes, for the reaching, & arriuing to the perfection of so excellent a nature. From hence also it comes, that as it is proper to him, to apprehend his End, so he must be enabled with all the meanes cōducing to it. This last End of man, is perfect & complete Beatitude. So as the true and vndoubted Obiect of his Will, is, Omne bonum, which is All Good. This Perfectió supposech, & of it self implyeth, in any creature, which can aspire therunto, to be, to liue, & to know. So that if any man be asked, whe­ther he would be glad to Be, to Liue, to Know, & to be Happy, he cannot doubt of it, though he would; vnlesse he were out of his wits, & then in effect, he would be no man. Now, Beatitudo (as saith Boetius) est status, omnium bonorum aggregatione perfe­ctus. AndConfes. lib. 10. c. 21. S. Augustine saith, That if any man should be asked, whether he would be happy, or no; all the world would say yea; as all the world if it were asked, whether it would re­ioyce or no, would be sure to say that it would fayne Reioyce; which ioy if it be true & cōplete, & without possibility of mutation, is nothing els but meere Beatitude. But this, in the meane time, is the mayne, & finall, vniuersall end of man. And frō hence it necessarily followes; That man seeing many particulars proposed to him, as means cōducing to this end, is not necessarily carried towards this, or that par­ticular meanes (which many tymes are contrary to one another) because he apprehends thē not, to be necessary, or not perhaps so much as sit, for his End, to which a­lone, his desire is necessarily carried.

Hence flowes the vse & exercise of Free-Will, [Page]wherby a man hath power to consult, elect, deter­mine, & resolue; as also, on he other side, to refuse & reiect what he lyketh not, in all the particular occurrē ­ces of his life. S. Thomas with his Angelicall vnder­standing expresseth himselfe in few words to this effect. The Forme in­tellect [...]se [...] vniuersall &c. D. Thom. [...] 6. de m [...]. forme of our vnderstāding, which the inclinatiō of our wil doth follow, is vniuersall; vnder which, many particulers are cōprehen­ded. And so, for as much as the acts consist in those particulars, amongst which there is none which can equall the power of an vniuersall; there remaineth a kind of inclination of the will, which carrieth it selfe indeterminately to seueral things. For vpon a desire, which a man con­ceaues of health, he beginnes to consult, about those things, which seeme to conduce vnto it; and at length, he resolues to take a potion. So that Counsaile precedes the resolution of taking the potion; which proceeds frō his willingnes to be counselled. If any thing be therfore apprehended, (according to all those particulars, which may be apprehended) as a conuenient good, it will ne­cessarily moue the will. And frō hence it is, that a man doth necessarily desire Beatitude, which is a State complete by the aggregatiō of all good things, as hath beèn said.

Now, that the Wil, is carried to any thing which is presented to it, rather according to one particular con­dition which it hath, then to another, may happen es­pecially vpon any one of three occasions. First when the thing it selfe is of more weight; and then a man is car­ried towards it, according to reason. As when he pre­ferrs, that which respects his health, before that which respects his pleasure. Secondly, when he considers of [Page]some particular circumstance, and not of another; as when a man will needs borrow money, without think­ing how he shall be able to repay it. And thirdly, it may happen, by the disposition of the mans mind at that tyme; because (according to Aristotle) As any man is in himselfe, such doth his end then seeme, to him to be. And so we see, that the wil of a man is mo­ued towards any thing, after a very different manner, when he is much transported by choller, to what he is, when he is quiet.

But, the while, it easily appeares, how noble these two Faculties are, of the Vnderstāding & the Wil; & how greedy and earnest they will be sure to be, in slying with a fierce kind of appetite, towards their seuerall ob­iects. And as a man cannot fayle to be happy, according to his mayne desire, if these faculties be well addres­sed, by the particuler meanes which conduce to it; So by any disorder which they fall into, their Maister groweth to be miserable. Such disorder vseth to ariue, vpon the allurement of some particular obiects, and the close quarter which is kept, betweene the vnder­stāding, & the will, which are not only neere neigh­bours, but greater friends, then many would perhaps imagine, and so they make a mighty impression vpon one another. And howsoeuer, for as much as concernes the generall, and finall obiect, which is Beatitude, though neither of them, can any more perswade the o­ther to erre willingly, then it selfe can be subiect therin to errour; yet, hic & nunc, when there is question of the particular addresse, or meanes, there vseth to grow much abuse. And as, if the vnderstanding looke vpon things in a false light, or (as it were) through the sin­ [...]ars, or through a paire of lying Spectacles, it wil say [Page]shrewdly to the will, by way of inducing it to imbrace an erroneous beliefe; so if the will bestisly engaged, v­pō the earnest loue of an apparēt false good, insteed of a true one, either by any ill habit acquired: or by the ve­hemēcy of some tēptation, or by the impotency of some passion, or els by the surprise of some delightful obiect, or the like; it doth, many tymes, so worke, & win vpon the vnderstāding, as to make it cōcurre towards the set­ting of wicked, & vniust decres; wherby Christ our Lord may be crucified, & Barabbas discharged; the creature may be imbraced, & the God of al creatures be reie­cted. For thus, saith.Conf. l. 7. c. 8. S. Augustine, are sinnes committed, when thou, O God art forsaken, O thou fountaine of life, who art the sole and true creat our of al things; & whē, by a foolish, and particular pride of appetite, we grow to loue that, which is but a part of the whole, and which with all is false. But by h̄ble deuotion, we returne to thee againe; & thou dost cleanse vs from our euill custome; and art mercifull to the sinnes of such as confesse them; and thou hearest the groanes of thy prisoners; and dost take off the fetters which we made for our selues. But so, as that yet we must no more ad­uance the proud hornes of false liberty, against thee; through a couetous desire of enioying more, which wil proue to be the losse of what we haue already; if we loue our owne preten­ded priuate good, more then thee, who art the common good of all.

So that now we see, how necessary it will be for vs to take some course, for the coupling of these two ex­tremes (which, on the one side, is our selues, and on the [Page]other, our finall End or Beatitude) by some meanes which may be both sweet, & strong, towards the enter­tayning, & imploying of these faculties, & powers of ours; that so we may be secured, from loosing our way, to a iourneys end, which doth so much import.

For the errours of the vnderstanding are dā ­gerous in a high degree. To the vnderstanding it first belongs, to specify, or present all particulers to the will; and if that be done with disguise, the man is like to be in ill case. For the will, is an obeying, and blind faculty, which discourse [...] but executes, if it lists, in conformity of what is offered, by the vnderstāding; and therfore it is, as if it had no life at all, till the vn­derstanding giue it meate, to feede vpon; which she takes at the hand therof, though it be poyson. The er­rours also of the will, are at least, as dangerous as those others; for this is the seat, and Center of the Af­fections, and it is both extremely laborious, & withall very lickerish after all the delightfull obiects which it lookes vpon. And for listening, & gazing it growes first to cheapning, & then to buying; & by the disorder, & distēpered heate therof, it blowes with vehemet desire v­pon them. And so it rayseth a dust into the eye of the vnderstāding, wherby it is made, as blind almost, as the blind will it selfe. And wherby it growes persua­ded, that how deere soeùer that cōterfeit ware do cost, it may proue a kind of sauing bargaine to vs, in the end.

Now, what a case are we therfore in, if our Loue, being so restles a thing, as it is, & so resolued, to be euer feeding vpon some obiect or other, we suffer that to be such a one, as besides the endles tormes of the next life, can neuer bring vs to any true rest in this? For the soule can neuer rest in the possession or fruition of any crea­ture. [Page]The reason heerof is playne; because the rest of any thing consisteth in the attayning & inioying of that last end, to which it was ordayned, in the creation therof. And therfore the soule of man, being made for the fruition of God, whose glorious vision is only able to make vs say, It is inough; what meruaile is it, that it can take no lasting true contentment, in any thing which is lesse then God?

The holy S. Bernard sayth heervpon, to this essect: It is no meruaile that the soule of man can neuer be sa­tisfied with the possessions, honours, & pleasures of this world. For the soule desires to feed vpon such a meat, as may carry proportion to it selfe. Now, the entertai­ments of this life, carry no proportion at all to the soule, in the way of giuing it entiere satisfactiō. For the soule is spirituall, & immortall; and all these obiects, are ei­ther temporall, or carnall. And therfore, as he who were ready to starue for lacke of meate, would be ridiculous if he should thinke to kill his hungar, by going to a win­dow, & gaping there like some Camelion, to take in the ayre (which ayre is no cōpetent and proportionable food, for a body of flesh & bloud;) iust so a man who shal pretend to satisfy & fulfill the desires of a spirituall & immortal substāce (as we know the soule to be) by fee­ding fowly vpon the Carrion of Corporall thinges, is at least as very a foole as the former. And besides his folly, & his losse of labour in the meane time, he wil, heeraf­ter, grow to suffer by it, so much more; hē the otherr; as the eternall dānation of a soule, is a matter incōparably more considerable, then the death of a mortall body.

No; it is God alone, who can quēch the infini e ap­petite of his reasonable creatures. He alone made the whole world for vs; & vs for himself; & he only is our [Page]Center, & place of rest. He only is that first Truth, which our vnderstāding should aspire to know; & the only Good, which our Will should be so inflamed to Loue. And because as hath bene said, the question is, but of the Meanes, wherby we must tend to this most perfect End: and for that, by the treachery of our sēses, we are induced to place our harts, & the affectiōs therof vpon dāgerous, & vicious obiects; it is therfore, shat I am procuring to set that one before vs, which is the most strōg, & sweet, & perfect meanes, & which may not only inuite, but assist vs also admirably otherwise, to­wards the ariuing to our last End.

The line which leades to this faire full point, & the way which guides vs to this eternall habitation, is that top of beauty, and excellency, Iesus Christ our Lord; vpon whom if we can perswade our selues to fa­sten the rootes of allour Loue, we shall not only be happy there, but euē heere. And to the end that we may consider the innumerable, & inualuable reasons, which we haue to loue this Lord of ours; I haue laboured first, to shew the vnspeakeable dignity of his person; & then the infinite loue it selfe which he hath borne to vs. And this I haue deduced, out of the principal misteries of his most sacred life, & bitter death, as they haue bene de­liuered to vs in holy. Scripture. And although whilst I treate of the Loue of our Lord to vs, in euery one of the particular mysteries, I do, also shew, the straite obliga­tion into which we are cast, of returning loue for loue to him: yet I procure to do it more expresly, towards the end of the book in the two last Chapters. The holy ghost be he who by sweetly breathing vpō our soules, may in­able vs to do this duty well; which hath bene so highly deserued of vs, & which only is able to make vs happy.

OF THE LOVE OF OVR LORD IESVS CHRIST, declared by shewing his Greatnes, as he is God.

CHAP. 1.

THE Loue of our Lord Ie­sus Christ, to this wretched and wicked creature Man, is such a Sea without any bottome, and such a Sunne without all Eclipse; that not only no fadome can reach it, must not so much as any eye behould it, as indeed it is. And whither soeuer we looke, either vp or downe, or towards any side, we shall find our selues ouer wrought by the bulke, and brightnes thereof. NowThe quality of the per­sōs which loue each other, gi­ueth price and value to the lo­ue it selfe. because the loue of any one to any other, doth take a tincture, from the quality of the per­sons betweene whome it pasles; therefore the loue of our Lord to vs, is proued heereby, to be infinite and incomprehensible, because the dignity, and Maiesty of his person, is incom­prehensible, and infinite. It will therefore be [Page 2]necessary to declare some part of the excellen­cy of his person. And for his sake, who loued vs with so eternall loue; I beg in this begin­ning, an exact attention. BecauseThe reason why exact attention. is heere required. what I am to say in this place (being the ground, whereon the rest of this discourse must rise) will both giue it clearer light, and greater weight, and more certaine credit. Nor can any thing, which shallbe deliuered in the progresse heerof, be so high, or deep, or wide, or hard; to the beliefe whereof, the soule wil not be able to flye, at full ease, and speed, be­tweene the wings of faith and loue; when it considers and ponders well, who it is, of whō we speake.

Our Lord Iesus Christ (being perfect God and perfect Man) as God, is the only begotten eternall sonne of his Father, and wholy equall to him. And becauseThe generatiō of the Son of God. he is begotten of him, by an act of Vnderstanding, proceeding out of that inexausted fountaine of his wisedom (as if it were out of a wombe) he is therefore called the Wisedome begotten; the Word, the Image, and the Figure of his Father; from whome, togeather with the Sonne, the Holy Ghost proceeds. And for as much as the Father, could communicate to his Sonne, no other nature but his own; the Sonne is therfore Consubstantiall with the Father, and true God, who only possesseth immortality.

His Essence The essence of Christ our Lord, as he is God. is an infinite kind of thing eternall, and immutable, which doth neces­sarily exist; and wherein, as in the soueraigne [Page 3]cause, all other perfections are contained after an vnspeakably sublime manner. And such excellency is resident in that most simple and pure Essence of his, that he is infinitly farre from al necessity of any thing created towards the complement of his owne beatitude. Now concerning the creatures, they haue no being but by him; or rather they haue it not so pro­perly by him, as in him: Is any man, Lib. 1. Conf. c. 0. sayth S. Augustine, able to frame himselfe? Or is any one of the veines, whereby our being, and life runneth towards vs, drawne from any other roote then this, That thou, O Lord, dost frame vs? Thou, to whome being and liuing, are not too seueral things, because supremely to Be, and supremely to Liue, is the very thing it it selfe, which thou art; for thou art supreme and art not changed. And a little before, speaking, to God in the selfe same discourse, he expresseth himselfe thus, in most profound and yet most elegant manner: Thou, O Lord, both euer liuest in thy selfe, and nothing dyeth in thee, because thou art before all ages; and before all that, which can euen be sayd, to haue beene before; and thou art the God, and the Lord of all thy creatures. And in thy presence, do stand the causes of al thinges, which are vnstable; and euen of all thinges which are changeable, the vnchangeable rootes remaine with thee; and the eternall reasons of thinges do liue, whilest yet the thinges themselues, are but Temporall, and Irrationall. Thus sayth S. Augustine: and so infinite is the essence of God; and so abso­lutly nothing are all those thinges, whose being is not deriued from him, & conserued in him.

Infinite also is hisThe power of Christ our Lord as he is God. Power, and it rea­cheth to the making or changing of al those thinges, which either are, or els may be; so worthily is he called The Omnipotent. And not only doth he create all the substances of them all; but he doth so truely, and so immediatly of himselfe, frame all their motions; that without his concourse, not so much as any moate of the ayre could stirre. And vpon his three fingers,Isa. 40.22. he so conserues the whole ma­chine of the world; that if, but for one mo­ment, he should suspend the influence which he giues, it would instantly runne headlong into that Abisse of being Nothing, out of which it was called, by his voyce.

TheWhat a nothing the world is, in com­parison of God. whole race of mankind, is but a smoake, a shadow, a Dreame, sauing that more truly it deserues the name of Nothing, in respect of him. No ball vpon a Racket, no straw in the middest of a huge fornace, no poore withered leafe, in the mouth of a deuouring tempest, can expresse the pouerty, and infir­mity of all the Creatures (if they were all put into one) when once they shall be compa­red with Almighty God.Sap. 5. Iac. 4. Iob. 14. Psal. 101. Iob. 20. Psalm. 72. And if all the things which are created, haue not the proportion of one withered leafe, in comparison of a whole world, what kind of thinges are thou and I; and in what part of that leafe shall we euer be able to find our selues? The breath of the Nostrils of the God of hostes, Isa. 29. makes the whole hea­uen to tremble. He visites the world in thunder, and earth-quakes; and in the huge voice of a whirling [Page 5]tempest; and in the flame of a consuming fire; and the multitude of all the Nations, before him, shalbe as some dreame by night. Behold, our Lord is stronge and mighty, like a push of haile, and a whirle-wind, Isa. 2 [...]. which teares vp; and like the force of an ouerflowing riuer which beares downe, whatsoeuer it touches. His very looking vpon the earth, makes it tremble; Psal. 103. his touching of the Mountaines, makes them smoake. His head and haire, are described by snow & wooll; Apoc. 1 [...]. his face by the brightnes of the Sunne; his eyes by the flame of fire; his voyce, by the noise of many waters and of huge thunder claps: & it sends out of his mouth, a two edged sword. He can rule all nations with a rod of Iron, Psal. 2.9. and he can bruise them, like a potters ves­sell. And he treads the presse of the wine of the fury of his wrath; and in his thigh this Title is written: Apoc. 9 [...] King of Kings, and Lord of Lords: in comparison of whome, all other Kinges are toyes. And so we see, what is become of a Pharao, Exod. 14. Dan. 4.4. Reg. 9. Act. 12. Isa. 13. a Nabu­chodonozor, a Iesabell, a Herod, and a thousand others, who haue succeeded them in sinne. When therefore the day of God shall come, it will be cruell, and full of indignation, wrath, and fury; & it shall make the whole earth become a desert, and it shall deliuer vp sinners to be grounde to dust. Such I say, is his Power, and such will be his reuenge vpon the wicked, if they will needs be wic­ked; but he desires with admirable loue, and procures with a sufficiency of grace, that all the world may be saued, if they will coope­rate therewith; and the wayes whereby he doth it, are admirable, because his Wisedome is as infinite as himselfe.

InThe infinite wisedome of Christ our Lord as he is God. vertue of this Wisedome, he doth most perfectly comprehend, not only all the Creatures, which haue, or had, or are to haue any being, (together with all their powers and proprieties) but all others also, which by his omnipotency he might create, if he would. He beholds future things which to him are present), with a most steady eye. He numbers all the Stars, and calleth euery one of them by their names. Isa. 40. Psal. 114. Ierem. 10. Isa. 40.12. 1. Paral. 18.9. Ierem. 1. Iob. 31. & 34. Eccles. 1. & 23. He weighes out the windes, & he measures out all the waters. He sees the secrets of all harts at ease; He numbers all the paces of all our feet; all the actions of all our hands; all the casts of all our eyes; al the words of all our tongues; al the thoughts of all our harts; all the minuts of all our tyme; all the dropps of the sea; all the graynes of the sand; & all the partes, & motions, both internall, & externall, of all his Creatures, are numbred & disposed, by him. And all this he doth, with one only eternall act of his vnderstanding.

Nay he hath moreouer, the Idea's, or Formes of innumerable other worlds before him; for the composition, & disposition, and ornament wherof, he conceaueth, infinite waies, & meanes. He hath framed the partes of this world of ours, and of all the bodies conteyned therin, with such exact perfectiō, that nothing can either be added, or dimi­shed, without making it either lesse faire in it selfe, or lesse fit for the other parts therof. The very least of these things, he gouerneth with that depth of Wisedome, and addresseth it to the seuerall ends, by soe apt, and admirable [Page 7]wayes; that, not so much, as a haire can fall frō a head; nor a sparrow light on the ground; nor a fly, can eyther liue, or dye, but by his pleasure and prouidence; &A most strange, but most certaine truth. euen that little miserable thinge, doth serue as a part, without which the whole (as hath beene said) would be lesse beautifull. Nothing hap­pens to him by channce; nothing by surprise; but all things are done by eternall Councell. And (which increaseth the wonder), al this is determined, by one simple act of his; with­out any deliberation at all; or the interposing of the least delay; and this so perfectly, and so fully, that hauing, with his owne infinite Wisedome, contemplated his owne workes, by the space of infinite ages, he could neuer find, that any thing was not most wisely done; nor any thing which was capable of the least amendment, or alteration.

TheThe infinite goodnes of Christ our Lord, as he is God. infinitenes of his Goodnes doth also appeare by innumerable wayes, but es­pecially by this. That although his diuine Iustice be euery whit as infinite as his Mercy; yet (his Mercy extending it selfe first to vs, euen out of his owne intrinsecall, eternall goodnes to vs, and vpon no originall motiue on our parts) hisHow the mercy of God may be sayd to be greater then his Iustice, whilst yet both are infinite. Psal. 44. Ose 13. Iustice doth neuer exerci­se, or imploy it selfe vpon his Creatures, but by reason of some former expresse prouocation from them; and therfore it is most truely said That his mercy is aboue all his workes, and that the perdition of Israell, is from it selfe. What shall we say, in further proofe of his Goodnes, but that [Page 8]he hauing made vs all of nothing, and being able with the same ease, to make a million of better worlds then this; he doth yet so court & wooe vs to loue him, & to be intirely happy in him, as if himselfe might not be so, vnlesse we would be pleased to graunt his suite. To these miserable vngratefull creatures of his, he doth so deerly, and so many waies communicate himselfe, as that no one of thē doth exist, which doth not, in euery mo­ment of tyme, participate of his diuine Goodnes, in most abundant and various manner. He seekes vs when we are lost; he calls vs when we goe astray; he imbraceth vs as soone as we dispose our selues to returne, notwithstan­ding the millions of sinnes, which we may haue cōmitted against him. HeThe diuers wayes, whereby God com­munica­teth his misteries to vs. makes him­self all in all to vs; now performing the office of a King by commaunding; now of a Cap­taine by conducting; now of a Mother by cherishing; and continually of a Pastour by feeding vs; sometymes with Comforts, wher­by we may be incouraged; and sometimes by Crosses, through the ouercomming wherof, we may be fortified and refined. NorCon­sider of this truth with great attention; for it is of vnspeaka­ble com­fort. is there any one instant in this whole life of ours, wherin, by vertue of his former grace, we may not (euen by some act of our very thought alone) acquire new degrees of grace (as will be shewed more largely afterward) to euery one of which degrees, a seuerall de­gree of eternall glory in heauen, doth corres­pond; and euery one of which degrees of glo­ry [Page 9](though it should last but for an instāt) is in­comparably more worth, them all the pleasu­res, and treasures, and honours, which euer were, or will be tasted in this world, by all the race of man, betweene the creation of A­dam, and the day of Iudgment. If we consider this truth as we ought; and if God, of his mer­cy will inable vs to feele it in our very harts; we shall instantly admire the infinite liberall goodnes of his diuine Maiesty, who would not so much as permit any euill at all in the world, if it were not to deriue more good from thence, then otherwise would haue ac­crewed, without that euill:Rom. 8. For all thinges do coo­perate to the good of Gods seruants, as S. Paul affir­mes; and S. Augustine inferreth thereupon, That euen our very sinnes, when they are forsaken do cooperate, as seruing to inflame vs with grea­ter loue of God, and consequently they be­speake for vs, more resplendent thrones of glory, in the kingdome of Heauen: then, without those sinnes, we should haue had. So infinite, I say, is the goodnes of God, and so excessiue is his loue, as will further yet ap­peare, by that which followes, wherby the excellency of the soule of Christ our Lord, as Man, is to be declared.

The Loue of our Lord Iesus, as he is Man, is much commended to vs, by the consideration of the Excellency of his Soule.

CHAP. 2.

SINCE the dignity of the Soule of Christ our Lord, is a great part of the ground of his immense loue to Man (as will be shewed particularly afterward) it may heer come fitly in, to point at the supreme excellency of this Soule. First therefore it must be taken for graunted, that Christ our Lord had an Vnder­standing which was created, at that instant, when he was endued with a true and naturall soule of man. Heereupon it followeth, that he had a knowledge also which was created, & which was distinct from his diuine knowledge. This truth was thus declared by Pope Agatho: S. Synod. Act. 6. & 8. We publish and confesse, that the two Natures of Christ our Lord, and ech of them, had the naturall proprietyes, which respectiuely belonged to such naturs. And the Councell of Calcedon doth in like sort define: That he tooke to himselfe, a perfect reasona­ble soule, without the want of any propriety belonging to such a one; and that in all thinges, it was like to that of ours, excepting sinne. There was anciently in­deed, an heresy of certaine persons, who were called Gnostici, as S. Irenaeus relates, Affirming that Christour Lord was ignorant of many thinges, Iran. lib. 1. aduer. haer. ca [...] 17. and that he learned many thinges, vnder the direction of some Maister, as other men might doe. And so [Page 11]alsoThe heretikes of al ages, are lead by the same spirit of er­rour, Calu. in Harmoni [...] passim. do Sectaries of this last age of ours blas­pheme (being lead by the same spirit of errour, as well in this, as many other thinges) whilst they lay an imputation of ignorance, vpon Christ our Lord.

But the holy Catholike Church, abhor­reth all such impious conceit as this; and so al her Doctours, with S. Thomas, do auow, ThatChrist our Lord man, had euer the beati­ficall vis­on of God Ioan. 8. Ioan. 11. our Lord Iesus, as he was man, had euer the beatificall vision of God. This truth is thus declared in the Ghospell by the mouth of Christ our Lord: I speake those thinges which I haue seene, with the Father, and where I am (that is to say in Glory) there shall my seruant also be. For since he was, from, and in the very begin­ning, the naturall Sonne of God, and the vniuersall Father, and head, both of men, & Angells (the influence whereof was to be de­riued into all the members) it was but reason, and it could not be otherwise, but that his Soule should be endued with this Beatificall knowledge, as is declared by the holy Fathers. By this knowledge he beheld, and did contem­plate the most B. Trinity, after a manner, in­comparably more sublime, and noble, then any, or all the other creatures, put togeather. And because, by how much the more cleerely God is seene, so much the more are creatures seene in him; it will follow that the Soule of Christ our Lord, did behould in God, not on­ly innumerable thinges, but euen outright, all those things concerning creatures, which euer were, at any tyme; or which are, or shall [Page 12]heereafter be; sinceIt be­longeth to Christ our Lord, as le is our Iudge, to know all [...]inges, vhich cō terne the creatures, vhom he is to iudg. Matt. 28. [...]8. he is the Lord of all, & the Iudge of all, and hath all power giuen to him, both in heauen and earth; for the iust and orderly execution wherof, it is euident that he must haue the knowledge of them all.

The Catholike Fathers, and Doctours, do also ascribe a second kind of knowledge to the soule of Christ our Lord, whichChrist our Lord, a Man, had also infused knowled­g. they call Infused, as being a kind of supernaturall light, whereby it did certainely and clearely discerne, and know all thinges created. And although it be not so expresly contayned in holy Scriptures, that Christ our Lord was in­dued with this knowledge, in particular and distinct manner (since they only affirme. That he knew all thinges (which is sufficiently made good, by that beatificall vision, whereof I spake before) yet are there pregnant consequences, & weighty reasons, which exact at our hands a firme beliefe, that he had also this other In­fused knowledge. For the soule of Christ our Lord, was alwayes truely Blessed; he vvas not only a Runner tovvardes felicity (as all other humane creatures are in this life) but he vvas a Comprehender of it, euen from the very first instant of his Conception. It vvas necessary ther­fore, that his soule being Blessed, should haue all the endowments of a blessed Soule, vvher­of this Infused knowledge is one; and vvhereby it did certainly, and clearely know all thinges created, vvhether they vvere natural, or superna­turall. And that in themselues, and in their proper kind, or element, as they call it; and [Page 13]not, as only appearing, and shining in ano­ther glasse, as they are seene, by that former Beatificall vision, but directly, and immediatly in themselues. And for this it is, that the in­comparable S. Augustine, doth declare: That the Angels are endued both with a Morning, and an Euening knowledge: vnderstanding by the for­mer, the beatificall vision, and by the latter, the knowledge vvhich they call infused.

Our Lord Iesus had moreouer, a third kinde of knowledge, which is termed by the name of Experimentall. ThisOf the experi­mentall knowledg of Christ our Lord. knowledge is ac­quired by the industry of the senses; and it was the fame in Christ our Lord (for as much as concernes the meanes wherby it was ga­thered) with the knowledge, which we cōpasse in this life. But yet with this great difference; That in Christ our Lord, it was without any danger of errour; wheras in vs, it is, with very great difficulty of iudging right. And it is in consideration of this kind of knowledge, that the holy Euangelist affirmed, Christ our Lord, to proceed and grow. Luc. 2. But those miserable men wherof I spake before, hauing the sight of their Faith so short, as not to discerne in his sacred soule any other kind of knowledge then this last; did absolutely impute ignorance to it, at sometymes of his life, more then others; as if it had not beene Hypostatically vnited to God; in whome not onely the knowledge of all things, butNo­thing is, but so far as it is in God. euen the very things themselues remayne; and if they did not so remaine, they could not be.

Now vpon this, which concerneth the knowledge of Christ our Lord, it followeth cleerly, that he knew all things playnely, which are, which shall be, and which euer were. It followeth also, that he neuer ceased, in any one minute of his life, from the consi­deration of what he knew; since he had such knowledge as was wholly independant vpon those images, or formes, which vse to be im­pressed vpon the Phansy: & therfore the wor­king of his knowledge, was no way inter­rupted, euen when he was sleeping. And yet againe it followeth, that hauing a perfect comprehension of all things created, toge­ther with the causes and effects of them all; heChrist our Lord as Man was indu­ed with the perfect knowledg of all arts and sci­ences. consequently was endued with the truth of all Arts and Sciences.

He had moreouer a most sublime guift ofHe had a most sub­lime guift of Prophesy. Prophesy, and that, not after a transitory manner, (as others haue bene enriched with it by God) but permanently; and sticking, as it were, as close vnto him, as his owne Na­ture. And lastly, it must follow, that he was the possessour of allChrist our Lord as Man was a most per­fect pos­sessor of prudence. Prudence, and the partes therof, which might any way be fit, either for the ordering of his owne actions, or for the direction and gouerment of others. So that, by vvhat vve haue seene, he might vvell be naturally, the Maister, and guide of al man­kind, which yet will more cleerly appeare, by the Power, and Sanctity of that pretious Soule.

The Power and Sanctity of the Soule of Christ our Lord, is considered; wherby we may also the better see his excessiue Loue.

CHAP. 3.

BESIDES the Consideration of the de­uine Wisedome, and knowledge of Christ our Lord; I should deserue no excuse, if, vvhen there is question of his infinite Loue to vs, I should not also touch vpon the Power, and the Sanctity of his soule; Which if they be seri­ously considered, vvill greatly serue (though I meane, but euen to touch, and go) to set forth his dignity in himselfe, and consequen­tly, it vvill put a more expresse, and perfect stampe of value, vpon his infinitely deere, & tender loue to vs. ForHow euery se­uerall ex­cellency in Christ our Lord, doth iust­ly rayse the valew of his loue the more he knowes, and the more continually he cares, and the more wisedome he enioyes, and the more power he practiseth, & the more holynes he possesseth, the more happy are the creatures vvhom he loues.

TheThe power of Christ our Lord, as man. Power therfore, vvhervvith Christ our Lord vvas endued as man, vvas so vvonderfully great, that he could vvorke vvhat miracles he vvould; and, at his pleasure, vvas he able to inuert the order of all naturall things; and all this by vvhat meanes, he would think fit. This Power he also had, in as perma­nent a manner, as vve haue said already, that he had his Prophesy; nor vvas it only obtayned [Page 16]for him, by his particular prayers made to God, from tyme to tyme, according to the exigence of occasions; as it hath beene graun­ted to some of the seruants of God. But vve read, that vvhen he vvas passing, and doing other thinges,Luc. 8. yet vertue euen then, issued out of him, vvherby the vvorking of miracles is me­ant. And, els vvhere it is also affirmed, that the vertue which issued out of him, Luc. 6. cured all diseases, And the leaper vvho vvas recouered in the Ghospell, vvas inspired by the good spirit of God, to say thus to Christ our Sauiour; O Lord if thou wilt, Matt. 8. thou canst make me cleane. And our Lord did shevv, that he vvas not deceaued therin. For instantly he said; I will, Be cleane. Novv all this Power he employed for our good, both corporall and spirituall, but es­pecially for our spirittuall good. For euen in the Ghospell vvhen he cured mens bodyes, by way of illuminating their eyes, & enabling their limmes, and restoring their liues, he cu­red also many of their soules, and the seuerall infirmities vvhich they vvere subiect to, as vvill be shevved elsIn the discourse of the Miracles of Christ our Lord. vvhere. Nor vvrought that holy omnipotent hand of his, any out­vvard miracle, vvherin some invvard mystery was not locked vp, as some rich Ievvel might be, in some rare Cabbinet.

TheThe sanctity of the soule of Christ our Lord. Sanctity also of Christ our Lord, vvas supreme. For Sanctity, being no­thing, but a constant and supernaturall cleanes, and purity of the soule, wherby it is made acceptable and deare to God; hovv holy must that soule needs [Page 17]be, vvhich vvas so highlyThe soule of no Saynt in heauen was to haue been any other then odi­ous in the sight of God, but for the merits of Christ our Lord. deere to him; as that it is only in regard of that soule, that all other soules are not odious, and vgly in his sight. Supreme I say, was the Sanctity of Christ our Lord; for, by the grace of the Hy­postaticall vnion, he was made holy, after a most high, and incomprehensible manner, and he became The beloued Sonne of God, receauing grace beyond al power of expression. That so from thence, as from the treasure-house of Sanctity, all men might take, according to their capa­city. Not only as from the greatest Saint, but as from the sanctifyer of them all; and, as I may say, from the very dye of sanctity, whereby all they, who euer thinke of becomming Saints, must take their coulour and luster, & all they who will, may fetch what they desire out of this store.

So that we may see, with ease inough, how incōparably much more the Sāctity was of Christ our Lord, then that of any, or all the o­ther creatures put togeather. For among them God hath giuen, drops to some, and draughts to others; but to him, grace was communica­ted by streames and floudes beyond all mea­sure or set proportion. His soule indeed, could not haue beene vnited to the diuinity, with­out a most speciall grace; but that being once supposed, the other could not chuse but fol­low, as connaturall. And by the force of this Sanctity of Christ our Lord, he was wholy, & naturally made incapable of sinne, yea and of any morall defect whatsoeuer.

Concerning the Vertues, which are called Theologicall, namely Fayth, Hope, and Charity, the last only of the three, could lodge in him; for the former two beingWhy christ our Lord, was vncapable of Fayth & Hope. Hope and Faith, were incompatible with the cleare vision and perfect fruition of God, which he still enioyed. ButChrist our Lord possessed all the mo­rall ver­tues in all per­fection. as for the morall vertues, as Liberality, Magnanimity, Patience, Purity, Mercy, Humility, and Obedience, withall the rest; it appeares by the history of his sacred life and death, that he had them all; and that they were most perfect in him; and euer most rea­dy to be put in practise; as not being impea­ched, by so much as the offer of any contraryes. All the guifts of Gods spirit were in him, nay he was the resting and reposing place of that spirit.

This Soule of Christ our Lord, was therefore inhabited by all the vertues,Isa. 11. and graces of God, as heauen is by so many seueral quires of Angells in heauen; but that which did sublime them all, was Charity. This soule if it be well considered, will looke, as if it were some huge, wide, bottomlesse sea of Christall; butThe vnspea­keable working of the soule of Christ our Lord, in the spirit of loue. a Christall, sweetly passed, and transpierced with a kind of flame of loue. It was vnspeakably quiet; and yet, in a kind of perpetuall agitation, by the impulse thereof; like the flame of some torch, which is euer mouing and working, yet without departing from it selfe. It is like that kind of Hawke, which keeping still the same pitch, aloft, in the ayre, doth stirr the winges with a restlesse kind of motion, whilest yet the body doth [Page 19]not stirre. It spendes, but wasteth not it selfe, by spreading grace vpon all the seruants of God, after an admirable manner. Sometymes looking into the hartes of men, and by that very looking, changing them; sometymes by sending, as it were, certaine inuisible strings, from his hart to theirs; and so sweetly draw­ing them to himselfe, whilstNo soule can moue one pace to­wardes God, but drawn by the loue, of Christ our Lord. yet the world would ignorantly conceaue, that they went a­lone.

But aboue all, that which may strike our weake, and darke mindes with wonder, is to consider the profoundity, andThe admirable order with still was held in the soule of Christ our Lord, not­withstan­ding the wonder­full mul­tiplicity of acts with he exercised, al at once. order, which is held in that diuine Soule, though it looked vpon almost infinite thinges at once. Still did it adore the Diuinity, still did it a­base and euen (as it were) annihilate his owne humanity; still did it most straitly imbrace with strong armes, and patronize with the working bowels of tender mercy, all the mi­seryes of al the Creatures in the whole world; vnspeakably, ardently, thirsting after the glory of God, and the felicity of man; and eternally keeping all the facultyes of his mind, erected vpon that high and pure law of Cha­rity.

So excellent, and so noble was this di­uine Soule of Christ our Lord, through the high endowmentes, wherewith it was enri­ched by the eternall Father. Wherein no pas­sion did euer once presume to lead the way to reason, but was glad of so much honour, as to follow it. And though whatsoeuer con­cerned [Page 20]the vegetatiue, and sensitiue powers of the soule, may seeme little, in respect of what is sayd concerning the reasonable, which inuol­ueth both those others; yet since nothing is little, which is able to do seruice and homage to him, who is so truly great; it may deserue to be considered, how thoseThe vegetatiue and sensiti­ue powers of the soule, were wholly in the hand of the will of Christ our Lord. Vegetatiue and Sensitiue powers, were wholy in the hand of his will. And so he could haue chosen, whe­ther his body should grow; or whether his meate should nourish; or whether his flesh should feele; or whether his bloud, vpon the inflicting of a wound, should follow; or whether his person should send out any such images or species of it selfe, as whereby it might become visible, to the eyes of others. AndThe body of Christ our Lord though it were a true and naturall body, yet was it wholly in his power to deter­mine how far it should be subiect to the conditions of such a body more or lesse. in fine, in his choice it was, whether he would let himselfe be lyable to any of those propertyes and conditions, to which the rest of man is subiect. And now because the gra­ces, and perfections of his sacred body, doe contribute to the excellency of his diuine person, I will also procure to describe the su­pereminent beauty and dignity of that sacred flesh and bloud. For thus we shall grow to haue a perfect notion of his whole person, which will conuey such an influēce of valew vpon euery act of loue, which afterward he will be shewed to haue expressed, as I hope will make vs wholly giue our hart to him, by way of homage, for his incomparable benefits.

The dignity of the pretious body of Christ our Lord, is declared, wherby the excellency of his loue is magnified.

CHAP. 4.

THE Spirit of God, in his holy Scripture doth prophetically delineate the beauty & dignity of the sacred Humanity of our Lord Iesus; I meane, of his sacred flesh and bloud. It speaketh of him thus,Psalm. 44. speciosus forma prae filijs hominum: AThe beauty of the body, of Christ our Lord. person, indued with another manner of most excellent beauty, then was euer to be seene, in any other Creature. And indeed, (euen abstracting from what is reuea­led to vs by way of faith concerning his beau­ty in particular) what kind of admirable thing must that Humanity needs be, according to all discourse of reason? On the one side, let vs consider, that this sacred body of his, was compounded of no other matter, but that pu­rest bloud Royall of his al-immaculat virgin mo­ther. Royal The dignity & sanctity of his descēt. it was by her discēt from so many kings; Sacerdotall, and Propheticall by her being also deriued, from the Sanctity of Prophets, & of Preists. Great prerogatiues were these; but yet they are the least of them, wherewith this holy body of our Lord was endued. For it was much more dignified, in that, before it came to be his, the body of the sacred virgin, did cohabite, with her owne most happy, & most accomplished soule. WherbyHow sublimly spirituall the B. vir­gin was. her very flesh was gowne after a sort to be euen [Page 22] Spirit, as we see the very soules of sensuall persons, to participate, as it were, the very nature of flesh. Much more aduantage did it yet receiue, in that the holy Ghost did frame this body of our B. Lord, out of the bloud, & in the wombe, of our B. Lady. And most of all was it aduanced by this, That in the in­stant when she conceaued, his incomparable soule was infused, and both his soule and body was Hypostatically vnited to the diuinity.

Of the happines of that soule, already we haue spoken; and euen by this little which heere is touched, we may behould his body as the prime & maister-peece of all visible beau­ty. AmongstWhy the body of our B. Lord, must needs be admirably beautiful. the Children of this world, we see indeed, that euen they who are borne of handsome, through the disorder, which naturally accompanieth generation; and besi­des it also growes, sometymes through a dis­conformity, which nurses haue to the mo­thers. But his body was framed by the neuer erring hand of the holy Ghost; & heere the mother, and the nurse, were one, and the same most holy Virgin Mary.

The excellency of Corporall Beauty, doth consistThe conditiōs which are required for the making vp of perfect Beauty. either in complexion, for as much as concernes coulour; or in feature, or shape, for as much as concernes proportion; or in facility and grace, for as much as con­cernes disposition, and motion. We see how any one of these partes of beauty, if it be emi­nent, doth affect the eye, and hart of a behol­der; [Page 23]although such a person do either want the other two; or haue them, at the most, but in some moderat degree. And the perfecti­on of any one part, pleads the excuse, of wan­ting any other. And whether therfore shall we be so bold, as to thinke that Christ our Lord was not endued with them all, in all perfection; or els so blinde as notwithstan­ding such vnspeakeable beauty as his was, not to be enamoured of him.

It is not inough that a body haue only beauty, for the perfection therof, butFor the com­plemēt of Beauty there are requyred health & strengh. withall it must haue health, and strength. Now what want of health could the body of our B. Sa­uiour haue, whose soule was not onely free, but so infinitely farre, from the curse both of Actuall and Originall sinne; the true cause, not only of sicknes, but of death? And what in­firmity, or weakenes, could that Humanity be subiect to (vnlesse he had would,Isa. 63. as indeed he would for our greater good), which not onely was not obnoxious to any distemper of humours, but withall it was made to be one person with allmighty God himselfe. And now let him that can, conceaue heerby, the sublimity, euen of his Corporall beauty.

Quis est iste, saith the Prophet Esay: Who is he that commeth out of Edom; with his garments dyed from Bozra? this beautifull one, in his robe, wal­king on, in the multitude of his strength? This, S. Denis affirmes,Decael. Hierarch. c. 7. to haue beene spoken in person of theAll the An­gells in heauen were a­mazed to see the be­auty of the body of Christ our Lord. Celestiall Spirits; they being posses­sed with an admiration of the vnspeakable [Page 24] Beauty of Christ our Lord; Whose diuinity was vested with our humanity, as with a robe; which once was white, though it grew to be crimson, through our sinnes. Well might those spirits wonder, and well might men be amazed to see their Lord and ours, walking through those waies of Palestine, and through those streetes of Ierusalem; vnknown to men, but adored by those Angells, as their God. He went like another, and a better Ioseph, seeking his brethren. Like another and a better Moyses, Gen. 37. Exod. 4. &c. 1. Reg. 17. 1. Cor. 4. Luc. 10. procuring to deliuer his com­patriots from the slauery of Egipt. And like a a true valiant Dauid, who came to fight a­gainst, & to defeate Golias, by whome the Isra­elites were threatned, with totall ruine. More truely and more nobly, by innumerable de­grees, then S. Paul, was this Humanity of our Lord, made a spectacle to the world, to Angells, & to men. That spectacle which kings and Prophets had reason, to desire so much, to see; and which The Patriarkes and Pro­phets, would haue ex­ulted to see this sa­cred Hu­manity. Ioan. 8. Luc. 10. Abra­ham did so long to looke vpon; and in spirit he did see it, and it ioyed him, at the very rootes of his hart. And no meruayle if the beliefe therof, did so ioy him; the presence and sight wherof, did, by the testimony of Truth it selfe, make those eyes so happy which beheld it.

How the Beauty of our Lord Iesus Christ, did con­uince and conquer all lookers on, sauing only where excesse of sinne had put out the eyes of the soule.

CHAP. 5.

INFALLIBLY this is true; That if any Christian of common sense, (who were not withall of some extremely currish, and diuellish nature) should see any person, of that admirable complexion, feature and mo­tion, which was in the humanity of Christ our Lord (euen abstracting from all those su­pernaturall aduantages, and endowments which did abound in him) although that per­son, were made odious by any aduerse, and hatefull circumstance; as namely that he were some Iew, or Turke, or slaue, or murtherer, or otherwise, some most hatefull, hurtfull thing): infallibly, I say, it is true, that yet, that pre­sence would exact a kind of reuerence and loue; or els at the very least, a great com­passion, of his frailty or misery. TheNo­thing but Abysse of sinne, could haue diso­bliged mē as it were from do­ting vpō the huma­nity of Christ our Lord. Scri­bes and Pharises alone, had their soules so full of enuy, auarice, and hypocrisy, that not only grace was quenched, but euen very nature, in a manner, killed in them. For else, that diuinely-humane presēce of our Lord, would haue subdued them to an ardent loue of his person; and they must needs haue beene farre from finding in their wicked hartes, to hate & [Page 26]maligne that sweet humanity after such a repro­bate, and restlesse manner.

The peopleThe people of the Ie­wes, vvere captiued in their harts, to the sacred presence of Christ our Lord. Luc. 5. which was lesse wicked, ran flocking after him whither soeuer he went, when it was left to it selfe, and not led prisoner by the power and passion of their blind guides. And that, not only when they had need of some miraculous cures, (for then they were fayne to vntyle some mens howses, to let others in, to his presence) nor yet when he would be chauking out to them, the way of life, by the words of his diuine wisedo­me, (for then wanting roome in houses, & euen in publicke streetes the very earth seemed to little, to hold both him and them, who swarmed about him, and) he was fayne to go on shipboard, whilst they remayned vpon the shore; and from thence would he rauish both their greedy eyes, their hungry eares, and their panting hartes, all at once. Nay euen when he would be seeming, as though he could be weary of them; and to be ridd of company, did retire to comtemplation, in the desert, (where there was plenty of no ear­thly thing but penury) so deepely yet, were they taken by his diuine presence, asThe people followed Christ our Lord, be­ing lead by no other in­terest, but only the delight to see & hear him speake. Marc. 8. to forget themselues, and to follow him on, by thousands, and to contynue three daies and nights in that wilderners, with their wiues and Children; not fearing to dye of hungar, nor caring for the comfort of any other food, but him. ButThere is nothing lost by leauing any con­tentment for the loue of God. he, on the other side, pittied them for taking no pitty of themselues for his [Page 27]sake; and did so multiply a few loaues & fishes, Ibid. v. 7. as that there might not only be inough to feed them, but to spare. Nor was that enamoured hart of his, content, that they should, in hast,Ibid. or with incomodity refresh themselues; but he made them all sit downe, vpon cushions of hay or straw; and to be serued in order, and at their ease; whilst yet, for ought we know, himselfe did neither sit, nor eate. O infinite charity of his soule? but O vnspeakable beauty, and dignity of his body, which was able, to lead, or rather which could not choose, but draw, so many thousands of rude persons, into such appearance of distresse, with their so much delight?

What kind of beauty, and visible dig­nity must that needs be (for his miracles alone, would haue induced thē to declare him rather to be a Saynt or a prophet, then to be a Prince) which could persuade such multitudes of men, toA great argument to prooue the match­les visi­ble beau­ty, and dignity of Christ our Lord thinke, and firmely purpose, the making him their king, who had the apperance in for­tune, but of a beggar? And because his con­tempt of the world, his profound humility, and his inuiolable modesty, did giue them little hope, that he would accept that honour at their hands, they treated amongst themse­lues (as is affirmed by the sacred Text), vt ra­perent eum in Regem, to vse violence, in procu­ring to draw him,Ioan. 6. from that inferour degree of fortune, wherein his infinite loue to them had lodged him; though this indeed, were then, a point of Faith, beyond their Creed? What [Page 28]kindAno­ther de­monstra­tion, to prooue this truth. of grace & sweet Maiesty did shine in him, when they went no lōger now by thou­sands, but by millions of soules, of al natiōs, & ages, strewing the earth vnderneath, where he was to passe, with palmes and garments; and filling the ayre aboue, with voyces of high ap­plause, and acclamation; which ceremonies were not vsed but in triumphes, and that v­pon victories of,Matth. 28. Ioan. 10. the highest ranke? And, Ba­ronius makes it cleare, that both for the multi­tude of persons, who did assist, and for the quality of demonstrations which were made, there was neuer, perhaps, in the whole world, a greater triumph, then they exhibited in his honour. For though he buried himselfe, in the very bottome of contempt; yet they, be­ing vrged by that matchlesse dignity of his person (besides his wisedome and power) did reuiue, and rayse it vp, to receaue that ho­mage, without asking him, so much as leaue.

O pretious & sweet Humanity of Christ our Lord! AndWe at worthy of all pu­nihment, if wee be­come not euen the slaues of the Hu­manity of Christ our Lord. how shall we who know that thou wert humaned for vs, (and diddest not only descend to be a man, but diddest de­grade thy selfe further downe, for the loue of vs) how I say shall we sufficiently admire and loue thy Beauty, which was so great euen in their externall eyes, who had not withall, the internall eyes of Faith, wherwith thou hast enriched our soules! And where shall we finde either holes, or hills, to hide, or couer vs from thy wrath, if we, who are Christiās, doe not by the eternall obsequiousnes of our [Page 29]harrs, outstrip those obstinate, but yet withall, inconstant Iewes. Obstinate in their mindes when they were grown to malice, but in­constāt in mantayning those tender thoughts which they excellētly did sometymes oblige them to, in the performance of so many So­ueraigne signes of honour.

The admirable visible grace and disposition of the per­son of Christ our Lord, is further declared.

CHAP. 6.

VVHAT heauen on earth, could euer make a man so happy, as to haue be­held this sacred persō of our Lord Iesus, in any of those postures, which are described by the hand of the holy Ghost, in holy scripture? To haueThe incompa­rable grace of Christ our Lord in all his actions. seen that god, made mā, as he was wal­king before the front of the Tēple; whē his hart, the while, like a true Incensary, was spending it selfe into the perfume of prayers, which as­cended before the Altar of the diuine mercy; euen then, and euen for them, who there, went in and out, contemning, and maligning him, in the highest degree.Mar. 11. Ioan. 20. To haue seene him walking, and bestowing those deere lim­mes of his, vpon those sands,Mattb. 4. with incredible grace, & loue, neere to that lake or sea of Ga­lilea, (as if it had looked but like a kind of re­creation) when his enamoured soule, was yet, the while, negotiating with his eternall [Page 30]Father,Ibid. the vocation of his Apostles, and by them the saluation of the whole world. To haue seene him,Luc. 4.16 &c. standing vpon his sacred feet, whilst, with reuerence, he would be reading in the Synagogue; and then sitting downe af­terwards, when he would take vpon him the office of a teacher;Ibid. 20. so pointing vs out, by any little motion of his, to the purity, and per­fection of euery action.Marc. 3. To haue seene him sitting, in the mindst of a roome, with all that admiring multitude round about him, whilst newes was brought him, of the approach of his all-immaculate mother, and of his kindred and domesticke friends; who had reason to thinke, euery minute to be a world of ages, till their eies might be restored, to that seate and Center of all ioy. And he the while, (with diuine sweetnes, and modesty, looking round about him, and lending a particular eye of mercy to euery soule there present; and extending his liberall hand with an incom­parable sweet noble grace), did with his sa­cred mouth, and with such a hart of loue as God alone is able to vnderstand, adopt both them, and all the world, into his neerest dee­rest kindred; vpon condition, that they would do his Fathers will, which was the only meanes to make them happy.

ToThe infinite gratious goodnes of Christ our Lord. haue seene that sonne of God, whose face is the delight and glory of all the Angells in heauen, (and at whose sacred feete they fall adoring with so profound reuerence) deueste himselfe first of his vpper garment [Page 31]with such louely grace;Ioan. 13.4. &c. and gird the Towell about his virginall loynes with such mode­sty; and fill the vessell full of water, by the labour of his owne delicate armes, with such alacrity; and cast himselfe with such botto­melesse humility & charity vpon those knees (to which all the knees of heauen and earth were obliged to bow) and from which the eternall Father, was only to haue expected such an homage) at the feete, and for the comfort, and conuersion of that diuell Iudas; Yea and to wipe those very feete, when he had washed them first; and that, perhaps, with the teares of his owne sacred eyes, to see if yet, it might be possible to soften the hart of that Tygar, who was able to defile such a beauty, and to detest such a goodnes; and who in de­spight of that prodigious mercy, would needs be running post to hell, by cōmiting that ab­hominable treachery. They say, the vale dis­couers the hill, & the darke shadow of a picture, sets off the body, which there, is drawen. Neuer was there such a peece of chiaro oscuro; such a beautifull body as that of Christ our Lord; neuer vvas there such a blacke shadovv, as that vvretched man, whome for the infamy of his crime I vvil forget to name.

But in fine, to haue seene through the vvhole course of his life that holy Humanity, sometymes svveating vvith excesse of labour; some tymes grovvne pale, vvith the rage of hungar; some tymes pulled and vvracked se­uerall vvayes at once, by importunities; some­tymes [Page 32]pressed, and as it were, packed vp into lesse roome, then his owne dimensions did require, by crowdes of people; andChrist our Lord, maintay­ned his grace, and Beauty, notwith­stāding all the incō ­modities, to which he was put. euer to haue beheld, in his very face, such an alti­tude of peacefull piety, and such a depth of hu­mility, and such an vnlimitted, and endlesse extent of Charity, by remouing all diseases, and dangers, both of body and soule, as heere­afterIn the discourse vpon his Miracles. will be shewed more at large; for a man I say to haue had the sight of such an ob­iect would be sure I think to haue freed him, from euer, longing after any other.

Of Titus it was said, that he was deliciae humani generis, the very ioy and comfort of the world, for the sweet receptiō which he vouch­safed to make to all commers. Of Iulius Caesar it is recorded, that being threatned with dan­ger of a mutiny, and defection, in his army; he spake to his souldiers, this one only word Quirites That word, did shew, that he held them no longer for souldi­ers of his, but only as citizens of Rome, and that thought pierced theyr harts, with sorrow & shame., wtih such circumstances of grace and wisedome, as that he drew al their hartes, towards him at an instant. It is true, and it was much, and there haue not beene many Caesars in the world. But yet, away with Cae­sar, a way with Titus; they were but durt and filth, when they were at the best; and now like damned spirits, their soules are cur­sing God in hell. And what Titus, or Caesar, dares shew himselfe, (when once there is que­stion of grace and wisedome) in presence of this sacred and precious Humanity; this deerly sweet, and yet most subtile, and searching beame of diuine splēdour; wherof the Sunne, [Page 33]from which it flowed, is no lesse then the Di­uinity it selfe?

We make account to haue beheld ma­ny excellent beautyes of flesh and bloud. But thereNo o­ther cor­porall be­auty is so exact, as not to haue some de­fect. was neuer any yet (since that of our our first parents) which had no fault; excep­ting this of our B. Lord, and his sacred mo­ther, which did incomparably exceed that of Adam and Eue. Some pictures indeed and statues we haue seene, which farre exceed any Naturall either of men or women. And we haue discerned a countenance, in some of them, which doth (as it were) euen breath and speake the very soule; and deliuer ouer, into the hand of our minde, whatsoeuer ver­tue, or noble affection we will call for. But now, since allThere this no meanes of approaching to the expressiō of the ex­cellēt be­auty of Christ our Lord, by any pi­cture or gatue; & which this can­not be done. pictures, or statues, grow either from the imitation of some originall life, which hath exteriourly byn seene, by the eye; or els from the fancy of the painter, or sculptour, who conueys, and ferries ouer, his inuention, into a picture or statue, by the skill and maistery of his hand; so miserably must euery such expression, shrinke and fly out of sight, (if once it be compared to this deuine deere Lord of ours), as there is an in­finite distance, on the one side, betweene the paynter or sculptour, who deuised that pictu­re or statue; and the Holy Ghost, on the other, who drew this sacred person out of the pu­rest bloud of our B. Lady.

I allowe, that painters who haue skill in drawing, by seeing of a man, may [Page 34]finde with ease, if he be gracefull in the dispo­sition of his person; & aA true token more or lesse, of grace in the dispo­sition of a mans per­son. ready signe therof is this, If whilst he falleth into any posture, without particular designe, and, as it were, by chance, it be decent, and natural, and fit to be put into a picture. Wheras, on the other side, if a man be either rude, or els affected; howsoeuer you shall bid him place his body, he will euer be, as if he were a kind of forced, imprisoned thing; and the painter can neuer please himselfe, in taking the posture of such a man. The disposition and behauiour of our B. Sauiour, was so easy, and so naturall, and withall so sweete and gracefull, as in­fallibly there was neuer any motion, or dis­position so amiable as that. And therfore, vvhether he sate, or vvalked, or stood, or kneeled, or spake, or only looked, or vvhat­soeuer els, in fine he did; it vvas the topp of that vvhich could be done for grace; and ther­fore, it vvas no meruayle, if vvhersoeuer he vvent, he vvonne their harts; and if therin they vvere glad to keepe his picture.

We dayly meete vvith some vvho are deformed both in feature and coulour, and yet if they haue a svveet behauiour, and espe­cially if their mindes be perfectly vvell com­posed vvithin; the veryThe sā ­ctity of the soule, doth euen bestow v­pon the body a kind of beauty. sanctity of their soules, breathes out such an influence vpon their bodyes, as to make them pleasing. This is certainly true, and vve dayly meet vvith it by experience; & such povver hath vertue, as to make an eye, both forgiue, and more­ouer, [Page 35]euen to like deformity, in an obiect, vvhere it desireth beauty; or rather to procure, that a persō vvho othervvise vvas deformed, should not only not seeme, but not so much as be so; through the grace vvhich is commu­nicated to it, by the soule. ThenBy that acco­unt, how incompa­rable was the beau­ty of our B. Lord? from that Horison, let vs take the height of this Starre of Beauty; and contemplate, the best vve can, hovv much more Beautifull & gracefull must that exteriour Beauty of our B. Sauiours most holy person haue bene (vvhich yet of it selfe vvas so exact) through the tincture vvhich still it vvould be receiuing from his most gra­cious and most glorious soule. Hovv vvould it shine through euery action and motion of his body, hovv povverfully vvould it inuite, hovv streightly vvould it oblige, and hovv ardently vvould it inflame the vvell dis­posed minde of man, to admiration and loue?

The same discourse is prosecuted and concluded, con­cerning the excellent Beauty of our Lord; especially of the attractiuenesse of his sight.

CHAP. 7.

IF their feete which carried newes of Peace were beautifull (as by the testimony of our Lord himselfe they are) hovv beautifull must those feete be,Isa. 52. vvhich carried not only nevves of Peace, but that very Incarnate Peace it selfe, [Page 36] which passeth all vnders̄tanding? Phil. 4. HovvThe liberality of the hands of our Lord Iesus. Cantic. 5. beautifull vvere his hands vvhich are described by the spouse (vvho knovves them best, and hath ta­sted oftnest of their bounty) to be of gold & full of pretious stomes, for their riches; and vvithall to be round and smoth; to declare therby, that those riches, and graces, are dayly and ho­vverly dropping dovvne on vs? Hovv beau­tifull vvere those svveete, and sacred lipps of his; that treasure-house of diuine graces, which locked vp, & let out that Ievvel of the vvords of eternall wisedome, according to our capaci­ties, and occasions? WeThe wisedome & power of his speech. Matth. 21. Luc. 4. Ioan. 7. Mar. 7. perceaue in the Ghospell, hovv they vvere amazed, and yet vvith much delight, to heare him speake; how they auovved that neuer man had spoken like him; how they acknowledge him to haue, a kind His inimita­ble grace. of in­imitable authority, and power of language. Which yet vvas so farre from incroaching vpon the possessions of his meekenes & modesty, which is a part of beauty that the Prophei, long before he vvas borne, foresaw, hovv he vvas to be no clamorous or contentious person, but that so softly he would The admira­ble meek­nes and modesty of his speach. Isa. 41. Matth. 12. Ibid. 2. Cor. 10. speake, as to make no noyse in the streets. And it is also said of him, That he would not breake the bruised reed, nor so much as quench the smoaking flaxe, as if he would ra­ther make his owne eyes water, then offend the poorest creature vpon earth. And the Apostle also, not longe after his death, being earnest with the Corinthians, that they would be carefull to conserue their spirit, coniures them to it, by the meekenes and modesty of our Lord [Page 37]Iesus, as by vertues which shined in him after an extraordinary manner.

HowThe sweetnen of his di­uine voy­ce. Matth. 11. sweete was that voyce of his, which inuited all the world to bring in their loades, and to discharge them all vpon his shoulders; and when, through the com­passion of our extreeme need to be refreshed, he could not contynue his generall custome, in speaking softly; but cryed out with a loud voyce (and he did it vpon the last day of the feast of the Tabernacles, which was a tyme of great solemnity, that so he might be heard by the greater number of people) and he inui­ted them all,Ioan. 71 to drinke of that water of life, with a full mouth.Confess. l. 12. cap. 10. For he indeed is the true foun­taine of life. Hunc bibam & tunc viuam, saith S. Augustiue: Let me drinke of him, and I shall liue. WhatHis ar­dēt sighes & groans. scalding sighes, what profound in­ternall groanes, would that flaming hart be often sending out, by his sacred mouth, to the Iustice seate of God (wherof we finde some, expresly to be recorded in the holy Texte) that so the diuine Maiesty,Marc. 71 behol­ding the sorrowes of his soule, might be o­bliged to forgiue the sinnes of ours? How deereThe charming accent of his voice. and how delightfull must the ordi­nary accent be, of his heauenly voyce; since the accent euer carrieth a kind of neerer con­iunction to the mind; and which, euen for that cause, can hardly be described by any words. And now, the nearer it was to the incomparable soule of Christ our Lord, who can doubt, but that needs it must be so much [Page 38]the fuller, of delight and grace?

But especially how beautifull were those holy happyThe inestima­ble pure and per­fect beau­ty of his eyes. Gen. 49. eyes of his, those heauēly Orbes? And what felicity was theirs, who might at leasure glasse themselues therin; they being so full of latent Maiesty, but yet sweet­ned by such Humility and Charity. Those eyes, which are pulchriores vino (as the Patri­arch Iacob saith, speaking literally of Christ our Lord) for the quality they had, to ine­briate, with being looked vpon, farre, more powerfully, and more sweetely, then any most pretious wine can doe, the man who drinks it. With what kind of modest grace, do we thinke that he vvould now be raysing them vp,Ioan. 11. towards heauen, behol­ding the Creatures in Almighty God; and then returning them downe to the earth,Ioan. 8. to see God in his Creatures? And what kind of fountaines do we thinke they grew to be, when they did so often swymme in teares, through the compassion of our miseries,Haebr. 5. [...] Luc. 19. and the remission of our sinnes; at the raysing of Lazarus; for the ruines of Ierusalem; at the gi­uing vp of his soule into the eternall Fathers hand; and those many tymes more, which are not set downe in the sacred text?

How sweetly would they lay them­selues to sleepe, (being folded vp, in those liddes, the only sheets, which any part of him did vse) for the releese of that frayle nature, which for our sakes he had assumed? And he lent them rest, with so much the better will, [Page 39]becauseChrist our Lord, did nego­tiate our saluation with God, as well whē he was sleeping, as waking Ioan. 2. Matt. 4. sleepe gaue no impediment to the working of his minde for our good; the knowledge of which mind was no way (as hath beene said else where) dependant vpon his Fancy, as ours is. How were they able when he was pleased to do it, to pierce the hartes of men by way of terrour; when for the zeale of his Fathers glory, he punished the buyers & sellers in the Temple; vvithout their daring once to bring him to the least account, for that supposed excesse? And by way of po­werfull mercy, when, seing his Apostles, he called them at once from the world, to his eternall seruice? And looking afterward vpon S. Peter, in the tyme of his passion, by only lookingThe lookes of Christ our Lord did moue S. Peeter to contri­tion. Luc. 72. Luc. 7. he retyred him, at an in­stant, from his sinnes, as wilbe seen, more at large, afterward. And not only did those eyes, so full of maiesty and modesty, and hu­mility, & suauity, captiue those hartes which they beheld; but others who beheld them, were as inseparably also captiued therby, as if there had beene, no place left for election, whether they would be takē prisoners or no.

The enamouredHow the diuine presence of Christ our Lord did most chastly captiue the soule of S. Ma­ry Magda­len. Penitent S. Mary Magdalene, who formerly was so abandoned to the pleasure of sense, found her soule so maistered by this diuine obiect of our B. Sa­uiours presence; that her former honny did instantly turne gall; and she was so ingulfed into a sea of chast and pure delight, that in the life tyme of our Lord, she did euen, as it were, nayle her selfe to his sacred feet. Nay [Page 40]she forsooke them not, in his very passion when they were nayled to the Crosse. She was in chase of them, till his Resurection; and after his Ascension, she confined her selfe, for all those thirty yeares of her suruiuing, to a rude and most retyred desert; disdayning, with a holy kind of scorne, that her eyes should feed vpon any other obiect, then that, which her memory would euer be sure to help her to, of her most beloued, and most beautifull Lord.

His sacred presence, had not any su­perficiall, or glearing beauty belonging to it, butThe Beauty of Christ our Lord was so a­boundāt, as to make a mā des­pise all temporall riches. a beauty which conteined a Mine of plenty. S. Mathew shall witnes this; and he shall do it better, then by words. For instan­tly vpon our Lords commaundement, and their mutuall sight of one another, he follo­wed him, and that for euer; and he discouered in our Lord Iesus, another mannor of beauti­full abundance, then all the whole world could helpe him to. And perhaps, there is not a better proofe of the rich beauty and ex­cellency of our Lord, nor a stranger conuer­sion of any man recorded,Luc. 54 then of this Apostle. Who was (as we may say) in flagranti crimine, in the very seate and chaire of sinne; beseiged by the company of others, who were likely to be as much depraued as himselfe. He was in the exercise and occasions of new extorsi­ons; and yetThe Cōuersiō of S. Mat­thew was most he­roicall. he left all, without taking, so much as an howers tyme, to cleere his bookes of account, which could not choose [Page 41]but be intricate. And all this, vpon the single sight & hearing the voyce of a meere man, as Christ our Lord appeared to be. And yet, I say, so rich was our Sauiours beauty, and so attractiue was his manner of speach, that in­stātly, it was able to draw that Publicā though he were besotted by desire of gayne) to fol­low him; who through his pouerty, seemed withall, to be the owner of no earthly thing, but only of his owne indiuiduall person. But the Maies̄ty and splendour of the diuinity though it lay hid, Cōment. in Matth. c. 7. did yet shine so brightly in his face of flesh & bloud, (as S. Hierome saith) that vpon the very first The soueraig­ne power which the aspect of Christ our Lord had ouer creatures. aspect it was able to draw all such as lookt vpon it. For if there be such vertue in a lodestone, or a peece of amber, as that it can draw to it rings of iron, and straw; how much more easely (saith this Saint) could the Lord of all the creatures, draw to himselfe, whom he was pleased to call.

So delighfull therfore, and soe plenti­full, was this beauty and dignity of our Lord IESVS. And if it appeared powerfull in their eyes at the first, when they beheld it but by startes and glances; muchThe felicity of thē who might be­hold the person of Christ our Lord at pleasur. Bernard. serm. 20. in Cant. more would it doe so, afterward in the sight of his Apostles & Disciples, who had liberty, and commodity to feed their senses at large vpon that sacred obiect. In contemplation of this beauty in great part, it was, that they gaue themselues away to him without resuming themselues any more; husbands forsaking theyr wiues; and children their parents; rich men, their whole estates; poore men the very instru­ments [Page 42]of their profession; that they might haue the honour & happines to follow him. And to such excesse they grew therin, that they did not endure,Matth. 16. to heare so much as any speach, euen of the Passion it selfe of our Lord, though by it, their redemption were to be wrought. For till the Holy Ghost, was sent to inhabite their soules after his Ascension, they couldThe vnspea­keable gust which the Apostles had to be euer loo­king vpō Christ our Lord. not content themselues to weane the outward man, from the gust and ioy, of looking on him.

But though our Lord were pleased to nourish their faith and withall to teach them how to find him reigning in their hartes, by with drawing his corporall presence frō their eyes; yet that loue, was iust and due, which they bore to him, whome God had giuen to be Incarnate for a spouse to the Church, and to all elected soules, so to draw their hartes more powerfully by that sacred sight of his person, then formerly they had beene withdrawne, by vnlawfull pleasures. Nay euen great part of our felicity in heauen, is, to consist in our behoulding the most sweete presence of the humanity of our blessed, Sauiour, and to enioy his embracemēts; and yet the forme of his diuine face, shall be the very same, which in this life it was. ForThe fi­gure of the persō of our Lord Ie­sus, was so excellent; as that neither doth glo­ry now make it other thē it was; nei­ther did passibili­ty & mor­tality dis­grace it, Matth. 17.3. part. q. 45. art. 1. ad 1. so we find, that after his Resur­rection, he continued to be knovvne by his former countenance; and so he was also be­fore that, in his Transiguration, as S. Hierome notes; & S. Thomas teacheth, That his forme was not changed into another; but onely [Page 43]that there was an addition of such splendour, as belonged to a glorified body. As on the other side, the Passibility, and Mortality, which for our good he would haue it subiect to, did no way depriue it, both of perfect, & most powerfull beauty.

How this infinite God, and super excellent Man, our Lord Iesus Christ, did, with incomparable loue, cast his eye of mercy vpon mankind.

CHAP. 8.

VVE haue now beheld, with the eye of our Consideration, being illu­minated by the light of Faith, the incompara­ble excellēcy of the person of Christ our Lord and Sauiour; consisting of his Diuinity as God, and of his most holy soule, and most beautifull, and pretious flesh, and bloud, as Man. And now this eternall God, this se­cond person of the euer Blessed Trinity, the con­substantiall sonne of the eternall Father:Colos. 2. In whome the treasures of knowledge, and wisedome, were laid vp; and in whome, and by whome,Ioan. 1.& for whome, were created all things, and without him was made nothing, that was made. This God I say (with being all that I haue already expres­sed, & being infinitely more then we know, yea, and more then we can explicitely be­leeue) did not onely cast the eye of his com­passion vpon the misery of man, but he re­solued to reach out his helping hād, towards [Page 44]the redresse therof. He had created the world and made this man the Lord of it, andThe indow­ments of Adam at his first creation. in­dued him, in the person of Adam, with many precious guifts, wherof some were supernatu­rall, as Originall Iustice, Grace, and a kind of Immortallity, with many others; and some were incident, as Connaturall, to that condi­tion wherof he was made; namely an Vnder­standing & freewill, wherwith he was to know and loue, Apoc. 2. first & last, the Creatour, and Center of vs all. A precept of Obedience was giuen to this forefather of ours, to abstaine from tast­ing of the forbidden fruite; which he contem­ning (vpon his wiues pernicious counsell) didVpon the first sinne of Adam his superna­turall guifts were de­stroyed, & his na­turall guyfts decayed. forfaite out right, those supernaturall guiftes; and deserued, that those others, which were but naturall, should be so wounded and weakned, as vve find them to be, by sad expe­rience. This trying of conclusions, cost him deere; for instantly the vvhole state of his house vvas changed; and his Passions vvhich vvere meant to be but inferiour officers, be­came the Lords of that Reason, vvhich vvas appointed to gouerne both them, and him. Novv then, it is no meruaile, if vvhen this vvas done, he played the vnthrift; and laid so many debtes, and rent-charges vpon his land, that, in some sense, a man may say. The profits do scarce quitt the cost. ForHow soone the roote of sinne did beare a­boundāce of bitter fruyte. hence grevv that pride, that enuy, and malice, vvhich being rooted in the hart, did fructify so short­ly after, in the hand of the accursed Cain; and in a vvord, that consummation of all impie­ty [Page 45]grevv from thence, vvhich did prouoke, and dravv, vvith a kind of violence, a reso­lution from Almighty God, to drovvne the vvhole vvorld except eight persons.

But euē those fevv, vvere inough to make the rest of mankind, the heires of their corrup­ted nature. And so vve see, vvhat a vvorld vve haue of this, vvherin vve liue. What a coyle, doth thisThe disorder of the I­rascible & Concupis­cible, is the ground out of which al­most all our sinnes do grow. Irascible, and Concupiscible keepe in our bodies and soules; vvhen either vve desire that for our selues through an inor­dinate loue of our selues, vvhich lookes vpon vs vvith a face of ioy or pleasure, or vvhen we vvould inflict matter of greefe, or paine vpon others, through an inordinate auersion from them? The very schooles of sinne, haue beene sett open in the vvorld, and revvards haue bene propounded, for such as haue excelled therin. The Prouinces of the earth, haue of­ten changed their Lordes, and formes of go­uerment; and not only the feilds haue bene bedevved, but euen great Riuers, haue beene dyed vvith bloud. TheThe great weake­nesse of man euen besides his Wic. kednes. vveakenesse of man, (euen abstracting from expresse and malicious vvickednes) is a lamentable thing to looke vpon. Hovv often do vve erre in that, vvherin vve procure least to faile? vvho hath not desired, and euen purchased many things, vvhich he thought had beene a mea­nes to make him happy; from vvhich, yet, he hath gathered nothing, but the bitter fruit of misery? NoThe miserable incōstācy of man. Cane is so vveake; no vvinde is so inconstant, and vvauering from [Page 46]the imoueable North, as man is frō the Cen­ter of his rest, by the variety of contrary dis­positions, which raigne in him. Making him to be, now merry, and then melancholy; now deuout, then distracted. Nay he some­tymes, who is valiant, temperate, wise, & happy; within an hower after, will be fea­refull, luxurious, indiscreet, and miserable; and euen himselfe shall scarce know, how that growes, nor why. So that, not only euery Country, and Citty, & family is vpon all warnings, subiect, to mutation towards the worse; but there is no particular man, who, euen in his owne bosome, hath not the woefull sense of such disorder, confusion, and restlesse variety of discourse; that vnlesse our Lord God had vouchsafed, and resolued vpon some remedy; neither would our pos­sessession haue beene free from desolation; nor our bodies from destruction; nor our soules from damnation.

S. Augustine exclaimeth thus, by oc­casion of his owne particular, and what then might he haue done vpon the general? Tibi How iustly my we all, imitate that incō ­parable Saint, in saying this. Confes. lib. 6. cap. 16. S. Leo ser. 2. de Nati­uit. Dom. laus, Tibi gloria, fons misericordiarum: ego fiebam miserior, & tu propinquior. To thee, be prayse, to the be glory, O thou fountaine of mercy: I grew further of from thee by misery, & thou camest nearer me by mercy. For when the world was at the worst, and wickedest, then did our Lord, the God of heauen and earth, whose very nature is goodnesse it selfe, whose will is power, and whose worke is mercy, resolue vpon the remedy [Page 47]therof. HisNor should we content our selues in doing small ser­uices, to such a Lord of loue as this. pitty was not satisfied, with contynuing the whole world to our assi­stance, and seruice, although by sinne we had forfeited the same. It was not satisfied, with mainteyning to vs, the vse of our fa­culties and senses, wherby we had yet pro­cured, to employ our selues wholly to his dishonor. It was not satisfied, with rayning downe sweet showers of other blessings, & blowing ouer many bitter stormes of venge­ance, which his iustice would faine haue powred vpon vs. In fine, it was not satissied with such expressions, as are wont to be made by the deerest partes of flesh and bloud; nor would lesse serue his turne, then to giue vs his owne only Sonne for our totall redresse. And yet, not only, for the sauing vs from hell, (which is but the paine due to sinne) but for the guilt also it selfe of sinne, which is in comparably worse. For so God loued the world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne, to the end that By Faith working with cha­rity: but Faith without workes is dead as sayth S. Iames. Prou. 22. whosoeuer should beleeue in him, Ioan. 3. might not perish, but haue euerlasting life. And so that was verified, which was said by the mouth of his holy Spirit: Diues, & pauper obuiauerunt sibi, Dominus autem operator vtriusque. The rich man and the poore, haue met one another, and our Lord is the worker of both. For who so rich as God, he being the abundance and the very inexhaustednesse itselfe, of all plenty; and what is so poore a thing as man, and such a man, as was euen vpon the very brimme, of dropping downe into the bottome of hell, if [Page 48]our mercifull Lord, had not put himselfe be­twene him and home.

The Originall Roote and Motiue of the infinite Loue of Christ our Lord, to the Saluation of man, is discouered.

CHAP. 9.

THE Loue, which our Lord Iesus was pleased to shew mankind, is found to be very different, from that which the men of this world, are wont to beare to one ano­ther. For either we loue them who are rich that they may reward vs, or who are vsefull that they may help vs, or who are beautifull that they may delight vs; and the best kind of loue which we are wont to beare, is when we giue it, by way of gratitude, for some be­nefits, or fauours, which vve haue receiued. ButThe differēce of the lo­ue which our Lord beares to vs in res­pect of that which we beare to one ano­ther. man, in relation to Christ our Lord, was so poore, and so deformed a thing, and so vvholly disobliging him to loue, as that there vvas nothing in man, which might, so much as speake of challenging any, at his hands. It may also seeme a greater vvonder, hovv he could induce himselfe to loue vs; since as there vvas no merit on our side; so, there vvas no passion or blinde capriciousnesse on his; vvhich yet is the thing, that cooples creatures together, many tymes, in the chaynes of loue, vvithout all desert.

ForThe former doubt is solued by conside­ring the first moti­ue of the loue of our Lord to vs. the soluing of this doubt, at [Page 49]the very roote therof, we must resort to the motiue of the loue of Christ our Lord.Amor de Dios. Which was not (as Doctour Auila doth excellent­ly shew) any perfection in vs, ‘but only that which was in himselfe; and which, by his contemplation of his eternall Fathers wil, was put in motion towards mankind. It depended vpon that solemne decree, which, with infinite mercy, was made by the most blessed Trinity, of imploying him vpon the Redemption and Saluation of the world. When therfore he became Incarnate, in the pure wombe of his all-immaculate mother, in the very instant of the Creation of that most holy soule, which was infused into his pretious body, it was indued, vvith all those incomparable blessings and graces, vvherof vve haue already spoken; and all vpon no other originall ground, but onely because our Lord God vvas pleased to amplify & extend his bountiful hand ouer that sovvle, and so to exalt his ovvne goodnes, both tovvards it and vs. Nor euen vvas that soule then in case to haue performed any one act vvhich might be meritorious in the sight of God, out of vvhose pure and primitiue grace and mercy, those vnspeakeable benefits vvere bestowed.’

But vvhen in that happy instant vvherin it vvas created, it did first, open the eyesWhat vnspeake­able affe­ctions would be raysed in that soule by that sight? of her already deified vnderstanding; and did see her selfe freely made that excellēt thing vvhich God is only able to comprehēd; and vvhen it knevv from vvhat hand it came, [Page 50] ‘and found it selfe to be in possession of an ab­solute principality ouer all the Creatures; and did contemplace al those Hierarchies of Cele­stiall spirits in heauen, who being prostrate in his sight did adore him, in that happy in­stant, as S. Paul affirmes. Tell me (saith doctour Auila (if euer this can possibly be told) with what loue would this soule (being such a one) loue him, who had glorified it to such a height? with what kind of desire would it couet, that some occasion might be offered, wherby it might haue meanes to please so mighty a Creatour, and benefactour? Are the tounges of Cherubims, and Seraphims, able to expresse this loue?’

Let vs further adde, sayth he, ‘that vpō this extreme desire, it was declared to the soule of Christ, that the will of God was to saue mākind which had perished by the sinne of Adam, and that this blessed Sonne of his should, for the honor of God, and in obedi­ence to his holy will, encharge it selfe with this worke; and should take this glorious en­terprize to hart;’ and should neuer rest till he had brought it to a perfect end. AndIt is lo­ue which setteth all causes and creatures on worke for the obtaining their end. for that, the way, which all Causes, and Creatures hold, is to worke for loue (since they all do worke for some end or other which they desire, the loue wherof, being conceaued in their hartes, doth make them worke) therfore since Christ our Lord was to take this enterprise of the redemption of mankind vpon him, it followeth, that he [Page 51] ‘would loue men with so great a loue, that for the desire which he had to see them re­medied and restored to their Tytle of glory; he would dispose himselfe to do, and suffer, whatsoeuer might be fit for such an end.’

‘And now (sayth D. Auila) since that soule which was so ardently desirous to please the Eternall Father, did know so well, what it was to do; with what kind of loue would it turne it selfe towards men, for the louing and imbracing of them, through the obedi­ence which he carryed to his Father? WeNote this com­parison. see that when a peece of Artillery, dischargeth a bullet with store of powder, and that the buller goes glancing, as by way of brickwall from the place, to which it was designed, it beateth backe with so much greater force, as it was carried thither, with greater fury. Since then the loue, which this soule of Christ conceaued towards God, did carry such an admirable force (because the powder of Grace, which was in a manner infinite, did giue the impulse) and when, after, it had proceeded in a right line to wound the hart of the Fa­ther,’ it rebounded from thence, to the loue of men; with what kind of sorce, and ioy, would it turne towards them, both in the way of loue and help?

This Consideration is made, in effect, as heer is lyes, by the holy man Doctour A­uila, to shew the infinite loue of Christ our Lord to vs. WherinWe must cly­me to­wardes the know­ledg of the loue of Christ our Lord by degres. we may also, yet further helpe our selues, by rysing, as by so many [Page 52]degrees through the seuerall loues which are borne by creatures to one another. For we fee hovv vehemently men haue loued their frind; vve see hovv men haue loued themse­lues; vve see hovv Saints haue loued their Sanctifier: but vvhat trash is all this, if it be compared vvith the loue of Christ our Lord to God; vvhich loue is both the ground and measure of his loue to vs. We may iustly ther­fore cry out, in the vvay of extreme admi­ration,Aug. Cō ­fes. lib. 11. cap. 9. Quis comprchendet, quis enarrabit? There is no tongue, there is no povver created, which can comprehend, and much lesse de­clare the bottomlesse, and boundlesse Ocean of this loue.

The mystery of the Incarnation is more partiticu­larly lookt into; and the loue of our Lord Iesus is wōderfully expressed therby.

CHAP. 10.

FOR the restoring therfore, & the strēgth­ning of our vveake and vvounded soules, to the eternall honor and glory of God the Father, and in obedience to his vvise and holy vvill, did Christ our Lord vvith in­comprehensible loue, vndertake the worke of our Redemption, and sollicitously procure our sanctification, for as much as concerned him; but that could not be completely wrought without our concourse. Because as S. Austen saith, vvhen he speaketh of God to [Page 53]man; Qui tecreauit sine te, non te saluabit sine te: He that created thee, without thee, will We must coo­perate with the grace of God, or else the merits of Christ our Lord will neuer be applied to vs. not saue thee without thy selfe. In this enterprise, he re­solued to employ, and as it were, to giue himself away, from the first instant of his pre­cious life, vntill the last.

Any one only act of his, through the in­finite value of the diuine person (to vvhich both his soule and body were hypostatically vnited) had not only byn sufficient, but abun­dant, euen ex rigore Iustitiae, for the redemption both of this world, & as many millions more of worlds, as the omnipotency of God could haue created, howsoeuer there beCaluin Sectaries who tremble not to say, That he selt euen the paines of the very damned soules in that soule of his; as if the worke of mans redemption could not haue beene wrought otherwise. Where, by the way, it well appeares, euen to halfe an eye, whether the Catholike Doctrine, or that other, do erect a higher Trophee to the honor of Christ our Lord. But the while, euery single act of his, being indeed so all-sufficient for the reconciliation of man to God; it fol­loweth heere, (as will be also touched else­where) that some one only act, was perfor­med by him in the way of Iustice, to appease that infinite Maiesty offended; andCon­sider hee [...] and won­der at the ardent loue of Christ our Lord to man. that all the rest (which were so many millions, as he alone is able to number) were performed in the way of ardent, and tender loue to vs. So that Dauid had all reason to maguify the mer­cy of Almighty God, and to acknowledge, [Page 54]that Copiosa apud eum redemptio; Psalm. 129. that it was no pinching, or scant redemption, which was pre­pared for vs, but abundantly of ouer measure, and downe-weight.

And now it the bounty of God, & the loue of our Lord Iesus to man, were such, that where one single act of his, might haue serued the turne of our Redemption, he would not yet be content with doing the lesse, where he had meanes to expresse the more; how much lesse would it be agreable to those bowells of his Charity and mercy (which vnder that very name of tendernesse,Lue. [...] are so often celebrated by his owne holy spirit, in holy Scripture) that he should redeeme vs, by another lesse glorious, and graciousThe meanes of our Re­demption was a more no­ble bene­sitt, then the very Redemp­tiō it selfe. meanes, then by the guift of his owne only sonne, as hath been said. Though yet, he might sufficiently haue done it, either by the creating of some nevv man; or by employing of Angells for that purpose; or in fine, by any one of so many millions of meanes, as to his wisedome would neuer haue bene wanting, if he had not bene pointed out to this, by his loue to vs, which did so abound. But his Incarnation was the meanes, wherby he would vouchsafe to ac­complish the worke of our Redemption, which may well be called a mystery, as indeed it is, for the many and diuine deepe secrets, which are locked vp therin. For by this, the Pride of mā, which sticks incomparably more close to his soule in our corrupted nature, then any skinne doth to a body; hath been shewed [Page 55]the way, by an oueruling kind of reason, how it might learne toThe Incarna­tion of Christ our Lord, doth first reade vs a lesson of Humi­lity, and then of Glory. become h̄ble. By this, the basenes of man was also taught, how to clyme vp, so farre, as to grow to be a kind of God, by a diminution, as it were, of the di­uinity; and an infusion, and laying it (as one may say) to steep in the humility of the huma­nity of Christ our Lord, that so by meanes of Grace, we might swallow and sucke it vp, as an infant would doe his nurses milke. Hear­ken how diuinely, S. Augustine doth expresse the altitude of Gods mercy, and wisedome, in particular; and if euer you will admire the height and sanctity of that great man of God, it may be now. IObser­ue & pō ­der the di­uine dis­course of this great Saynt. D. Aug. Confes. l. 7 cap. 18. was (saith he) in search of a way, how to gett some strength, which might be fit for the enioying of thee o God; but I could meete with none, till I imbraced the mediatour betwene God and man Christ Iesus, who is also God, aboue all things blessed, for all eternities; And who calleth vs, and saith, I am the way, the truth, and the lise: And who is the food, which yet I wanted strength to dis­gest; till he mingled himselfe with our flesh; that so thy The se­cond per­son of the B. Trini­ty. wisdome (by which thou didst create all things) might frame it selse into the nature of By his Humanity he did ac­commo­date him­self to our Capacity. milke, wher­of we might sucke, in this infancy of ours.

But I, not being humble, could not apprehend my Lord Iesus Christ, who was so very humble. Nor yet did I vnderstand, what he meant to make vs learne He meant to teach vs Humility thereby. by that infirmity of his. For thy The sonne of God. word (which is the eternall truth) being so highly exalted aboue the [Page 56]highest of thy Creatures, doth rayse them vp vnto it selfe The good An­gells who were con­firmed in grace for their hu­mility. who were obedient & subiect to it. And heere below, among thy The race of A­dam. inferiour creatures, it built, for it selfe, The precious body of Christ our Lord. a poore house of the same clay, wherof we were made. By Huma­nity of Christ our Lord. which they were to be depressed frō their high concert of themselues, No mā who is not hum­ble can be a true mē ­ber of Christ our Lord. who would be­come subiect thervnto; and so it might sucke, & draw them vnto it; curing the tumour of their Pride, and nourishing their loue. Christ our Lord became Incarnate to destroy our Pride. To the end that they might not goe further on, in vanity through any confidence in themselues; but might rather acknowledge their owne infirmity, when they should see the Diuinity it selfe, lying, as it were, By the participation of our fraile na­ture. infirme, before their feete, by being content to weare the garment of our slesh and bloud. And Our Lord disdaines vs not, though we come not to him, till we be weary of the tyranny of sinne. so being weary, they might deiect and prostrate themselues vpon this The way of ascending by the diuinity of Christ our Lord, is first to pro­strate our selues vpon his humanity. humanity of Christ our Lord, and it ascending vp, might rayse them also vp, together with it.

To such excesse grew the loue of Christ our Lord to vs, degrading himselfe that he might exalt vs; afflicting himselfe that he might ease vs; and imptying himselfe, of hi­selfe, that he might make vs full of him, which first was made apparant euen to these eyes thē selues of our flesh and blood by the admira­rable mystery of his Natiuity.

Of the immense Loue of Christ our Lord, expressed to Man in his holy Natiuity.

CHAP. 11.

VVE haue no reason to find it strāge, that our Lord should be more ta­ken, by the circumstances of that seruice which he expecteth, and exacteth of vs, thē by the very seruice it selfe. The whole world is his, and he needs not any thing which we can giue. HeThe reason, why God is more pleased with the man­ner, and mind wherwith we do him any seruice, then with the thing it selfe. is the plenitude of all things, and can receaue no substantiall increase at all; but he is only capable of honour, and glory at our hands; and that doth only ac­crew to him on our part by the affection, wherwith it is procured by vs. Now this truth, of his regarding, more the minde, & manner wherwith, and wherin things are done, then the very things themselues, is de­clared to vs many wayes, butOur Lord did practise that in his owne per­son which he expe­cteth of vs. especially by the soueraigne example it selfe of Christ our Lord. For, as if his pleasure to redeeme vs from the torments of hell, and the slauery of sinne had been nothing; as if his Incarnation, (which was an ineffable descent for the Di­uinity to make) had bene no great matter; he letts vs further see, by the manner of it, what a meaning he had to binde vs yet faster to him, by the chaynes of loue.

It would haue cost him nothing (since he would needs become man for vs) to haue [Page 58]vested his soule, with the body of a perfect man, all at once; and as fully complete, in all the functions and actions therof, as after­ward his owne sacred body was. At ease, he might also (since there was no remedy, but that he would needs become a Creature) haue taken so much of the greatnes of the world to himselfe, as would haue made him in­comparably more glorious, more triumphāt, and more abundantly happy, by a floud of temporall felicity, then Salomon, and all the Caesars did enioy.

But not the substance of our Redemptiō, not the substance of his owne Incarnation, could satisfy and quench the ardent desire which reigned in his sacred hart, to shew his loue to vs;Our Lord God would not be sa­tisfied with lesse then be­comming a poore & naked child for vs. Lue. 2. vnlesse, for our sakes, he had withall, bene borne a child; and had become therby, obnoxious to all the impotencies & miseries of that age; in sucking, crying, and swathing, with a thousand other incommo­dities.

This King of glory was also pleased, to commend his loue, as much by pouerty as he had done already by infirmity; and in­stantlyThe excessiue pouerty of our Lord. to put himselfe, insteed of a Pal­lace, into a stable at the townes end of Bethleē, all abandoned and open, such as are vsed in hoat countries. And there, the B. Virgin­mother, did stay, and suffer many dayes, which any vagabond Gypsy would haue found difficulty to do. Our Lord was layd in a Maunger, insteed of a Cradle of gold; [Page 59]vnder a Rocke, insteed of a rich Cloth of State. He was wrapped in cloutes, insteed of being adorned with Imperall robes. He was at­tended by the Oxe, and the Asse, insteed of Counsellours of his State, & Officers of his Crowne, and magistrates of his kingdome. And all that, at such a tyme of the yeare, then which a harder, and colder could not be found; and euen in the very first hower after midnight, to shew that his loue, would not giue him leaue to stay till the second.

This mistery of the holy Natiuity of our B. Lord, was meant by him (as all those others also were, of his life, and death) not only as a meanes of our redemption,Our Lord Ie­sus ba­came man that he might re­deeme vs, and that we might imitate him. but as a most iust motiue also of our Imitation, of those vertues which shine therin; and especi­ally of Humility, Patience, Charity, and Pouerty. The originall sinne which descendeth to vs by our fore-Fathers, being accompanied by our owne actuall sinnes, had greatly dissigu­red the Image of God which was made in vs; and for the enabling vs to repayre, and re­forme the same, it concerned vs much to haue some such excellent true patterne as this, ac­cording to which we might mend our selues. It concerned vs also much, as is excellently pondered by FatherTitulo de Dios. Arias, that, on the one side, this Guyde or patterne, should be vi­sible It was wholly necessary, that our Guide to heauen, should be both vifi­ble & In­fallible. and perceptible by our other senses. For (besides that it is a most cōnatural thing, and carryeth great proportion to man, who is compounded both of body and soule, that [Page 60]he should ascend by visible, and corporeall things, to such as are spirituall and inuisible) man became by his sinne extremely vncapa­ble and blynd, towards the knowledge of those inuisible things, and therfore it imported much, that the example which he was to fol­low should be visible. And on the other side it was wholy fit, that this Guide should be infal­lible, and knowne to be vnable to erre; for otherwise, men could not follow him with­out much daunger, or at least without much feare of errour.

Now God of himselfe was not visible, and so he could not be this Guide according to that former condition; and man as man, could not be securely free from errour, and so he could not be a Guide, according to the latter. TheThe diuiue in­uentiō of loue wher by our Lord was pleased to negotiate our salua­tion. In serm. de Natiuit. Dom. apud Ariam lo­to citato. remedy therfore was resolued vpon by Almighty God; That, for our good, he would become, and be borne a man; that so being man, God might be visible; and man being God, might be infallible. And this is briefly declared by the incomparable S. Au­gustine saying. Man who might be seene, was not to be imitated by men, because he might erre; and God who might securely be imitated, could not be seene; And therfore to the end, that man might haue ‘a Guide, who might both be imitated and be seene; God vouchsafed to become man.’ Iustly therfore, doth Father Arias expresse himselfe,Titulo de Dios c. 1. in this admiring manner: ‘O how great was the mercy of God! O how deepe a Sea was it, full of mercies, that he would so accomodate [Page 61]himselfe to our weakenes, and condescend to our basenes! For as much, as because man, was not able to see any other, thē the workes of flesh and bloud; he, who was the Creator of the Angelicall spirits, would make him­selfe man. And for as much, as he, who hol­deth his Imperiall seate and throne, in the highest heauens, and who conuersed only in heauen, and was there beheld by the Angells, would grow to be visible, in this inferior world; and conuerse, and treat with mortall men; that so, by his example, he might teach them, the way to eternall blisse. All this is deliuered by the holy and learned Fa­ther Arias.

How by the Pouerty of our Lord Iesus in his Natiui­ty, poore men are comforted, and the rich are kept from being proud.

CHAP. 12.

BY the pouerty which our Lord Iesus was pleased both to feele in himselfe, and to declare to vs, in this sweet mistery of his Natiuity, he shewed euen in other respects, particular loue to all the world. ForIt ought to be of much comfort to poore people, to consider that Christ our Lord would be borne so poore. he gaue comfort therby, to all such as should be borne of parents, who vvere poore; that so, that accident might no lōger be summed vp, in the account of mens great misfortunes, ac­cording to the custome of the vvorld; vvhen they should see that the true king of glory, [Page 62]would vouchsafe to keepe them cōpany ther­in. And as for such others as doe, or shal des­cend of rich progenitours; our Lord with ar­dent Charity, did giue them also now, ales­son of humility, by his owne being borne in so great pouerty. ForBy this so poore Natiuity, rich men are obli­ged not to vaunt thē selues v­pon that occasion. who is he that can be excused in such a vanity, as to take much pleasure and glory, in that which Christ Iesus would not countenance by his example? This pouerty is counted to vs by another circum­stance which is very considerable. For his sa­cred, and imaculate Mother, was as highly noble, euen according to the extraction of bloud, as a creature could be; she being line­ally as, hath byn said, descended from so many Prophets, Kings, & Preists. Now for our Lord to permit, that so high nobility, should be left in the hands of such necessity, as euen with ours, we may feele him to haue bene subiect to; as it heapes the more contēpt vpō him, so it doth more proclaime his loue to vs.

I omit to shew how, that although that purest wombe of the B. Virgin were in some respects a more glorious Pallace then heauen it selfe, could haue holpen his humanity vnto; yet in others it might goe for a kind of pri­son to his body; as restrayning it, according to those conditions, to which then he vouch­safed to let himselfe be subiect. But howsoeuer he vvas no sooner deliuered from thence, thē the pooreHow our Lord as soone as he was borne did intertaine those poore she. pheardes with a Quire of Angells. Sheephards were wooed, by him, to receaue the token of his impatient, and in­comparable loue. And according to that in­finite [Page 63]finite wisedome, which became his God head (which is wōt to gouerne inferiour Creatures, by such as are superiour to them) as also be­cause he would both call, and free those poore men, at once, from errour; he disdayned not to sollicit them by a quire of Angells; that the glory of so supernaturall, and sublime a visiō, might auert them from all that vvant of faith, vvhich his poore appearance, might easily haue inclined them to. Those Angells pro­claymed, & did appropriate, as it vvere,All glory is due to God. All glory to God; vvhich vvas so highly and truly due to him per excellentiam, for the admira­ble humility and charity vvhich vvas expres­sed by him in this act; & vvithall they publi­shed and applyed all good and peace to men.

But yet to men, not so farre forth as they might only chance to be mighty, or witty, or noble, or wealthy, or learned. And much lesse, to such as should be giuen to repine, or who should be so abounding, and regorging with sensuall pleasures (all which are the sadd effects of selfe loue, and very contrary to the loue of our Lord Iesus, in whome alone, originally, true peace is found) but only it was bequeathed to men of a good will. TheThe condition of a will, which is truly good. property of which, true good wil, is to put euery thing in his due place. And what place can deserue, that the loue of our hartes should be lodged in it by vs, but that deuine person of our only Lord and Sa­uiour Iesus Christ. Who in this little space of one night, hath knit vp such a world of [Page 64]testimonies of his deere loue to vs; and who did cast himselfe downe, from the top of glory to the bottome of misery, that so he might carry vs vp to the place from whence himselfe was come. And who, (though he were not only, the true owner, but the sole Creatour of the whole world; and who created it no otherwise then by filling it, with his very selfe) was yet content to see his owne sacred humanity, so depriued & turned out of all; as that no place should be emptye for the receauing of him (Quia non [...]rat ei locus in diuersorio) but only such a one, as might seeme rather to haue bene taken from beasts, then giuen by men.

TheseHow rich those poore she­pheards were ma­da at an instant. Sheepheards indeed were of that good will, which was so commended by the Angells; and as such they carried, not only peace from that sight of Christ our Lord, and his blessed mother, but ioy also. And that, no ordinary, but an excessiue ioy, which is another guift of the holy Ghost, and a meere, and mighty effect of his diuine loue. To the participation wherof together with a most entire thanksgiuing, the holy Catholike Church, inuiteth all her faithfull Children, in these most glorious and magnificent words, vpon the day of this great Festiuity, The Pre­face of the Masse v­pon Christ­masse day. in the Preface of the most holy Sacrifice of the Masse. Verè dig­num & instum est, aequum & salutare, nos tibi sem­per, & vbique gratias agere: Domine sancte, pater Omnipotens, aeterne deus. Quia per incarnati verbi mysterium, noua mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae clari­atis [Page 65]infulsit: vt dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus; per hunc, in inuisibilium amorem, rapiamur. Et ideo cum Angelis, & Archangelis, cum Thronis & Do­minationibus, cum (que)ue omni mili [...]ia caelestis exerci­tus, hymnum gloriae tuae canimus, sine siue dicentes; Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli & terra gloria tua, Hosanna in ex­celsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Dommi, Ho­sanna in excelsis.

It is reason that we giue thee eternall thankes, O holy Lord, O omniporent Father, and eternall God; in regard that by the mistery of the Incarnate Word, a new light of thy splendour, hath cleered vp the eyes of our minde. That so whilst we are growne to know God after a visible manner, we may be ve­hemently carried vp, to the loue of inuisible things. And therfore, together with the Angells and Archan­gells, with the Thrones, and Dominations, & with all those Squadrons of that Celestiall Army, we sing out this Himne of glory, saying to thee, without end, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Saboath: the hea­uēs & earth are ful of thy glory, Hosāana in the highest. Blessed be he who cometh in the name of our Lord, Ho­sanna in the highest. Thus, I say, doth our holy mother the Church exhort vs, to re­ioyce and giue thankes to God, for his great mercy in this diuine mistery; and he is no true sonne of that mother, who will not hearken to her voyce.

Of the vnspeakeable loue, which our Lord Iesus ex­pressed to vs in his Circumcision.

CHAP. 13.

Luc. 2.BVT as for the loue, which our Lord did shew to those poore Sheephards, some ig­norant carnall person, may chaunce to say, or at least to thinke, That it did not cost him much. Let such a one therfore looke, vpon his painefull, and shamefull Circumcision. Pay­nefull, and shamefull to him, but of vnspea­keable loue, and benefit to vs. And first, for as much as concernes the paine, it deserues to be considered, that the soule, and body of Christ of our Lord, had another manner of vnderstanding,The soule and body of our B. Lord, were more sen­sible of shame and payne thē any other. and delicate feeling, then any other Creature, hath euer bene acquainted with.Exod. 4. Num. 5. D. Aug. lib. 2. de gratia Christ. cap. 31. Which circumstance I will not heere dilate, because when afterward I shall haue reason to speak of his sacred passion, the occa­sion will be, fayrely offered. But the paine must needs be excessiue, to haue a part of the body so cut of, by a violent hand; and that not with a kinfe, or any such sharpe instru­ment, which would haue brought it to a speedy end; but according to the custome, with a stone, which was ground into a blunt kind of edge; and which must needs prolonge the torment of the patient.

YetDi­shonour to a noble hart is far more in­sufferable then payne. paine how great soeuer, is but a toy to a generous minde, in respect of re­proach [Page 67]and shame. And amongst all degrees of shame; that is farre the greatest, which im­plyeth the party to haue deserued it, and that, in the deepest kind. Now as, when there is question of pride, the affectation and desire to haue a fame of sanctity, is farre superiour to any ambition of riches, or strength, or know­ledge, or any other such aduantage whatsoe­uer; so the infamy of impiety, of sinne, is that, which, of all other, woundeth most. This infamy is therfore the very thinge, to which, our Lord, with strange contempt of himselfe, did submit his diuine excellency. And notwithstanding the perfect hatred which indeed he carryed to all that, which looked like sinne; he was yet content to lay that thought aside, through the infinite loue which he bare to vs; and he pinned that badge vpon his owne sleeue, which was only to haue been worne by the traytours & Rebells of Almighty God; and he resolued to weare it, being God himselfe.

By takingOur Lord, by the payne & shame of his cir­cumcision, did satisfy for our sinnes; he did pur­chase grace, and fortify vs by his example. this badge of sinne, which was payne and shame, to his owne person, he did not only satisfy for the sensuality & pride of man, but he deliuered vs also from being subiect any longer to those tyrants; both by the grace which he obtayned therby at the hands of his eternall Father, and by the exam­ple which he gaue in this his Circumcision of a most profound contempt of himselfe. And who is therfore that man, who by way of re­tribution, for the loue of this Lord, will not [Page 68]now procure to follow his example; and at least, by little and little, to weane himselfe frō estimation of honour, and delight in plea­sure; since the king of glory, did contēt himself, for the loue of vs, to be thought a sinner; and to vndergoe the obligatiōs due to such a one.

Doctour Auila, Cap. 76. in his Audi Filia, vseth this excellent comparison. If Con­sider and ponder this com­parison. a King should goe v­pon his bare feete, and should be weary, and should sweat through the length, and sharpnes of the way; hauing his back loaden with sackcloath, and his face with teares, as king Dauid did, and had, by occasion of the reuolte of his sonne Absalom, what ser­uant or Courtier could there be of his, who, either for loue, or shame, would not also goe on foote, and vnshodd, and as like his king, as he could be? And so the holy Scripture affirmeth, that all the seruants of Dauid did, and all the people which accompanied him at that tyme. And the same authour saith afterward; That the altitude of the state of perfect Christians, is so great, and that Christ our Lord hath wrought such a change in things, by his holy example; as that the bitter, and the base of this world, is growne to be hono­rable, and delightfull. And Let world­linges thinke as lightly as they will of this; the perfect seruāts of God, do find the truth of it, at theyr very harts. that he enableth his true seruants to cast the gorge, when they are but to rast of that, in the pursuite wherof, worldly men, are vpon the pointe of cutting the throates of one another. Thus sayth Doctour Auila.

Fa. Arias doth serue himselfe of another comparison to this effect: If a King sitting in his chayre of State should, by a Titulo de Redemtor. Ca. 4. law, command that the Caualleroes of his Court, should weare their gar­ments of plame stusse, for the enriching of his king­dome; [Page 69]or that for the defence therof they should accu­stome themselues to carry such or such a kind of weapō; it is cleere that they would take themselues to be in o­bligation of obseruing that law. But if the king him­selfe, at the very gate of his Royall Pallace, should pro­claime the same with his owne princely mouth; & for the example of others, would gird such a weapon to his owne side; & put such a garmēt vpō his own back, with­out doubt his Courtiers would take thēselues to be more straitly bound to keepe this law. And as they should be honored who would obserne it, so the breach therof would instly intytle the infringers of it to more grieuous punishmēt. Now Obser­ue this applica­tion, and it will mooue thee. God being in his Thron of glory, did commaund, both by the naturall, & written lawe, that men should liue according to vertue; and be caresull to imbrace those meanes, which might conduce to their saluation. This lawe, he published, by meanes of his Angells, and other Creatures; and the world was bound to obserue the same; and the breach of it was both threatned, and reuenged with the eternall fire of Hell. But in the tyme of the law of grace, God himselfe descended from his Imperiall throne, & came downe into the world; apparailing himselfe with the garment of our flesh and bloud. And with his owne sacred mouth be did proclaime his Euangelicall Law. And in his owne sacred person, he The perfectiō of Christ our Lord complyed with all that vertue, and sanctity, in supreme perfection, which he exacted at the hands of men. And His mortifica­tion. he im­braced all the meanes of paine and shame, wherby sin­cere and solid vertue is obtained. So that there can be no doubt, but that our obligation to keepe his law, is much the greater, since it is auowed by his owne exam­ple; and consequently the fault in breaking it, would [Page 70]be more inexcusable, and the punishment due to it, more intollerable. And Giue great at­tention to this cir­cumstāce. if when Christ our Lord was yet on earth, and did commaund his Disciples to preach his will, to the people of Israel; and (to moone men also by their example) he commaunded that they should goe on foote, and not only without money, but euen without shoes; & that otherwise also, they should be poorely cladd; and did then protest that the people who would not heare their Doctrine, should find them­selues in worse case, at the day of Iudgment, then they of Sodome & Gomorra: how incomparably much more will it increase our damnation (who haue bene taught by the very mouth, and haue bene conuinced, by the example, not only of the Disciples, but of Christ our Lord himselfe, the king of glory) if we imita e not his vertues, and if we imbrace not his mortifications.

This is the summe and substance of that excellent discourse of Fa. Arias, where he trea­tes of Christ our Lord vnder the quality of his being our Redeemer. And although he doe in generall, propound it there, as inducing vs to pennance and vertue, vpon the considera­tion of the doctrine, and example of Christ our Lord, at large; yetThat the consi­deration brought by Fa. Arrias doth ve­ry parti­cularly belong to the Cu c̄ ­cision of our Lord. it seemes very na­turall, that heer I should apply it in particular manner, by occasion of this mistery of the Cir­cumcision. Wherein, the first, of that most pre­tious bloud, was shedd, wherby the world was to be redeemed; and when he, who was the true, and supreme Law-giuer did di­minish himselfe so much, as to become obno­xious to that penalty of his owne Law; since as his holy Apostle saith, He who is circumcised, is [Page 71]bound therby to fulfill the Law. And lastly,Gal. 5. when he who was the eternal spring, the ouerflow­ing riuer, and the bottomlesse sea of all sancti­ty, would be contented for our good (& for the drawing vs, by his example, to loue, paine and shame) to be accounted by men, for a crea­ture, as odious and abhominable in the sight of God, as all sinners are.

But he thought not all this too much, so that he might free vs from the curse of that law, to which he would be subiect. Aduising, and enabling vs heerby, to Circumcise The corporall Circumci­sion of Christ our Lord must teach vs how to circumci­se our af­fections. the inordinate affections of our harts; which are as so many veynes, wherby the bloud of lise is drawne from that true loue, which is only due to such a Lord as this, who is all made of loue. Now because this miserable race of men would not fully correspond, with that incomparable Charity of Christ our Lord, it was so much the more agreable, to the iustice of God the Father, to acknowledge, and re­vvard this vnspeakable humility of his sonne. And therfore then it vvas, that he stampt vpō him, the name of Iesus, Luc. 2. Phillip. 2. to which the knees of all Creatures should be obliged to bow. Celestiall, vvhose charity he had surpassed; terrestriall, vvhose life he had instructed; and Infernall, vvhose pride he had confounded. And heerby vve further see, hovv infinitely are vve bound to this Lord, for this strange loue of his, vvho, vvhen there should be question of taking such aname as might be proper to him, laid all such na­mes aside as might expresse the Maiesty of [Page 72]himselfe; and made only choyce of that name of Iesus vvhich might declare his Soueraigne mercy to vs.

The Names vvhich grovve from God, are farre vnlike to those which are imposed by men; for these latter, are meere extrinsecall denominations; and the former, are a most exact abridgement, and mappe of those Con­ditions which grow within. So that, together vvith this name, our Lord Iesus vvas sublimed to the office, and dignity of a perfect Sauiour of mankind. NotWhat an yowor thy, and weake Sa­uiour, Christ our Lord is made by the Sectaries. such a Sauiour, as the Sectaries of our age are miserably vvont to make him; vvho conceaue him, to haue only saued our soules from Hell, vvhich is but a punishment of sinne, (as vvas sayd before) and vvhich punishment hovv great soeuer it be, is incomparably of lesse deformity, and true misery, and vvere farre rather to be ac­cepted, and chosen then the least sinne it selfe vvhich can be committed) but such a one as doth chiefly saue our soules from the guylt of sinne; and that, by sanctifiyng vs indeed, vvith his inherent grace, and not by a kind of Iustice, vvhich only, is imputed to vs, vvhilst the vvhyle indeed it is none of ours. Through the vvāt vvherof, the leaprousy of our soules, should not be cleansed and cured, but only they should be couered and clad, as those deceauedmen conceaue, with the robe of his innocency.

Our Lord giue them light, to see, and knovv, hovv deeply & dangerously they de­ceaue [Page 73]themselues, and dishonour him, vnder the pretence of piety, and peruerse and coun­terfaite humility, vvhilst they make him but such a Sauiour as this.Audi Pi­liacap. 88. This errour (as Doctour Auila saith) proceedeth from the want, of knowing the loue, which Iesus Christ doth beare, to such as are in the state of grace, whome his bowells of mercy, would not permit, that (whilst himselfe was iust, & full of all good things) he should say to such as he in­stifyed, Content your selues with this, That I abound with these good things, and esteeme them for your owne in regard that they are in me; although in your selues, you remaine vniust, impure, and naked. There is no head which would hold such language as this, to his liuing members; nor one spouse to another, if he should deerly loue her. And much lesse, will that Celestiall spouse say so; who is giuen for a patterne to the spou­ses of this world; that so after his resemblance, they may treate and loue their fellow spouses. You men­saith S. Paule, loue your wiues as Christ loued his Church, who gaue himselfe ouer for it, to sanctify it, and to clense it by baptisme, and by the word of life. If then he sanctify, and wash, and clense it, and that with his owne bloud (which is the thing that giueth power to the Sacramēts, to cleanse soules, by his grace which they impart) how can that soule remaine vniust, and silthy, which is washed and cleansed by a thing which is of so extreme efficacy. And in conformi­ty of that which was affirmed before the same Doctour Auila, doth also cleerly shew after­ward, that such opinions as that, do no way, serue The doctrine of impu­tatiue Iu­stice, is ex­presly im­pugned by holy scripture, and doth impeach the ho­nour of Christ our Lord. either towards the verifying of the Scriptures, or for the doing of Iesus Christ, sufficient honour. [Page 74]For since the payne (sayth he) which is due to sinne, is a lesse euill to any man, then the guilt of the same sinne, and the iniustice and deformity which is caused therby; it cannot be said, that Christ our Lord doth saue his people from their sinnes, if by his merits he only obtaine, that they may not be imputed to them, for their punishment; vnlesse first he should take the guilt away, by the guift of grace. Nor yet that he obtayneth puri­ty, and piety for men, vnlesse by detesting sinne, they may keepe the law of God. This is the iugdement of Doctour Auila.

WeThe catholik Doctrine, concer­ning this poynt. therfore according to that truth which is reuealed by Almighty God, and pro­pounded to vs to be beleeued by the holy Catholike Church, his imaculate Spouse, doe cō ­fesse, to the ioy, and triumph of our hartes, & with irreuocable vowes of the highest gratitu­de that we can conceaue, for such an infinite benefit, not only, that he is the Sauiour of vs from hell (which is but as an effect) but from sinne also it selfe, which is the iust cause ther­of. And not only so, but that he saues vs fur­ther also from the want of all those helpes, & graces of the holy Ghost which are conueniēt. vt sine timore, Luc. 1. de manibus inimicorum nostrorum li­berati, seruiamus illi, in sanctitate, & institia coram ipso, omnibus diebus vitae nostrae. That being deliue­red from the hands of our enemyes, we may serue him without feare, in holynes & iustice before him, all the dayes of our life. At the end of which dayes we shall be admitted to see a day in heauen, which hath no end, and which admits no cloud. This I say, is to be the precious fruyte of this [Page 75]morning sacrifice, of his Circumcision, to put vs into a state, which can admit no euening. For as S. Augustine sayth, dies septimus sine vesper a est, nec habet occasum, quia sanctificasti eum ad perman­sionem sempiternam. That seauenth day of thine, Conf. lib 13. cap. vlt. O God, is without any euening; nor doth that sunne euer set, because thou hast sanctisied it, to an eternall con­tinuance. This is that infinite benefit, which is to be imparted to vs by this blessed Lord of ours; and the meanes to conuey it, is the office of his being our Sauiour, which is declared in this Circumcision, by his holy name of Iesus, and wherof the next Chapter, will tell vs more.

Of the name of Iesus, & the incomparable loue which our Lord doth shew to vs by that name.

CHAP. 14.

FOR as much as there is no Name, which can go neer to expresse the nature of God, the holyThe reason of giuing so many se­uerall na­mes to God as God. Scripture, to make some kind of signification of the infinite Beinge, & the other infinite petfections of his diuinity, & of the be­nefits which he besto wes vpon vs, doth giue him many attributes, and many names, which may in some small measure declare the effects of his diuine perfections, & the Offices which he performeth towards his Creatures; as na­mely to be Almighty, of infinite wisedome, of infinite goodnes, of infinite mercy, of Creatour, of Conser­uour, of Gouernour, of Father, of the beginning and end of all things, and the like.

In the selfe same manner,The reason also of gi­uing so many se­uerall na­mes to Christ our Lord. to expresse that immense sea of perfections and graces, which the whole blessed Trinity did impart to Christ our Lord as man (that is to say to that most sacred humanity, vnited to the person of the sonne of God, the eternall word; & those incomparable and innumerable guifts and be­nefits, which he communicated to vs by mea­nes therof) the same holy Scripture, doth giue him also many seuerall Names, and Titles as of King, of Priest, of Pastour, of Doctour, of Law­giuer, of Spouse, of Mediatour, of Aduocate, of Redee­mer, of Sau [...]our, & diuers others wherby he may the better be conceaued, since he cannot be sufficiently declared by any one. Of all these names, & of al the rest which may be raunged, and reduced to these, there is none so excel­lent, nor which doth so include the rest, as doth the superexcellent name of Iesus, which declareth our Losd, to be the Sauiour of the world.S. Bern. serm. 2. de Circum. Dom. & serm. 15. sup. Can. This was that Name, which the holy S. Bernard, could by noe meanes, be made cō ­tent to want, amōgst so many other most ho­norable appellations, as the Euangelicall Pro­phet Esay applyed to him. This Prophet, being full of ioy, vpon the fore seing of our Redee­mer, doth expresse himselfe thus, as S. Bernard noteth; Puer natus est nobis, filius natus est nobis &c. A child is borneto vs, A sonne is giuen to vs, & his prin­cipality is placed vpon his shoulder, & his name is called Admirable, Cōscllour, The strōge God, The Father of the future age, The Prince of Peace. Great, saith S. Bernard, are these names, but where [Page 77]is The name of Iesus is the most comfor­table of al the names of Christ our Lord. that name which is aboue all names; that name of Iesus in which euery knee shall bow?

The freinds and fauourites of Christ our Lord haue walked in a very different way, frō that, wherin such persons of our tymes, as are disaffected to this sacred Name, wil needs im­ploy thēselues. We see, how that, both Cherubim & Seraphim of flesh & bloud, the beloued dis­ciple of our Lord Iesus, his Apostle, and E­uangelist S. Iohn, (who sucked in such a bun­dance, from the diuine fountaine of that brest, to which he vsed to lay his mouth) did paint out no other word so often, as that holy and diuine name of Iesus. S. Paul The great De­uotion of S. Paul to the Holy name of Iesus. that full vessell of election being reprehended in that high vision of our B. Sauiour (though in a most amourous, and tender manner) for persecu­ting him in the persō of the Christiā Church, was told by our Lord himselfe, that he perse­cuted; he saith not God, nor Christ, nor the Lord (though he were all that), but only Iesus. And afterward he sayd moreouer to Ananias, that this was the Name, which Paule, as a vessell of election, was to carry ouer the earth, among Gentiles, and Kinges. And so, as I was saying, it is admirable to consider, how he was all taken with an vnspeakable delight to be euer in repetition of that sacred name, in all his Epistles. See also how the incomparable S. Augustine doth in his Confessions to our Lord, relate that he was vehemently delighted in the reading of certaine bookes of Philosophy, lib. 3. c. 4. which poin­ted him out to the search of wisedome. But yet (saith [Page 78]he) in that so great delight, this only cooled me, & tooke me off, that I found not the name of thy Christ therin. For this name, O Lord, through thy mercy, this name of my The name of Christ our Lord which S. Augustine had so greedily sucked vp in his in­fancy was the name of Sauyour of Iesus; & note, how this Saynt esteemes the guift of deuotion, to this holy name, as a particular mercy. Bern. ser. 15. in Cant. Sauiour, thy Some, my yong and tender hart, had euen, in the very milke of my mother, dronke vp, deuoutly, and carefully retayned; and if any discourse whatsoeuer, though neuer so lear­ned, so elegant and so true, had wanted this name, it did not carry me away entierely.

The same discourse concerning the holy Name of Iesus is further prosecuted.

CHAP. 15.

THE day had need be long, wherin I would pretend to make particular men­tion, of the incredible deuotion, and tender affection, which the Saintes and holy ser­uants of God, haue carried to this blessed name of Iesus. S. Bernard whom I mentioned before shal therfore serue this turne, insteed of many; whose fifteenth: Sermon vpon the Canticle, I beseech my Reader euen in the name of Iesus, that he will procure to read. For there, he may see, how in this holy name it is, that we meete with the remoue of al our cares. He applyes to it that clause, of the Canticles. Oleum essusum nomen tuum, Thy name Note and loue this sweet contem­plation of of S. Ber­nard, vpō the holy name of Iesus. saith he, is a pretious Oyle, powred forth. O blessed name, O oyle which euery where is powred forth. How farre? frō heauen into Indea; and from thence, it runs ouer the whole earth. We may well say, it is powred forth, [Page 79]since it hath not only distilled abundantly, both in hea­uen, and earth; but it hath sprinkled euen them who are below the earth. This Christ, this Iesus (being insused to the Angells, and essused or powred out v­pon men; and those men, who were growne rotten. like beasts, in their very dunge) doth saue both men & beasts; so greately hath God multiplyed his mercy. How deere is this Oyle, and yet how cheape? It How Grace is both deer, cheape. is cheape, and common; and withall, it giueth health. If it were not cheape, it would neuer haue been powred vpon me, if it were not wholsome, it would neuer be able to recouer me. Without doubt, (saith he) there is a resemblance betwene the name of spouse, and oyle, nor did the holy ghost, in vayne, compare them to one another. For my part, (vnlesse somewhat, which is better, do occurre to you) I hold it to be, for these three qualities. For it shyneth, it feedeth, and it an­noynteth. It entertaines the fire, it feeds the body, & it asswageth paine. It is Light, Food, Phisicke. Now see if it be not iust so, in this name of the Spouse. It shyneth, when it is preached; It feedeth, when it is considered; and asswageth and suppleth, when it is inuoked. Is not, (saith he) this name of Iesus, both Light, & Food, & Phisicke to you? What doth so nourish, and fat the soule, which feeds vpon it? All food of the soule is dry, if it be not bedewed with this Oyle. It is inspide, if it be not sprinkled with this salt. If Obserue, admire, and imi­tate this sweet Saynt. thou write, I haue no gust in it, vnlesse I may read the name of Iesus there. If thou dispute, or con­ferre, it contents me not, vnlesse I heare the sound of Iesus. Iesus is hony in the mouth; it is musicke in the eare; and it is a melting kind of ioy in the hart. Thus, doth this holy Saint, expresse himselfe [Page 80]in the place alleadged, concerning this parti­cular. He also sheweth there, at large, how it is, that Our Lord Ie­sus is not only the Food; but light also. and the Phisicke of the whole world. light illuminating the world, and the pre­tious Phisicke curing all the wounds & miseries ther­of; as heere, for breuities sake, I haue onely shewed our of him, that it is the food which strengthneth vs in all our weakenes.

Such hath beene the spirit of deuotion, of the Saints in the Christian Catholike Church (from the first, to the rest, and, now at last, in this present age) towards this holy name of Iesus. Nay we see, that by his good­nes, it is rather improued, then decreased now. For in very many Citties, there are kept, e­uery weeke, (though not in the same, but dif­ferent churches thereof) deuout solemnities, in memory, and honor, of this supereminent name of our Lord Iesus. And we also see, that the two great Lights of this last age of ours, S. Ignatius of Loyola, & S. Teresa, were so deerly deuoted to this holy name; that the latter of them, for this cause, hath deserued to haue the name of her owne family, as it were for­gotten, and that now she is knowne, insteed therof, by the NameThe Deuotion of S. Igna­tius & S. Teresa, to the name of Iesus. of IESVS; as being called Teresa of IESVS. And the former, though he kept his owne name, to his owne person; yet to shew, how intirely, and how irreuo­cably he had giuen all away to the seruice of our Lord Iesus; and withall to proue the re­uerēce, & religiō which he bare to that diui­ne name of his; he did, in the instituting of his Society, renounce the appellation of his owne [Page 81]name; andSee in the life of the Saint. he ordayned it to be eternally called vnder the honour, and only auow of the holy Name of Iesus. I omit heer to shew how supernaturally the Saint was concur­red withall heerin, by our Lord himselfe; & how by the visible head of his Church, the Society hath bene successiuely confirmed, vn­der this Title; but I only consider, what de­uotion these two so high seruāts of our Lord, had to it; in conformity of that spirit, which hath still inflamed the hartes of the former Saints, of the Catholike Church.

In thisThe wonder­ful effects which haue beene wrought by the de­uotion of Christiās, to the ho­ly name of Iesus. Name it is, that deuills haue beene cast, both out of bodyes and soules. That the faith hath bene planted among Pagās; That worlds of miracles, both corporall and spirituall haue bene wrought, in confirma­tion therof; That Martyrs haue bene made try­amphant, ouer all the bitter torments, which men, or deuills could inflict; That so many millions of vgly, and importunate temptati­ons, haue bene ouercome; millious of deso­lations, & motions of despaire driuen away; millions of serene, sweet comfortes, brought into the soule; and in fine, that whatsoeuer is miserable and sinfull hath bene remoued, and whatsoeuer is holy, and happy, hath bene procured for Christians, at the liberall hand of our Lord.

Yet all this is not so idly meant, nor is to be so ill vnderstood, as if these benefits would acrew to such as should only care to pronounce the bare Name of Iesus, with­out [Page 82]any reuerence or faith and loue of him, whose name it is. But only they are praysed heer (and that most worthily) who are de­uoted to his diuine name, as signifying the Sauyour of the world who is expressed ther­by; the same being a means by which the mind is made to ruminate, and reflect often vpon him. And they who ar not yet deuoted are exhorted to it, as to the loue of a liuely picture of an admirable Originall; or rather, as of a curious cup, wherin most pretious li­quor is contayned; or, in fine, as of the very compendium, & whole abbreuiated History, of all that excesse, which our Lord did say, or do, or els endure, in this mortall life, for the redemption of man. And indeed, how can they loue our B. Sauiour who delight not in that deere name of his, which declares him so cleerly, to be a Sauiour; and who follow not the stepps of the holy seruants and Saints of God; whose harts haue so tenderly melted, in their deuotion to this sacred name, of our Lord Iesus.

Of the great loue which our Lord shewed to vs in his Epiphany, or Manifestation to the Gentiles, in the person of the three Kings.

CHAP. 16.

BVT to returne againe, and so to take our leaue of those Sheephards, who were sur­prised by this new borne Lord of ours, as if it [Page 83]had beene, with the netts of loue neere at hand, we may obserue how he tooke those three Kings, by shooting them from a farre off, with a starre, which strooke them at the hart. S. Augustine complaines (but he doth it, like himselfe, after a most deer and tender manner) that our Lord had also peirced his hart, with loue, Confes l. 9. cap. 2. Sagittaueras tu cor nostrum charitate tua, & gestaba­mus verba tua transfixa visceribus. Thou hadst saith he) O Lord shot through our hartes with thy loue; and we bare thy words in our bowells, wherby they were strucken from side to side. In like manner did he shoot, through the harts of these holy men, in whose person he consecrated the whole body of Gentilisine to himselfe. NowThe difference betweene the arro­wes of Gods mercy, & of his Iu­stice. Psalm. 119. God hath arrowes of diuers sortes. The arrowes of his Iustice, are pointed, and they wound, and kill. Sagittae potentis acutae cum carbo­nibus desolatorijs. Those arrowes of that mighty man, are sharp, and they carry at the heads therof certeyne coules, as hoat as the fire of hell. But the arrowes of his mercy and Charity are forked and barbed; and though they wound, it is farre from being to death, vnlesse it be a sweet death of loue; & besides those arrowes do not loose their hold. And so that Archer, with his long Arme, can by that very arrowe, draw the wound and wounded person within his reach, that so after the wound hee may giue the cure.

In this manner did our Lord, by that starre both strike and draw those Magi after it;Matt. 2. till at last they arriued in that stable, which [Page 84]was then growne to be a heauen on earth? There, in the throne of his sacred Mothers armes, they adored their Lord; hauing already been made so rich, as to receaue, wherwith they might make a present to him, and do him homage. ForAll comes frō God both the mea­nes wher­by, & the mind wherwith any good is done. of him it was, that they had both the meanes and minde, wherwith they made him a fit present; which yet, withall, he was pleased, should be such, that it might (as a man may say) be two to one, against himselfe. For though by the Gold which they offered, they did him homage as to their king; yet the Frankencense fignified the Priesthood which he was to exercise in their seruice, both at the last supper, and vpon the Crosse; and the Mirrhe was to put him in minde of his buriall, which must suppose his precedent death.

Let him that can, contemplate the ar­dent loue of our Lord, which swells & sla­mes in euery circumstance of those actions, which any way concerne this sacred Infancy of his. For no sooner was he borne; but he had his death and passion in his eye. And be­sides, it deserues our admiration, to see with what suauity, that diuine goodnes was pleased to gather the first flower of the Gentils with his holy hand.

It was said of God before,Psalm. 108. by the Pro­phet Dauid; Quia ipse cognouit figmentum no strum, record at us est quoniam puluis sumus. He knew wherof we were made; he remembred that we are but dust. This was said longe ago, but it is practised dayly and howerly on vs. And in conformy­ty [Page 85]of this knowledge, his loue is neuer fay­ling to condescend to our naturall inclina­tions.The great goodnes of God in condescē ­ding to man. Sometymes he serues himselfe of our secular studies; sometymes of our vaine curiosities; yea and sometymes of our very sinnes, wherby he may cyther dispose vs to a conuersion from heresy, or any other im­piety; or els to a vocation to his better seruice. So I think may any man obserue in himselfe, that our Lord hath proceeded towards him; & so it is euident that he procceded with these Magi The Magi were ta­ken, and brought, to God, by the bayte, & booke, of their own naturall inclina­tion.. For as they had much imployed thē ­selues, vpon the contemplation of nature, by meanes of the Starrs; so by a starre, which was the likelyest lure to which they might be drawne to stoope, (for though their eyes looked vpward for a while, yet soone after, it brought them downe vpon their knees, at the sight of the diuine infant) he vouchsafed to summon them to his seruice.

How certaine must it be, that the loue of our Lord, did subdue and melt the soules of these holy men, after a strange manner; whose messenger alone (the starre) did so il­luminate, and in flame them interiourly, that they felt not the incommodities, and daun­gers of so longe & labourious a pilgrimage, as they were making. It may also be further seene, by this; That vpon the recouery of the sight therof (for whilst they were in Ierusalem, the starre was seene by them no more (to teach vs, thatCourts are not proper for contem­plation of celestiall thinges. Courts, and store of company, are not wont to intertaine, but rather to [Page 86]estrange our internall eyes from the sight of heauen) the sacred text doth thus declare in most weighty words, the excesse of ioy, which they were in:Matt. 2. Videntes autem stellam ga­uisi sunt gaudio magno valde. Vpon the recouery of the sight of the Starre, they reioyced, and it was with a mighty, and most excessiue ioy. And when it had led them to that stable where the Om­nipotent Infant lay; neither was the eye of their faith obscured, not the edge of their most reuerent, and withall most ardent loue aba­ted, but rather whet, by that shew of humi­lity, and pouerty, which they met withall. And they opened their treasures; they made litter, as it were, of their owne Royall per­sons; and were so rauished by those diuine beames of Charity, (which passing from that Sphere of fire of our Lords sacred hart, did seize on theirs) that in their returne, they had now, no more thoughts of meaning to be re­galed by Herod, according to the purpose which they had made before. For byVpon the sense of celesti­all com­forts, the delights of this world grow con­tēptible. that tyme they were fedd from the table of heauē, with supernaturall visions, and most sweet & solid comforts of that kind; & from our Lord, they carryed home, another manner of heat and ioy, then the Starre, (which was but a figure of our Lord) could helpe them to, in their going thither.

Though yet those holy soules, were the least part of that obiect, vpon which the loue of our Lord did meane to worke; for we it was, who in their persons, were designed. [Page 87]And therfore, as the holy Catholike Church, doth vse these words of S. Paul, Tit. c. 3. in the office which she celebrates on Christians day; Apparuit benig­nitas, & humanitas Saluatoris nostri Dei; non ex operibus iustitiae quae fecimus nos, sed secundum suam misericordiam saluos nos fecit &c. The benignity and sweete mercy of God our Sauiour, hath bene made cui­dent, and cleare to vs; not through any workes os iu­stice, which we haue wrought, but according to his owne mercy, wherby he saued vs &c. So may we also vse them, in the consideration of this ho­ly mistery, of his Epiphany. Nay we may doe it, in some respects, vpon a more particular reason. For in the Natiuity, our Lord did ap­peare & manifest himself to the Iewes in chiefe; but heer inThe Epiphany doth most properly belong to vs who descend from Gē ­tiles. the Epiphany, he seems to haue had a particular ayme at the vocation of the Gentils; from whome we find our selues descended. Then he reueyled himselfe to vs, who were rebells and enemies to the Lord of life, till that tyme; obeying sense and bestiallity in all things, and hating not onely Religion, but e­uen very common sense, and reason. But he like a true sunne dispersed those clouds, & clee­red vp the mist of ignorance and errour in our progenitours. Who together with almost the whole world were so miserable, as to worship stockes, and stones insteed of God. Nor were they more darke in the vnderstanding part, then they were depraued in their will; and if we be now in any better case, we must onely impute such a diuine effect to an omnipotent cause, which was the loue of our Lord, who [Page 88]was wholly impatient to differ our conuersiō any longer, and therfore vpon the very day of his Natiuity, he directed, and commaun­ded that Starre to prepare a way for the Epi­phany.

The ProphetThis place de­serues particular considera­tion. Cap. 60. Esay, in this mystery, (forseeing the beginning of the glorious state of the Church of Iesus Christ, our Lord) did thus, by way of anticipation, expresse him­selfe. Arise, be illuminated Ierusalem, because thy light is come, and the glory of our Lord is risen vpon thee. For behold, darkenes shall couer the earth, and a mist the people; but vpon thee, shall our Lord a­rise; and his glory shall be seene vpon thee; and the Gentills shall walke in thy light, and Kings, in the brightnes of thy rysing. Lift vp thine eyes round a­bout, and se how all these, are gathered together. They are come to thee; thy sonnes shall come from farre, and thy daughters shall come from thy side. Then shalt thou see, and abound, and thy hart shall meruaile, and be enlarged; when the multitude of the Sea, shall be conuerted to thee, the strength of the Gentills shall come to thee. The inundation of Camells, shall co­uer thee. The Dromedaries of Madian and Epha. All they of Saba shall come bringing gold, and Fran­kenceuse, and shewing forth payse to our Lord.

TheHow both the parts of this Pro­phesy are fulfilled. latter part of this prophesy, was most litterally fulfilled vpon this day of the Epiphany, vpon these holy Magi, as we clearly see, by the sacred Euangelicall Text. And the former part, which announceth the glory of the Christian Church, hath bene as cuidently accomplished, in the Communion of the ho­ly [Page 89] Catholike, Aposiolike, Romane faith; in the light wherof, the Gentills were to walke. And so many successions and Series of Kings, (when first they should be conuerted from Paganisme to this faith) were to goe on, in the brightnes of the rysing therof. And such multitudes were then to come in, to do her homage, both from farre and neere, as should amaze & strike her through, with ioy. Nor was he able to ex­presse the plenty and abundance of that peo­ple otherwise, then by the name of seas, and inundations.

AndI dare make my reader, my Iudge heere let any man who hath but the vse euen of cōmon sense consider, in what community of Christian people, this prophe­sy hath bene fulfilled; whether in the Catho­like Romane, which is spread farre and neere, in all the fower quarters of the earth, as Europe, Affrique, Asia, and America; or in any other present Sect of these parts of the world, which neuer went further, then to some Prouinces of Europe only. Nor was euer euen heer, such as now it is, but onely since the tyme of Lu­ther, when also it is deuided into a world of sects. Whether in the Catholike, which con­uerted all the Countries which euer were cō ­uerted from Paganisme, to the faith of our Lord; or in any Sect at all, which neuer con­uerted any one; but insteed therof, hath per­uerted as many as it could, from the true faith to their owne carnall fancies. Whether in the Catholike, wherof such a world of Emperours, and Kings, and Queenes haue bene; or els in [Page 90]any other now on foote, which neuer had any one, who was, and did contynue of their cō ­munion. WeThey are Catho­liques on­ly, who a­dore our Lord Ie­sus, as the Magi did. Catholikes are they to whome our Lord did manifest himselfe, according to the prediction of his holy Prophets; We who finde him in the stable, in the armes of his sa­cred, and all-immaculate mother; and We, who adore him, and present him, not only with our hartes, as his enemies do also pretend themselues to doe; but with our Gold also, by almes, and all kind of Charity; with our In­cense by deuo [...]ion and piety; and with our Mirrhe by mortification and pennance; in vnion of that infinite loue of his, wherby he hath made choice of vs, to whome he would vouchsafe to be made knowne. And therfore let vs fol­low S. Leo his counsell,Ser. 2. de Epiphan. who like a true su­preme Pastour, spake thus to the vniuersall flocke committed to his charge: Let this most sacred day of the Epiphany be honoured by vs, wheron the author of our saluation appeared; and let vs adore him in heauen, being so omnipotent; to whome the Magi did expresse such veneration, he being in his Cradle, but an Infant.

It is shewed by the Presentation of our Lord Iesus in the Temple, how infinite loue he bare to vs.

CHAP. 17.

THIS Omnipotent Lord Iesus hauing as it were emptied his fulnes, or rather abridged the shew of his greatnes, by gro­wing [Page 91]into the narrow compasse of being a child in his Natiuity, and hauing also sub­mitted himselfe, both to paine and shame in his Circumcision, where he tooke to himselfe the sweet name of Iesus, for our eternall good; did proceed yet further, shortly after, in a most amourous obedience to that Law, which we alone were subiect to. Vnder the o­bligation heerof, he was, and vvould needs be presented in the Temple, to Almighty God;Luc. 2. as the first borne of all parents vvere bound to be, in memory of that destruction,Exod. 12. Exod. 13. Leuit. 12. vvhich God brought vpon the first borne of the Agyp­tians, and so deliuering his ovvne people, vvhich vvas the Children of Israell, by mea­nes therof. So punishing his enemies because they presecuted his friends; or rather so puni­shing his enemies that they also might become his friends; if they vvould not resolue to be their ovvne greatest enimies. But yet vvitha I, it vvas ordeyned in the old lavv, that the first borne so offered, by the parents, (vvhen once they had done that homage to the God of all things) should not be so appropriated to his seruice, as that the parents vvere vvholly to loose the comfort of them. ButSee heer the tender goodnes of almigh­ty God towardes man. Num. 8. all, except they vvere of the Tribe of Leui, vvho vvere to serue in Ecclesiasticall function, might be re­deemed & recouered backe againe. And that, at so loe a rate, as should not vndoe them, hovv poore soeuer they might chance to be. The beasts indeed and only they vvere to be sacrificed in Specie, as they vvere offred to our Lord.

This Oblation was therfore made by the people of God, for the perpetuating of the memory of so great a benefit: Though yet, no oblation, was able to make that infinite Ma­iesty of the eternall God, a Sauer, for his ha­uing deliuered them by the death of the first borne of their enemies, till he was pleased that his only sonne, should come and offer himselfe in flesh and bloud for theyr deliue­rance,Coloss. 1. he who was the first begotten of all Creatures, and who performed that, in deed, and truth, which all other oblations and Sacrifices, did, but only, as figures in respect of him.

Now this Act of the Presentation of our Lord Iesus, was made by our B. Lady. Or ra­ther he offered himselfe, in those sacred and most pure hands of hers, which he enabled for that excellent purpose, with vnspeakea­ble and most ardent loue. And as hereafter we shall see, that he chiefely made oblation of himselfe in his sacred passion, by way of propi­tiation for our sinnes, and impetration of grace: So the Presentation seems to carry a particular respect, to worke by way of thanksgiuing, for all the benefits, which that open hand of God was by moments rayning downe vpon the Creatures. And to the end that the goodnes of this Lord of ours may not be cast away vpō vs, it will be necessary both now, and very often heerafter, to cast a carefull and well con­sidering eye vpon the formerCap. 2. discourse, wherin we obserued the vnlimited knowledg of that diuine soule of Christ our Lord; and [Page 93]wherby it is euident, that all things concer­ning the Creatures, (for whome he would vouchsafe to be offered,) whether they were past or to come, were as present to him, as the very instant of tyme wherin then he liued. In so much, as there was not, nor euer could be imparted the least benefit to mankind by Al­mighty God, which was not present to his in­comprehensible, but all-comprehēding mind; and for which our Lord Iesus did not offer himselfe then, by way of thankes, with most particular loue.

So that now we see our Lord surren­dred vp into the hands of his eternall Father, as if the world after a sort vvere dispossessed of him. But so full of Charity vvas that Fa­ther, as to ordayne the sonne to be sould backe againe,What soeuer is giuen to God, is giuen vs backe a­gaine with ad­uantage. for the imparting of all those diui­ne sauours, vvhich appeare to haue bene done to vs, by him, in the vvhole progresse of his holy life and death. And vvheras he exercised, vvith a perpetuity of burning loue, those offi­ces of a Lawgiuer, a Maister, a Father, a Freind, a Spouse, and lastly of an omnipotēt Redeemer, by his fiue sacred vvounds; in this mistery, vve find him to haue bene recouered and brought backe to vs, vvith the payment of fiue Sicles; vvhich according to the most probable opi­nion of computation, doe not exceed tvvo shillings.

O omnipotent loue of our Lord IESVS who so would giue himselfe to vs; as that in­deed he choose rather not to giue himself, but [Page 94]rather to innoble vs so farre, as to enable vs to giue him somewhat for himselfe, though the price fell infinitely short of the thing, which was to be redeemed. A price it was, which fell short, euen of being able to buy a very slaue; and what proportion then could it car­ry, with purchasing a God, and King of glo­ry; sauing that his loue, did make vp the rest. His loue, which was as pretious as God him­selfe (for God is loue, and he being man is al­so God) and so he was not only willing, but euen able to pay as much, as God was able to exact. But we the while, besides the contem­plation of our owne obligation, may doe wel to consider that course of prouidence & loue, which from the beginning of the world, hath bene held, with man, in addressing him to an expectation, and firme beleefe, and loue of this diuine Redeemer. Euen in the law of na­ture, all was full of figures, & sacrifices were also offred then, (andThere is no truth of Reli­gion, where there is no visible Sacrifice. wheresoeuer there is no visible Sacrifice, there neither is, nor cā there be, any true Religion, nor true worship of God;) and the mindes of many were indued with light according to the exigency of their state, which ledd their inward eyes towards this marke.

In the tymes of the written Law, another curtaine (as a man may say) was drawne; and the faith of men grew more explicite then; the Maiesty of the Church was increased; the figures were both more, and more significant, and more euident; and there was store of Prophets, [Page 95]who expresly foretold the qualities of the Mes­sias to come. But now that he was indeed ar­riued, no tyme was lost; such loue as that, could not be slacke; and we haue seene how instantly the Sheepheards, and in their persons, such others as were neere at hand, were inui­ted to that feast of ioy, by the call of Angells. After that the Magi (and in their persons, all the Gentills though neuer so farre off either in respect of tyme or place) were drawne vnder the conduct of a Starre. And now, that such, as were most particularly deputed for Gods seruice, might be farre from not knowing their redeemer; behould how heOur Lord was declared by Saint Simeon to be come for the salua­tion both of Iewes and Gen­tils. declares him­selfe in the Temple, to all the world, by the mouth of holy Simeon, & Anna, to be the Sa­uiour therof; to be the glory of the Iewes; and the light of the Gentills. That so, there might be none, who should not tast of that fountaine of loue which was distilling into al those har­tes, which would receaue it. It came not doubtles downe by drops, into that of Simeon. For instantly vpon the taking of that celesti­all infant, who was the Lord of life, into his dying armes, he fell into an extasis of ioy; & withall, into a diuine, deepe wearines of the world; and was so deadly wounded by the loue of our Lord, that he could not endure to looke vpon him, but vpon the price of being willing to liue no longer.

How in the flight which our Lord Iesus made to E­gypt, he discouered his vnspeakeable Loue to man.

CHAP. 18.

OVR Lord Iesus was no sooner brought backe into the power, and designed to the vse of men, but he was disposing himselfe, by this incessant Charity, to doe and suffer strange things for them. For what stranger thing could there be, then that he, who crea­ted the whole world, and who carries & con­ducts it all, by the word of his power; in whose sight the Angells tremble, & the gates of heauen doe shiuer; and inWhat a poore Nothing the whole world is in compa­rison of God. Matt. 2. comparison of whome, all creatures are not so much as one poore, single, naked, desolate grayne of dust; that he, I say, should be content for loue of vs, to feare, and fly, from such a thing, as Herod was. That thing, which once vvas Nothing; and now was growne to be so hide­ously worse then Nothing, as it is incompara­bly worse, to be an enemy and persecutour of Christ our Lord, then not to be at all.

But imediatly after the Presentation in the Temple; our Lord Iesus was carryed to Na­zareth; a place, remote almost fourescore myles. AndThe occasions of Herods feare. Matt. 2. Luc. 2. the noyse of his Natiuity; and of the Starre which ledd the Magi; and of the Presentation in the Temple, together with the prophesies of the King of the Iewes to be borne at [Page 97]Bethleem; gaue Herod an all-arme of extreme feare; least he who indeed was come to giue vs the kingdome of heauen, had meant to rob men of earthly kingdomes. But what (sayth S. Augustine) will his tribunall, Ser. 30. de Tempore. when he shall sitt as iudge, be able to doe, now that his Infaurs cradle, is able so to fright proud Kings? How much better shall those kings doe, who seeke not to kill Christ like He­rod; but rather desire to adore him as the Magi did? Him I say, who at the hands of his enemies, and for his very enemies, did endure that death which now his enemies designed him to; who, being killed afterward, did kill that very death, in his owne body. Le [...] The duty of King sto this King of Kinges. Kings carry a pious feare towards him, who is sitting at the right hand of his Father, whome this impious king did so feare, whilst he was sucking at the breast of his mother.

This cruelty of his, did extend so farre, as to commaund the death of all the Infants, within two yeares of age, in Bethleem, and all the places neere adjoyning; who are esteemed, as appears by Ecclesiasticall history, to haue arriued to the number of aboutVide Sal­meron Tom. 3. Tract. 44. foureteene thousand. That so he might be sure (at least as he conceaued) to make our Lord away, who had not then, in likelyhood, the age of so many monthes. But because some Children are more forvvard in grovvth then others; and some errour might chaunce to arriue by the mistaking of age, vvithin a little com­passe; he thought it vvas lesse ill, to murther thousands more then needed; then to ad­uenture the escape of that one, vvho yet came [Page 98]voluntaryly to dye, euen that the tyrant him­selfe, might not perish. So different, are the designes of God, and man; so different are their desires. And the successe is also so very different, as that the diuine Maiesty doth take, sometymes, theGod draweth good out of euill. peruerse will of man (yet without hauing any part in the peruersenes therof) for the execution of his iust decrees, yea not only such of them as are founded in iustice, but euen in mercy also.

It would seeme to some, who iudge of God, by the lawes which they vse to prescri­be for themselues, that it had beene much more agreable, to the greatnes of such a God as we describe, not to haue permitted that such a Tyrant, should liue to commit so vast a cryme as this? How easely could our Lord, with the least breath of his mouth,Deutr. 4. which is a con­suming fire, haue blowne downe that painted wall? how little would it haue cost him, to haue strocken Herod lame, or blind, or mad, or dead, or to haue damned him to hell, for all eternity, and at an instant? How soone could he haue sent that infamous, Rebellious little worme, who presumed, after a sort to spit in the face of that high Maiesty, into the bottomelesse pit of Nothing, from whence with mercy he had beene drawne? It might haue bene instantly and most easely done. But the wisedome of God, tooke pleasure to drawe great good, out of great euill; and his loue was that, which did set his wisedome, so on worke. ForThe wise mer­cy of God. by this permission of his, and by the [Page 99]publishing of Herods cruelty, the notice of the mistery of his owne Natiuity, was much inere­ased; that so his loue to the soules of men, might be declared. And besides, if tyrants were not permitted on earth, there would be no Mar­tyrs in heauen, as S. Augustine saith. And if this tyrant, had then beene strocken by some sud­dayne death, the mercy of God might haue seemed lesse; wheras now by forbearance, euen Herod also had tyme of penance, though his Malice were such, as that it made no vse therof.

AndThe happines of the In­nocents and their mothers against their owne, & the Ty­rants will. as for the happy Innocents, who were murthered by that Tyrant vpon the oc­casion of Christ our Lord; it is plaine, that the world, which would deplore their misery; yea and their afflicted mothers who did also lament their owne infelicity; were farre from iudging as they ought. For how much better was it for those mothers, to be created mo­thers of so many Martyrs, (who instantly went to a seat of rest, and presently after the Resurrection of Christ our Lord, were placed as a garland vpon his owne sacred head; and carryed into an eternity of glory, for hauing bene murthered, in despight, and for the hate of him, then to haue contynued as they were, but the mothers of Children like the rest? Who if they had runne on, in their owne naturall course, they might perhaps haue ended it, with the losse of their soules; wheras novv they vvere not only saued, but (vvhich is more) it vvas done, vvithout their hauing [Page 100]euer so much as once offended God; and so they vvere made, the very flovver and first fruits of martyrs.

So that the loue of our Lord, vvas ex­ercised heerin, vpon them all. AndThe loue of our Lord Iesus en­treth eue­ry where, and vpon all occa­sions. vvhere may vve not looke for this loue. And vvhat place can be found vvhich is voyd therof; since euen in the poysned Cuppe of the Tyrants hate, the pretious liquor of his diuine loue did svvym so high, as to fill the same. To himselfe he tooke the most sad, and painefull, and shamefull part. The compassion vvhich he had of the holy Innocents paine, and death I meane, of that little which they felt of paine, in that passage, for his sake; vvas a kind of infinite thing. That of the mothers vvas ex­treme; for the sacred Text discribes them, by vvay of Prophecy to haue bene so profoundly afflicted,Ierem. 31. Matt. 2. as that not only they could not, but euen they would not receaue comfort. But as the loue of the tendrest mother to the only in­fant of her vvombe, may go euen for hatred, if it be compared to those vnspeakable ardours of affection vvhervvith the hart of our Lord doth euer flame tovvards all the Creatures for vvhome he dyed,Esay. 49. for although a mother should forget her sonne, yet can not I forget you, saith our Lord, so may their griefe, hovv great soeuer, be termed a kind of ioy, in respect of his. Theirs, grovving our of selfe loue, vvould faine haue hindred their childrēs death, but his grovving out of pure and perfect loue, & out of a thirst of their instant, and eternall good, [Page 101]he permitted it to his ovvne bitter griefe. And byA strōg comfort to such as are perse­cuted for the cause of Christ our Lord. the selfe same measure, vve may also discerne the same loue, vvhich by our Lord is borne to all the rest of his seruants; vvhome he suffereth to suffer for his truth; and he de­serueth to be adored vvith all our soules, since he makes euen them, vvho pretend & meane to be our greatest enemies, to be the chiefest instuments of our glory and good.

The great Loue of our Lord Iesus, is further shewed in his flight to Egypt.

CHAP. 19.

THIS act of so great loue vvas in the hart of our Lord Iesus, but he contents not himselfe to loue vs only vvith his hart, vnlesse vvithall he may put himselfe to further paine and shame. And behould (vvhen he vvas fast a sleepe, in those deere armes of his all-ima­culate and most holy mother; and in house, with that holy Patriarcke S. Ioseph, an Angell ap­peared to that Saynt, being also at that tyme a sleepe, Requiring him to rise, Matt. 2. and take the child and his mother, and to fly into Egipt, and there to re­maine, till he should be willed to returne, because Herod would procure to destroy the child.

But where shall we find meanes, wherewith to admire, and adore this Lord of ours? Who for the discouery, of the infini­tenes of his loue, would vouchsafe so farre to ouer shadow the omnipotency of his power, [Page 102]as that he, being the Lord of Angells, would be directed by an Angell;(a) Obser­ue the strange humility, charity, & patience of our Lord in this My­stery. and being God himselfe, would be disposed of by a man; and being the seate and Center of all true repose, would be raysed from his rest at midnight; &, (together with that heauenly Virgin), to be sent, flying from the face of an angry tyrant, in so tender yeares; into a Country so remote, so incommodious, so barbarous, and so Ido­latrous? It was a iourney ofThree hundred English [...]yles. See Baradius Tom. 1. l. 10. cap. 8. twelue daies; at the least, for any stronge traueller; & could not be of lesse then thirty or forty, for this little family, which was forced to be fleeting thus, from home. This family which was compō ­ded of a man in yeares, who loued to conuerse in the howse of his owne holy hart; a most pure and most delicate virgin, who was not wont to be shewing herselfe to strange places and persons; and that excellent diuine infant, who would permit himself to want as much assistāce, as that weake state could need, which must needes increase the trouble both of them, and him. Their pouerty without all doubte was very great; for though the Magi (when they opened, and offred of their treasures to him) must be thought to haue left inough for the contynuall entertainement of such a com­pany; yet by a circumstance which may be considered heere, it will be euident that they were growne poore againe. For at the Pro­sentation of our Lord in the Temple, (wherof I haue already spoken, but heer it will be fit, to looke backe vpon it once agayne) our B. Lady [Page 103]was, and would be purified. Not that she had need of being purisied, (she in comparison of whose high purity, the most pure Seraphims of heauen, are but drosse and dust) but because our Lord her Sonne, would be subiect to the imputation of sinne by Circumcision, our B. Lady his mother, would be thought subiect to the comon shame of mothers by purification. To which heroicall act of contemning her selfe, our Lord, by his example, had drawne her, & thereby withall, did make vs knowe, that it was not impossible for meere creatures, (by meanes of that graceThe omnipo­tency of Gods grace. which is imparted to vs, with so much loue) to abandon and dispise our selues; and not only to be con­tent, but euen delighted, in being dispised by others.

Now at the Purification of al women, an oblation was to be made by order of the law, and a lambe was to be offred by the rich; and a paire of Turtle doues, or two yong Pigeons, Leuit. 12. by the poore. AndA de­monstra­tion to prooue what shift our B. La­dy made to grow quickly poore a­gayne. since this latter was the offring which the B. Virgin made, it is cleere that through her charity to others, her selfe would needs become poore againe. She hauing such a stronge example of pouerty before her eyes, as that God should make himselfe a naked child for the good of men; and she not fayling to learne, and lay vp the lesson of this vertue, which was the first that was made to her by our B Lord. So that since they were persons so very poore, and so, vnfit for trauaile, and to take a iourney of so great imcommo­dity [Page 104]and lengh without so much as an ynch of any ground of hope, that after such, or such a tyme expired, they should returne; was such a dish ful of difficultyes for them to feed vpon, as could neuer haue been digested, if it had not been dressed and sawced with the most ar­dent loue of our Lord lesus.

By this example of his, he hath giuen vs stronge comfort in all those banishments & distresses, which we may be subiect to. And it hath wrought so well with the seruants of God, as that they haue triumphed with ioy for the happines of being able to suffer shame or sorrow for his sake. ButThe great change which was wrought in Egypt, after the Presence of our Lord Ie­sus. especially did it worke wonders, in that rude and wicked Country of Egypt. For he had no soeuer per­fected the mistery of our redemption vpon the Crosse; but through the odour of his sacred in­fancy, that Prouince did early, get a kind of start, beyond all the others of the vvorld, in breeding, and nursing vp huge troopes of famous Marlyrs, Anchorites, Eremits, and other holy Monks, in the strongest Mortification and penance, which hath beene knovvn in the Christian vvorld.

And novv let vs see vvho hath the face vvhervvith to deny, or the hart vvhervvith to doubt the effects of the infinite loue, vvhich our Lord did shevv by this flight of his into Egipt. Where such a renouation of the in­vvard man vvas made, as that insteed of dogs, and catts, and serpents, and diuels, vvhich, vvith extraordinary diligence of superstition, [Page 105]were vsually there adored, beyond the other parts of the world; so many Tryumphant Arches, were erected there, so shortely after, in ho­nour of Christ our Lord, as there were high, and happy soules, who consecrated them­selues to his seruice, in a most pure and per­fect manner, with detestation of all those de­lights, which flesh and bloud is wont to take pleasure in. And they imbraced, with the armes both of body and soule, all those diffi­culties and miseries, which they found that our Lord had bene pleased to indure for thē, and which the world doth so deepely feare, and so deadly hate.

The Tyrant, in the meane tyme,Vide Mal­donat. in c. 2. Matt. after some six or seauen yeares expired, (according to the most probable opinion) not disposing himself to lay downe that batbatous & bloo­dy minde, wherby, like a wolse he persecuted the lamb of God, Ioan. 1. who taketh away the sinnes of the world, and vvho during all that bitter banish­ment of his, did neuer cease to vvooe him by inspirations, and many other meanes, to de­part frō his dānable designe) came, at last, to his due, & deserued end. For he fel into the cō ­passe of those impenitēt sinners, vvhich S. Au­gustine discribeth thus, after his diuine manner.Confes. l. 5. cap. 2. Subtrahentes se lenitati tuae, & offendētes in rectitudi­nē tuam, & cadentes in asperitatē tuam. Videlicet ne­sciunt quòd vbique sis, quem nullus circumscribi [...] locus, & solus es praesens, etiam his, qui longè fiunt à te. They withdrew thēselues (saith he from thy mercy, and they met with thy Iustice, and they fell vpon thy rigor, or [Page 106]reuenge. And all, because they knew not, that thou, O Lord, art euery where; whome no place doth cir­cumscribe, and who only art present, euen to them who will needs make themselues far of from thee.

This was Herods case; who in vayne, did looke for the Lord of life, heere, or there, to mur­ther him, who was not only heere or there, but euery where. Or rather with him there is no such thing, as any where, but only so far forth as it is made to be so, by his Omnipresence. Particularly our Lord had still bene knocking at his hart. But the Tyrant locked him out, seeking him in that wicked manner, & the more he sought him so, the further of he was frō finding him; though yet himselfe was found by him.Confes. lib. 4. cap. 9. For (as the same S. Augustine saith els where of a sinner:) Quo it, quo fugit, nisi à te placido, ad te iratum? & vbi non inuenit legem tuam, in paena sua? & lex tua veritas, & veritas tu. Whither goeth a sinner, or whither flyeth he, but from thee being plea­sed, to thy selfe being offended. And where shall he not find thy law to his cost? and thy law is Truth, and this Truth, is thou thy selfe.

By this law of Iustice, and by this Truth the tyrāt was found out at last. For our Lord, considering that he would not make vse of his loue to him by asking pardō, resolued that he would make him an instrument of his own loue to vs, by giuing vs an example which we might auoyd. And so heHow the Iusti­ce of God vpon He­rod, was grounded in his mercy & loue to vs. Vide 10. seph.l. 17. Antiquit. cap. 8. & Euseb. l. r. Hist. Eccle siast. strocke him with extreme afflictions of minde, and vn­speakeable torments of body, according to the description of Iosephus. For within, he was [Page 107]all burning, as in fire; his lyms were swolne, his pudenda turned themselues into vermine; and his whole body was of so hatefull a smel; as that he might rather be thought, a lining, and feeling, and talking dunghill, then a ma, and so he dyed. Yet now, though our Lord did shew his Maiesty as a God, he would not yet forsake his owne humility, patience, and charity as man; but he expected in Egypt, till this hungry wolfe were dead. And then, v­pon the admonition of an Angell, he retur­ned and went into Galilea, and so to Naza­reth, where he remayned with his sacred mo­ther, and the holy Patriarche S. Ioseph, his supposed Father.Lue. 2. And he grew (as the Euange­list saith) and was strengthned, being full of wise­dome; and the grace of God was with him. Both which, he shewed after an admirable manner at his disputing and teaching in the Temple, as will appeare by that which followeth.

Of the great Loue which our Lord Iesus shewed by his disputing and teaching in the Temple.

CHAP. 20.

AS on the one side, our Lord IESVS did omit noe exquisite diligence, which might serue for the deliuery of himselfe, to the knowledge and the loue of men; so yet on the other, he vsed it with so much caution, as to make such as saw him, rather to desire, then to glut themselues vpon him. ForHow sweetly our Lord did mani­fest him­selfe by degrees. he, be­ing [Page 108](as he was) the Souerayne originall light of the whole world, chose to manifest him­selfe to it, which lay in darknes, by degrees; least otherwise, insteed of being illuminated, it might be dazeled. He was twelue yeares old, before he made any shew of himselfe, but only by making those holy Pilgrimages to the Temple, at three seuerall tymes of the yeare. To which howsoeuer he were not bound in that tender age, nor could he be indeed o­bliged at all; yet it is most likely that euen be­fore, he would binde himselfe, as now we se he did, by his loue, to giue vs that great ex­ample of his deuotion, as also not to depriue his all-immaculate mother, and S. Ioseph, of that comfort, which without him, they could not so well enioy. Those indeed were Pil­grimages,How Pilgrima­mages to holy pla­ces ought to be per­formed. which the world may looke v­pon, both for admiration & imitation. With what silence, what introuersion, what height of piety, were they performed? and hovv present to the minde of our B. Sauiour, were all those persons of the world, who vvould deny, and deride such Religious iourneyes, to holy places. And such others also, vvho both beleeuing, & practising the same, would yet abuse that holy institution, either by vo­luntary and long distractions, or else by of­tentation; and for both those kindes of peo­ple, would his loue sollicit him to be deeply sorry. He saw also such others, as would greatly honour him, and his Saints, by such deuotions; and not only did he take particu­lar [Page 109]larioy, in euery one of them; but by his me­rits, and prayers, and especialliy by euery one of those holy paces, did he obtaine, at the hands of his eternall Father, that grace and strength, wherby such actions might be well performed.

But when they were at Ierusalem, in the frequent assembly of that people, it was not so strange, that the parents should loose the sight of the Child, wheruponThe griefe of our B. Lady and Saint loseph v­pon the losse of Christ our Lord in the Temple. they sought him with griefe inough. They thought that some of their freinds, and kindred, might haue procured to make him returne with thē; as who would not haue byn glad, to become as happy as he could by the excellent presence of our Lord. So as they looked him amongst their friends, a dayes iourney off from Ieru­salem; and not finding him there, they retur­ned to the Citty full of care, and found him, the third day, in the Temple. With how vn­speable loue both to God and man, did our Lord IESVS dispossesse himselfe, for a while, of the greatest ioy, and comfort, that he could receaue in this world; which was the sweet society of his sacred mother? wherein, alth­ough through the eminency of grace which had beene communicated to her happy soule in the very first instant of her Immaculate Con­ception, he could neuer haue found the least distraction from the immediate and most per­fect seruice of Almighty God; yet because the parents of his disciples, and seruants, would not all, be such; but would often be diuer­ting [Page 108] [...] [Page 109] [...] [Page 110]and diswading vs from corresponding with his inspirations, and our obligations; he was pleased, not only to giue vs an exam­ple at large, but euen to impart the very ex­presse words themselues wherby we might ouercome their intreaties.

And rather then we should not be in­structed to forsake all flesh and bloud, when once there should be question of Gods seruice, and rather then we should not be armed well agaynst those temptatiōs which might grow to vs from our Parents, he was content to ex­emplify the case in his owne sacred person, with a seeming diminution to his B. Mother. For this it was, that when the all-immacula­te virgin, spake to him in these tender words, Sonne why hast thou so done to vs? L [...]. 2. behold thy Father and I, sorrowing did seeke thee. Our B. Sauiour answered thus (not in the way of reprehen­sion, as certayne course-harted people will needs conceaue) butIn what sen­se our Lord Ie­sus spake to his B. mother. out of compassion to them, and out of instruction to vs: Why is it that you sought me? did you not knowe that I must be, about those things which are my Father? And to show that his meaning was, but to benefit vs, by that expression of himselfe, and not to cast the least aspersion, of imperfection, vpon his most holy mother, and S. Ioseph, he caused his holy spirit to record it instantly after in ho­ly Scripture, that: he departed from the Temple with them, and came to Nazareth, & was subiect to them. And heere, let him that can, consider and admire the vnspeakeable dignity, and ex­cellency [Page 111]of our B. Lady; to whom the God of heauen & earth would become a subiect. And let him much more adore God, for the infinite humility and Charity of our Lord IESVS,The incompa­rable loue of Lord, in being so subiect to our B. Lady and S. Ioseph. who vouchsafed by this stronge example of his, to procure the quenching of our pride, and the kindling of our loue; by making himselfe a subiect to flesh and bloud, for our sake; he who was the superiour and soueraigne Lord of all the creatures, both in heauen & earth.

He shewed well what he was, whilst yet he sate in the Temple, amongst the Doctours. Of whome, he heard what they could say; and he asked them, to see what they would answere. And many other things he also did at the same tyme, though holy Scripture, by wrapping them vp in silence, doe rather leaue matter, for our soules, then for our senses to worke vpon. For he did both pray his eter­nall Father, for their conuersion to his diuine Maiesty, and for the manifestation of his glory; not only in their hartes, vvho vvere present then; but in as many, as by their meanes should aftervvard come to knovv vvhat had passed there.

The sacred Text affirmes, How all that heard him, were aslonished at his wisedome and an­sweres; and that seeing him they wondred. And vve may vvell assure our selues that, theyr admi­ring his diuine presence, & theyr being asto­nished at his vvisedome, vvas to that holy soule of our Lord Iesus, an occasion of much mortisication, which nothing but ardent [Page 112]Charity could haue made him so willingly imbrace. For he was then but twelue yeares old; and he had bene bred in a poore and plaine appearance; and he dwelt in the ve­ry depth of profound hamility: And humility when indeed it is profound, doth make a soule much more abhorre admiration and prayse, then any hart which is vayne, can appreh end, and hate to be despised.

The vvhile, if all they, were so amazed by hearing him, vvho vvere the Doctours of the law, and vvho vvere likely to despise all the world, in comparison of themselues; and if the very sight of him, made them wonder, vvhose eyes vvere euen almost put out, by the dust of Enuy, and Hypocrysy, vvhich the mind of pride had raysed into them, & which our Lord IESVS, by the dropps of his diuine grace, vvas procuring them to lay in a farre higher manner; mustWe are parti­cularly bound to admire the wise­dome and grace of our Lord Iesus. we vvho are Chri­stian, and vvhome our Lord instructs, not only at some certaine tymes, as he did that people, in the Temple, but to vvhose harts he is euer preaching, in a most particular manner (& happy are they who apply the eares therof to his sacred mouth) adore the Maiesty of his wisedome, and power; and admire the dig­nity and beauty of his humanity; and be in­flamed, and euen consumed with the sense of his eternall prouidence, and ardent loue.

But yet withall, we must consider, that howsoeuer it be said, and that most truely, Th [...]it he proceeded in wisedome, and age, and grace [Page 113]with God and men, this is only to be vnderstood, of that kind of wisedome which might grow through experimentall knowledge, by way of the senses; which he had like vs, though yet with this difference (asCap. [...] hath bene shewed) that euen therin, he was free from all possibility of errour, which we are not. For his wisedo­me, otherwise, was so great, as not to be ca­pable of any increase; as nether was his grace; wherof in the instant of his Conception, that diuine soule of his had receiued all absolute fulnes. But he may be truely said to haue in­creased dayly with God, and men in Grace, that is, in Fauour; because euery day, more & more; his soule was beautified, by new acts, in the sight of God; and daylie he made more and more discouery of himselfe to men, according to the rates of their Capacity; and they would not haue bene men but beasts, and blockes, if they had not bene taken, by such an obiect. We are taught withall (by his growing thus in grace before God and men), to performe our actions in such sort, as that we must nether procure to please God alone, by not caring for the edification of men; nor yet men alone, through Hipocrisy, or want of purity, in the intention; but they both, must goe together, hand in hand, as daily our Lord, when he grew afterward to mans estate, did effectu­ally teach vs, more and more.

Of the excessiue loue which our Lord Iesus shewed to vs, in that he would vouchsafe to be Baptized.

CHAP. 21.

VVHAT thought of man or Angell, can reach to that humility, which Christ our Lord (being longe since growne to be a man, and now vpon the poynt of pu­blishing his Ghospell) did expresse in his holy Baptisme; and consequently to that Cha­rity, which cast him vpon the practise of this profound impenetrable humility? For it wasOur Lord Ie­sus be­gan all from Charity: we must beginne all from Humility. not in him, as it is in vs, who must beginne with acts of humility, as with the foundation, that so we may arriue to Charity afterward, which is the consummation of a spirituall building. But in him, all moued at the very first, from pure and perfect Charity, which was as a kind of cause of his humility.

They want not good ground of reason, who affirme, that betwene the Birth, and death of Christ our Lord, he neuer performed an act of greater loue, then in being thus Bap­tized. For as the expression of true loue, con­sisteth more in doing, then in saying; so con­sisteth it also, much more in suffering, then in doing. And as the least sinne, is more abhor­red by a soule, which is faithfull to God, then the sensible to [...]ments euen of Hell it selfe: So the dishonor for that soule to be thought sin­full, which is not only pure, but wholly im­peccable [Page 115](as that of Christ our Lord and Sa­uiour was) doth sarre outstrippe all other as­persion and infamy whatsoeuer, as was also insinuated else where. YetBy how rug­ged waies our Lord Iesus was content to passe in his loue to vs. by these rug­ged wayes, would he passe; and vpon these bitter pills would he seed; yea and he did it with vnspeakeable ioy, for loue of vs. And not only had he bene content to be Circumci­sed, which shewed, as if he had bene obno­xious to Originall sinne; but (to declare that the his loue longer he liued amongst vs the more care he to vs. tooke to shew how he loued vs) he now vouchsafed to be baptized; which (according to all apparence) did betoken as if he had been subiect, euen to actuall sinne. To this let it be added; that since Circumcision, was ordayned by the law (to which although he were not bōd indeed, yet was it thought that he was bound) it might not only seeme fit; but euen iust, that he should be Circumcised, both to doe honour to the law, and to preuent all scandall of the people. But for him, to receiue the Baptisme of S. Iohn, was no appointement of the law of God; but a meere voluntary deuotion, which might haue bene forborne without any sinne, or the iust offence of any man. AndIt was a farre greater act of hu­mility for our Lord to be bap­tized, thē to be cir­cumcised. ther­fore as I was saying it was admirable humili­ty, (performed out of vnspeakeable charity) that, for our example, and benefit, our Lord would fasten such a marke of actuall sinne v­pon himselfe.

But the gratious eye of our Lord, being lodged vpon the miseries of man; and his hart [Page 116]beeing full of most ardent desire of our felici­ty; he contemned himselfe, and resolued to enter into the waters.Luc. 7. And though S. Iohn, being then the greatest among the sonnes of men, did well know, and with a most deiected faythfull hart acknowledge, how farre he was from being worthy to baptize, that true & naturall Sonne of God; yet so precise was the pleasure of Christ our Lord, in this particular; that the holy Baptist betooke himselfe to his obedience. And our Lord vouchsafed to let him know, and vs withall, that perfect Iustice is not ob­serued, where the heroycall acts of Humility, and Charity, are not performed,

S. Iohn had bene preaching the do­ctrine of pennance to the levves; immediatly vvherupon, they vvere baptized by him in Iordan. Matt. 3. And the holy Scripture affirmes, that Christ our Lord vvas baptized after them; as resoluing belike to be the last of the company. And vvithall, it is very probable, by the sa­cred Text,Ibid. that he vvould also be present at the sermon of S. Iohn, like a common Audi­tour; and being the increated wisedome of God, he vouchsafed to seeme as if he had needed to be taught by man. What proclamations are these of his affection to vs; and of direction, how we are to proceed with others? It being reason that we should blush, euen to the bot­tome of our harts, when we take our selues in the manner, of striuing for precedence, euen of our equalls; whilst yet we see the Sōne of God place himselfe after all his inseriours. [Page 117]AndLay good hold on these lessons. when we shall thinke much to resort for Sacraments, & other spirituall comforts, to such as we conceaue, to be, any way, of inferi­our Talēts to our selues. Or els, when we shal haue shame, to frequent the remedies of sinne; when heere we may behould the Sauiour of all our soules, and the institutor of all the ho­ly Sacraments, through ardent charity, assist at a sermon, and receaue the water of Baptisme, with profound humility, from the tongue, & from the hand of a mortall man; himselfe be­ing the King, and the God of men.

But the seuerall spirituall aduices, which our Lord IESVS did giue vs by the example of his high vertues, in this mistery, though they be in themselues of great importance, to­wards the shewing of his loue, yet doe they lessen, when they are compared to that maine drift which he had, in this holy Baptisme of his. For his primeThe principall scope which it seemes that Christ our Lord had, in his being baptized. meaning was, (vpon the cost of his Humility, and Charity, expressed by his being thus baptized) to institute a more high, & soueraigne Baptisme, in the nature of a Sacra­ment. By the grace wherof, all soules might be washed, and cleansed, from sinne; as cer­tainly as any body is from spots, vpon the ap­plication of common water.

O boundles sea of loue, which no bācks of our iniquity could keepe in, from breaking out ouer the whole world? His loue it was, which made him vndergoe the paine of put­ting his pure naked body vnder water; and of shame to be thought a sinfull creature. That [Page 118]so, by the merit of such loue, as water washeth other creatures, himselfe might wash euen, the very water; yea and sanctify all the water in the world, towards the beautifying of soules, by the meanes of his pretious merits. How clearly doth it shew, that Christ our Lord is an equall, and incomparable kind of friend to all; for he placed the remedy of all the Originall sinne of little children, and both of the Originall sinne, and actuall, of such as are al­ready cōuerted & baptized to the faith of Christ our Lord, when they are of yeares, notHow good cheape a Christian man be Baptized. in the taking of generous wines, nor in the ap­plication of costly Bathes, nor in the drinking pearles, and pretious stones, distilled into some pretious liquor; but only in being tou­ched by a little pure simple water, wherin the beggar; is as rich, as the King.

And howsoeuer his holy Church, which is inspired and guided by his holy spirit, hath ordeyned in the exercise and vse of Baptisme, that ordinarily, it shall be administred by her Priests, and in her Churches; and solemnized with her sacred, and most significantRitual. Roman. Cere­monies; as namely the signe of the holy Crosse, Exorcisines, Insufflations, Inpositiou of hands, to­gether with salt, and holy Oyle, (with diuers others, vvhich are thought fit) to accompa­ny an action of so great importance; and the figures vvherof vvere deliuered and recomen­ded by Christ our Lord himselfe, (as S. Am­brose notes) vvhen he cured that person vvho vvas possessed by a diuell both dumbe and [Page 119] deefe, by putttng spittle vpon his tongue, and thru­sting his fingars into his eares, and saying Ephata, vvhich is, Be opened, (at most of vvhich Cere­monies, though Sectaries vvill take liberty to laugh and scoffe; vve Catholikes vvill not be a­shamed to reueale them as vve are taught to doe; not only (though chiefely) for the autho­rity and custome it selfe of the holy Church, but partely also, because vve see in the vvritings of most auncient, and holy Doctours,Vide Bel­lar. de Sa­cram. Bap. l. 18. c. 26. both frequent and venerable mention to be made therof;) Hovvsoeuer I say all this be true, yet neuerthelesse, it vvas the gratious pleasure of our blessed Lord, and it is the practise of his true Spouse, the holy Church, in case that the person to be baptized be in any extremity of daunger, to forbeare all those ceremonies vvhich cannot then conueniently be vsed. And it sufficeth for the eternall saluation of that soule, that the vvater be applyed, & those fevv sacred vvords pronounced, vvhich are prescribed. And this in those cases, may be done, not only by lay men, but euen by vvo­men; and all, in the vertue, and through the loue, and by the merit, of the Baptisme of Christ our Lord.Lib. 2. in Luc. Tom. 5. ser. de Baptismo. For one man was went (as S. Ambrose sayth) but he washed all the world. One man des­cended, that we might all ascend. One man tooke v­pon him the sinnes of all, that so the sinnes of all, might dye in him. Our Lord was baptized, not meaning to be cleansed by those waters, but to cleanse those very waters; that so they being washed, by the flesh of Christ our Lord, which knew no sinne; might be in­tytled [Page 120]to the right of Baptisme.Ser. de Temp. And S. Augustine doth also say, A mother there was, who brought forth a sōne, & yet she was chast; the water washed Christ, and it was made holy by him. For as after the birth of Christ our Lord, the Chastity of the B. Virgin was glorisied; so after his Baptisine, the sanctisication of the waters was approued. To her (saith he) afterward was virginity imparted, and vpon it, fecundity was be­stowed, as we shall instantly and cleerly see.

The discourse concerning Baptisme is contynued; and the great Loue of our Lord in the institution of that Sacrament is more declared.

CHAP. 22.

THIS Baptisme, instituted thus by Christ our Lord, is both a mistical kind of death, and withall, it is a new begetting of a soule to life. The first Adam is put to death, that Christ our Lord, who is the second Adam, may be formed in vs. The whole world lay drowned, till thus it was fetcht from vnder water. The ho­ly Apostle speakes of Baptisme, as of a kind of death.Cap. 6. For he tells the Romans, that they, & he, were washed, together with Christ our Lord, by Bap­tisme, vnto death; that is, to sinne, which is the worker and cause of death. That as our Lord rose from the dead, by the glory of his Father, so we may walke in newnes of life. And shortly after, who­soeuer of vs are baptized in Christ Iesus, are baptized to his death. And againe, to the Colossians, you are buried, together with him, in Baptisme, in whom [Page 121]you are risen to life. This Baptisme is also a Rege­neration, wherby we are made the adopted sonnes of God, and the brethren, Coheires, and liuing members of Christ our Lord. And the same Lord sayth:Ioan. 3. Vnlesse you be borne againe of water, and the holy Ghost, I. Pet. 1. you shall not enter into the kingdom of God. And besides, he hath regenera­ted vs into a liuing hope. This ioynt Resurrection with our Lord, is made to that newnes of life, wherof the Apostle speakes els where:Colos. 2. Rom. 6. For by this Lauer we are renewed, by which we are also borne agayne. So that, we see how this Baptisme of Christ our Lord, according to the seuerall partes therof, was a figure, in the exteriour, both of the burying of our soules from sinne and of the begetting therof to grace; his des­cending into the waters, signifying the one, and his returne out of them the other.

This Sacrament which was procured for vs by the labour and loue of our Lord IESVS in a most particular manner, doth imprint a Ca­racter vpon the soule, which is indeleble, for all e­ternities; and wherby we are maked and knowne, to be the sheepe of Christ our Lord. It is the gate or entrance of all the other Sacraments, and a­uowed to be such, by the Councell of Trent. Concil. Trident. sess. 7. Can. 9. de Sa­cram. in genere. It is a necessary meanes, for the taking away of Originall sinne; and for cloathing the soule, with the primitiue stole of Iustice. In former ages, they who were baptized, were called Illumina­ted persons; and baptisme it selfe, was called Il­lumination; and the Sacrament of Faith. Yea bap­tized persons, are said to be Illuminated by the [Page 122]Apostle himself. It takes away both the sinne, and all that penalty, which may by due to it. It fills the soule, which grace and vertue, and it is both necessary to saluation, & it guideth to it.

The weight of which wordWhat thing, the word Sal­uation doth im­port. Salua­tion, whosoeuer doth consider well; & with­all, that it is applyed to vs, by such an obui­ous and familiar meanes, as this, will not be so apt to snarle, and quarrell at the Ordination of God, as if it were a point of cruelty, to se­parate such persons from himselfe, as reach not Baptisme (through his inscrutable iudgments, for the sinne of Adam, to which the whole race of man is subiect) as they will be to admire his mercy, and adore his Charity, for chalking out such an easy way, wherby so many mil­lions of creatures, might with great facility decline the euerlasting torments of hell, and be entytled to the eternall ioyes of heauē. For this is the happy case of all them, who dye, in their infancy, after Baptisme, hauing formerly bene subiect to Originall sinne, and the curse therof which is double death; although after­ward, they were to haue had no effectuall meanes, of euer producing so much as any one good thought. For these soules are instantly to be translated by the only meanes of this holy Sacrament, to the habitation and possession of that celestiall kingdome. And there doe they feele, and there doe they tast, the incorrupti­ble fruite of that incomparable loue, wher­with our Lord did make the way thither, so easy to them.

We may well be assured of the truth of that testimony of S. Iohn Baptist, when he said,Ma. That he who should baptize after him, would doe it in the holy Ghost. And we may safely say that it was the holy Ghost, which could eleuate such a poore peece of nature as common water is, to an immediate instrument, as now we find it, for the washing & sāctifying of all our soules. For instantly after the Baptisme of Christ our Lord, and the prayer which was made vpō it; he saw that the very heauens did open, which had beene shut till then, by the sinne of Adam; Ibid. and the holy Ghost descended on him, in a visible forme. Which our Lord IESVS obteyned not for him­selfe, who was already full of it,Ioan. 1. beyond all measure; but he obteyned it for vs, for, of his fulnes we all receaue: and so there is none of vs baptized, vvhose soule is not highly visited by the holy Ghost. And no meruaile, if (heauen hauing neuer bin seene open before that time) such an aboundance of the holy Ghost, vvere then communicated to the vvorld, vvhich till then vvas little knovvne. The promises and blessings of that old lavv, vvere temporall, & terrene; and a land slowing with milke and hony, vvasThe seruile cōdition of the people of God vnder the old law. the fairest Lure, vvherby that Car­nall people could be made to stoope, to any obedience, to the commaundements of God. But novv the earth vvas grovvne too poore a token for his diuine Majesty to send to then, vvho vvere so beloued by his only begotten sonne; that sonne vvho in contemplation of their good, had performed such an act of heroi­call [Page 124]call vertue in this holy Baptisme of his. And therfore heauen vvas set open, and the most pretious treasure therof,Confes. l. 13. cap. 7. sent dovvne, to dravv men vp. For the vncleanes of our spirit (as S. Au­gustine sayth) dissolueth it selfe downeward, through a loue of cares, and the sanctity of Gods spirit doth rayse vs vpward, by a loue of secure repose. That so our harts may ascend vp towards thee, O God, where thy spirit is carried ouer the waters; and that we may arriue to that supereminent rest, when our soules shall haue passed through these waters, wherupon we can ground no rest.

But euen in respect of Christ our Lord himselfe, though his soule vvere then already so full of grace, as not to be capable of addi­tion; yet vvas it most agreable to the vsuall stile and the infinite iust goodnes of God, that the humility of this action, should be ansvve­red and acknovvledged vvith vnusuall glory. And therfore that he, vvho had so abased, & euen (as it vvere) buried himselfe vp, in vva­ter,Ioan. 1. and submitted his head to one who was not worthy to vnty his shoe, should be auovved from heauen vvith the Curtaines open dravvne, To be the beloued sonne of God. Matt. 3. And so, a certaine and solemne instance vvas giuē, of that truth, vvhich may goe for the dayly and standing miracle of the Christian Catholike Church: That as soone as a soule shall haue truly hum­bled it selfe for the loue of God, euen then it receaues and feeles, a revvard from heauen vvhich fills the hart full of ioy.

Glory then I say vvas due to his humility; [Page 125]and for as much as nothing can pay loue but loue, the attribute of Beloued was also due, and best deserued by his loue. And because his loue for the loue of God was so immense to man, the holy Ghost it selfe, (which is the al, and only infinite loue) was sent downe vpon him, in a visible manner, by whome it was after­ward to be conueyed to men. And euen the very shape, wherin God was pleased that it should appeare, may serue to make vs know, that all the actiō did begin & end in loue. For it was of a doue;The fruytes of the holy ghost, are figured fitly in a Doue. & what creature is more apt for loue then this? What creature is more fruitefull, more speedy, more sweet, more stronge, more honest, and yet more amou­rous then this; Deteyning her mate when he would depart with more desire; and expe­cting him, when he is absent with more ioy? The doue was therfore the signe, of the holy Ghost, which descended vpō Christ our Lord; as soone as he was baptized; to shew that his hart was ouerwhelmed with loue, both to God and man. Whilst for the pure glory of the one, and the perfect good of the other, he submitted himself to paine and shame; & for the sanctifying of sinners, and that by a most sweet & easy means to vs, he cared not though he were accounted one himselfe. Yea not be­ing content to be only thought so heere by men, the restlesnes of his loue did worke so fast vpon him, as to make him not disdaine, to be mistaken therin, by the diuells also; and to be tempted in the wildernes by the Prince of [Page 126]darcknes, as the next discourse will declare.

Of the vnspeakeable Loue to vs which our Lord Iesus shewed, in his being tempted in the wilder­nes, by the Diuell.

CHAP. 23.

IT is full of truth which hath bene said: Om­nis Christi actio, vit [...]e nostrae est instructio: Euery action of our Lord may serue for an instruction to vs, in this life of ours. Or rather it is most true, that there is no action at all of his, which instructs vs not many wayes,All the actions of Christ our Lord are as a hidden Manna to our soules & which is not a kind of hidden Manna, deliuering to euery hungry and thirsty soule, a tast of that particular ver­tue, which it needs. That Christ our Lord would be baptized, was to be enroled in the list of sinners, according to the iudgment of men; but in sine they were men, who would make that iudgment; with men, he loued, and he was come into the world to procure their good; and at last, he knew, that he would deliuer them from that errour. But, for the sonne of God, who was also God, to abase, and as it were forget himselfe, so farre, as to submit that superexcellent soule of his, which was adored by al the Angells of heauē, to be subiect (for the manifold benefit of man) so farre, as to be tempted by that damned spi­rit, doth betoken such a strange loue to vs, as puts all discourse to silence; and the best crea­ted vnderstanding that euer was, may be halfe [Page 127]excused if it shall loose the very witts with wonder.

If the difference be great, betwene one man and another, euen amongst good men, homo homini quid praestat; if it be great betwene a good mā & a bad, if it be yet greater between a most wicked man, & a most glorious Saint; what difference shall we thinke there is, be­twene God, and the diuell? And what scales can haue the strings long enough, to giue scope that one of them may ascend as high, & the other descend as low, as the things deser­ue. And yet the loue of our Lord IESVS, was so omnipotent, as to make them able to in­counter; yea and he, being the very toppe of altitude, did become in some sort inferiour, & did put himselfe below that other, whose ha­bitation is amongst the Princes of darkenes, in the very bottome of hell.

So immense was his desire of shewing loue to man; that rather then not to procure it, in the most obliging manner that could be thought, he was content to let his greatest and most declared enemy, that inueterate re­bell, the Diuell, to please himselfe with an imagination, that he was no more exempted from his power, then other folkes. And he sufferedO mi­racle of lo­ue which could in­duce Christ our Lord to be ca­rved by that diuel in the Ayre. himselfe; vvith a strange kind of exinanition, to be carryed in the ayre & tos­sed from place to place, by that tempter; as some chicken might be, in the clawes of some cruell Bird of prey, for the space of as many myles, as it vvas from the wildernes to the Tēple.

If vve aske vvhat it vvas, vvhich con­ducted him frō the riuer of Iordan, to the vvil­dernes, vvhich vvas the place of his Temptation, the holy Scripture tells vs, that it vvas his spi­rit, which is his loue that led him thither. And to shew that he vvent not vvith any ordinary pace; but vvith a kind of vehemency of im­pulse, though by one of the Euangelists it be said, that he was led; by another it is affirmed, that he vvas no lesse thē driuen to the desert.

In all the actions of our Lord, there is a double kind of loue, inuolued, as if it vvere both the meat and sauce, vpon vvhich the soule of man may feed. The actions them­sclues, I account to be as the very meate; but the intention vvhich reigned in that enamou­red hart of his, is as the sauce, vvhich giues it grace and sauour, and keepes the appetite full of life. We see heere, in our Lord, a loue of sollicitude; an application to contempla­tion; that he thought the very beasts, to be company good inough for him. And euen vvhilst he vvas ingulfed, in the very bosome of his eternall Father, he vvould yet endure to beA strang in­dignity, most strā ­gely in­dured, by the strēgh of loue. taken in the armes and tempted, by that vvicked spirit. We see hovv he gaue him­selfe to prayer, and fasting, for the space of Four­ty daies togeather. And that, hovvsoeuer, through the aduantages vvhervvith he did a­bound, it vvas in his hand, vvhether although he fasted, yet he vvould be hungry yea or no; he made choyce at the end of that long fast, to feele the paine thereof for vs. And then vve [Page 129]may wel be sure, that there was neuer so great paine inflicted by hungar as that. Both for the large extent of tyme, into which that fa­sting was produced, (being of fourty con­tynued daies and nights) and through the ex­act proportion of his constitution, which en­dured not the least excesse of any superfluous moysture, or peccant humour, which, in ma­ny, is wont to make the weight of hungar, much more tollerable.

But then, if we consider, that withall he was without the comfort of any of his rea­sonable creatures; passing his tyme (as the holy Scriptures say) amongst the beasts; That he could not but feele excessiue incommodity by lodging so long vpon the open ground; That he windes and raines, in the space of fourty dayes, & nights, would be sure to blow hard, and to fall heauily vpon him; That his gar­ments were loose, and consequently could not defend him from that payne; we shall perhaps haue cause to conclude that this tyme of his being in the desert, gaue him as exqui­site a kind of affliction, as euer was endured vpon earth. These I say were his actions and passions in this mystery of his temptation, but the intention of our good, which for loue of vs he had; and the soueraigne doctrine and addresse which he directs vs, by his holy spi­rit, to fetch from thence, in all occasions, is that for which we are more, if yet we may be more, obliged to him.

The excellent examples and instructions which our Lord Iesus gaue vs with great Loue, in this mistery of his Temptation.

CHAP. 24.

CHRIST our Lord himselfe, was farre from being able to grow light or vayne, vpon the supernaturall fauours, and visions, wherwith he had bene enriched from heauen, after the humility and charity, which he had expressed to God, and vs, in his holy Baptisme; and therfore, most safely he might instantly haue put himselfe into conuersation with men of the world. ButThat spirituall men must arme thē ­selues wel against vanity, & leuity. of hart. yet because he well knew of what sōding metall poore man is made; & that his nauigation through the tēpest of this world, is found to be so dangerous, by his carrying so little balast of solid vertue, in the bottome of his soule; and so great a saile of self cōceite tyed to the mast of his giddy head; and for that vpon the feeling of diuine com­forts, men vse sometymes, to make effusion of those treasures which yet were giuen, but that they might be improued, or at least laid in, against the comming (as I may say) of a deere yeare, or tyme of tribulation; it pleased his diuine, wise Goodnes to shew, and that not only by words but deeds, how we were to carry our selues, in such cases. And that when such pretious liquor of extraordinary grace is conueyed into our harts, by the hand of God, [Page 131]we must procure to conuerse, so much the more, within; and to stopp the bottle with extraordinary care, least els the spirit fly a broade, and the soule remaine in misery at home.

Nor was our Lord in any necessity of preparing himselfe, by making such a kind of spiruuall exercise, or recollection as this, before he went in mission, for the wynning of soules to his eternall Father; in the vertue wherof, he might cōtynue more vnited with God; & that as contēplation was to giue nobility to actiō, so action might giue fecundity to contempla­tion. ButMen are taught to recol­lect them­selues, be­fore they enter, v­pon con­uersing, & treating much with others. for our instruction he shewed vs, in himselfe, what we were to doe; and that before men must trust themselues, with procuring, by conuersation, and exhortation, to doe good to others; they must in silence, & solitude make vpon their owne accounts, in the sight of God. Casting off their sinnes; ta­king leaue of all occasions therof; making ob­seruation of their errours past; renewing good and particular purposes for the tyme to come; and in fine, preparing themselues for the do­ing, and suffering with a sirme and faithfull hart, whatsoeuer they shall find agreable to the holy, and wife, and strong will of God. And because a mā who is to be truly Aposto­licall, must by the goodnes of God procure to be fit to encounter with all the difficulties, to which man is subiect; and for that the chari­ty of man, (as man) is so very could, as not to looke vpon the miseries and calamities of o­thers, [Page 132]with that compassion which becomes the fellow creatures of so good a God, (vn­lesse first they haue tryed the variety of Temp­tations in their owne persons, and because it is not possible for a man (without a more extra­ordinary grace then can be expected) to ap­ply fit remedies to such soules as shall be sub­iect to Temptation, vnlesse himselfe haue bene sicke of the same, or the like disease; our Lord is therforeThey are not good Physitiās of others in spiritu­all diseases who haue not been sicke thē ­selues. wont to suffer euen his best ser­uants, & such as he meanes to imploy most in making warre against vice and sinne, to be in­fested in this kind, with the assaults of the e­nemy. But yet so, as that he enableth them withall (by his grace, if they will not be wan­ting to themselues) to returne victorious out of the battaile. And not only by these skirmi­shes, to abate the fury of their foes, but to eate out the rust, which their soules had contracted by their owne former sinnes; & insteed ther­of, to fill them full of merit in themselues; & to make them expert, and safe guides of o­thers; and in fine, by such knocks to hammer out, and to build vp, and most richly to fur­nish such a house in their hartes, as wherin the God and King of glory, may not only be cō ­rent, but euen glad to dwell.

They are therfore deepely in errour, who thinke it be a signe of Gods disfauour, if he suffer a soule to be much tempted. The ar­gument is rather good on the other side, to proue that it is a token of his loue. For vve see how Christ our Lord himselfe, would be [Page 133]vsed heerin; to secure vs therby, that it was a happy state, since himselfe did choose to be possest therof. EspeciallyThe example of our Lord Ie­sus in this Tempta­tion of his doth both sanctify Tempta­tiōs to vs, & streng­then vs, agaynst them. considering, that by going so before, through his Temptations, he hath brokē the hart of such others as should afterward lay hold on vs; besides that he in­structs vs how we are to carry our selues ther­in, euen whilst they last. And infallibly the loue of our Lord to vs, is so very tender and so pure, that by the merit of this Temptation of his, he would haue obteyned the destruction and death of all Temptations; if he had not for­seene, that they should suruiue, for our grea­ter good, in case that we would vse them wel. And we may iustly beleeue, that since God refused to graunt the suite of the holy Apo­stle, when he had begged thrice, that Sathan might no longer, buffet him with the motions of sense, 2. Cor. 12. it was only for the preseruing him in humility, and way of prouision of greater glo­ry; and he made him a promise of sufficient grace, wherby he should tryumph after vi­ctory.

Besides this assistance of the grace of God (which yet alone ought to be anchor inough, for the soule of man in any difficulty whatsoeuer, so that the man for his part, doe concurre therwith as his frailty will permit) it is certaine that his diuine Maiesty is so indul­gent a Father to his deere children; and doth so thirst, not only after their solid good in the next life, but euen after their comfort and ioye in this; that ordinarily when he per­mitteth [Page 134]them to vndergoe any grieuous Temp­tation of the enemy, he either armeth them be­fore hand, with some extraordinary comfort by way of preparatiue; or els he visiteth them afterward, in some most gratious manner, by way eyther of remedy, or reward. We see that it is iust so in this Temptation of Christ our Lord, and that before it, in his Baptisme the heauens were opened to him; and the holy Ghost did visibly descend vpon him. And af­ter it, the Angells did make court about him, and doe him homage; and did serue at his ta­ble, when the fast was ended. And we also, as miserable as we seeme to be in this life, haue a promise from truth it selfe, in another part of the holy Ghospell,Luc. 22. that they who shall haue re­mayned faithfull to him, in his Temptations, (that is to say in such afflictions as God doth either send or suffer) shall both eate and drinke at his ta­ble, in his Kingdome of eternall glory. And to the end that this might happen to vs more com­pletely, it was the gratious pleasure of our Lord to permit himselfe to be assaltedThe seuerall kinds of Tempta­tiō which were offered to our Lord Iesus. by three seuerall wayes, wherein, all kinds of Temptations might be lodged; or to which, at least, they might be all, reduced. That so, in them, we might be instructed and enabled to ouercome in all, by his example & helpe, as we shall see the Chapter following.

The Temptations which the Diuell did seeketo put v­pon our Lord Iesus, are declared, and opened

CHAP. 25.

THE firstThe 2. Tempta­tion was delight or pleasure. Matt. 4. Luc. 4. was a Temptation of delight or pleasure where the deuill moued our Lord (by occasiō of that cause of h̄gar wher­in he found him) to turne stones into bread, if it were true, that indeed, he was the sonne of God. But our Lord, who knew that the Feend of hell would reape no proffit by the manifestatiō of his diuinity (for as much as he was confirmed for al eternity in malice, vpon his first fall frō Grace) vvould not worke that miracle to no purpose; and especially at the discretion of the deuill. Or rather he would not (through his deare and tender loue to vs) worke a miracle, wherby he was to be freed from suffering the paine of hungar, which he felt afterward for our sakes. But whilst heIn what kind our Lord was feed­ing whilst he was fa­sting. fasted in one kind, he was feeding vpon a banquet in another. For the food which gaue him exquisite delight, was to be doing the will of his eternall Father, & suf­fering for the deliuerance, and good of men. And from corporall food, he would abstaine in this first publique act of his, if it were but to reuerse that misery, which was come into the world by Adam; when he fedde, with in­ordinate appetite, vpon the forbidden fruit of Paradise.

In the meane tyme his refusal to make [Page 136]bread, wherby he might haue bene fed in that wildernes, was liberally rewarded to our Lord by his eternal Father afterward, euen in the same very kind, & in the selfe same or like place, of his so great merit. For in a wilder­nes, as he would needs suffer hungar, he had meanes afterward to multiply a few loaues, and fishes to such a quantity as serued to seed, and ouer­seed thousands of men, besides women and children. To shew, that as according to that diuine say­ing of S. Augustine which (since it is so highly and clearly true) I would to God it were writ­ten, and worne about the neckes,Aug. Cō ­fes. lib. 1. cap. 22. and in the harts, of all the world: Iussisti Domine & sic est, vt poena sua sibi sit omnis inordinatus animus. Thou hast ordeyned it, O Lord, and so it is; That the very inordinate affection it selfe, of euery one, should be an affliction to him that hath it: so the merit of e­uery action, which is purely vndertaken, and faithfully performed for the loue of God, es­pecially if it haue any thing in it of the heroi­call, will be sure to affect the mind, with a particular kind of remuneratiō; yea so particu­lar, as that the soule shall know, it is for that.

The secondThe 2. Tempta­on, was riches power. att. 4. c. 4. Temptation wherwith this inueterate lyer, did tempt our Lord, was by offering all riches and power, which he shewed him from the Top of a high mountai­ne, and he promised to giue him the whole world, if he would adore him. A lyer, I say he is, and so he was, from the begin ning. But yet amongst all his lyes, he neuer told a grea­ter then this, That it should be in his power, to giue [Page 137]the whole world away, he who is not the owner of one leafe which growes therin; nor is able to moue the least indiuisible graine of dust v­pon the earth, nor any moate in the ayre, without the particular leaue of our Lord God. All power is of God, & all pleasure is of him, and in him. And whatsoeuer is in creatures, is but a poore participation of the infinite, which in him is found. And that which the deuill can doe, is only to tempt vs to steale it from the true owner. Wheruuto, when he hath induced vs, and that we once returne into our selues, that which he leaueth behind in our soules, is nothing but a miserable re­morse of mind, and an experimentall know­ledge of extreame calamity, and penury in­steed of plenty; and of infamy insteed of glo­ry; and of consuming paine, insteed of any pure and perfect ioy.Confes. lib. 4. cap. 12. And most iustly (as Saint Augustine sayth) doth that, which in it selfe, is sweete, grow bitter to thee, if thou commit such an act of iniustice, as vpon the reason of that sweetues, to forsake and ossend our Lord who made it sweet. And thou commest (as he diuinely expresseth in another place,) To turne and tosse thy minde, Confes. l. 2. cap. 2. vp and downe, superba deiectione, & inquieta lassi­tudine, with a proud kind of basenes, & a resiles kind of wearines. This is that bargaine to which the deuill, if we hearken to him can bring a soule; but to giue it one haires bread of happines, is neither in his power, nor in his will. For his enuy and his hate to vs is such; as that the smal & counterfaite pleasure which we find in the [Page 138]act of any sinne, is no small vexation & griefe to him. And if it were in his hand to make vs sinne, without taking any corporall delight at all; and to tosse vs from torments in this life, to torments in the next; he would find mali­ce inough, for that purpose, and we should be sure neuer to tast any one drop of ioy, by his consent.

But where was it, that our Lord found patience andThe incom­prehensi­ble meek­nes of our Lord Ie­sus. meeknes inough, to keepe him from rebuking that impure spirit; & from creating a new hell of torments, into which he might haue bene precipitated, for desiring to be adored, by one whome he suspected, & ought to haue known to be the sonne of God? where did he find it, or where could he find it but in his owne pretious hart, which is a pro­found Sea of loue, to all such as will be capa­ble therof; and of pitty and patience euen to such as hunt after nothing but his dishonour.1. Pet. 2. For whē afterward our Lord was reuiled, he answered not; and when he was cursed, he prayed for them, who cast theyr curses vpon him. And when now he was tempted, he did not so much as turne against the deuill him­selfe; but stood only fast in his owne defence, against that Prince of the Rebellious Angells; who was still following his old maxime, of beleeuing that he was fit to be adored, & will neuer be taught to chaunge it, euen by the ex­perience of those paines of hell which he hath tasted already for so many ages, and is to doe for all eternities.

So spirituall, so stiffe, and so tough a sinne is that of Pride, which as it will nouer be forsakē by those deuils, so also is there none, to which the misery of man in this life, is more obnoxious. The deuill knowing this (at the least, as well as we) did reserue the Temptation ofThe 3. temptatiō was to E­stimation and Ho­nour. Honour, for the last place; & he drew it, as the most daungerous, and deadly wounding arrovv out of his quiuer, vvhervvith he hoped to fasten, vpon the soule of Christ our Lord. He tooke him therfore out of the desert, and carryed him to the pinnacle of the Temple; and placing him vpō the top therof, he would faine haue induced him, to cast himself dovvn through an insinuation of sanctity, vvhich might be in him. For (sayth he) If thou be the sonne of God, thou mayst safely doe it: for it is writ­ten, that he hath giuen his Angells charge ouer thee; and that in their hands, they shall beare thee vp,Matt. 4.least perhaps thou knocke thy foote against a stoue. The deuill is no foole, or babe, but he knovves, & it is most true, that if any thing be able to shake a vertuous soule, it is a Temptation of Pride, & an ambitiō of Honour, for the sanctity which is imparted to it, by our Lord God, because through any yeilding to this Temptation, both that sanctity is lost, & God vvith it.

With hovv pestilent successe, hath he put this tricke vpon vvhole multitudes of mē at seuerall tymes; vvho at those tymes vvere faythfull seruants & Saints of God. But this blast of vanity, did so vndermine their soules, as that they fell dovvne, and rotted, and did [Page 140]but serue to make a fire, vvherat the deuill might vvarme himselfe. But heer he mist his marke; and although be brought the ground of his Temptation of Christ our Lord, out of ho­ly Scripture, levvdly applyed, (the only true sense vvherof the spirit of Christ our Lord did knovv, & after his Ascension the holy Ghost hath still imparted it to the holy Catholique Church, vvhere the spirit of God doth yet on­ly rest, (and vvherby it is able to interprete truely, that holy Scripture) yet our Lord vvas easily able to giue him such an ansvvere out of the same Scripture, as made him depart vvith shame inough.

It is shewed how we are to carry our selues in the vse of holy Scripture; and we are instructed concer­ning Lent; & we are incouraged towardes the vse Pennance; and so this myste­ry of the Temptation is concluded.

CHAP. 26.

BVT although our Lotd did vvhat he did vvith diuine vvisedome, and that the same course may be taken, by the Doctours and Pa­stours of his Church, to ansvvere, vvith holy Scripture, to the obiections vvhich shall be brought out of Scripture, eyther by the deuill, or by his seruants; yet this course is not so safe, for euery ignorant and ordinary man; but ra­ther to remit himselfe to the beliefe and pra­ctise of the holy Catholike Church; or at least, [Page 141]to the iudgment of such learned Priests as are next at hand. And as for dealing with the de­uill himselfe, it is no point, eyther of wit or grace, to chop Logicke with him. And vve see that Luther got nothing by him, out of the arguments, which the Deuill pretended to bring out of holy Scripture, Luth. de Missa An­gulari. Tom. 7. printed at VVitem­berge An­no 1558. fol. 228. & 229. D. Bern­ser. 15. su­pra Psalm. Qui habi­tat. against the Sacrifice of the Masse; for heereupon did Luther, (as him­selfe doth plainly confesse) impugne and de­test that holy Sacrifice. Besides it is the diuells custome (as it is also of his disciples) to falsify the text, as S. Bernard notes him to haue done in this very place. For it sayth not, that the Angells had charge ouer him to beare him vp, that he might not knocke his foote against a stone; but that they might keepe him, in all his wayes. Wherupon the Saint doth challeng the deuil in these ter­mes. Quid malignè &c. What is that, O thou ma­ligne spirit, which he commaunded his Angells to doe? It was, that they should keepe him in all his waies. Doth he peraduenture say, In his precipi­ces? What kind of way was that, to haue cast him­selfe downe, from the pinnacle of the Temple? This is no way, but a ruyne; or if it be a way, it is no way for Christ our Lord, but for thee. Thus saith Saint Bernard.

Now in this manner of cyting Scrip­tures, the deuill is but too faithfully imitated in his infidelity, and so hath he bene, by the Sectaries of all ages.Tom. 2. Hom. 31. in Lucam. Wherupon Origen sayth of the Heretiques of his tyme: As the deuill alledged the Scriptures; so doth Marcion, Basilides, and Va­lentinus, alledge them. And then he giueth this [Page 142]aduise. If at any tyme thou heere a man alleadge a testimony out of Scripture, be sure thou doe not instāt­ly approue, in thy minde, what thou hearest himsay, but first consider, who it is that speaks, and what his iudgment and beliefe is; least else he may counterfeit himselfe to be that Saint, which he is not; and least, being infected with the poyson of Take heed of heresy how sain­tly soe­uer it may looke. Heresy, he lye hid­den like some wolfe, in a sheeps cloathing; yea least it be the deuill, who speaketh to thee, of out Scripture. Now the same, which Origen said of those He­retiques of his tyme, is to be said, with as much truth of many others, in this age of ours. And we are nether to beleeue what they say therin, nor yet greatly to wonder at their boldnes & deceipt in this kind of proceeding, since the deuill, whose cause they plead, did point thē out to it so long agoe.

The study therfore of holy Scripture, to the end of answering and consuting the aduer­saries of God and his Church, must chiefly be vsed by them, who are called to the office of instructing others; and for the present, we wil cōsider what else is taught vs heere, by Christ our Lord. Our Lord IESVS fasted forty dayes; and although there haue been Saynts in the Christian Church, who haue miraculously been enabled to produce theyr fast into the same length, yet doth it not belong to vs to imitate the same, whose forces eyther of body or minde will not reach so far. But yet by that excesse of our Lords fast, we are obliged to doe, what we can therin; without great preiudice to our health, which we are bound [Page 143]to keep for his seruice.

It will become vs to doe this, so much the more, asOur whole life is a Tempta­tion. it is certaine that all this life of ours, is neither more nor lesse, then a con­tynuall subiection to Temptation. And euen in the case of Christ our Lord himselfe, it is said of the Deuill, when he was confounded by the answere of our B. Sauiour, that yet he de­parted not (as one may say) for good and all; but only for a tyme. And therfore Christians must make account, that they are euer to stand vpon their guard agaynst him. For if the dan­ger be still at hand; it is agaynst all reason, that we suffer the preuentious and remedies to be Farre of. And since our heauenly Maister, hath made vs with so much loue, see what they are; we haue no more to doe, but to consider, and worke after his example.

And though for as much as concerneth fasting we must euer be vsing it, at least as farre as we are bound by the ordination of the ho­ly Church; yet it seemes that this action of our B. Lord, doth oblige vs, in a more particu­lar manner, to be exact and deuout, in the fast of Lent. For as much as (according to the tra­dition of the Church, and the expresse declara­tion of the holyDiuus Hier. l. 2. con. loui. c. 11. D. Max. de leiu. Qua­dras. D. Ambr. ser. 34. D. Aug [...]epist. 119. c. 15. Fathers) his fast in the wil­dernes, by the space of Fourty dayes, did dedi­cate, and sanctify, and consecrate, and auow, the fast of Lent by diuine authority. And so al­so in theHier. Ep. 54. ad Marcell. Leo. ser. 6. de Quadra­gis. lgna. Epist. ad Philip. Fathers, there is aboundance of proofe; that as the institution of this fast, is re­comended to vs by the soueraigne example of [Page 144]our B. Lord, so the precept therof, and the appoiting of the tyme, with other circum­stances, was deriued downe to Christians, by no lesse then the Tradition of the Apostles.

But why should a hart which is truly and nobly Christian, need the spurre of a cō ­mandement, to doe a thing which redoun­deth so expresly to the honour, and ought to be imbraced in imitation of such a mercifull, & louing Lord? It must suffice vs to know that he is gone before vs, by the way of penance; & that, howsoeuer his Law did not oblige vs to follow him, yet his Loue would. A ge­nerous soule will not endure, to spend the daies and nights in dalliance, when such a friend and benefactour, such as omnipotent creatour, and bountifull redeemer, is keeping so strict a watch, or rather is passing the very pikes, and entring the breach, and that not for his owne, but for our good. For, our good it was, vvhich Christ our Lord did seeke; in all our ignorances, vvhich he tooke care to in­struct; in our miseries, vvhich he applyed him­selfe to remoue; and in our comforts vvhich he endeauoured to procure and increase. And if this haue appeared in the misteries of his ho­ly Baptisme, and Temptation it vvill doe so no lesse, if not rather more, in that vvhich novv shall present it selfe, concerning the vocation of his Apostles, & Disciples to his seruice.

Of the great Loue which our Lord Iesus shewed to mankind in the Vocation of his Aposiles.

CHAP. 27.

IT is not strāge that God should shew him­selfe like God; nor consequently, that in all the actions of Christ our Lord (who as man was Gods most excellent instrument) his so­ueraigne power, and wisedome, and goodnes should much appeare. This is true in them all; & especially is it so, in this of the Vocatiō of his Apostles, wherin he doth admirably declare, quòd disponat omnia suauiter, & pertingat à fine vsque ad finē, fortiter. That he disposeth of all things sweetly, & yet reacheth, from one end to the other, with a hand of strength. HisThe end of the Incarna­tion and Passion of Christ our Lord. busines in this world, was to redeeme it, by his pretious bloud; the me­rit wherof was to be applied to mens soules by faith, and loue; and that was to be rooted in them, by the preaching of his doctrine, & the administration of such Sacraments, as he came to institute, in that Church which he meant to plant. And because himselfe was to returne to his Father, and the reconciliation of man­kind to God, was to contynue in acting, till the end of the world; he resolued vpon orday­ning and sending Ambassadours into it, for that purpose.2. Cor. 5. As Saint Paul affirmed after­ward: Pro Christo ergo legatione fungimur &c. We Apostles and all Apostolicall men, are Ambassadours sent into the world, by Christ our Lord, for the recon­ciliation of it to God.

The Hypostaticall Vnion, wherby the Di­uinity of the second person of the B. Trinity was vnited to the humanity of Christ our Lord, gaue him power to doe what, and when he would. And he might haue called his Apostles either in his infancy, or afterward by only inuisible inspirations; or els, as foone as he meant to appeare in the office of teach­ing. But to giue vs example how to carry our selues in all our actions, and especially in such as concerne the glory of God, and the good of soules; he would not enter vpon this busines, till himselfe had visibly beene bapti­zed, and auowed by a voyce from heauen, to be the welbeloued sonne of God, in reward of that deepe humility, which he exercised by such an act as that. He also differred, to call them instantly after he was baptized; because at the first, they would not haue been fit, to accom­pany him in such austerity, as he resolued to endure, in the desert. Whereby he also gaue vs a lesson, both to vse prudence and charity, when we haue cause to serue our selues of o­thers. He was neuer in any danger of being distracted from God, in any one moment of his life; neither yet was he in doubt, but that he should call his Apostles in such sort, as would be most agreable to the diuine will; but yet, before he would vndertake it,Luc. 6. he retyred him­selfe into a mountaine all alone. And that blessed soule, spent the whole night in prayer, andThe soueraig­ne excel­lency and vse of prayer. therby he gaue vs an example, how in all things we were to haue recourse to God, [Page 147]by that most holy exercise, as the means, wher­by we might both get light for our vnderstan­ding, and heate and strength, towards the ac­cōplishing of his most holy will, by the obe­dience of ours.

The same Lord God, who was the Creator of man, would needs also be his Re­deemer. And for as much as he, had made him, & did well discerne all the windings and tur­nings of his soule; he was able with admirable facility; & felicity to guid him according to his nature. With that skil he proceeded in the Voca­tiō of his Apostles; some of whom he called by himselfe, and some were brought by others, whome formerly himselfe had called. Some he drew to him, by the force of some short & single speach; and others, by discourse, or dia­logue, of greater length. And of S. Peeter it is said; in holy Scripture, that when S. Andrew had brought him to our Lord, he looked vpon him, which is not said of any other.Ioan. 2. Intuitus autem eum Iesus, dixit, Tu es Sinion, filius Ionae, tu vocaberis Caephas, quod interpretatur Petrus. Thou art Symon the sonne of Ionas, thou shalt be called Cae­phas, which is, by interpretation Peter. Ibid. Which word in Syriacke (and that was the language with our Lord did speake, and the only lan­guage with S. Peter vnderstood at that tyme) doth signify aswel a Rocke as the name of a mā. And the word Intuitus est, doth implye that our Lord did enuisage, and looke in earnest manner, vpon his face. Which I hope we shall not thinke, but to haue bene, both done and [Page 148]sayd, vpon some reason of great mistery; es­pecially since we see, that he bespeakes him for the office of being a Rocke, wherupon next to himself, he would build his Church. In cō ­formity of which diuine purpose he affoarded him many most particular fauours; he cured his mother Luc. 4. in law, in his house; heLuc. 5. would needs teach men out of his ship; and (to omit those passa­ges of holy Scripture, wherbyMatt. 16. Ioan. 21. he inuested him with that highest dignity in his Church, in expresse termes) heMatt. 17. fetcht a miraculous tribute, out of the fishes belly, which he paid, not only for himselfe, but for S. Peter also, as for the heire of his house.

It had bene easy for him, to haue im­ployed Angells in that ministery, to which he vouchsafed to depute S. Peter, & the rest of the Apostles; but theThe sweet prouiden­ce of our Lord. sweetnes of his prouidēce, did exact, that men, should gouerne men. The Angells who were impeccable, would neuer haue bene so attractiue of sinners to pē ­nance; for we should haue feared to approach to such humility & purity as theirs, with such frailty, and pride as ours. But our Lord was pleased to gouerne vs by men, who were ob­noxious to our infirmities. That so, by the ex­perience of what had passed in their ovvne soules, they might haue the more compassion of ours; and so we might also vvith the more probability of successe, aspire to their practise of vertue. And they, in the meane tyme, were to absolue vs, not only for once, or for an hundred or a thousand tymes; but for as often, [Page 149]as we should sinne, if we grew afterward to be indeed truly penitent.

But yet, at least, since he would needs dispatch the great busines of gayning soules, by the meanes of mortall creatures, a man would haue thought (according to all dicta­men of humain reason) that he should haue chosen, the most worthy, and well qualified persons aliue. Either for nobility and power, out of the Citty of Rome, which was the Em­presse of the world; or out of the Prouinces of Greece, which was the Seminary of all mo­rality and learning; or out of the citty of Hie­rusalem, which the opinion of sanctity, & the maiesty of Religious rites, did easily outstrip all other places. ButWhy our Lord made not choyce of the noble, wise, or learned men of the world for con­uersion therof. 1. Cor. 1. he, who afterward did condemne the pride, & pleasure of the world, vpon the Crosse; had before, in the choice of his Apostles, both confounded all discourse of flesh and bloud; and withall, he tooke care to magnify the attributes wherof I spake be­fore, of his power, his wisedome, and his goodnes. By choosing (as S. Paul affirmeth) the meane things of the world, to confound the noble; the weake, to cō ­found the strong; and the things which scarse were thought to haue any substance, or being at all, to con­found other things which seemed, as it were, to beard and braue the vvorld.

It is true, that he admitted of some few learned men for his Disciples, as Gamaliel, and Nathanael. And of some fevv, vvho vvere rich, and noble, as Lazarus, Nicodemus, and Ioseph of Arimathia; that so he might not seeme, to dis­daine [Page 150]nobility, and learning; but yet his A­postles in a manner, vvere all, obscure, and poore, vnlearned men. Both because such persons are vvont to goe more vvillingly af­ter the call of Gods holy inspirations; and partly also, yea and chiefely, to make the vvorld cōfesse, that vvhen it should see vvhole Prouinces subdued to the faith of Christ our Lord, by the preaching of his doctrine, out of such ignorāt mouthes as theirs vvere knovvne to be; it might be obliged to impute the same to no other cause, but the omnipotēt povver, of God the Father, the infinite vvisedome of God the sonne, vvho is Christ our Lord, and the inexhausted goodnes of God, the holy Ghost, vvhich was able to doe such vvon­ders, by such weake instruments.

Novv thatHow Moyses, in some res­pect, was an extract of the A­postles 2. Cor. 2. vvhich vvas heere fulfil­led, in the person of the rude Apostles, vnder the lavv of grace; vvas punctually prefigured vnder the vvriten lavv, in the person of Moy­ses, vvho vvas but a sheepheard, and a stam­merer, and so could haue no grace, or guift of speech. But, Virtus Dei in infirmitate perficitur; The strength and power of God is perfected and pro­claymed in the weakenes of man. And Moyses, could not be so vntovvard, either in fortune, or na­ture, for the busines which God imployed him in; but the same God, could, vvith ease, doe those wōderfull things, by his meanes, which he designed, for the deliuery of his people, from the seruitude of Pharao. And this he wrought aftervvard in a more admirable mā ­ner, [Page 151]by the ministery of his poore Apostles; in freing soules from the tyranny of the spiri­tuall Pharao, which is the deuill.

The rebellious Angells, and our fraile forefather Adam, were grounded at the first, in great priuiledges both of grace, and nature; but through disobedience and pride, they all fell headlong downe. The Angells to hell, & Adam into a deepe darke hole, full of infirmi­ty, and worldly care. But the Apostles, had their foundation, and first beginning in po­uerty, ignorance, and simplicity; and in fine, in a being nothing of themselues. And now as the pride of the former, was abased; so the humility of these latter (as we shall see in the Chapter following) was exalted by the holy and mighty hand of God; whose name be e­uer blessed, for the glory which he giues him­selfe, by his owne goodnes.

The incomparable Loue wherwith our Lord instantly rewarded the speedy obedience of the Apostles.

CHAP. 28.

SVCH men as these they were, whome our Lord designed to the Apostolate; which yet was the most excellent, and most eminent office, in the Church of God. And he vouch­safed to inuite them, with such strength, as well as with such tendernes of loue, that they came when they were called. They did it in­stantly, and cheerfully, and absolutely. Saint [Page 152]Peter and S. Andrew, Marc. 1. were casting their netts into the Sea, and immediatly vpon the fight, and voyce of our Lord Iesus, who bad them come and follow him; Matth. 4. they went, and left their netts, in the act of their falling into the water; without staying so long, as might serue to draw them vp againe. And much lesse did they delay, till they saw what draught they might chaunce to haue.Ibid. S. Iohn and S. Iames, were in the act of mending their netts; and v­pon the very first sight, and hearing of the voyce of Christ our Lord, who called them to him, they did not so much as fasten one stitch, or tye one knot; but immediatly they put themselues vpon following him. Leauing not only their netts, but abandoning euen their very father, through the desire they had to comply, at full speed, with the inspiration of God; which spake more lowdly to their harts, then the voyce of Christ our Lord as man, had done to their eares of flesh, and bloud.

S. Matthew (as is touched,Matt. 9. both before, and afterward) was in theThe admira­ble con­uersion of S. Matt­hew. Custome house, in the midst of a world of reckonings & ac­counts; he was in the very act of sinning; the company which he was in would not faile to encourage him in doing ill; but yet our Lord had no sooner bid him follow him, but he left all, at the very instant, without so much as saluting his friends; yea this he did, with such excesse of ioy, as that, to shew the comfort of his hart, he feasted his new Lord and mai­ster. [Page 153]The world is full of men who can write and read; but there are not so very many, who cast account so well, as this B. Apostle knew how to doe. Preferring God before the world, and the treasures of diuine grace, be­fore the corruptible riches of this life; and lending such a watchfull, and listning care to the inspirations of almighty God; in the obe­dience wherof, it was, but for our Lord to call, and him to come.

But neither he, nor those others, were in danger ofMen are far frō loosing by giuing much to God. loosing any thing, by obey­ing the voyce of Christ our Lord. To vvhom, although, for the tryall of their loue, and for the increase of their merit, he made no pro­mise at all, vvhen he called thē, (but only to those fishers, that he would make them fishers of men) yet aftervvards, he made them knovv, that they had to doe vvith a liberall God. And for as much as they had left their little como­dities to follovv him, vvho seemed to haue lesse; and for that they had so generously con­temned the care of friends and goods, for his loue; and in regard that they had put them­selues instantly, and franckly vpon his seruice, (vvithout asking any day; or desiring to be assured of any cōdition) he vvas quickly plea­sed to shevv the very bovvells of his mercy to­vvards them. They vvere opened before, but then did he let them see, hovv he had lodged them all, therin. ForThe vnspea­keable fauour with our Lord le­sus impar­ted to his Apostles, in regard that they had left their little All for him. he admitted them in­stantly, into his ovvne diuine conuersation; he instructed them by his heauenly doctrine; [Page 154]He gaue them a dominion ouer deuills, that they might expell them out of the bodies of men. He made them knovv, that he vvould leaue them Ambassadours, in his place be­tvvene God and the vvorld. That they should haue povver, to offer, consecrate, and consummate his owne pretious body and bloud. And to remit or retaine the sinnes of men, according to that spirit of vvisedome, and the authority vvhich he vvould impart to them, for that purpose. And that so, they must grow to be Treasurers of eternall riches; and administrators of all his diuine Sacraments; & Doctours of the vvhole vvorld. And they being so fraile, and imper­fect men as vve haue shevved before, he assu­med them, to a kind of participation of his ovvne Empire, ouer heauen and earth; and to a spirituall kind of principality aboue all the Monarks of the vvorld. And that vvhich more importeth then all this, he declared, that they should sit, together with himselfe vpon his throne; and at the day of Iudgement, giue sentence vpon the Twelue Tribes of Israell, vvherby the vvhole vvorld is designed.

SoHow infinitely we gayne, by giuing al to God. that heere vve haue meanes to see, at hovv high a rate that mony is put out to vse, vvhich vve present to God. I meane, vvhat infinite gaine is raysed, by making a deed of guift of the miserable litle thing which vve haue, and are, to that immense goodnes of his. By hearkning with a diligent & faith full hart, to his holy inspirations, vvherby he vvoes vs to become his; that in exchange, he [Page 155]may be ours. It is true that he desires to haue all, or none, and he hath reason. For if this soule of ours (with being so poore a thing as it is) be yet of such capacity, as that nothing which is lesse then God himselfe, can content and fill it; what a brutish thought, would it be in vs to conceaue; That our God himselfe, could be contented to inioy but a part of vs, who are things of nothing; and who were all created by him; and who are his, and only his by so many tytles, that hell it selfe is a punish­ment, which comes not home to the crime, of our diuiding the soule, betwene him, & crea­tures. He being the sole and supreme truth; & allAll that which concer­neth crea­tures is a meer lye, whensoe­uer it dis­obeyeth God, or drawes vs from him, Confes. lib. 10. cap. 22. creatures, no better then a pure & per­fect lye; in whatsoeuer they say they are, or would seeme to be, otherwise then as they yield obedience to the diuine Maiesty. S. Au­gustine doth excellently expresse this particu­lar, when (reuersing the wandring steps of his ill gouerned youth, in the way of confession to almighty God) he deliuereth himselfe in this manner. Thou art supreme truth, who presi­dest ouer all things. Loath I was to loose thee; but, through my couetousnes, I desired to possesse a Lye to­gether with thee. This was the reason why I lost thee, because thou disdainst to be enioyed, in the company of a lye.

The Apostles therfore when they were called did instantly, and wholly giue them­selues away, with all they had. And though the goods which they left, were not a matter, in themselues, of any moment; yet they [Page 156]were esteemed to haue giuen much, because those happy men, reserued nothing to them­selues. And with the same affection, through which they had left that little, they were as ready to haue left a thousand worlds, for the loue of Christ our Lord. And S. Peter, after­ward, was not affraid, to put our Lord in mind therof; by these words, of his innocēt, and confident,Matt. 19. ardent, tender loue. Behould, we haue left all things, and followed thee; what ther­fore wilt thou doe for vs? He said not, that he had left his netts, or his house, or his boate, or this, or that; but absolutely, that he had left all things. AndThe infinite liberality of our Lord Ie­sus. our Lord made him this answere, with no lesse then the bounty of a God: Amen, Amen &c. (which declareth a most serious affirma­tion or protestation) You who haue followed me, shall sit vpō thrones, at the resurrection of the iust, & you shall iudge the twelue tribes of Israell. And who­soeuer shall haue left his Father, or mother, or brother, or sister, or house, or land, for my names sake; shall haue a hundred fold in this world, and afterward, shall possesse eternall life.

Yea so liberall is our Lord IESVS, as to reward with no lesse then heauen, for euery instant of that tyme, which we dispose our selues to imploy vpon his seruice. And yet his excellency is such, as that, euen the very, on­ly, doing him any little seruice, is of so great happines, to a faithfull soule; as that it, alone, is an ouer-pay foral the paines that can be ta­ken in this life. But to shew that our Lord is scarce able to differre the recompence of such [Page 157]as follow him, with a ready will; we shall see in the next Chapter, how he takes some of them, as it were, into the ioyes of heauen, be­fore their tyme. And he, whoNote heer the excellent loue of Christ our Lord. would not haue them present, when he was tempted, & solitary, and in act of penance, because per­haps they were not so able to feed so soone, vpon such crosses, or hard crusts as those, did yet resolue that he would not haue some of them absent, when he was to be Transfigured vpon the hill. But that, in recompence of their beginning to doe him seruice, & for the strengthning of their Faith, and Hope, and Loue in the processe of it, they should tast a dropp of that glory, wherwith they were to be ine­briated in heauen.

Of the excessiue Loue which our Lord Iesus shewed to man in the mistery of the Transfiguration.

CHAP. 29.

THE Temptation, and Transfiguration of our Lord IESVS; are liuely instances of hovv hard things he desired to suffer, and how ex­cellent things he desired to doe for vs; which two, [...]e the most certayne tokensTrue loue desi­res, not only to do great thinges, but to suf­fer hard thinges. Matt. 17. of true loue. We haue already considered of his Temp­tation, and now this Mystery of his Transfigura­tion is thus related, in the sacred text. That our Lord tooke Saint Peter, S. Iames, & S. Iohn, into the top of a high, and solitary mountaine, to the [Page 158]end that he might pray; That whilst he The manner of the Transfi­guration of our Lord Iesus. was praying he grew to be transfigured before them. That his face did shine like the sunne: That his garments were as white as snow. That Moyses and Elyas appeared also, and were speaking with him; That their discourse was of that excesse of loue, which he would shew in the passion, through which, he was to passe in Hie­rusalem; That S Peter was so rapt with ioy, as to say: That it was good being there; and to beg of our Lord that there, they might haue still remayned; but that before he had ended his speach, a bright cloud came downe, which ouershadowed them; and this voyce was thundred out from thence, This is my be­loued sonne, in whome I am well pleased, heare him. Vpon the noyse of this voyce; the Disci­ples fell prostrate vpō their faces as being much a frayd; but our Lord Iesus drew neere, and touched them & said withall, rise vp, and doe not feare; and when they looked vp, they saw none but only Iesus. And as they were going downe the hill, he cōmaunded them not to speake of that vision, till he should be risen from the dead.

This glorious miracle did shine in the exteriour of our Lord so vehemētly, as to send the beames therof, to his Disciples; but it vvas the flame of loue, which (burning so hot in his diuine hart) did breake out much more vpon them; that so their soules, and ours by theirs might be set on fyre. He had then lately, been telling them, of his passion which was to come; That he was to endure, many, and grieuous things; That he was to be condemned by the high Priests; That he was to suffer death, and then to rise; He had fur­ther [Page 159]said, that for their good they must be imitatours of him; and that, howsoeuer the way of the Crosse might fall out to be hard, and stony; yet there was no remedy, but they must runne it through. And now, least their mindes might haue bene oppressed with inordinate griefe; or else assaulted after­ward with vnbeliefe; or, at least, discouraged by the difficulties of this life, which he knew was to proue so painfull to them, for the ser­uice of God; hisA par­ticular reason why our Lord would be transfgu­red before some of his Apost­les. hart of loue could no lon­ger hould, from expressing it selfe towards thē, in some such kind, as might, not only streng­then them against all feare, of future harme; but might solace them also, in aboundant mā ­ner, both with the present sense of excessiue ioy, and an infallible expectation, of much more to follow afterward. And when he had conueyed the notice of his passion, like a bitter dose of pills into their mindes; he did like a care­full Phisitian, put a spoonfull of Conserue af­ter it, into their mouthes; least otherwise they might chance, to haue cast their Phisicke.

As generally in holy Scripture, so par­ticularly, in this mistery of the Transfiguration, and of the ioy which was commuicated to the Disciples, by meanes therof, the expressiōs euen of things which are very great, are yet very positiue and playne, as I shall also shew elsewhere. And Saynt Peter only said, Bonum est nos hic esse. It is good for vs to be heere. ButThis seemes to haue been but a smal expressiō of ioy, but inded it was very great, and why. though this may seeme to be but a leane and hungry kind of signification of his ioy, for his hauing beene made participant [Page 160]of that high vision; yet indeed, it vvas such a one, as could not well be more endea­red. To haue said, that it had beene better, to be in the top of that high mountaine, with Christ our Lord, then to haue bene in the midst of all the treasures, and pleasures of the world below; had bene to allow a kind of goodnes to these other things; though inferi­riour, to that, which there he felt. For to say that one thing is better then another, doth leaue a power in that other thing to be good. But by only saying that this was good, it ra­ther seemes to follow, that whatsoeuer vvas lower and lesse then this, would not be good. S. Peter was heere, in a kind of midle Region of the ayre, betewne ordinary grace below, & glory aboue. And as he could not say, that his then present condition, was any more then good, in regard that nothing of this life was so good, or indeed, that it was absolutely good at all; so neither could he say, that it was any more then good in regard of the ioyes which are felt in heauen. And therfore he said not, that it was a soueraigne, or an infinite good, which is only enioyed in that next life, by the sight of God.Exod. 33. That sight, is that Omne bonum, which was promised, by our Lord God, that he would shew his seruant Moyses in heauen. This other, is that bonum, which now was shewed to his Apostles heere on earth.

But though it were but bonum, in com­parison of that infinite good, yet if this (such as it vvas) had bene set by the vvhole vvorld [Page 161]of worldly pleasures, they would all, haue streight appeared, to be but durt, and trash; and this, would haue shined like a second hea­uen of glory, in comparison of them. We must therfore be farre from thinking meanely of it; but rather we are to call our wits about vs, and to argue thus. If someWhat wonders the holy ghost doth worke in the soule of man. influence or visitation of the holy Ghost, whilst it doth but slip into the soule of man, be able to comfort him, when he was laid, though neuer so low in the bed of distresse, and desolation. If some extraordinary communication of Gods Spirit, can eleuate the soule, not only aboue all other creatures, but euen aboue it selfe; so, as not only to disgust it, and that for euer, from all humane hopes or feares; but to make it halfe forget, that there is any other thing but God. If some true Reuelation, or diuine imaginary vision, (such as our Lord doth sometymes cō ­municate to his friends & fauorites in this life) when, and why it pleaseth him (as we find re­corded in their liues) doth sometymes so ine­briate, and fixe, and transforme thē into him; as they may rather be said to swym and bath at ease, in a sea of comfort, then to trauell, and trudge by land, in a desert full of difficulties & distresse; what effect shall we thinke this vision of visions did worke in the mind of the B. Apost­les? Who saw not what they saw, by imagina­tion only; but they had, before the eyes, both of their body and minde, the humanity of Christ our Lord, all in glory, with Moy­ses and Elias, doing him homage, in the name [Page 162]of both those worlds, which liued eyther vnder the law of nature, or the written law.

The incomparable ioy which the Apostles tooke through the loue which our Lord Iesus shewed them in his Transfiguration: and how himselfe was con­tent to want the glory of it, both before, and after, for the loue of them.

CHAP. 30.

THE sunne doth fall farre short, to ex­presse the beauteous brightnes of his face: for ifThe beauty of all glori­fied bo­dies. any one of the glorified bodies, shall be as bright as is the sunne, then is it certain that if all the starres in heauē should be so ma­ny seueral s̄ns, they would al be but as mud, or inke, in cōparison of the splēdour of Christ our Lord; & of what brightnes then, must his face haue been? His garmēts were said to haue byn as white as snow, Ibid. & that no dyer vpon earth was able to arriue to such a height of whitenes. To shew, that both art and nature, may haue some little resē ­blance, but are able to carry no full propor­tion with things of the other world. They were ouershadowed with a cloud, but euen that very cloud was bright. For as the brightnes of this world is indeed but a kind of light-co­loured blacke; so that, which in the other, is least bright, doth infinitely exceed whatsoe­uer we can heere conceaue, to be so, most. At the thundring of that voyce, they were indeed. strucken with feare, yet we may safely say, that [Page 163]they were more afrayd, then hurt. AndThey are happy and glori­ous frigh­tes, which grow vpō soules v­pon such superna­turall oc­casions. 2. Pet. 1. how­soeuer for the tyme, the high Maiesty of the mistery, did ouerwhesme them; yet withall, it strucke such a deepe roote of most reuerent admiring loue into their harts, as they neuer knew how to forget. And S. Peter and S. Iohn, could not faile in their seuerall Epistles, to pro­duce the Record of this Transfiguration of our Lord, vpon the holy hill, as a principall eui­dence of his glory, and their ioy.

I, imagine this terrour of theirs to haue bene resembled in some sort, by that state of mind, which the diuine S Augustine had found in himselfe (though incomparably after an in­feriour manner) when he spake these wordes;Confes. l. 11. cap. 9. Quid est hoc quod interlucit mihi, & percutit cor mē sine laesione? & inhorresco, & inardesco. Inhorresco in quantum dissimilis tui sum; & inardesco in quant̄ similis tui sum. What is that, o Lord, which so brightly shootes in vpon me, and which strikes my hart through, without hurting it? And I tremble with horrour; and yet I burne with loue. I tremble, for as much as I am vnlike thee; and for as much, as I am like thee, I burne with loue. So did the Apostles tremble; and so, and much more then so, did they burne with loue, through the fire wherwith our Lord had inflamed them first.

But the same loue which wrought vpō them in this mistery, by way of heare; might also worke vpon them in that extaticall ioy which they receiued therby, by way of light, to make thē see of how sublime glory he was content to depriue his sacred humanity for [Page 164]loue of them; both from his holy Natiuity, till that tyme, and from that tyme, vntill his death. For the superiour part of his happy soule, from the very first instant of his con­ception, and euen in the bottome of his bit­terest passion, did continually, and as certaine­ly enioy theOur Lord Ie­sus was still in­dued with the Beau­tificall vi­sion. Beatificall vision of God, as now it doth, at the right hand of his Father. So al­so, did it in Iustice, belong to his sacred flesh and bloud, to inioy al the priuiledges of a glo­rified body, as Clarity, Immortality, Subtility, and Impassibility. And because these indowments were incompatible with those dolours and death, which he designed, through the ex­cesse of his loue, to suffer for our more co­pious Redemption; he did therefore suspend those influences of glory, vpon his humanity. So, that the miracle falls out to be, not to find him thus, for a short tyme, transfigured towards glory, vpon that holy hill; but to find him, in this valley of misery throughout all those three and thirty yeares of his life transfigured, towards humility, and contempt, and paine; him I say who ought in right, to haue regor­ged in complete glory.

The inferiour part of his soule (that is to say the sensitiue appetite therof) ought also to haue bene glorious intirely, and at all the instants of his mortall life. And yet for loue of vs, he suspended also the glory due to that; to the end that in his loue he might haue the lar­ger leaue to suffer for vs. And that he might feele, all those afflictiōs of mind for our sakes; [Page 165]& for the propitiation of our sinnes; and for the purchase of grace from God which we find him to haue endured, throughout the rest of all his sad dayes, and nights, and particularly to haue cost him once so deere, as to haue made him pay a sweate of bloud. Yea and for as much as concernes this feeling part of his soule, we are not so very certaine, that it was not suspended in him,Luc. 22. euen for this short time of his trāsfiguration. Nor was it necessary that it should feele the same ioy, for those reasons, v­pon which his body was trāsfigured. But of this wein the middest of that glory the loue of our Lord carried him to speake of his passiō, with Moy­ses and Elias. are sure, that euen then, his speach was of the passion, & he was in contemplation of the causes, why it was to be indured; & that might wel affect his mind with great sense of griefe.

Nay euen that very glory, which his B. body might thē enioy, may rather, in some respects, go for a surcharge to him of misery, then for any accesse of felicity. For that ease in suffering disgrace, and difficulties, which if he had would, he might haue gotten (as a man may say) by the long contynued practice ther­of; was now remoued, by this glimse, and tast of glory. And heThe griefe which our Lord felt afterward must needs be the more paynfull to him, for his hauing felt this glory, soone be­fore. was after it, to be­ginne the same lesson of feeling griefe againe; as if he had neuer learnt it before. And if a Prince, falling into extreme calamity, would feele it incomparably the more, through that riches and abundance, wherin he had li­ued till then; how much more painfull to our Lord must those afflictions and persecutions needs be, which came to him after his transsi­guration, [Page 166]then if the Transfiguration had neuer bene? So that, vpon all these reasons, and by all these meanes, he doth admirably expresse his tender loue to vs, for as much as he would not only liue so long without that glory, which was his due, but moreouer because whē he would enioy it, yet he would doe it but for so short a tyme; & againe because he sought our ioy & comfort, and not his owne therin. Nay for as much as concerned himselfe, his then future paine and scorne, was perhaps to be felt by him with a quicker sense, then if neuer he had admitted of that glory, and ioy.

The most excellent instructions which our Lord, through his loue did giue to man, in this mi­stery of the Transfiguration.

CHAP. 31.

I Should enlarge my selfe too much, if I would particularize and presse those instru­ctions, which our Lord did giue to all his dis­ciples both liuing then, and succeeding after­ward, in that silent sermon of his Transfigura­tion; and we haue reason to take them all, as so many tokens of his tender loue to vs. But be­cause they may seeme so, rather by inference and reflection, then by way of lineall and di­rect expression, I will content my selfe brief­ly to point them out.

In the first place we are told, that he as­sumed those holy and happy disciples of his, vp [Page 167]the hill; and therby we are taught, that we can­not clymbe, but when he takes vs by the hand. By telling vs also that he would not be transfi­gured before them, but vpon the hill; he tells vs, that vnlesse she aspire towardsNo so­lide and sublime gust in God with out a seri­ous study of perfe­ction. Perfction, we must content our selues, without tasting the delicious fruites of Contēplation. Againe we are heere expresly told, that Christ our Lord went vp to pray; and that whilst he was in prayer, this rapt of Transfiguration came vpon him. So that, as it was by prayer, and cōuersation with God, that Moyses came downe from the hill with such a deale of light in his face; by prayer also it is, that we may receaue innumerable graces; and may grow to be transformed in minde, which imports vs more, then to be transfigured in body.

By letting vs know that he was transfi­gured only, for that tyme; he giues vs to vn­derstand, how he hid his excellencies both till then, and euer afterward; and therby he pro­claimes to vs, by a loud voyce, howThe more we hide our selues frō the view of men, the more open shall we be to the gra­cious eyes of God. Ibid. care­full we must be, to hide our fa [...]ours and pri­uiledges from the eyes of men. And the same was also taught yet againe, when our Lord IESVS commaunded afterward, that they should not speake of that vision, till he were risen from the dead. By mentioning the Passion, when he was in the midst of the Transfiguration, we are in­structed how to carry our selues in the varie­ties and changes of this life. For in the winter of distresse, we must keep our selues aliue, by the memory, or hope of some consolation ey­ther [Page 168]to come, or past. And in the spring, or Sommer of spirituall ioy, we must free our selues from growing vayne, or giddy, by thin­king of some approach of desolation.

By the feare of the holy Apostles, we may see the misery of mans nature;Confel. lib. 11. cap. 9. which was so ill drest by Adam, that as S. Augustine saith: Sic infirmatus est in egestate mea vigor meus, vt non suf­feram bonum meum: So is my vigor taken downe in this infirmity of my condition, that I cannot, so much as indure mine owne good; as heere the Apostles were frighted euen by the fight of so much glory, as attends the speaking of a word from heauen. And how then must we reuere, with a most profound internall awe, that God of inacces­sible light, and infinite Maiesty, (whose es­sence is wholly vnconceaueable) since his words cannot be heard, without extreme ap­prehension, by such wormes of misery as we are. By the cōming of that voyce, which was so soone to breake off the vision, whilst they were in the midst of those celestiall ioyes (by which voyce our B. Lord, was declared to be the beloued sonne of God, and that they were comaun­ded to heare him) they, & we are made to know, that we are not, in this world, to looke for a state of contynuall inioying, but of labouring. TheThis is a world of sowing and the other of reaping. seeing of God, and the being to doe so eternally, belongs to heauen; in this life, we are not to looke for seeing, but we must attend to hearing, and (which is meant therby) to obeying.

Heerby he also tells vs, that we must [Page 169]not demurre, euen in the most spirituall gusts, which we may haue; when obedience, or charity, commaunds the contrary. Espe­cially since our Lord himselfe, made such hast to giue ouer his Transfiguration, that he might descend, and so proceed, first to preaching, & then afterwards, towards his pasion. For there was his hart, because his loue was euer looking towards vs; and had not that same very loue of vs, obliged him to be glorious at that tyme for our sakes, since the members could not par­take of any such influence, which came not first from the head (yea and euen if they could haue done it, yet would it not haue bene so full of sauour to them, vnlesse first it had pas­sed from him) it appeares well inough, both by the antecedents and consequences of his sa­cred life, that he was not eyther greedy after pleasure, or weary of taking paines for vs.

Loue, and pure loue it was, which kept his glory, all that while in silence. Loue it was, which made him mortify himselfe (as a man may say) with taking into his mouth, that only tast of ioy. And lastly an euerlasting loue it was, which carried him, in such hast, from Mount Thabor, to Mount Caluary; where he was, to be transfigured a fecōd tyme, but after a far other manner. ForHow our Lord Iesus was Transsi­gured the second tyme vpō mount Caluary. insteed of glory, he was to be all clad with a kind of Leprosy. His face was not to be resplendent, but loaden, partly with impure spittle, and partely vvith his ovvne pure svveat, and pretious bloud; which made a strange kind of marriage toge­ther, [Page 170]in that sacred and most venerable Temple of the diuinity. His garments were no more to be white, but spotted with dust and filth; & the souldiers were to dispose of them, by lotts. He was not to be placed betwene a Moyses, & an Elias; but to giue him the more solemne & bitter scorne, he was to be lodged betwene two murthering thecues. No bright shyning cloud was there to appeare, to doe him honour; but the Sunne would be ashamed to behould the sōne of man so lewdly treated; and darknes would co­uer the whole earth.

Since therfore we see such deadly signes of loue in his pretious hart towards vs; & we may haue the honour to be taught by him, how to guide our liues; let vs dispose our selues, with supreme reuerence, to giue our eares and hartes,Our Lord Ie­sus is de­clared our Doctour from hea­uen. to the diuine words of his mouth; since he is made our Doctour, by no lesse then a voyce which comes from heauen it selfe; and that, in the name of the eternall Father, saying, That Christ our Lord is his beloued sonne, in whome he is so highly pleased, and that him, we must be sure to heare.

We will besides adore him, for presen­ting vs, with this admirable vision, wherby he hath so aboundantly enriched his Church. Whose faith he hath strengthned; whose hope he hath reuiued; whose charity he hath infla­med; whose holy feare and reuerence, he hath rooted deeply by meanes therof. Instructing vs (as Father Salmeron doth excellently obser­ue) concerning the B. Trinity The Father the Sonne, & the holy Ghost. in the voyce; in the sonne; & the cloud. Concerning the [Page 171] Incarnation of Christ our Lord, his Doctrine, & Preaching, by the addresse which we receiue of harkening to him. His pasion and death, by the excesse which he was to fulfill in Ierusalem. The cer­tainty of his Resurrection, and glory, and con­sequently of our owne. The abrogation of the old law, through the establishmēt of the new, by the Fathers voyce, concerning the sonne. It taught them of Lymbus, from whence the soule of Moyses came. It taught the Terrestriall Paradise, where Elias is belceued to repose. It taught the militant Church in the person of the three B. Apostles. But let vs, (as I was saying) giue eare to Christ our Lord, whose doctrine, his heauenly Father and ours, hath assigned vs to. For he it is, who will teach vs, both these, and all things else, which it may any way import vs to vnderstand, as I will in­stantly beginne to shew.

Of the vnspeakeable loue, which our Lord Iesus shewed by deliueriug to vs his admirable Doctrine, and of the manner which he held in teaching vs.

CHAP. 32.

OVR Lord Iesus came into the world for three maine reasons, amongst, & aboue many others. To teach vs the way to heauen by his diuine Doctrine; and to guide vs by his admirable example; and to redeeme vs by his most pretious bloud. But as we should be nothing [Page 172]the better for knowing the way to any place, Ser. de As­cen. Dom. 4. if still we were deteyned in some prison; so neither (as S. Ber­nard saith) should we be the better for knowing our iorneyes end, if withall we knew not the way which leadeth thither. It pleased therfore our Lord Ie­sus, to declare his doctrine to the world. And because, according to Aristotle, Doctio & Disci­plina, are Relatiues, for as much as he is become our Doctour, we are already made his Disciples if we will. The same Aristotle, was Alexanders Maister; and his Father Philip King of Macedon, did esteeme it for no small part of his owne happines, that his sonne was borne, in a time, when he might be instructed by so worthy a person. And yet that worthy person, was a mortall wicked man; whose vnderstanding (though very eminent) was yet full of errour in many things; and his will more full of dis­order. Wheras this diuineThe difference of Christ our Lord from other Do­ctours. Doctour of ours, was both truth, and sanctity it selfe.

A Doctour he was, and that most excellēt and complete, without euer hauing bene any mans Disciple. Such others, as haue neuer bene Disciples, doe no more vse to proue good Do­ctours, then men proue good Captaines, who haue neuer bene souldiers; or good superiours, who haue neuer bene subiects. I deny not but some haue bene good Doctours who neuer were the disciples of men; as for example, Moyses, and the other Prophets. But besides that, all they, were instructed by the wisedom of God, in supernatuall manner, yet neither did they teach, in such perfection as may be compara­rable, [Page 173]by innumerable degrees, to this, of our diuine Doctour. Nor yet did they giue, the hand, together with the torch; nor the wood, together with the coale of fire; nor strength to execute, together with the direction, of what men were to doe. WherasThe great effi­cacy which only be­longs to the Do­ctrine of Christ our Lord. Christ our Lord, together with those diuine words of his own sacred mouth, did make such a high way, by the sweete gratious breath of his holy spirit, into the harts of such as heard them, (though yet sometymes they were deafe inough) as made then receiue them, and lay them vp; & in conformity therof, to performe things, in a short tyme, of extreme difficulty, and contra­diction to sense, with excessiue gust.

How infinitely therefore are vve obli­ged to this Lord of ours, vvho vvas designed, from all eternity, and did accept that himselfe vvouldAn vn­speakea­ble mercy that Christ our Lord would teach vs by him. selfe. teach vs, by himselfe. For there vvas no remedy; his loue could not be satis­fied, vvith doing lesse then all. Nor vvould he permit that any Doctour, vvho vvas lesse then his very selfe, should haue the chiefe in­structingWe are also taught by ment but that is on­ly, as by the instru­ments of God. of our soules. Novv his Doctrine being his, must needs be infallible, because he is God. And to the end that it might not be too high, or hard for our capacities, he re­solued, as it vvere, to tame that diuinity of his, and to take it, and tye it vp, in the nets, and toyles, of flesh and bloud. And so, being in­carnate, he vouchsafed to conuerse amongst vs; and as it vvere to vvatch his tymes, (those mollis fandi tempora) vvherin vve might be li­keliest [Page 174]to receiue that treasure of diuíne know­ledge, vvhich had power to remoue our grosse ignorance.

They vvho trauaile vp and dovvne the vvorld, knovv by experience, hovv glad they vse to be, if, vvandring out of the vvay, they meete some man, vvho sets them right; though it be but tovvards a nights lodging, in a poore Inne, vvhich sometymes is incomodious in­ough. And such as giue themselues to study, and are either ignorant of vvhat they vvould fayne vnderstand, or perplexed othervvise through any difficulty vvhich may occurre; are vvont to accompany and attend vvith ex­traordinary reuerence and affection, those tea­chers vnder vvhome they vvere brought vp, and by vvhose meanes they acquired knovv­ledge. WhichThey are very vngrate­full who perfour­me not great res­pects, to such as haue been theyr teachers. kind of gratitude, is so deeply rooted in the mindes of such as are ingenuous, that as long as they liue, they retaine the me­mory of that benefit; and there is no strange­nes, or small vnkindnes, vvhich can blot it out. We must therefore beseech our Lord IE­SVS to make vs thankefull to his diuine Ma­iesty in a high degree, for his vouchsafing to exercise the office of a teacher ouer vs. Not through the care he hath, to keepe vs only from vvandring betvvene tovvne & tovvne; or to vvorke through the difficulties of hu­maine knovvledge, vvhich vnlesse it be vvell vsed, is better left then had: Nor only doth he this, for some certaine tyme, vvherin a course of study may be ended: but he teacheth [Page 175]vs spirituall things, vvhich are to be as long loued as eternity it selfe; and insteed of dischar­ging, by any later negligence of his, our for­mer obligations, to loue and serue him for it, he is euer calling vpon vs vvith nevv fauours. And insteed of absenting himselfe from vs, his essence, povver, and his grace is present to our soules, yea so present (and especially to such as serue him vvith care) that although he be as S. Augustine saith, superior summo meo; Confes. l. 3. cap. 6. yet vvith­all he is interior intimo meo. And in another place, Though he be omni luce clarior &c. Ibid. lib. 9. cap. 1. yet he is omni secreto interior, superiour to the highest part, & yet he is more interior, then the most inward part of vs; Cleerer then the clearest light, and yet he is more in­ternall, then the most hidden secret. Illuminating, & teaching by particular fauours, those soules vvhich listen to him vvith particular attentiō; according, to the good counsaile of the same S. Augustine, Audiat te intus sermocinantem, Confes. lib. 11. cap. 9. qui po­test: Let him that can be so happy, giue eare to that, which thou, O God, art saying to him, there, within. And instructing all such, as are desirous to saue their soules, by doing him seruice, not onely with a sufficiency, but euen with an ouer­aboundance of his diuine grace.

Of the tender loue which our Lord Iesus shewed, by the incommodity which he was subiect to, whilst he deliuered his Doctrine, to vs; and of the surfet which some are sublect to, if we take not heed, by the aboun­dance of his blesíngs.

CHAP. 33.

THE Doctours and Teachers of this world, vse to be at their ease when they giue their lessons; and for feare least crouds should come in vpon them, they are separated and secured, by chaires, or pulpits. Many of them, teach for hire; many, for ostenta­tion; and few for meere loue of God, or of his creatures, and the pure desire of their pro­fit in vertue and learning. And as for those Re­ligious men who vndertake the troublesome taske of doing good to the world in this kind, for the loue of our Lord; that loue of theirs (thoughThe great ser­ [...]ce which is done to God & the world, by such as in­struct youth in vertue & learning, for pure charity. of most excellent seruice to God and man) is but a sparke which hath conueyed it selfe, out of the fornace of the loue of Christ our Lord, by the merit of his Magistery; who is the only originall maister of all mankind. And he it is, who obteyned grace for those o­thers, to become, & to be such, as by his good­nes, we see they are. But yet by the great mercy of God, it is made a rare case with these his seruants, to be put vpon those extreme dif­ficulties, (vnlesse it be amongst Heretikes, and [Page 177]Pagans) in the exercise of this function, from which his ardent loue, would neuer giue him leaue to be free. For euen from his first, to his last Baptisme, (that is, from the Baptisme of water in the Riuer of Iordan, to the Baptis­me, in the bloud of that Imaculat clambe, which was himselfe, vpon Mount Caluary) he went, teaching vp and downe the world, in a kind of perpetuall motion: And was subiect to a most vnkind continuall persecution, by the most part of them, whome he did most parti­cularly apply himselfe to instruct, and teach.

It is true, that his Apostles, and Disci­ples, did follow him throughout, with ex­treme affection and admiration; but yet with­all, they were so very ignorant and vnlear­ned, as could haue giuen no pleasure in tea­ching them, to any other, but to Christ our Lord. WhatIt is a great mor tification for a wise & worthy person to betyed to the conti­nuall con­uersation of ignorāt rude peo­ple. greater mortificatiō can there be, then, for a wise, and worthy, and no­ble person, to be perpetually conuersing with certaine course, vnpolished creatures; with­out fashion, without learning, without mea­nes, and without so much as aptitude to be the better by it. And yet our Lord IESVS, was dayly in conuersation with such as these. Who knew not how to gather the fruit of that tree of his diuine wisedome; though the weight therof, did make the braunches stoope so low, as that they might be, within their reach. HowThe great meeknes of our Lord Ie­sus. meekely did he liue in their sight; which was a kind of most effectual Doctrine. How continually did he accompany them, [Page 178]how carefully did he defēd them; how sweet­ly did he allure them; and how strongly did he conuince them.

And all this he did, in the midst of a thousand corporall incomodities, of labour, and hungar; when after the day was spent in continuall pennance, the nights would lay hold on him without a lodging. The Foxes had holes, Matt. 8. and the birds of the ayre had nests, but the sonne of man, the sonne of that all-Immaculate wo­man, that virgin mother, that type of purity, that torch of charity, had not a place where to lay his diuine head. But (to the consusion of impatient men who are angry euen with their best friends, when they change to be) pinched otherwise, he was farre from caring for any other habitation; but only that he might dwell in the hartes of men by loue.

Of his Apostles we read, that once, when they had wherwithall, they went to Sichar to buy meate; and returning, they in­uited our B. Lord to eate therof. But he excu­sed himselfe by saying,Ioan. 4. that he had another inui­sible food The principall food our Lord Ie­sus, was the glory of God & the good of man Ibid. which they knew not of; and that was the performance of his eternall Fathers will, and the perfecting of the worke of the good of soules, by the words of his diuine mouth. And after this food, he had so fierce an appe­tite, that he ran panting towards it; and that so very fast, as to make himselfe weary though he were God; and to be glad to make a seate of that well side, to which the happy Samari­tane came for water.

It is also true, that Christ our Lord was often inuited to eate with others, and he ac­cepted therof; nay, and he was not inuited so much by their desires, as he was by his owne loue to their soules; & for their good, he made himselfe all, to all. For he did eate with them to the end that men might not want the Do­ctrine of his diuine example, both in the point of Temperance and Patience. But many of those meates were otherwise of much more mortifi­cation to him in seuerall kinds, then the want therof, could haue bene; Since it was not in the power of that heauēly wisedome to conti­nue vntoucht by those teeth of malice, which vpon all warnings were gnashing towards him. ButThe wicked vse which the lewes made of our Lords benignity towardes them. Matt. 11. from his facility of descending into their company; and the resolution, that (whilst he was there) he would not shew any singularity, they did with the hand of their cākered mind, fetch reasons why they should sel him, for a gluttō & drinker of wine. This seems euen to haue pierced the tender hart of our B. Lord with vnkindnes; and it drew him in ef­fect to say; Iohn the Baptist, came to you in absti­nence & shew of pēnance, & you said he had a deuill; my selfe am come to you without any shew of such austerities; but I haue applyed my self to your cōuersa­tion: And now you say, that I am a glution. I would fayne win your loue, but I know not how. I would faine inflame you to the seruice of God, but your pow­der it so wet, that no coales of mine can giue it fire.

And I would to IESVS, that through our sinnes, we did not see this verified also at [Page 180]this day; when the Sectaries, and Politiques of the world, are so fastidious, as that they make faces at his Doctrine, whatsoeuer it be. Nor will they be conuinced, either by the exem­plar, visible austerity, and pennance of some of our holy Religious Ordes, which were consecrated in the person of S. Iohn; nor by the applyable learned, prudent, humble, & charitable endeauour of some other Institutes which hide their mortifications, for feare of frighting mens weake mindes; and which were designed, and recommended, by the liuely example & expresse Doctrine of Christ our Lord, and his Apostles. But woe be to them, vvho in case of temporall infirmity, haue so ill a constitution, as to conuert their Phisicke, into Poyson. AndThis disease both of body and mind is very dan­gerous. vvoe vvill be to these others, in the last day, vvho in cases vvhich concerne the soule, doe from truth, take an occasion of continuing in errour. Or rather I beseech our Lord IESVS, (euen by the memory and merit of that Doctrine, vvhich vvith so ardent loue he deliuered heere on earth) they may at last find themselues con­uinced by it; and that imbracing it vvith their vvill, they may escape all vvoe.

The same discourse is continued, concerning the great loue, which our Lord Iesus ex­pressed in his Doctrine.

CHAP. 34.

I Haue vvillingly entertained my selfe vpon the consideration of some circumstances vvhich concerne the aduantages of this diuine Doctour of our soules, beyond all the Do­ctours vvhich are, or euer vvere, or are to be. Because though no argumēt should be dravvn from the very Doctrine it selfe, to proue the loue of him that taught it; yet his person a­lone, and the very manner vvhich he held therin, vvas such, as ought to oblige the most rebellious mindes that liue, to all obedience.

Our Lord IESVS himselfe, (notvvith­standing that he had incomparably the grea­test humility that euer vvas possessed by any soule) did yet vvell vnderstand, and iustly prize the dignity of his ovvne person so farre, as to knovv, that he tooke no authority from his Doctrine; but that his Doctrine tooke it all from him. Yet so great vvas his goodnes, that although he vvere as perfect God, as he vvas perfect man, heThe sectartes will be be­leeued v­pon their wordes; yet Christ Lord, would not exact so much of the Iewes. vvould not yet oblige vs to beleeue it, vnlesse first he had prooued it, by infallible testimonies. But that being once done, he was not to indignify, & diminish any one vvord of his Doctrine and decrees, by al­leaging reasons and proofes; but only & sim­ply [Page 180] [...] [Page 181] [...] [Page 182]to affirme it: This point I touch diuers times, because occasion is ministred very oftē; and euen Popes and Princes (who are but dust, and ashes) doe hold this stile, and are wont to send out their decrees, and to make their Edicts, in a positiue and expresse forme. And whatsoeuer earnest asseuerations or rea­sons should be added for the grace & strength therof, would many tymes be, but as a con­trary meanes to that end.

So that theEuen the play n­nes of the deliuery of the do­ctrine of Christ our Lord gi­ues it great au­thority. plainenes of the deliue­ry of the Doctrine of Christ our Lord, is a vehe­ment proose of the diuinenes of it. Since, be­ing voyd of all those helpes of art (in the arme wherof, all other Doctrines put their hope) this alone is a Doctrine, which dares expose it selfe playne and naked. And in despight of the whole wicked world, it liues, it breathes, it gathers ground, and strength amongst all the venemous weeds of the world. And in des­pite of ignorance, sensuality, and sinne; it strikes at the roote, not only of all things, which are contrary to God and goodnes; but euen of all things, which are lesse good and perfect. And itThe Trophees which the Doctrine of Christ our Lord erecteth in the hart of man. erecteth Trophees, and keepeth tryumphes in the profoundest part of the harts, of the ciuilest, the worthiest, the lear­nedst, the wisest, and the holyest people of the whole world.

The more sublime authority this Do­ctrine hath, and the more aduantage other­wise; the more infinitely are we Catholikes, bound to that diuine goodnes, which with [Page 183]an eternall loue, did make choyce of vs, as the disciples thereof. And to the end that we might the more easily conceaue it with the vnderstanding, and the more faithfully retaine it with the memory, it pleased that altitude of diuine wisedome, to abase it self to our meane capacity. And (when the Doctrine of it selse, would not perhaps haue bene so well recei­ued) to set it out, by allusions and Parables; yea and many tymes euen they, are borrowed, but from the figures of meane bodies;See euery where in the holy Ghospell. as of Plowes, of Corne, of Netts, of Fishes, of Leauen, of Mustard-seed, and the like. Establishing, by that familiar and easy meanes, a kind of com­merce and traffique betwene things diuine & humane, in the mindes of men.

And indeed if this Doctrine had not bene brought by the sweet hand of God, to carry a great proportion to mans nature, assi­sted by his holy grace; what possibility had there bene, that it could haue wrought such wonders in the world? MakingThe diuine wonders which the doctrine of Christ our Lord hath wrought in the world. so many Kings and Queenes for the loue of Christ our Lord, become voluntary beggars. Making youth become chast; old age obedient; know­ledge humble; austerity so sweete and plea­sant, as that there are, and haue bene milliōs of people, in the Catholike Church, (and our Lord be euer blessed and praysed for it, and he knoweth that it is true, (vvhatsoeuer any So­ctary shal either say or thinke to the contrary) vvho insteed of fine lynnen, haue inclosed, & claspedthemselues, vvithin Girdles of wy [...]e, [Page 184]and shirts of haire; Insteed of delighfull bathe haue taken frequent disciplines in bloud; In­steed of curious and costly beds, haue spent their vvhole nights vpon the hard ground; Insteed of sumptuous banquets, haue enter­tayned themselues in rigorous fasts. And last­ly insteed euen of lavvfull pleasures, haue ex­ercised themselues, vvith great attention, in the mortification of the faculties, and senses, both of the body and mind.

This I say they doe, & they haue done; and that, vvith all the secresy they could; and only, in contēplation of the loue of our Lord Iesvs; & in conformity to his diuine life and Doctrine, vvhich requires men to looke vpon his example, & to liue therafter; & which pro­claimes to all theThe abnegatiō of ones self which is requi­red by the doctrine of Christ our Lord. Luc. 14. Ioan. 12. Ioan. 6. vvorld (as instantly I shall touch againe) that, If any man would come after him, he must deny himselfe, & take vp his Crosse & follow him. For he that would saue his life, should loose it, and he that would loose his life for him, should saue it. If a sectary or libertine shal heare this Do­ctrine he vvil be sure to say that it is Durus ser­mo. A bit vvhich hath a bone in it, so bigge, as that he knovves not hovv, either to chavv, or svvallovv, and much lesse digest it. And yet this very bit, this bitter pilwhich is so vn­sauoury to the man, vvho is all made of flesh and bloud, being vvrapped vp in the golden vvords of our Lord, doth in the taking it dovvne, grovv so full of delight and gust, (through the puissance vvhich it hath ouer the soules of such as doe seriously & sincerely loue [Page 185]him) that no pennance in this life, could be so grieuous to them, as if they should be boüd from doing pennance. And see now by this, whether the Doctrine of Christ our Lord be not of strange power, and strength; and whether his diuine Maiesty, haue not infinitely loued vs, who hath made weake men so able, and so willing to imbrace it for the loue of him.

ThisThis doctrine as it is on the one side effica cious and strong; so on the o­ther it is smooth & sweet. strength, wherwith the Doctrine of Christ our Lord abounds, is no rude or course kind of strength; but rather it is like some one of those most excellēt Minerall Phi­sicks, which is exactly well prepared. For to­gether with the discharging of peccant hu­mours, (which vseth to carry with it, a kind of paine) it is a cordiall withall, and it com­forts the very substance of the soule, incompa­bly more excellently then that other Phisicke can, the nature of the body. Besides, there is not heere, any one receipt alone for the cure of soules; as there be Empericks inough in the world, who (withall their bragges) haue but some one medicine or two, for the corporall cure, of as many patients as they may chance to haue. But heere, are fully as many helpes, as there can be motions in the minde; & this Doctrine is fit to worke vpon them al. For who seesThe seuerall wayes, wherby the hart of man, is holpen by that Doctrine of Christ our Lord. not, how it abounds with exact com­mandements; expresse prohibitions; high and holy counsailes; heroicall examples; a clear notice of benefits already receiued and faithful promises of more; sweet admonitions; seuere reprehensions, and terrible threats. To the [Page 186]end that no man may be able to defend, or e­uen excuse his disobedience, with any appea­rance of reason; but that euery one may, as he ought, submit himselfe.

What misery can that be, whereof heere he may not find a remedy? what doubt, wherof he may not find a solution? What pi­ous affection, wherof he may not find an in­flamation? What vertue would he obtaine, or what vice would he auoyd, wherin he shall not find a world of counsaile & addresse? And in a word, what thought of God, or of him­selfe, can he haue, with any relation to his comfort, either for this life, or the next, which being a good student of this Doctrine of Christ our Lord, he may not easily apparaile in that rich and choyce wardrobe of his, with iacu­latory prayers and aspirations. I say not only significant, but which haue withall, so much of the ardent, of the great, and of the noble, as it will become the eares of God to heare, & will not become his mercifull hart not to har­ken to.

The incompar able purity of the Doctrine of Christ our Lord: and with how great loue he helpeth vs towards the practise therof.

CHAP. 35.

THIS diuine Doctrine of our Lord IESVS doth no way abrogate the morall law, or ten commaundements; but it doth auow [Page 187]and ratify the same. Though, for as much as concernes the Iudiciall and Ceremoniall lawes, (vnder which the people of God did liue, be­fore the coming of our Messias) it perpetuated only the reall verities, which were conteyned therin; and it did destroy and bury (though yet with honour) those partes therof, which were but figures of the comming of Christ our Lord. We say therfore most properly, that to be the Doctrine of this diuine Doctour, wherby either some Truthes were reuiued, which through the wickednes of men were negle­cted, and laid to sleepe, before his comming; or els wherby some others were published to the world, which in perfection did exceed the former, and many of them were not so properly inioyned in the nature of a comaun­dement, as they were taught vs, by the coun­sailes of Christ our Lord.

ThisWher and how the body of the Do­ctrine of Christ our Lord is deliue­red. Doctrine of Christ our Lord, is partly deliuered to vs, by the Tradition of the holy Catholike Church, as we shall see after­ward, and partly in holy Scripture. And in this holy Scripture, most of those particulars are conteyned and expressed which shew the perfection and purity of his heauenly Doctrine. This is done after a most particular manner in that diuine sermon, wherby his Disciples and we in them (if we also will be his Disciples)Cap. 5.6. and else­where, in all the parts of the ghos­pell. were instructed vpon that hill; and S. Matthew deliuereth it by the words of our Lords owne sacred mouth.

He proclaimeth the eight Beatitudes; [Page 188]where he annexeth not felicity to the como­dities and pleasures of this life: But to pouerty of spirit, meekenes, mornefulnes, hungar, and thirst after Iustice, mercifulnes, purity of hart; Peace ma­king; and to the being persecuted, and reuiled for the cause of Christ our Lord. He lets men know, withall, that for no respect they must breake the least tittle of the law of God. That men must not be angry, nor giue any iniurious word to others. That we must not consent, to so much as the least dishonest thought. That no man or woman must be diuorced, vpon the commit­ting of lesse then Fornication; and that neither of thē, shall marry againe till the other dye. That we must not sineare at all. That we must not so much as resist oppression. That we must loue euen our very enemies. That we must giue Almes, and fast, and pray, with­out ostemation. That in all things, we must haue a most pure intention. That we must cast away all sol­licitude, concerning our selues, and leaue all, to the good prouidence of God. That we must reforme our selues, but not so much as iudge, any other man. That we must cut of, and cast away all occasions, & causes of scandall and sinne; how neere, or how deare so euer they may be to vs. That we must striue to enter into he auen, by the Of mortifica­tion and penance. narrow gate. That we must aspire to chastity, though euery one will not reach so high. That we must be perfect, as our heauenly Father is per­fect. And that whoso euer will be so, must sell all that he hath, and giue it to the poore, and follow our Lord; and that such a one, shall haue his treasure in heauen. That if any man would come after our Lord, he must deny himselfe, and take vp his Crosse and follow him; For he that would saue his life should loose it, and he [Page 189]that would loose his life, should saue it. That his dis­ciples must goe in Mission for the conuersion of soules, without depending vpon the hauing of any viaticum; or the wearing so much as shooes; or carrying a wallet with them for any prouision. That they must looke per­secution, and euen death it selfe, in the face, and not so much as premeditate what they are to say for them­selues, in those occasions.

These are the most fragrant flowers, wherof that rich garment is wouen, or ra­ther these are the most choyce Iewells, wher­of that pretious Crowne is composed, which Christ our Lord, brought downe from hea­uen. With intention to put it vpon the heads of all such persons, as meant to be disciples of his Doctrine, and to become Graduates in his schoole of Perfection. AndThe faithfull practise of the Do­ctrine of Christ our Lord, makes men hap­py euen in this life. verily euen in this life, the study, and practice of this Do­ctrine of Christ our Lord, doth make men hap­py, after a sort, and put them heere into a kind of tast of that felicity, wherof they are to take the whole daughts heerafter in the king­dome of heauen. For so great is the purity & power thereof, as to lodge a man out of the reach of humane things; by making him place his felicity euen in Crosses, both of paine and shame; wherof, in such a world as this, he shal be sure to haue no want. And to make him see, that his misery cōsists in nothing, but in swaruing frō this way to his felicity. Hap­py is he, who feeles the truth of this in his soule; and most miserable is he, who although he feele it not, will not yet beleeue that the [Page 190]thing is true. For he who beleeues not this truth, will neuer seeke it; and he that seeks it not, will neuer find it.

It cannotConsi­derations which fa­cilitate the practise of this Do­ctrine. be denyed, but that this Doctrine requires hard things at a mans hands. But so it must be considered, that he who tea­cheth it, doth withall, giue much grace, wher­with to learne it. A burthen is more or lesse grieuous, according to the strength more or lesse, which he hath, who is to beare it. And it is no heard matter, for one who is of infini­te power, to giue vs strength to carry accor­ding to the weight of that which is to be im­posed; and especially, if that power be accō ­panied with a goodnes which is as infinite. Indeed, it we consider the Doctrine as it is in it selfe, we may say, it is not only hard, but im­possible; and especially it will seeme so then, when we accompany that thought, with a deepe consideration of the miserable frailty of our nature; the strength of our passions, and the importunity of sensible obiects, which so­licite and haunt vs, euen to death in euery corner.

But yet, on the other side, we shall be­leeue it, to be both possible and easy, if we re­member, as I was saying, the omnipotēt, wise loue of Christ our Lord, the aboundant grace, which is deriued to vs from the merits of his holy life and death; the exāple of many Saints, who hauing bene made of the same metall with vs, haue, by the fauour of God and their good endeauours, translated, as it were, their [Page 191]soules, out of this wildernes of beasts, into the paradise of Angells, euen before they parted from their mortall bodies. And not only hath this bene performed by Sains deceased; but we doe most certainly know, and conuerse with so good seruants of God, as that, in great measure, they ariue to it also in this life.

So that we haue all reason to be full of hope, that by the same meanes we may fol­low, whitherWear left with­out excu­se, it we do not follow, where so many are gone be­fore. they haue gone before. Or at least we are to confesse, that the fault is no bodies, but our owne, if we doe it not. For if it be a burthen, Christ our Lord will make it light; and if it be a yoke, he will make it sweet. And he who thirsteth after comfort, is inuiced by the lowd cry of Christ our Lord, to goe & drinke therof, at that liuing fountaine of his grace. And a promise is made to all the world,Ioan. 7. that whatsoeuer shall be asked of God in the name of Christ our Lord, shalbe graunted.Matt. 11. And whosoeuer is either loaden with sinne, or doth labour, vnder those punishments, which, as the reliques of sinne, doe hange vpon him; is al­lured by the voyce of Christ our Lord himself to repaire to him, that he may be refreshed.

And indeed, what refreshing or com­fort is there to be had in this life, till selfeloue be laid downe, and the pure and perfect loue of Christ our Lord be taken vp, in the practise of his diuine Doctrine: selfeloue, and selfewill it is, which puts vs to such paine in this pil­grimage. For these are the rootes of all our in­ordinate affections, which place vs as vpon a [Page 192]beacon, where we are subiect to all the win­des of perturbation and passion, which can blow; either of desires, or hopes, or feares, or any other care whatsoeuer. Yea, and if we watch our selues well, we shall find some­tymes, that euen concerning the same persōs, or things, we are, in effect, at theThis is most true how strág soeuer it may seem selfe same tyme, both in hope, and feare; in loue, and yet in hate; in a burning kind of little en­uy against them, and yet vpon the mayne, with an ardēt desire of their good. And in fine, we know not sometymes, what our selues would haue, nor what we ayle.

What meruaile is it then, if we be of­ten vnlike, to what we had resolued to be, & that we are so extremely vnequall, so muta­ble, and so miserable? How can we choose, but be perfect slaues, if thus we tye our selues to selfe loue, which giues the plague & death it selfe to al true liberty of spirit, professed and imparted, by the practice of the Doctrine of Christ our Lord, which is only able to make men free. This is not that prophane supposed liberty, toThe levvd li­berty of the Ghos­pell of sectaries. which the sectaries of this age do intytle their Ghospel, and which is indeed but expresse subiection to sinne and true slauery. But true Christian liberty doth consist in vn­tying the soule, from all imperfection & sin; in subduing & mortifying our inordinate in­clinations and passions acoording to the pure and perfect law of Christ our Lord; and in a word, in re-acquiring (for so much as can be done in this life) that state of innocency, and [Page 193]that perfect subordination of sense to reason, and of reason to God, which by Adam was lost in Paradise.

And if still it shall appeare to vs, that (euen supposing but ordinary grace) this en­terprise doe carry difficulty in the bosome of it; yet consider at least that no great thing can be done without some difficulty. Consider howThe infinite paynes vvhich is taken by vvorldly men for trash. the souldier labours for a little pay; The Courtier for a miserable suite; the schol­ler for a smacke of vayne knowledge; The Merchant for increase of gaine; The husband­man for the hope of a good haruest; The Sheepheard for the thriuing of his flocke. Cō ­sider the torments which sicke and wounded men indure for the recouery of a little corpo­rall health; and the sensuall person for the ob­teyning of his bestiall pleasure. And be thou sure to beleeue this most certaine truth; that the perfect seruice of God deserues in no sort to be accounted painefull, in respect of that deadly affliction and torment, which the ty­ranny of our inordinate affections, & world­ly pretences doth dayly, and hourely put vs to. And know this withall, that still the strō ­ger those passions grow, the more vn worthy seruitude doe they also grow, euery moment, to hold thee in; besides the mortall wounds which they oftē inflict vpon the soule, wher­in if it dye, it is damned withall. Wheras a trueThe happines of a true seruant of God. Disciple of this Doctrine of Christ out Lord, hath the happines to study vnder the care, and in the eye, of an omnipotent Doctour. [Page 194]He walkes perpetually secure, because he is e­uer in conformity, to the holy, and wise wil of God. He is dayly gayning vpon himselfe. He is fed, now and then, with particular cō ­forts of Gods holy spirit; in comparison wher­of, all the lying pleasures of flesh and bloud are no better then a smoky chimney to a tēder sight. He findes himselfe generally to grow stated in a kind of quiet ioy, and an immouea­ble peace of mind; though this indeed, admits of great variety of degrees, more or lesse, ac­cording to his indeauour, and concourse with the diuine grace.

And althoughThe very de­sire of perfection, is [...] good step to­wards it. a man should neuer arriue to the very top of perfection; yet that proportion wherof he cānot misse (if he faith­fully endeauour to procure it) will be a libe­rall reward of greater paines, then he can take. For besides the contentment of being still in strife towards God; he will find it seated in his very soule, as a most certaine truth; That the very meere desire of perfection, if it be a sound one indeed, giues such a sauoury kind of comfort, as puts all the base contentment of this world to silence. By this endeauour he shall also be defended, not only from mortall, but euen from willfull veniall sinnes. And he is already possessed, of as great security, as can be had in this mortall life of ours, that he is or­deyned for heauen; in reward of that reue­rence and obedience, which heere he hath performed, in learning and practising the diuine Doctrine of Christ our Lord; which he [Page 195]came to teach vs with so infinite loue. But yet further we ought to be his euerlasting slaues, in that he was pleased that so principall a part of this very doctrine, should not only be de­liuered, but should remaine recorded, and written in holy Scripture for our instruction and comfort, as partly we haue seen already, and will yet appeare more particularly, in the Chapter following.

Of the vnspeakeable Loue of our Lord Iesus, in ordey­ning, that the greatest part of his diuine Do­ctrine should remaine in wryting: and of the great benefit which growes to vs by the holy Scripture.

CHAP. 36.

HOw clearly is our mercifull God, as good as his word, in fulfilling the pro­mise which he was pleased to make to vs by the mouth of the Prophet Esay: Isa. 30. Non faciet auo­here à te vltra, Doctorem tuum; & erunt oculi tui vi­dentes praeceptorem tuum &c. and againe by the Prophet Ioel: Filij Sion exultate, & laetamini in Domino Deo vestro, quia dedit vobis Doctorem Iusti­tiae. Our Lord will not make thy Doctour fly away any more; and thine eyes shall see thy A most tender ex­pression of the lo­ue of God in the tea­ching of man. Teacher. And thine eares shall heare the word of him, who admonis­heth thee behinde thy backe. This is the way, walke you in it; and decline you neither to the right hand, nor to the left. Reioyce yee children of Sion, and be ioyful in the Lord your God, because he hath giuen you a Doctour of Iustice.

That God did giue vs this Doctour for the instruction of our soules, we know by faith; and we feele by grace; and the Church his Spouse, is dayly recomending it to our me­mory. ButThe holy Scripture doth most liuely re­present Christ our Lord, as it were, to our ve­ry eyes. that yet, he was so to be heere, as neuer to remoue, euen as it were, his visi­ble instructing presence from vs; this blessing is chiefly affoarded to vs, by the holy Scrip­ture. For therby we are dayly, and howerly told, so many particulars of his sacred person; how he lookt, how he walkt, how he spake, how he groād, how he wept, how he prayed, and how he preached; so that besides his reall presence in the B. Sacrament (for vpon that I shall reflect heereafter) we esteeme our selues to haue him still euen personall, after a sort, amongst vs, and to be as it were, chayned with our eyes, to that diuine countenance of his, and vvith our eares to those heauenly vvords, and vvith our harts to those immense benefits, vvhich vve find him to haue povvred vpon our fore fathers, and by them on vs.

Our Lord forbid,Psalm. 32. that vve should be like that horse or mule which hath no vnderstanding; but vvhen the Maister hath fed him full, and fat, doth abuse his care, and giue him perhaps a kicke, insteed of doing him painefull seruice; yea and that for nothing else, but because he had bene so liberally fed. For euen such shall we be, if the riches of Gods mercy towards vs, should incline vs rather to a fastidious kind of contempt, then to an obsequious reuerence & respect. If ourConsi­der well of this truth. Lord IESVS had not bene so [Page 197]gratious, as to inspire his seruants to write his story; or to enable his Church to preserue it from the consumption of tyme, and the Canker of Heresy, and the inundation of In­fidelity; how willingly would we haue sould our selues into our shirts, to haue obtayned so great a fauour at his hands? If we should only haue knowne, that when our Lord liued on earth, he had conuersed with men; & had ex­pressed himselfe to thē, at large, by words; so­metimes by way of Sermōs, sometimes of Pa­rables, sometymes at meales, sometimes in the working of miracles; That he spake at large,Ioan. 14. at that supper which was the last he made on earth; and in the Garden,Luc. 22. when he boyled himselfe in a bath of bloudy sweate; & vpon that Crosse when he left his most pretious life, in the midst of cruell torments, and most bit­ter scornes which brake his hart, (though in­deed he dyed, of pure loue to vs) but yet with­all that those words of his, were lost, & that they had not beene kept vpon record; or if they had been kept, that now they could be found no more: What labour, I say, would we not endure; what charge would we not vndergoe; what danger would we not in­curre with ioy, so that by meanes therof, one word of his might be recouered and knowne? And in that case, how should we be still soun­ding it out with our tongues; and on grauing it vpon our harts, and entertayning our selues, day & night, in the cogitatiō & contēplation therof? ButThey haue little knowled­ge of God who grow not in lo­ue and re­uerēce to him, the more they treat with him. now it may be feared, that [Page 198]plenty it selfe, hath made vs poore; and fami­liarity hath bred contempt; and that our quea­sy stomacks, are ouercome and gone, through the only smell of such a sumptuous feast as we are inuited to; whilst such a world of those very words, which Christ our Lord did vse in holy Scripture, are set before, not only our mind, but euen our very eyes and eares, by our holy mother the Church. If it be so, let vs pray, that heerafter such a great ingratitude may be farre from vs; and let vs beginne to cast our harts; at the feete of our Lord, for so incomparable a fauour.

The Canon of this holy Scripture, is therfore that which doth containe, as hath been said, the chiefest part of that diuine Do­ctrine, which our Lord IESVS came to teach on earth. I say the chiefest part; for it is not al. But our Lord IESVS taught many things, both by himselfe, and by his Apostles, which we are all obliged to beleeue, and yet they are not expressed in holy Scripture. And so he told his Apostles and Disciples: That The proofe of Traditiō Ioan. 16. he had many things to say to them, but that then, they were not capable therof. And the Text it selfe doth also affirme, that he conuersed with them betwene his Re­surrection and Ascension, discoursing by the space of Fourty dayes, Luc. 1. of the kingdome of God, which is his Church. And it cannot be, but that then, he told thē of many of those very things, wher­of he had knowne them to be incapable till that tyme; and yet the holy Scripture giues very little account therof. The Baptisme of [Page 199]infants was not particularly taught in holy Scripture: the Sacraments indeed were institu­ted, by our B. Lord; and S. Paul said,1. Cor. 11. he would giue particular orders, in that of the blessed Sacra­ment, when he should arriue with the Corinthians; but what those orders might be, we can know no otherwise, then by the tradition of the ho­ly Church. The Sabaoth, was translated from the Saturday, to the Sunday. Many Ceremonies of the old Law were abrogated, and some of them permitted, as namelyS. Paul did cir­cumcise Timothy. Act. 15. Circumcision, with many others; and some euen commaunded for a tyme, as the abstayning from the eating of bloud, or strangled meates, and the like. But how long, or short that tyme was to be, we haue no newes out of holy Scripture. Nay this Canon of the very Scripture, it selfe, wherin we are so happy as hath bene said, and whervpon the Aduersaries of the Church, for the disguysing of their disobedience and pride, will needs pretend to relye, as vpon the entiere rule of Faith, & the sole Iudge of controuersies in reli­gion, is no way declared to vs, by any one text of holy Scripture. But it is only authorized (in respect of vs) by the voyce & sentence of the holy Church. Many, & many other instāces might be also giuē; by the cleare light wherof, it would appeare, that the whole Doctrine of our Lord, is not conteyned in holy Scripture.

NorIn what sense the holy Scripture may im­properly be said to contayne the whole Doctrine of Christ our Lord. can it be truly said to be all cō ­tayned there, in any sense, vnlesse it be, be­cause the holy Scripture, doth plainely shew the markes of the true visible Church of Christ [Page 200]our Lord; and doth teach, that the decrees therof,Matt. 18. are to be obeyed in all things, with­out appeale. Which Church, because it posses­seth, and dispenseth that whole Dopositum of true Doctrine, concerning the seruice of God, which S. Paul did so recommend to S. Timo­thy, the holy Scrpture, 1. Tim. 6. may in some sense, be sayd, to containe the whole doctrine of Saluation; because it sends vs to the Church, which doth indeed particularly containe and teach it all. But neuerthelesse, it is certaine, and we still confesse it agayne and agayne, to the vnspea­keable ioy of our harts, that the holy Scripture it selfe, holds the greatest part of the Doctrine of Christ our Lord. And therfore (as I was saying) much of that which I deliuered before, concerning the excellency of his Doctrine, both may, and ought to be most fitly applyed to holy Scripture. And because there occurreth somewhat concerning the particular eminen­cy of this holy booke, which hath not particu­larly bene touched before, I will heere the rather reflect vpon it, because we may easi­ly see thereby, the dignity of our Lords loue therin.

How carefull we must be, not to berash in the vse of holy Scripture: and of the great obscurity therof.

CHAP. 37.

FIRST therfore, for our comfort, and to the end that no place at all might be left for doubt, he was pleased that it should be written by the spirit of God; wherbyThe infallible truth of holy Scripture. it growes to be as true, as truth it selfe. And in this we are of so firme beliefe, as that there is not one little in it, for the defence wherof, from the least aspersion of the least iniury, or errour, we are not willing to lay down a mil­lion of liues. This is an homage which we neither owe, nor pay, to any other booke. But to this, it is most due, both for the irre­fragable truth, which it carrieth; and for the loue wherwith our Lord resolued, that in ca­ses which did so much concerne vs, he would haue vs know his mind. Yet heerin his mea­ning was, that still for our relying vpon the true sense thereof, we should be ruled, by our betters. For els howHow­soeuer holy Scripture is infalli­bly true in it selfe, we shall grow into errour by it vnlesse it be inter­preted by the Church. infallible soeuer the holy Scripture were, in it selfe; we might make it, through our fault, an occasiō of being much deceaued, in the beliefe and worship of Almighty God; through the abundance of dif­ficulty, vvhich is therin, as vvill soone be shevved. In the meane tyme, let vs cōsider the supreme nobility, which the spirit of God hath [Page 202]vsed, in conueying his sense, into these words.

Though vvhy doe I speake of any sin­gle sense, as if there vvere but one; vvheras indeed, as it treats of high things after an h̄ ­ble manner, so though it treates of but a fevv things, it, doth it yet, after a copious manner; Alta humiliter, Confes. l. 12. cap. 30. & pauca copiosè, as S. Augustine saith. And the same excellēt Saint, doth proue els vvhere at large, or rather he doth not so labouriously proue, as take it from a knovvne and certayne truth; That out of few, and they, the selfe same words, Ibid. c. 25. a great number of most true senses may be drawne. He sayth moreouer, That he can see no reason, Ibid. c. 31. why the man who wrote them (vvhich in his case vvas Moyses) should not be beleeued to haue knowne, and seene all those senses, in those words; (Per quem, Deus vnus, sacras literas, vera, & di­uersa visuris, Ibid. c. 26. multorum sensib us temperauit.) He by whose ministery, our Lord did accomodate, and tem­per the words of holy Scripture, to the seuerall, and yet all true senses, which many men would picke out from thence. The Saint, doth else vvhere, make the case his ovvne, and deliuereth himselfe in this manner. If S. Au­gustine shewes the varie­ty of sen­ses, of ho­ly Scrip­ture; and why he that wrote it did vn­derstand those di­uers sen­ses. I had bene Moyses, and that I had beene inioyned to write the booke of Genesis, I should haue wished to haue had such a guift of speach, and such a way of composing; as that they, who could not yet vnderstand, in what māner God createth, should not sly off, from the words, as being too hard for their capacity. And yet they againe, who were able to vn­derstand it, (into whatsoeuer true sense or meaning they might haue come, by their consideration therof) might haue found, that the same, had not bene [Page 103]left out in those few words, which thy seruant vsed. And if any other man should yet, in the light of truth, haue seene some other sense; neither should that al­so, haue been found wanting in his words. And this discourse he shutteth vp, with saying shortly after; I will not therfore, O my God, be so precipita­ted in my iudgment, as to beleeue that man, not to haue deserued this fauour at thy hands. Without doubt, Moyses meant, and thought, by those words, when he wrote them, whatsoeuer we are able to find true therin; as also whatsoeuer therin, is to be found, though we cannot find it, or at least not yet. HowThe Nobility of holy Scripture. no­ble and how excellent a thing doth it appeare by this, that the holy Scripture is. And how great a benefit, and withall how high an ho­nour hath God imparted to man, by putting such a booke into his hand, as wherof S. Au­gustine saith els where, That our B. Sauiour is God humaned; and the holy Scripture is God proclaymed, or preached. And we may, by this excellent meanes, both heare what he saith to vs when vve vvill, and make him also heare, whatsoe­uer vve haue a mind to say to him.

The supernaturall excellency of holy Scripture, is euident, not only by the multitu­de of true senses, vvhich euen the same words affoards; but by the misterious expression which it makes of the very things othervvise. We may see (saith Fa. Salmerõ) in those Canonicall bookes, certaine most high sublime senses & meanings; In his pro­legomena. 2. vested ouer, with a poore & humble garment of words; as if it were a kind of diuinity, vnited to the humanity; Or as a Christ laid in a Maunger, wrapped in clouts; [Page 104]so as that euen therby, the height of holy Scripture doth appeare. It is also contriued, with such a kind of temper, that sometymes it is obuious, and of easy accesse; and someytmes againe, very obscure, & hard. Thus sayth Father Salmeron.Confes. l. 3. c. 5. And S. Augu­stine giueth this iudgment of it, That it is not a thing vnderstood by men who are proud, nor yet dis­couered to such as are children. But that it is humble in shew, and sublime in substance, and ouershadowed with mysteries.

This follovving proposition, at the first sight, may seeme perhaps a little strange, That from the very difficulty of the holy Scripture, to their vnderstanding, for whose instruction and com­fort it was written; an argument should be fetched to proue the greatnes of Gods loue euen therin. But in it selfe the thing is most sincerely true,Salmeron in Proleg. 2. & I vvill hope to make it cleere (by the helpe of that good man in the margent) out of the excellent fruits vvhich grovv to vs by this very obscuri­ty. I vvill first procure to prooue, both out of him, and the glorious S. Augustine, that indeed it is very obscure, and then hovv it grovves to be so; though the pride of Sectaries be so great, as to make euen the profoundest Do­ctrine of Christ our Lord, to be most easy, vvhensoeuer themselues vvill vouchsafe to be the Doctours of it.

S. The great obs­curity of holy Scripture. Augustine vvho may vvell goe for one of the vvonders of the vvorld in point of vvit, did auovv in his Confessions (vvhether his humility vvould or no) that vvhen he was not tvventy yeares old, he vnderstood Aristot­les [Page 105]Predicamēts vvithout any teacher at al. And there he taketh God to vvitnes,Confes. l. 4. cap. vlt. That of himselfe he read, and vnderstood all the bookes, that he could procure, which wrote of any of the liberall arts. And afterward hath these vvords: Whatsoeuer I read, concerning the arts, either of Logicke or Rhetoricke; whatsoeuer of Geometry, Musicke, and Arithineticke, I vnderstood without any great difficulty, and with­out the instruction of any man, as thou O Lord my God, dost know. And yet to see how the same S. Au­gustine, (being not afterward, at the only age of twenty, but more then twice as many yea­res (when he wrote the booke of his Confes­sions) doth well shew how farre off he held himselfe, euen then to be from being able to vnderstand the holy Scripture; be but pleased to read the second Chapter of his eleauenth booke, where he begs light and strength; and coniures our Lord by so many-many titles to inspire him with the vnderstāding therof, with so ardent affection, and almost affliction of minde, that it would in a manner, halfe greeue ones hart, to see him in such straites. See also, in another place, if the eye of his soule (with hauing in it such a deale of the Eagle as it had) did not tremble, and dazle, with be­houlding the mistery, and maiesty of holy Scripture. For thus he saith, speaking of the first words of the first booke, which is that of Genesis. Mira est profunditas &c. Confes. l. 12. c. 14. Wonderfull (saith the Saint) is the profoundnes of thy words, wherof yet behold, the superficies, or appearance, doth euen smile vpon vs little ones. But yet the profoundnes ther­of [...] [Page 109]in the same holy Scripture,Proleg 2. fol. 10. as is aboundantly proued by Salmeron, and (amongst other in­stāces) he sheweth how the Prophet Osee saith of his owne prophecy, in the end therof, Who is wise that he may vnderstand these things; and who is intelligent, that he may know them? Which im­plyeth not yet, an impossibility, but only a great difficulty,Iu Proaem. l 1. Com­ment. in Ose. 2. Pet. 3. as S. Hierome notes. And S. Pe­ter affirmeth, that there were some passages in the Epistles of S. Paul hard to be vnderstood, which vn­stable, vnlearned people, did peruert towards their owne perdition; as they also did other scriptures.

So they also doe, in these dayes, wher­soeuer heresy hath set her clouen foote. And that complaint is most iustly made in these sad tymes of ours,Epist. 13. ad Paul. which S. Hierome made in his tyme. Agricolae, Coementarij, fabri metallorum &c. Clownes, Daubers, Smythes, Wood-cleauers, Butchers, Dyers, and the like, cannot learne their trades, with­out a teacher. But euery prating old woman, euery doting old man, and euery wrangling Sophister; and in fine, who will, may presume to lay hold vpon holy Scripture, and to tosse it, and teach it, before they haue learnt it. And for my part I confesse, that in my life I haue nor heard of many thinges, which might make a man laugh and weepe both at once; then, that one passing once in a pri­son of London, from one chamber to another with a candle in his hand, which the winde blew out; and stepping in hard by to light it in a little Sellar, where Ale and Beare was to be sould, he found the Tapster very graue­ly leaning vpon a barrell, with his Byble ly­ing [Page 209]open before him. And forsooth he was in study of the Prophesy of Ezechiell. So that I know not whether ignorāce be more blind, or pride more bold. But these kind of men may learne to be confounded when they con­sider that euen the B. Apostles, after they had heard so many Sermons and Parables deliue­red and expounded by Christ our Lord him­selfe: And after hauing inioyed his diuine cō ­uersation for the space of three yeares together, were yet so farre from vnderstanding the sense of holy Scriptures, that our Lord himselfe was fayne, immediatly before his Ascension, to ap­peare to them expresly for this purpose, that he might instruct them, and open their meaning to them. Which may sufficiently serue to shew how full of difficulty they are in thēselues, & how impossible to be vnderstood but by the particular fauour of that Doctor of our soules.

How the holy Scripture growes to be so very obscure, and of the infinite wise loue which our Lord hath shewed to vs euen therin.

CHAP. 38.

I Will touch, in a few words, out of Salme­ron, the chiefe reasons which make the ho­ly Scripture so very hard,Proleg. 2. fol. 14. that so I may come to shew, how the tender loue of our mercifull Lord doth euidently appeare to vs, euen ther­in. ThisThe height of the miste­ries of Christian Religion difficulty is partly caused, by the magnitude and multitude of the mysteries, which are there deliuered, surpassing all hu­mane [Page 210]vnderstanding, and which are able e­uen to amaze the minde. ‘As that of the B. Tri­nity, the Predestination and Reprobation of soules; The Incarnation, death, and Resurrection and As­cension of the sonne of God. The Institution of the B. Sacrament, & such like. The variety euen of li­terall senses, wherof the very same words are capable, and which are assigned by the holy Fathers themselues;’ besides those other senses which are misticall, and spirituall: ThePre­dictions of future thinges. Pre­dictions of Future things, which doe abound in holy Scripture, and which, as they be hard, euen in their owne nature, so heere, they were much harder to be vnderstood, ‘because the ho­ly Ghost, had sometimes an expresse designe to hide thē, vnder certaine metaphors, to the end, that on the one side, they might lye close, frō the notice of wicked kings, (who otherwise would haue put the Prophets to present death) and on the other side, that those mysteries might grow, in fit tyme, by meanes of prayer and other diligences, to be conceaued, and knowne by the faithfull people of God. The seeming of euident contradiction, which is in seue­rall places of holy Scripture. As where it is af­firmed, that God said, vpon the first day, let light be made, and light was made; and yet it is also said, That the sunne was made vpon the fourth day. The varietyVarie­ty of ton­gues. of tongues, wherin it was written, and into which it is translated, euery one wherof hath seuerall manners of speach and seuerall Prouerbes and Parables. The great mul­titude ofMul­titudes of Tropes & Figures. Tropes and Figures, of all kinds; [Page 211]which euery where doe so abound, that euen the most learned, haue inough to doe. The extentThe arts and sciences, which holy Scripture doth com­prehend. of so many Arts and sciences, as are comprehended by holy Scripture; without the vnderstanding wherof, it cannot also be vnderstood. TheVni­uersall proposi­tions which yet are not vniuersal­ly to be vnder­stood. multitude of vniuer­sall propositions, which yet are not vniuersal­ly to be vnderstood; as, All things are lawfull to me, but all things are not expedient &c. The great numberPlaces subiect to variety of sonses by reason of diuersities of natures & persōs. of places, which are subiect to an ambiguous sense; both by reason of diuers di­stinct persons in one, and the same diuine na­ture (as in the B. Trinity) as also of diuers na­tures in one, and the same person, as the di­uine and humane nature of Christ our Lord. TheThe different states of the Church. two different states of the Church, Militant and Tryumphant; and the(i) double comming of our B. Sauiour, once in humili­ty to redeeme vs, & once in Maiesty to iudge vs. The(k) suddaine and instant change of the persons, who are brought in, to speake, and the persons also of them, to whome the speach is made; which is very often vsed, in the Pro­phets and Psalmes. Neither(l) are all things meant to be inioyned to all, but some things only to certaine, and peculiar persons; by the not knowing of which difference, vnaduised men are led on, to errour. The(m) easy and fre­quent [Page 212] passage from the letter to the spirit; ‘from car­nall things to spirituall; from temporall to e­ternall; from the Kings of Israell, to the King Messias; and so also, there is often passage the other way from the spirit, to the letter, and so in the rest.’ It is also made very hard, by the Equiuocatiō The ambigui­ty of the Hebrew tongue. of words, wherof the Hebrew tongue, is so full. Which since it was the first, and consequently the most compendious, and short, of all others; it must necessarily containe many seuerall significations, in few words. ‘And from hence it growes, that generally such variety hath bene found, in the Translations of the old Testament, and some part also of the new.’ NayThe mispla­cing of points &c. the very difference in placing a point, doth make sometimes a different sense; and so doth the manner either of writing or pronouncing a proposition. ‘As namely (whē it is ambiguous, whether any thing be affirma­tiuely, or Ironically, or Interrogatorily to be read).’ This, with more is shewed, by Fa­ther Salmeron.

For these, and for many other reasons, the vnderstanding of holy Scripture is very hardly learnt; and we see by sad experience, what diuisions doe abound in the world by occasion therof; when men will call disobe­dience and pride by the name of holy Ghost, and Euangelicall liberty. There are amongst Sectaries of seuerall cuts, and kindes, sixteene different opinions concerning their Doctrine of Iustification. All which they seuerally doe yet pretend to be grounded in holy Scripture [Page 213]and yet this Scripture it is, which they will haue to be so cleere and plaine. And vpon those fower words, Hoc est corpus meum, This is my body, there are almost fourescore diuersi­ties of opinion.

Our aduersaries themselues, doe by their deeds of disagreement with one another, pro­clayme the difficulty of holy Scripture; which yet in words they will deny; that so they may be excused in making it say what they list. The truth is this; That indeed it is full of dif­ficulty, and our Lord who made it so, did with infinite loue prouide therin for our good, and that, more wayes then one. ForThe many and great goods we get by the very diffi­culty of holy Scripture. See Salme­ron vhi supra. therby we are obliged, as Father Salmeron doth also fur­ther shew, to confesse the vnspeakeable wise­domeWe are brought to a great beliefe of the high wisedom or God. of Almighty God, which doth infi­nitely surpasse all knowledge, or conceyte of ours; euen then, when he vouchsafeth to ex­presse himselfe by words, the ordinary signifi­cation wherof we vnderstand. AndOur pride is humbled. by this meanes he depresseth pride in vs, and depriues vs of all confidence in our selues. HeerbyIt spur­res vs on to prayer. Psalm. 119. he doth also stirre vs vp, to make, with all humili­ty, most earnest prayer to his diuine in maiesty that he will open to vs the secrets of his law; as we see S. Augustine did, and all the Saints haue done; & especially King Dauid, who was euer singing of this songe.

It also growes, through the great obs­curity of holy Scripture, that the Church is fil­led with much varietyIt breds great va­riety of diuine knowled [...] in the Church. of diuine know­ledge; neither is there that possibility, ‘to draw [Page 214]seuerall true senses out of plaine & easy places, as out of such as are obscure: According to that of S. Augustine, The obscurity of diuine Scripture is profitable for this, that it begetteth & bringeth to light seuerall Doctrines of truth; whilst one man, vnder­standeth it after one manner, and another, after ano­ther. AndIt breeds di­ligence in study, and care to conserue in memo­ry. for this very reason also learned men are incited to a more diligent, and ear­nest study therof. And consequently they wil entertaine that knowledge with more gust, which they haue acquired with more labour. ThisIt in­uiteth vs to purity of life. obscurity, is also a cause which makes vs purify our soules the more, because like, loues his like. And holy things will neuer be well comprehended, but by holy persons.

Moreouer it helpes to maintaine and make good, that orderIt helpes to main­taine the Church in due sub ordinatiō, & Order in the Church, which our Lord God hath thought fit to hold, in the dispensation of his guifts and graces. For as the superiour Angells, doe illuminate them who are inferiour; so hath he bene plea­sed, that amongst men, some should excell o­thers in learning, and diuine knowledge, who, as Doctours and Pastours might inter­pret the same to others. ItIt sa­ueth Pearles from be­ing cast to swyne. keepes impure and wicked persons, from knowing those mi­steries which belong to God; wherof they are vnworthy & vncapable, since they will not vse them well. And our Lord himselfe hath said in his Ghospell, that so it was fit to be; and that seeing, Marc. 4. Matt. 7. they might not see; and that hearing, they might not vnderstand; and that pearles must not be cast before swyne.

‘And lastly, the frailty of our corrupted nature is excellently prouided for, by this meanes; since through the difficulty which we find in holy Scripture, we areIt nou­risheth vs in reue­rence and a holy awe. kept in reuerence, and in a kind of holy awe; wheras if throughout, they were familiar, and gaue easy accesse to all cōmers, they might (through our fault) grow instantly to be contemned. On theThe Scripture is wouen both with hard, and easy thin­ges, and this is of great vse to vs. other side, if all the parts thereof were hard a like, we should giue ouer to seeke, that, which we despayred to find. And ther­fore the good pleasure of our Lord, hath bene to make the holy Scriptures obscure, yet with a kind of plainenes; and plaine, but yet with an obscurenes. That by their plainenes, in some places, they might illuminate vs; and by their difficulty in others, they might exercise vs. And that the easy places might helpe vs to­wards the vnderstanding of the hard; and the hard, might serue to imploy our wits, and to make vs know withall, how much we are bound to God, for hauing made some others easy.’

And this is the substance of that which Father Salmeron hath deliuered, both con­cerning the reasons, which make the holy Scriptures hard, and the fruits which grow to vs therby. Through which we may easily discerne the tender and wise care, and loue of this diuine Doctour of our soules. Not on­ly in giuing vs such excellent lessons; but for hauing done it in such an admirable manner; asA de­monstra­tion of the loue of our Lord to vs in this particular. that whilst we are studying them, we [Page 216]must (almost, in despight of our owne proud hartes) be imploying our selues withall, both vpon the exercise of prayer, and the practise of the solide vertues, of humility, patience, o­bedience, purity, and charity. And if yet, we shal not think, that our Lord hath shewed vs loue inough, in giuing vs such an ex­cellent Doctrine, and that in such a fashion, as hath bene heere described, as seeming that this loue, hath more of the solid in it, then of the sweet; let vs cast our eyes vpon the next two Chapters, which are to follow this. Wherin I will briefly endeauour to shew, the excessiue tendernes of the diuine loue, which our Lord doth beare to the soule of man. And which he hath bene pleased to shew, in the Testaments, both old and New. Wherby he proues himselfe not only to be our God, and our Father; but our mother also, and our Spouse, and in fine our all in all, which may any way concerne, the bearing of an infinite loue to vs.

Of the great tendernes of the Loue of our Lord which is shewed to man by the expresse words of holy Scripture: and first of the old Testament.

CHAP. 39.

IN the Burse, they are wont to aske in-com­mers, what they would haue, and what they lacke; as if they were able to supply all wants; and that a man could not seeke for more, then they [Page 217]had the meanes to make him find. But yet neuerthelesse, when the buyer growes to put them to it; and in particular to desire that, wherof he hath particular need; many things are not to be had; and their pouerty, or ill prouision doth soone appeare. This diuine booke of holy Scripture, is another manner of store-house,The holy Scripture is a plen­tifull store house where men find, whatsoe­uer good thing they want. of the tender, and maternall loue of our Lord God to man. Nor are we subiect to any kind of misery, wherof the re­medy is not there at hand; nor can any affe­ction be thought vpon, wherwith as hath been sayd, he did not vouchsafe to vest him­selfe, in most patheticall words, to the end that we might be well assured of his incompa­rable loue. It would grow to be a large vo­lume, if a man would take hould of many passages, amongst the multitudes of them, which are there presented; especially if he should ponder them as he goes. It shall ther­fore suffice (because I make hast to the rest) to point only at some very sew; and to leaue e­uen them, to the contemplation of my pious reader.

We shallThe most ten­der loue of our Lord ex­pressed most cleerly in holy Scripture. easily discerne therin, the indulgence and deernes of his loue; and the ioy to which he inuites vs by his holy Pro­phets. We shall not cease from wondring, to find a God of infinite Maiesty, descend so low; and to translate himselfe to such a language of soueraigne, and most sweet mercy. We shall see, how he declares, and doth, euen (as it were) vaunt himselfe to be wholly ours; and [Page 218]how he hath created and redeemed vs, and how, in him, we had our beginning; & that in him, we shall haue our end, without any end: and how still, betwene those two extre­mes, he would not haue vs so much as feare; but that in all our accidents, and occasions, he would protect, and conduct, and carry vs free from all shadow of hurt. We shall also see, how this Lord of Hosts, who hath preuented vs with such aboundance of benedictiōs, doth still behold vs, with the same eyes of strange, and tender pitty; notwithstanding that we forsake him, and despise his law, and forfeyt his fauour, and dishonor him to the vttermost of our power. And how, insteed of spitting vs, by the furious breath of his mouth, into the flames of hell; those armes of his mercy, are still extended towards these wormes of the earth, to keep vs thēce; he doth, as it were, for­get himselfe, to remember vs; and he ponders the offences which we cōmit against an om­nipotent God, not so much in the nature of a God, as of some deere and tender friend, who had bene discourteously and vnkindly vsed by his friend. We shall see how he repre­sents the little satisfaction which the world, and sinne can giue to a soule; and how abun­dātly he had resolued to blesse vs, in the depth of his loue, if we would haue contynued in his seruice. How heHe de­clareth himselfe to vs by most ten­der com­parisons. compares himselfe to a mother, and then protests, that his loue ex­ceeds any mothers loue. How he compares himselfe to a Spouse, but protests that he loues [Page 219]vs more, then any Spouse can doe.

And now, though he make such Court to vs, it is not for lacke of Wisedome, to see how much he is wronged; nor for lacke of power, to right himselfe. For he discernes, & weighes, and still he wonders at vs for it. And (as if he were not able to wonder as much as the case deserues) he inuites the whole world to doe it with him. He declares it by simili­tudes, & shewes how the very beasts are more men, then wee. He askes vs what cause he hath giuen vs, that we should be so vnkind? He assures vs, that if he punish vs now and then, it is for our greater good, & for no long tyme. ThatInfi­nite loue. he is (as it were) content, to resigne his office of being our Iudge, and that he takes his case to be so cleere, and that the wronge is so very foule, on our side; that he will submit himselfe to the sentence of our ve­ry neighbours, and friends; (when once his allegations and our answeres are produced) to see whether euer he were wanting to vs, on his part; or if we haue not bene inexcusable on ours.

And then, notwithstāding that we are so detestably faulty, as to haue deflowred,Laborau [...] rogans. Ierem. 15. Misi ad vos omnes seruosmeos prophet as consurgēs diluculo [...] Ieru. 35. and defiled our soules, with all commers, & vpon all occasions; and notwithstanding that he represents himselfe, as hauing laboured for our good, euen till he was weary; and that for feare of being preuented, he had risen early in the mor­ning to seeke vs; that, because we were gone se­uerall waies, he had sent all his Prophets, and ser­uants [Page 220]to find vs out. And that although in the tyme past, we had bene so wicked, as not to valew or esteeme his sollicitations; Notwith­standing (I say) all this, and an infinite deale of other excellent demonstrations of his loue (which I shall not haue, so much as meanes to touch) this God of pitty, doth still dispose himself, to Court, and woo vs, for the tyme to come, that we will returne to him, vvith such vnspeakeable deernes, as if his very God­head lay vpon it; and as if it vvere not vve, vvho vvere the vvretches, and vvere to be the damned soules, if vve did not instantly re­pent; but as if himselfe vvere to be but a soli­tary kind of God in heauen, vnlesse he might haue vs there, to communicate his ovvne fe­licity to vs. And then, in case that vve vvill hearken to him, he protesteth that he vvill pardon vs; that he vvill purify vs; that he will forget that euer vve had so much as offended him; and that if he performe not these mercies to vs, he is content, that the vvhole vvorld shall reproach him for it.

To this excesseOur Lord sub­mits him­selfe to those lawes of loue, which passe be­tween man and man. doth the hart of our Lord God extend it selfe, tovvards his poore creatures, in the vvay of tender loue. The hart I say of God; vvho being the fountaine of Maiesty and glory, disdaines not to liue (as it vvere) by such lavves vvith vs, as are vvōt to haue force, amongst mortall men. And ve­rily, if his ovvne holy spirit had not vouchsa­fed to record these things in holy vvrit; it vvould haue looked, like, little lesse, then [Page 221]blasphemy in vs, to haue imputed such affe­ctions to him; wheras now it is soueraigne bounty in him to make professiō of such things to vs. And to the end you may see, that it is not I, but he that speakes; I will frame his ovvne vvords (vvith as little variation as may be) into a context;Why the seue­rall places of Scrip­ture, are drawn to a context. that so you may the bet­ter iudge therof; and be the more liuely infla­med therby. Though I cannot sometymes but vse some very few vvords of mine ovvn ther­in; as vvell for the connexion of the discourse, vvhich is dravvne out of seuerall places; as for the more cleere and cordiall vnderstanding therof. But I vvill place the beginning of e­uery such Latin speach, in the margent, as I shall reflect vpon in the text. That so it may be found and seene, hovv I haue not svvar­ued one vvhit from the scope and drift of the holy Ghost, in the expression vvhich he makes of his loue to man, nor in effect from the very vvords themselues.

Reioyce (saith our Lord) with Ierusalem; Latamini cum Ieru­salem. &c. Isa. 66. & doe you exult with her; all you who loue her. Reioyce with ioy, all you who mourne ouer her; that you may sucke, and so be filled, by the breasts of her consolatiō. That you may take milke from her, and so ouerslow with delights, through the absolute, and excellent greatnes of her glory. For thus saith our Lord; Behould I will powre downe, vpon her, the glory of the Gon­tills, like a flood of peace: and like a very torrent which ouerflowes; and which you shall suck. You shall be carried close to her brests; nay they shall See how God descends, for it is he who speakes. dandle you vpon their knees, euen as a mother doth dandle [Page 222]her little one; iust so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Ierusalem. You shall see it, and your harts shall reioyce, & your very bones shall grow & spring, at if they were grasse; and the hand of your Lord, shall be knowne to his seruants, and he will be in indignation against their enemies.

Harken to me, Andite me domus Israel. &c. Isa. 46. sayth our Lord, thou house of Iacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israell. You who are conceaued in my wombe, and who are carried by me about, in my very bowells. And I will carry you on, till you come to old age, and euen to the most decrepite state therof. It is I, who made you, and I will carry you: I will conduct you; and I will saue you. This saith thy Lord, Plaec dicit Dominus Isa. 43. who created thee, O Iacob; I, who framed thee, O Israell. Be not affraid, for I haue redeemed thee; and I haue giuen thee thy name; and mine owne thou art. When thou shalt passe through the waters, I will be with thee, and the floods shall not couer thee. When thou shalt walke through the very fire, thou shalt not be burnt, nor shall the flame so much as offend thee.

Yet all this loue and care of mine, hath not bene able to cōtaine thee in any ter­mes:In omni colle subli­mi. Iere. 2. But vpon the Top of euery hill, and vnder the auow of euery shade, thou hast prostituted thy selfe, to all impurity, like a harlot. I planted thee as a choyce vineyard; as a grayne of true, and faythfull seed; and how art thou therfore growne, to be so vnfit to yeild me fruite? I hedged thee round about; I picked all the sto­nes out of thee; I built vp a house in the midst of thee [...] and I placed a wine-presse in thee. And I expected that thou shouldst haue brought forth ripe grapes, & thou gauest me none, but such as were sower. Come ther­fore He is content to be iud­ged euen by our ve­ry selues. Non ego te seruire feci &c. Ierem. 41. [Page 223] O you Inhabitants of Ierusalem, and you men of Iuda, and doe you iudge betwene me, and this vine­yard of mine. What was I to haue done, more thē what I did? Was I not to haue expected grapes; and hath it rendred me ought but veriuyce?

I made not thee, take seruile paines, for the oblations which thou wert to offer me. Nor did I giue thee toyle, and trouble, in the procuring of franken­cense for me. But thou hast made me a slaue to thee, by thy sinnes; thou hast put me to labour, by thine iniqui­ties. Yet still I am my selfe; I am that very he, who wipe away thine iniquities, for mine owne sake; and I will not retaine the memory of thy sinnes. Call me at length to mind, and let thee, and me, be iudged to­geather; and say, if there be any thing, which thou caust alleadge in excuse of thy selfe. Tell me, Popule mens quid feci tibi? Mich. 6. Audite caeli &c. Isa. 1. O my people, what offence haue I committed against thee; or wherin haue I beene troublesome to thee? Answere me. Or at least, O you heauens do you giue eare, and harken O thou earth, for the Lord thy God hath spo­ken it. I haue brought vp children, and I haue exal­ted them; but they, on the other side, haue despised me. The Oxe hath knowne his owner, and the Asse the Manger of his Maister; but I sraell hath not knowne me; and my people hath no vnderstanding of me. Obstupesci­te caeli su­per hoc. &c. Iere. 20 Let the heauens be amazed at this, and let the gates therof, euen tremble and shiuer. For my people hath done two wicked things. They haue forsaken me, who am the fountaine of liuing waters, and they haue made cer­taine leaking cesternes for themselues, where no wa­ter can be kept. Hearken to me O Iacob, Audi [...] Iacob &c. Isa. 48. and Israell whome I call. It is I my selfe: I am the first, and I am the last. Thus, O Israell, sayth thy Lord, & thy [Page 224]holy redeemer, I am the Lord thy God, who teach thee profitable things; and who conduct thee in the way, where thou walkest. O that thou hadst applyed thy selfe to the keeping of my commaundements. Thy peace should then, haue bene as any flood; and thy instice, as the very swelling mouth of the sea. And thy of-spring, and seed, Lauamini mundi e­stote. Isa. 1. as plentifull as the little stones, or sands, v­pon the shore therof. Yea be thou yet cleane at last; be pure; away with thy wicked thoughts, out of my sight. Make once an end of being peruerse. Learne to doe wel; seeke iudgment; succour the oppressed; Doe iustice to the Orphane; defend the widdowe; and then come and reproach me, if I make not good my word. For if thy sinnes should be as scarlet, they shall become as while as snow; and if they should be as red as vermilion, they shall be as cleane, as the purest wooll. I know thou hast said, Dixit Sion Dorminus dereliquit me &c. Isa. 49. Our Lord hath forsaken me, our Lord hath forgotten me. But what? can the mo­ther forget her infant, or can she faile to take pitty v­pon the child of her owne wombe? And though she should, yet will not I forget thee. Behould I haue in­grauen thee in my very hands. Quare er­go dixie populus &c. Lerem. 2. Why hath my people said to me, We vvill depart, and come to thee no more? Can the virgin forget her gorgeous attires, or can the Spouse forget the ornament which she wea­reth vpon her beast? Yet my people hath forgotten me, I cannot tell how long. Vulgo di­citur &c. Ierem. 3. It is commonly said among you if a man dismisse his wife, and she marry another; will that husband euer resort to her againe? Shall not that woman be held for an impure defiled creature? But thou, hast committed Fornication with many lo­uers; and yet, returne to me (sayth our Lord) and I will receaue thee. Looke vp, and consider where thou [Page 225]hast not prostituted thy selfe. Thou hast gotten the face of a Harlot, and thou wouldst not blush. Yet now at last call vpon me, and say, Thou art my Father,Et dixi c̄ fecisset haec omnia &c. lerem. 3. Thou art the conductor of my virgi­nity. For I, for my part, haue said to Sion, after she had committed all her sinnes; Returne to me, and yet she returned not. Returne to me, O thou vntoward Israell, saith our Lord; & I will not turne my face from thee; because I am holy, saith our Lord, Ad pun­ctum in modico de­reliqui te &c. Isa. 54. In funicu­lis Adam &c. Ose. 11. and I will not be angry with thee, for euer. I haue forsaken thee, for a short tyme; but I will gather thee vp in great mercies. For an instant of indignation, I hid my face from thee; but I haue taken pitty on thee, with eternall mercy, saith thy Lord, and thy redee­mer. I will draw thee to my selfe, in the cords af A­dam, in the bonds of loue. And I will be as one, who takes the yoke from off the necke of his cattle; and gi­ues the raines to his horse, that he may feed.

These are the words of the holy Ghost, & by them doth he expresse, the infinite loue which is borne to man. And now it doth but remaine, that we answere such loue with­all the loue we haue. To which, if this Chap­ter will not haue obliged vs, by making vs see the expression of Gods mercies in the old Te­stament, wo be to vs; but yet let vs try what may be done by the consideration of that which passed in the New; wherof the next Chapter will informe vs.

The infinite tender Loue of Christ our Lord, which is expressed in the Scriptures of the new Te­stament.

CHAP. 40.

SVCH, as hath been seen, is the stile which the God of heauē & earth, doth hold, with his miserable, and most sinfull creatures; and this he hath held from all eternity; & he went executing it thus in tyme, euen vnder both the law of nature, and the written law, when yet, his Sonne our Lord, had not taken flesh. But as the mercies which were vouchsafed & expressed by our Lord God to men in the old Testament, were yet all designed, and im­parted by him, in contemplation of Christ our Lord, who was then to come; so when the fulnes of that tyme was arriued, and that indeed the increated word become incarnate for the saluation of man; it wasIt was fit not on­ly in mer­cy but e­uen in iu­stice, that vnder the law of grace the loue of God should appeare more cleerly thē before. agreable, not only to mercy, but euen to iustice it selfe, that the loue of God should triumph, for our benefit, more then euer. And that, not only in the solid proofe of loue, but euen in the sweet and tender demonstrations therof.

For now, our Lord spake no longer to vs by his Angells, nor by his Prophets only, but by his Sonne himselfe, who was no more a perfect man, then he was God. And this God, without the interposition, or interpre­tation of any other creature, did now in [Page 227]person conuerse with men. He taught them by the words of his owne sacred mouth. He cured them of all diseases, by his miracles. He assumed some, to the dignity of being his Apo­stles; and all the world, to the honour and hap­pines, of being his Disciples. HeHow the seruants of God are dignified by Christ our Lord. declares how they who obey the will of God are his brothers, his sisters, and euen, as it were, his ve­ry mother. Sometymes he calls men his ser­uants, and when they haue carried themselues well therin, he aduaunceth them to be, not so much his seruants, as his friends, professing to impart all his secrets to them. Looke in his last Sermon, recorded by S. Iohn. Sometymes he cals them his children; yea and sometymes, by the name of Filioli, his little children, to shew, that innocent, carefull, & tender kind of sweet af­fection, which a mother would carry to her Infant.

We may see the whole history of his most blessed life, all imbrodered, by the hands of the holy Euangelists; heere with teares, & there with sighes, and euery where with abundance of corporall and spirituall labours, both actiue and passiue, for loue of vs,Matt. 10. euen before the tyme of his pretious death. Is any thing more liberall then his promisses, where he entayles the inheritance of heauen to the guift of a cup of cold water, Matt, 25. without our bestowing so much cost as euen to heate it? Nay, and he is content to say, that whosoeuer should performe any little worke of charity to any seruant of his, he would take it in as deare part, as if it had bene affoarded to his, very selfe. IsHis earnest protesta­tions. any thing more serious then his protesta­tions, [Page 228]of that truth, which he came to teach vs for our good: Amen Amen dico vobis; Verily ve­rily I tell you this, and that? And was it not a strāg descent for that Prima Veritas, that roote and fountaine of all truth, to helpe our blindnes and backwardnes in beleeuing, by protesting things to be so; as if his simple word had not deserued so well, as to haue bene taken? Is any thing more vniuersal then his Proclamations, which thus he makes to all the whole world at once;Ioan. 7. & Apocal. 22. If any man thirst, let him come and drinke: and it shall cast him nothing. Come to me all you who labour, Matt. 11. or be ouerloaden, and I will refresh you? No man is excluded whome he offers not to im­brace; nor no misery is exempted from that hand of pitty which vndertakes to cure thē al.

Is any thing more punctuall then his visitations; who vouchsafes not only to knock at the doores of our vnworthy harts; but to tel vs that he stands there,Ego sto ad ostium & pulso. Apocal. 3. for that purpose; as if it were, to wayte our leasure, and to know our pleasure, whether we be content that he come in, or no? Is any thing more sweet, & euen, then his conuersation; which he expres­seth in this manner;Apocal. 3. That if we open our soules to him, when he begges entrance, he will come and sup with vs? He saith not only that we shall sup with him; but that he also will sup with vs; and doe vs the honour to make vs able to inuite and feast him.Ioan. 16. He saith also els where, That if we will loue him, not only he, but his Father also will loue vs; and that they both will come in, and dwell with vs. Yea and yet in another place, That he will not onely [Page 229]sup with vs, but serue vs. Luc. 121 And he was richly as good as his word; when at that last supper of his, he washed and wiped the feete of his A­postles, as we haue seene elsewhere. Nor did he only induce men to doe vs good, by his putting his very selfe into our persons, that so himselfe, might receaue the fauour from vs; but he discouraged men from doing vs any hurt, by the selfe same reason, vvhen he expo­stulated with S. Paul, Act, 8. asking why he persecu­ted him; wheras yet, he had but persecuted his seruants.

Is any thing more tender, then those comparisons, vvherby he vouchsafes to disco­uer the beating of his diuine hart, and the boy­ling vp of his profound loue. Whilest, with the teares in his eyes, he contemplated that misery,Matt. 23. vvhich the vngratefull and blind Ie­rusalem had dravvne vpon her selfe by her sinnes. And vvhen (after the manner of an Interiection) he exclaymed and asked, (that vvhich himselfe could only tell hovv to an­svvere) hovv often he vvas desirous, and had endeauoured to dravv those vvicked men to himselfe, vvith as much vvorking, and ear­ning of his bovvells of pitty, as any Hen could vse in the defence and sauegard of her chickens from some rauenous Kyte. Novv as theWhat a great deale of tender loue, is inuolued in the cō ­parison of our Lord, and vs, to the Hen and her Chic­kens. Hen by spreading her vvings, makes a Buckler of defēce for her chickens against any violent hurt which may approach them; so also doth she make them a kind of Arbor of so­lace and recreation vnder vvhich they may [Page 230]repose, against the scorching heate of the s̄ne. She contemnes her ovvne safety, in respect of theyrs; and shee grovves euen sicke vvith sor­rovv, vpon the least apprehension of any hurt which may be comming towardes them.

What name shall we giue, to that vouch­safing of our B. Lord; when (in compassion of our miseries, and in the ardent desire he had to free vs from them) he disdayned not to ap­paraile himselfe, with the similitude of a Shee­pheard? The Parable of the sheephe­ard. Matt. 28. Who hauing a flocke of a hundred sheepe, left ninety nine (wherby the Angelicall nature is designed) to seeke that one (being the figure of man kind) which went wandring, and loosing it selfe, in the desert of this world. And to looke it so long, as at last to find it; and to take it, first into his armes; and then to lay it vpon his owne shoulders, all stincking and rotting as it was. And then, so returne home so ouer­ioyed; as if this Pastour could haue no other felicity, but in the feeling, and remouing of the calamities of his sheep. Whom to shew how much he loues thē, beyond the loue that is borne by the sheepheards of this vvorld to theyr seuerall flockes, he professeth that there is not one of them, vvhom he doth not know, and call by his particular name. Our Lord did also stoope so low, as to expose himselfe to our sight in the person of aOf the widdow who lost a peece of syluer. Luc. 15. vviddow. Who hauing lost one single groate (vvhich figureth any soule, vvhich is lost by sinne) laid aside the contentment vvhich she might haue takē, in all that rest of her substance, vvhich she had [Page 231]not lost. And the lights her candle, & svvee­pes, and searches euery corner of her house; & neuer leaues to labour, till at length she haue found it out. And then, not being able to cō ­taine herselfe, she inuites her neighbours, and her friends, that they vvill helpe her to reioy­ce, for her good successe; since of her selfe, she is not able to be glad inough.

AndThe story or Parable of the Pro gall child. Luc. Ibid. vvho shal also be euer able to ex­presse the tender loue, he shevved to man, in being pleased that the Parable of the Prodigal child, should remaine to the vvorld, vpon re­cord. That so for euer it might appeare, as in a most fresh and liuely picture, hovv impossi­ble it vvas, for the most grieuous sinne of man to quench the infinite mercy of almighty God; so that once, he vvould returne by penance. Yea, and he shevveth that the same Father, who hath the patiēce to endure all the wiked­nes which can be committed, hath not the patiēce to endure that the sonne should wade so farre in sorrow, not to find him til he should get home. But he must needs put himselfe v­pon the way; yea, and (forgetting as it were his state, and grauity) must run to meet him. And at the first meeting, to imbrace him, and pre­sently to fall vpon his necke; and to be fully recon­ciled to him by a kisse of peace. And howsoe­uer the sōne did but his duty in accusing him­self of his grieuous sinne; yet the Father would take no hold of that; nor contynue him in cause to be blushing, or so much as thinking, of what was past: But he instantly changed [Page 232]his discourse; and comaunded his seruants, in all hast, to goe fetch the most sumpcuous, prime garment which he had; and that he should be all cloathed with it; & that a ring of honour should be put vpon his fingar; and that the fatt calfe should be killed; and that a banquet should be made, and that Musicque should declare, how full of ioy he was.

I spare in this place, to speake of an­other banquet or feast which the holy Scrip­ture records him to haue made to man, with infinite loue, in the Institution of the blessed Sacrament. AndThe B. Sacra­ment is incompa­rably the greatest guift which cā be giuen. yet this, doth as farre ex­ceed all the rest which hath bene said, as him­selfe doth incomparably surpasse, whatsoeuer other thing, which it is, euen in his power, to giue. I will also, in this place sorbeare to he­arken to that other diuine consort of Musicke, which he made in that least Sermon of his, next before his sacred Passion, which S. Iohn relates in his holy Ghospell. For that of the B. Sacrament, is considered in a discourse therof a part; and that of the infinite loue of our Lord in his last Sermon, is toucht in the beginning of that, of the Passion. And we haue heere, I hope, bene shewed inough, to make the loue of our B. Lord appeare: Not only in regard of what he conceaued in his owne pretious hart, towards man; but moreouer for the a­bundant blessings which he hath imparted to the world exteriourly. For we see, to what greatnes, and happines the meanest of vs is su­blymed, through the high account into which we are taken by Almighty God. Only we [Page 233]must be sure, that his infinite goodnes do not giue vs occasion and colour for contynuance in our wickednes. For as much as in God, all is infinite a like;All is a like Infi­nite in God; and therfore euen the very infi­nitenesse of his Mercy doth shew vs how Infinite his Iustice also is. and euen by the excesse of his mercy when men are sory for their sinnes, we may inferre the intollerable rigour of his Iustice, against such as are impenitēt. The ho­ly Scripture is also ful of most particular proo­fe, how deepely our Lord doth detest al sinne and willfull sinners. This hath bene pointed at before, vpon another occasion in the dis­course of the infinite power of God; and in the end of the Passion it will also be resumed a­gayne. For the present therfore, I conclude, concerning the most excellent Doctrine of Christ our Lord, deliuered especially in holy Scripture; and I passe on to the consideration of his Miracles.

Of the excessine Loue which our Lord Iesus shewed to man, by the Mirac'es which he wrought on earth.

CHAP. 41.

THE excessiue loue of our Lord Iesus, was farre from being content, to expres­se it selfe towards man, by any one single way alone; but it was solliciting him in eue­ry minute of his most holy life, to try as ma­ny as might be found for our good. He ther­fore considering, with diuine wisedome, that men were composed of flesh and spirit; and [Page 234]consequētlyMen being cō ­posed of flesh and spirit are to be wrought vpō both by spiri­tuall and sensible meanes. that they must be wrought v­pō, aswell by sensible, as by spirituall meanes; & knowing also, that through the miserable disorder of their mindes, they were then more capable & would be more obliged, by ease & health of body, then by graces powred into the soule; he was therfore pleased to accom­pany the purity and perfection of his Doctri­ne with the power and Maiesty of his mira­cles. And as, by creation of the world, he led men vp, by meanes of visible things, towards a knowledge, and beliefe of the inuisible; so in the case of our reparation, and redemptiō, he would also vse the corporall cure of men from sicknes, as a disposition, wherby theyr soules might be recouered from sinne.

Heerby our Lord doth euidently dis­couer, to be a true & perfect louer of mankind. For as the property of loue, is notThe measure of our loue of God is to exceed all measure. to be tyed vp within the compasse of any ordinary law; and the measure which that power v­seth, is to exceed all measure; so did our Lord, out of the nobility of his loue to man, refuse to walke within so small a circle, as the lawes of nature did lead him to. These lawes of na­ture were made by almighty God; at the crea­tion of the world; & it is not al the power of heauen, or earth vnder him, which can in­uert that order.Psal. 148. Praeceptum posuit, & non praeteri­bit. He gaue the precept, and it shall not passe away. And it was good cheape for him who made al things of nothing; to commaund that nothing should faile, of that inuiolable course wherin [Page 235]all things were appointed to proceed.

According to the law of nature, no re­turne is made from priuation, to the habit; as from a fixed blindnes, to sight; and much lesse from death, to life. But the law of the loue of our Lord IESVS, did ouertop that other law; made those things grow true and samiliar, which otherwise were not only hard, but im­possible. Moyst bodies were appointed, by the law of nature to giue place, and such as are heauy, and solid to sinke downe below thē. But yet, when there was question of giuing comfort to his poore Apostles;Matt. 14. the loue of Christ our Lord, made him lay those lawes a­side; and he went walking towards them vpon the sea, which was glad to performe the Office of a pauement, to his pretious feete. Penerration of bodies, is a thing wherof nature cannot en­dure to heare; but yet, for the vnspeakeable loue which he bare toThe honour which was done by Christ our Lord to the pu­rity of his B. Virgin mother. the honour, and ex­cellency of his all-immaculate mother (that ornament, and glorious gemme of heauen & earth) he was not affrayd to giue that princi­ple of Philosophy the lye. And he passed out of those bowells of supreme Purity, into those armes of matchlesse Piety, without the least offence to her most entire Virginity. But yet in this, there is the lesse wonder because he wrought the like, in fauour of his Apostles; whom he loued by innumerable degrees, lesse then his most excellent mother.Isa. 7. For in their case also, his loue was transcendent in the selfe same kind, vnto his lawes. For hauing first pas­sed [Page 236]through the sepulcher, he went afterward through,Ioan. 20. Ibid. & through those doores which were shut betwene them, & him; that so he might, as it were, perfume them all at once, with his sweet breath of Peace.

But why doe I name those persons, who were so highly priuiledged; as if our Lord had only bene in loue with them; and not indeed (as yet indeed he was) enamoured of all man­kind so farre, as to make his miracles, distill down vpon them, like so many drops of dew, for their reliefe, or comfort, in all occasions. And although these miracles of Christ our Lord, could not haue bene wrought, but by the omnipotent power of almighty God; yet may that power be accounted to haue been but as a kind of instrumēt wherby he wrought them; and that indeed, they flowed from his loue, as from their prime cause and roote.

He wrought no miracles for the osten­tation of his power, and therfore we see, how often he precisely comaunded both men and de­uills, Marc. 3. & 5. & 7. Luc. 5. & Luc. 4. Matth. 20. Matt. 21. & Marc. 11. that they should not publish what he had done. He wrought none, for any commodity of his owne; or for the reliefe of any corporall ne­cessity, which he was and would be subiect to. For though the Foxes had holes, yet the Sonne of man had not where to lay his head. And one mor­ning when he returned from Ierusalem to Be­thania, he is said expresly to haue been h̄gry, and he refused in theMatt. 4. wildernes to turne certaine stones into bread for the satisfaction of his owne extreme hungar. And his Apost­les [Page 237]were soe oppressed in this kind,Matt. 12. as that they were defended by him, in gathering the eares of that corne, which belonged to others; yea and that, vpon a Sabaoth day, which did belong to God; & except their case had beene of precise necessity, they coued not so well haue bene excused in doing it.

But the whyle, though they fed them­selues, Christ our Lord did not so; for if he had, those malicious Iewes (whose teeth were sharplier whet against him, then all the rest, (or rather not against them, at all, but only in regard that they belonged to him) would haue byn sure to haue bitten him vvith their reprehension. So great therfore was his necessity, and yet he would not stretch forth his arme of power to help himselfe, by any supernaturall meanes. Nor doe we find (as I was saying) that he who wrought such worlds of miracles for worlds of men, did serue him selfe of any one, to his owne aduantage.Matt. 17. It is true, that he did miraculously enable S. Peter to take a peece of money out of the belly of a fish to be paid as tribute to the Prince, though he saith he was no way bound to doe it. So thatOur Lord would ra­ther worke a miracle, then suffer the occa­sion of any scan­dall [...] he, who would not worke a miracle, for the sauing of his owne deere life, would yet be sure to doe it, for preuenting the scan­dall of other men. And withall, that he might shew, how obedient men ought to be to theyr tēporall Princes, so that it be in things which indeed and truth, are only temporall.

He wrought no miracles, either by [Page 238]way of preuention or for the deliuery of him­selfe,Luc. 4. from his most wicked enemies; sauing only, when, once or twice, he grew inuisi­ble to their eyes, that so he might preserue himselfe for greater tormets afterwards. Whē once he came to his Passion, he told them in­deed what he could haue obtained of God for his deliuerance,Matt. 25. namely so many Legions of Angells. And he gaue them also a tast of what he was able to do for himself,Ibid. (if he had been willing) by the miracle which then he wrought vpon Malchus. Ioan. 18. And by that other also of stryking thē who came to take him, with sad astonishemēt, to the ground, by the only saying of Ego sum. But he kept his miracles for the instruction, & ease of other men; and the only Miracle which he wrought for himselfe, was to make (by the omnipotent force, and power of loue) a God of infinite, and eternall Maiesty, to vndertake, for such wormes, such a vvorld of misery.

He vvrought no miracles for the win­ning of fauour from great persons.Luc. 23. Nor could the splendour of Herods fortune, nor the ex­treme curiosity of his mind (because it vvas but curiosity) obtaine any one, at the hands of our Lord.Matt. 13. Marc. 6. He vvas not desirous, to win the affection and estimation, of his ovvne cō ­patriots. For though it cannot be said, but that he vvrought some miracles among them; yet those some, vvere so very fevv, (by reason of their incredulity) that in comparison of such as he vvas pleased to vvorke in other places, they may, in a manner, be accompted none. He [Page 239]did not, a vvhit, depend vpon the acknovv­ledgment, and seruice,Luc. 17. which he might ex­pect from such persons as he cured. For we see he was not discouraged, by the ingratitude of those Leapers, from whome he well knevv, that it was almostOne of ten re­turned to giue him thankes. ten to one, that he should not haue so much as thanks, for his labour.

But the force, and fire of pure, and per­fect loue alone it was, which moued that di­uine hart of our Lord; to passe ouer the law of nature, by working of miracles, whensoeuer there were motiues, and meanes to doe good to men therby. Whilst himselfe, the while, who was the author of them all, would yet lye (as hath been said) vnder the same lawes of nature; so to worke the more easily vpō their soules, by the admirable example of his suffe­rance, whose bodies he had restored by a mi­raculous deliuerance.

How all the miracles of the new Testament doe tend [...] to mercy, and how our Lord did neuer deny the suite of any one; and of the tender man­ner which he held in granting them.

CHAP. 42.

IF the meaning of Christ our Lord, had bene but only to proue that he was God, he might haue insisted vpō that course, which for­merly had bene held, with the people of God in the old Testament. At which tyme, how­soeuer some miracles were wrought, which tended to the comfort of the good; as that of [Page 240] parting Exod. 15. the Red sea, when the children of Is­raell were to passe; and of theExod. 13. pillars, both of the Clould, and that of Fire; ofIbid. the ray­ning downeDeut. 3. Manna in the wildernes; and some others; yet these miracles which shewed the loue of God to the good, were not so ma­ny, by much, as those others, by which he shewed his power and iustice against the wic­ked. As vve may easily see, by the ten mira­culousExod. 9. &e. Plagues, vvherby Pharao, and the Egyptians vvere scourged; the burning of So­domeGenes. 19. and Gomorrha; the destruction4. Reg. 19. of Sennacherib, and his army, vvith many more.

Much lesse, can those auncient mira­cles of mercy, come into competition for n̄ ­ber, vvith the innumerable miracles of this kind, vvhich vvere vvrought on earth, by Christ our Lord. Of vvhome vve cannot find, that euer he vvrought any one of reuenging Iustice;Luc. 9. nay he rebuked S. Iames, and euen the beloued S. Iohn himselfe, for mouing him to reuenge, by supernaturall meanes, an affront vvhich the Samaritans had put vpon him,Matt. 16. and them. The Ievves indeed desired, to see some signe from heauen, vvhich might haue fed theyr curiosity; but our Lord vvho loued them, so infinitely much more then they did thēselues, refused to humour them in that, vvhich vvas not to haue profited them at all; and vvhich it vvould haue cost him nothing to performe; & he resolued vvithall, to vvorke another mira­racle, (vvhich vvas figured in the Prophet Ionas in the belly of the vvhale) vvhich impor­ted [Page 241]the death of God for their sinnes; wherby they were admirably to be relicued; and him­selfe, beyond imagination, to be tormeuted.

AmongstOur Lord did neuer fi­nally re­fuse the humble suyte of any one. Matt. 8. the innumerable creatures, who needed & desired miraculous cure, from Christ our Lord, we heare not of any one, who was finally frustrate of his suite. Nay he reiected not the very deuills thēselues, whom he suffred to enter into that heard of swyne. His eyes were but as so many conduyts, wherby he brought into his hart, all the miseries that he saw; and then by the same way, he sent his mercies out for reliefe therof. It is true that so­metymes, he seemed as if he would not graunt theyr suytes, as in the case of the Cananean wo­man; but it was but seeming. For indeed,Matt. 15. he meant, not onely to cure the Daughter, but to glorify the mother, for that full cluster of vertues which shee had, of humility, patience, perseuerance; and such an eminency of Faith withall, as that himselfe was not only pleased to commend her for it; but (being the true, increated wisedome and knowledge of God) he would yet be content, to seeme obliged to be in admiration, & to make this exclama­tion in her honour, O mulier, magna est sides tua; fiat tibi sicut vis. O womā great is thy Faith; be it vnto thee, as thou wilt. And this he did, though him­selfe was he, who both gaue her grace to con­ceaue it by his inspiration, and occasion to ex­presse it, by the appearance which he made of her reprehension.

There was no tyme nor place, nor se­uerall [Page 242]disease of body, nor disposition of mind, to which this diuine Phisitian of the whole man, did not accomodate himselfe, with vnquencheable charity, and incessant care. Which was a million of tymes greater in him, towards euery beggar, then any Phy­sitian of this world could euer tell how to car­ry, towards the only Sonne of his soueraigne king, whom he had in cure. IfOur Lord did accōmo­date him­self to the cure of all men, ac­cording to theyr seuerall dispositiōs and ne­cessities. Marc. 5. men had fee­ling of their infirmity, and with all, so much desire to be recouered, as might serue to carry them to the places where he was to be; he gaue them leaue, by the increase of their la­bour, to grow in merit. If they cryed out, as not being able to come quickly to him, he would expect till they arriued, and then would cure them; as he did the ten leaprous per­sons; all leaprous in their bodies, but nyne of them more leaprous in their soules, since they were vngrateful to such a goodnes.

If their miseries were great, although their knowledge and beliefe in him were ve­ry small, he would seeke such out, without being sought,Luc. 17. Ioan. 5. Marc. 9. Luc. 9. & 4. & 5. & 8. Marc. 10. Matt. 9. Marc. 2. Matt. 20. as he did the man, vvho lay at the Probatica piscina, eight and thirty yeares. If it vvere peraduenture, a kind of a midle case, he vvould meet them in the halfe vvay; or he vvould require them to be brought to him; or he vvould stay as if he stayd not for them, till they came, of themselues; or he vvould cast to goe, vvhere they vvere to come; or els where he knevv them to be, he vvould not fayle to goe. And hovvsoeuer it vvere, if he savv thē [Page 243]in need of helpe, he vvould cure them some­tymes, though they did not so much as aske it of him.Matt. 12. Luc. 14. & 5. Ioan. 9. Luc. 9. Matt. 150 Marc. 6. Which was the case of the mā with the withered hand; and the man vvho vvas Hydropic­que, and that other also, vvho vvas borne blind. And vvhen, at seueral tymes, he fed men, wo­men, and children, by thousands in the desert, there vvas not one of them vvho opened his mouth to aske him meate; but their distresse, vvas the only Solicitour of his mercifull hart, to shevv thē pitty. If they deliuered him their ovvn petitiōs,Marc. 1. & 12. Luc. 7. they vvere sure to be gratiously hard; if their case were exposed, by the inter­cessiō of others, they were also as sure not to be reiected. To teach vs therby, vvhat high cōfi­dēce we ought to haue in the prayers of saints, since he heard such sinners for one another.

Novv the manner of his cures, vvas vvithall so deerly svveet, as that they seeme euen to exceed the mercy of the very cures themselues. Hovv tenderly vvould he be carrying himselfe tovvards those poore crea­tures in all their necessities. Sometymes he vvould performe the base Office of leading blind beggars by his ovvne hand; & he would conduct both blind, and deafe, and dumbe persons out of company,Marc. 7. & 8. that he might enioy them alone; and so make thē knovv vvithall, & vs by thē, that for the cure of al our spiritu­all diseases, it is fit for vs sometymes to retyre our selues, hand to hand vvith God. Nay those hands of his, vvould not disdaine to touch the loathsome and polluted flesh of leapers. [Page 244]And though many make great dainty,Matt. 8. to ser­ue sicke persons, who are subiect to lesse foule diseases, (wheras our Lord had sayd, that in seruing them,Matt. 25. we should be giuing comfort to himselfe) yet to the eternall glory of his name, and by the merit of his example, and through the power of his grace, we will ac­knowledge, and be glad, that in his holy Ca­tholike Apostolicque Romaine Church, the Spirit of this holy practice, doth still liue. AndThe good cu­stome of seruing in Hospitals. that there are thousands, and many thousands a­mongst vs of all conditions, sexes, and ages, who in imitation of our Lords humility and charity, are dayly visiting sicke persons: In­structing, comforting, and feeding them, both in body and soule; procuring to ease them in their paines, and making their beds; and dry­ing their sweats, and wyping their sores. It were a shame that the seruants of God, should not imploy themselues in these good exercises; when they consider how Christ our Lord did put those omnipotent fingars of his owne,Mare. 7. Ibid. in­to the eares of those poore creatures, and into their mouthes;Ioan. 9. Ioan. 11. and how himselfe made plai­sters for their eyes; and how he would sigh, and groane to consider sinne in their soules, & the miserable effects therof, in their very bo­dyes of flesh, and bloud.

We see how he prayed, and how he wept at the raysing of Lazarus; and how, through the excesse of loue, wherwith he de­sired to restore him to life, the Scripture saith, Infremuit spiritu; Ioan. 11. which betokned, (as it were) [Page 245]a kind of tumult, and tempest of his affections, which were working and wrastling with God, in the behalfe of that dead man. In so much as the lookers on did wonder to see, that so great a Prophet, and the worker of so many and strange miracles, should lament, & weep like another ordinary person. And they easi­ly inferred thereby, that those teares, & other greater demonstrations of griefe, must needs proceed from some puissant cause; and so they said to one another, in the way of wondring: Behould how he loued that man. Ibid.

Yet Lazarus indeed, & his friends, had obliged our Lord by particular seruices to his owne sacred person; wheras the holy Text affirmes in many other places, that his diuine pitty & mercy, did worke most tenderly also towards others, vpon whom he had no other eye at all, then as they were parts of mankind, all which he did so deerly loue. And therfore he pittied both their generall and particular miseries, as appeares by the story of the wid­dow, in the death of her sonne;Luc. 7. Matt. 13. Mar. 8. Matt. 23 [...] and of the people in the wildernes, for their distresse of hungar; and especially of the citty of Ierusalem, when, with his eyes full of teares, he lamen­ted their misery, as hath bene said else where.

The holy Scripture also affirmeth, not only that he pittied them,Matt. 1 [...]. Marc. 8. but that himselfe would professe and say as much; And besides he ordayned, that the notice of it should be left to vs vpō record. And what charming words were those, when he would bid them, [Page 246] Aske Ioan. 16. and haue, that their ioye might be full; and when he would say, What Marc. 10. wilt thou haue me doe? Yea and also, in expresse termes, Be it vnto thee Matt. 15. as thou wilt, thy selfe. As if he were content, that man should be, as it were, his owne caruer, out of the very omnipo­tency of God; and that the mercy of God, were to haue no other measure, then mans owne desire. And when he would say, My selfe will Matt. 8. goe and cure the sicke person at thy house. And when, being the soueraigne King of glo­ry, he would yet become a begger of a cup of could water of theIoan. 4. Samaritan women, whilst, the while, he was filling her soule with the water of grace, which instantly might take all possibility of further thirst from her. And when he would call them by many and most tender names, as we haue shewed vpon ano­ther occasion; And when he would begge of them that they would sinne no more; And when he would so labouriously defend and plead the cause of S. Mary Luc. 37. Magdalene, his enamoured penitent; And when he confounded that hy­pocrysy and pride of the Iewes; and had such diuine pitty of the pooreIoan. 8. Adultresse; And whē he would goe as he did to him who was borneIoan. 9. blind; whome himselfe would needs vouchsafe to seeke, as soone as he was excom­municated by the Iewes: And hauing found him, he gaue him comfort, and passed some­tyme in his conuersation; and withdrew that curtaine, which he suffered still to hange be­twixt him and others; and told him, at last, in [Page 247]plaine & powerful tearmes,Ibid. That the Sauiour of the world was then speaking to him.

The great laboriousnesse of Loue, which our Lord Iesus, expressed in the working of his Miracles, is more declared.

CHAP. 43.

NOVV withall, this loue which our Lord, expressed in the working of his miracles, was no nice, or wary kind of loue. For it cost him excessiue paines, & labour; and imployed him in iourneying through all that hilly cō ­try on foote; as may be seene throughout the whole Euangelicall history, to find matter,Matt. 9. Marc. 6. for his mercy of that kind, to worke vpon. And sometymes, all Iewry not being able to con­taine, and compasse in those bowells of his charity; he would be breaking out, into the skirts of the Gentiles,Matt. 25. which he began to en­noble & sanctifie by his presence. And wher­soeuer he were, he was importuned by poore people to take pitty on them; and he had so much towards them, that he had none of him­selfe. But he prayed for them by night, & he laboured for them by day, & that so hard; that as sometymesMatt. 4. & 12. & 15. he had no bread to eate, so, at othertymes, he had not soMarc. 3. much as leaue, or tyme to eate it in; yea or so much, asMarc. 2. & 3. euen scarce meanes to stirre through the presse of people which came about him. At all howers was he ready to giue them health, if they had beene ready alwaies to receaue it. But (the Country, in sommer, begin extremly hoat) for [Page 248]them to haue repaired to him, in the heate of the day, would haue bene perhaps, but to haue exchanged one sicknes for another. Or els, though the Patients would haue bene glad to be carryed or conducted, the men vvho vvere to help them, had not charity inough to en­dure the trouble.

But hovvsoeuer the Patients, or their friends did stand affected, the Phisitian was still at hand; and he desired no better Fee, then to be doing them fauour. AndWhat troopes of sicke persons were brought to our B. Lord for eure. Luc. 4. so therfore in the euenings, about Sunne-set, the holy Scripture shevves, vvhat troopes of people of all those villages, tovvnes, and citties vvould come in about him. Drawing out dying men into the sight of that truer, & brighter sunne, vvhich vvas euer shining tovvards them, as at noone day. Not only did he cure them all; but besides the benefit it self of their health, he im­parted it vvith so much tendernes of loue, as not to permit that there should be so much as any one of them all, vvhome he vvould not touch vvith his ovvne pure povverfull hands; though he vvas infinitely able to haue cured them all at once,Luc. 4. and vvith the least vvord of his mouth, or euen vvith the wil of his hart. At other tymes agayne, he vvould accomplish their desires in another forme. And as before he cured them, by touching them vvith his owne sacred flesh to shew his loue; so novv, he vvould doe it by letting thē touch his gar­ments,Marc. 6. or his person, to shevv his povver.

There might you haue seeme, as if it [Page 249]had bene, a very Market or Faire, of sicke Fol­kes of all diseases, both of body and mind; which went Progresse with him, whersoe­uer he had a mind to goe. Some leaning v­pon staues; some carried in mens armes; and some in their beds vpon wheele barrowes. A runningA run­ning cāpe of souldi­ers, who had been wounded by sinne. camp it was, of souldiers, who had all beene wounded in the warre by their ene­mies; and they hoped for help by flying to­wards the Cullours of this Captaine. And we may make account, that though he were the King both of heauen, and earth, yet he tooke not so much gust in being courted by the An­gells of heauen, as he did in being haunted, by this hospitall, which went euer creeping after him, on earth.

ThisMany Hospitalls in one. hospitall had all kindes of hospi­tals made vp in one. One hospital for al sor­tes, of ordinary diseases; as Feauers, Dropsies, Fluxes of bloud, and the like. Another for the Blind; Another for the Lame; Another for the Deafe; Another for the Dumbe; Another for the Leaprous; Another for the Paraliticques; Ano­ther for the Lunatiques; and another for persons who were possessed by deuils; & who would euer haue contynued so, vnlesse that right hand of God, had cast them out. ButA strā ­ge specta­cle. what a spe­ctacle then, would it haue bene to see a num­ber of diseased, distressed, and defeated persons; at an instant, all become new men. All the Dumbe, being able to speake; the Deafe, to heare; the Lame, to goe; the blind, to see; the mad men, to discourse with reason; and the dying men, [Page 250]to shew health and strength. How, I say, would they looke, with a face of wonder and amazement, vpon one another; as scarcely beleuing what they felt, and heard, and saw when they found the scene of all the world to be so changed at once. For then Christ our Lord (of whome S. Peter said,Act. 10. Quod pertransijt benefaciendo) curing all such as were oppressed by the diuell euen as fast as he could goe, was rayningThe great la­bour, and the great loue of our Lord. downe from those liberall hands of his, the seuerall blessings, wherof euery one had greatest need. And this he did, with a hart so tenderly behoulding, in euery parti­cular creature, the image of his eternal Father, that it made him loue the meanest of them, a million of tymes, more then his owne pre­tious life. And so obseruing how in euery one of thē, that Image was growne to be defaced, which himselfe had made, he tooke care to re­forme it, which no power but his could ar­riue vnto.

There haue bene in the world, certaine ambitious sculptours, who conceauing thē ­selues withall, to be of matchlesse Skil, would take pleasure and pride, (when they were in making any curious Image, or statue) to leaue some eare, or fingar, or some part of the foot vnfinished. Therby sending out, a secret kind of defiance, to any other of their profession, who would presum to make that, like the rest. ButThe omnipo­tent power & lone, of the diuine Artificer. this heauenly Sculptour of ours, who made not only the formes, but the matter also, of the creatures; was both more cunning, & [Page 251]more charitable then the former. For at the first, he made al the Images of his Father most complete; nor was there any want of that perfection, vvhich they could desire. And aftervvard, vvhen they grevv to be defaced, & broken, through the falls vvhich they tooke by actual sinne (besides Adams fall which infe­cted thē vvith original sinne) one of thē wan­ting an arme, another an eye, (for all these and the like vvere the effects and fruits of sinne) he vvas pleased to bring, vvith a kind of greedy hart, the same hand of strength, vvhich be­fore, had made those armes and eyes, to restore them, as by a kind of second creation.

But O thou infinite God! and vvho shal euer be able to tell vs, hovv the tendernes of this loue did make that very hart of thine, a kind of most true interiourHow the hart of our Lord was the true hospitall of mercy. Iob. 29. hospitall, wher­by all those other hospitalls vvere fed; and vvhereinto their miseries vvere receiued; and from vvhence they vvere supplyed vvith all that mercy, vvherof they had need. For if Iob had such a hart, as made him be an eye to the blinde, a foote to the lame, and a Father to the Or­phane, (for as much as he grieued at the mi­series vvhich lay vpon poore people, and pro­cured to remoue them, by vvorkes of mercy) hovv much more are vve to beleeue it of Christ our Lord. InNo mercy must cō ­pare, with that of Christ our Lord. comparison of vvhose least mercy, the greatest mercy of Iob, vvas meere cruelty. Tell vs therfore deere Lord, hovv full that hart of thine vvas of eyes; and hovv many vvayes they vvere looking, all at [Page 252]once, for our both tēporall and eternall good? For whilst thou wert curing the bodies of some, thou hadst an ayme at the miraculous recouery of the soules of others. He cured S. Peter and S. Andrew of the intricate netts, and perplexed cares of worldly busines. And S. Iames and S. Iohn, Matt. 4. Marc. 1. Matt. 9. Marc. [...] Luc. 5. Luc. 7. not only of wordly affaires, but of wordly affections to their friends. S. Matthew he brought from vnlawfull gaynes; and S. Mary Magdalene from impure pleasures. And euery one of these, & many, many more, at an instant, by the only cast of a counte­nance, or some one single word of his sacred mouth, hauing first receaued a tincture from his enamoured hart.

How the corporall Miracles of our Lord Iesus, had an ayme at the reformation of soules, and did tend to the discouering, and facilita­ting the beliefe of great Mysteryes.

CHAP. 44.

THE corporall miracles themselues, did all carry a kind of respect, to the soules, either of thē, on whome they were wrought, or els of others. And that not only, by way of purging them in point of life; but of illu­minating them also by way of most perfect vnderstanding, and beliefe; yea and yet fur­ther, by vvay of vniting them to himselfe, through pure and perfect loue. Fitting euery thing, vvith diuine vvisedome, to euery per­son, [Page 253]according to the seuerall disposition, which he was found to haue. Christ our Lord (as S. Augustine saith) did intend: That what­soeuer he wrought corporally, S. Aug. serm. 44. de verbis Domini. might spiritually also be vnderstood. He wrought not (saith he) those miracles for the miracles alone; but that, as those things which he exposed to the sight of men, were acknowledged to be strange; so those other things, which he insinuated therby to the vnderstanding, might be imbraced as true. And S. Gregory declares (to the same effect) That the miraculous workes of Christ our Lord, Hom. 21 in Euang. did shew one thing, by the power which they expressed; & did declare another, by the mistery which they cōtained.

ThereThe relation which corporall diseases haue to spirituall. was not therfore, a corporal miracle, wrought by Christ our Lord, which had not also a relation, to the discouery, and cure of some spirituall disease of the minde. The defenes of men, did shew, a not com­plying with heauenly inspirations. Theyr blindenes, a darknes of vnderstanding. Their Feuers a boyling vp of sensual appetite, which caused extreme disorder in the will. Their lea­prosies, a rooted impurity of the soule. Their Lunacies a mad inconstancy of the minde. Their Paralisies an vnaptnes and weakenes towards all good workes. Their dropsies, a gredines after gaine, together with a swelling vp of Pride. And sinally, their being posses­sed, a state of men, who were reprobately giuen ouer to sinne; together with the bitter seruitude, wherin the deuill holdeth such as become his slaues.

No one sigh was vttered by Christ our [Page 254]Lord; no one teare was shed, but with inten­tion to instruct vs, how to deplore our misery and how to implore the diuine mercy. There wasThe misteries which were con­tayned, & the cere­monies which were san­ctified by his mira­cles. not a motion of his hand (with rela­tion to the cure of any man) wherin some mi­stery was not wrapped vp; or els some cere­mony sanctified; and recommended to the vse of the holy Church. And so we see, how in the administration of Baptisme, those ve­ry ceremonies are imbraced by vs, which Christ our Lord did vse to sicke persons of se­uerall kindes; all whose spirituall diseases, doe meet in the person of an infant, till he be bap­tized. For he is spiritually deafe, and there­fore doth the Priest put his fingars into the childs eares, and cryeth Ephata. He is spiri­tually dumbe, and therfore his tongue is tou­ched with spittle. And he is yet in the power of the deuill, and a child of wrath, and ther­fore is he exorcized, as we see, to haue bene done vpon possessed persons, by our B. Lord. Oftentymes, he cured both the bodies of sick­nes, and the soules of sinnes, though the Pa­tients desired but to be corporally cured. And when he did not cure their soules, it was on­ly because they were not, nor would not be well disposed to receiue that blessing. But o­therwise, what he wrought vpō their bodies was ordayned by that diuine goodnes to the helpe of their foules; & if they hearkned to his inspirations, they did instantly recouer both in the outward and inward man.

Many also of the miracles of Christour [Page 255]Lord,Many miracles were or­dayned by our Lord to facilitate the beliefe of Chri­stian Re­ligion. Ioan. 11. Matt. 14. Matt. 15. Marc. 8. did sweetly prepare a way for the beliefe of other nobler miracles, which did also concerne the highest misteries of the Ca­tholike faith. As namely, the raysing vp of La­zarus, disposed men to beleeue the resurrection of the dead, at the last day. And those two mi­racles of the walking of our Lord vpon the sea, and the stupendious multiplying of the loaues of bread in the desert, doe both together, open a faire and ready passage, towards a beliefe of the Catho­licke Doctrine, concerning the reall presence of our blessed Lord, in the most venerable Sa­crament of the Altar. For, his walking on the sea, shewed that his body was no way subiect to the ordinary conditions of a naturall body, whensoeuer he should be pleased to exempt it from them, although of it selfe, it were a per­fect naturall body. And his multiplying of the loaues, did deliuer, in plaine language to the world, the soueraigne power which he had, and hath, to multiply, what, and how much, he would. Which two points being accorded, there remaines no difficulty in be­lieuing our doctrine of the reall presence of our Lord in the blessed Sacrament.

SoThe cōclusion of this dis­course, of the mira­cles of Christ our Lord. that to cōclude, the loue of our Lord IESVS, in the working of his miracles was ex­traordinarily great. Both because the things themselues were so greatly great; and because they were wrought, with such a perfect and pure intention, of Gods greatest glory, and our greatest good. They tended not only as we haue seen, to the cure of bodyes, but also [Page 256]of soules. And not only of soules, to be con­uerted at that tyme; but through all ages also afterward, by the discouery of our spirituall infirmities; and by the institution of most ho­ly ceremonies; and by facilitating a beliefe of the highest misteries. Making one miracle, to be a step, and introduction for another; as I haue shewed in the particular of the blessed Sacrament. AndConsi­der all these cir­cumstāces with at­tention. if for euery one of them alone, a loyall and gratefull hart, would find it selfe obliged to loue him, withall the power it hath; what effect ought such an aboundant cause (as they all, together doe make vp) to worke in vs, and how ought they to induce vs to honour and adore such an incessāt good­nes. For if it would goe for a great fauour, that a Principall man should once vouchsafe to visite a sicke beggar or leprous slaue; & the more principall the one of them were, and the more base the other, so much the greater fa­nour it would be; And if to that visit, he should be pleased to add the tendernes of some com­passionate speach, and almes, and euen of corporall seruice about that creature; and not only once, but often; and not only to one, but to all the world; how iustly would such a charity, exact all admiration at our hands?

Let vs therfore loue and eternally a­dore our blessed Lord, who being the God of heauen and earth, vouchsafed to looke vpon such miserable creatures as we are with such eyes of pitty. AndHow those aun­cient mi­racles, o­blige vs to the loue of our Lord. although those former cures, were not wrought for the recouery of [Page 257]our indiuiduall bodyes; yet there is no single circumstance belonging to any one of them, which giueth not a copious supply of instru­ction and comfort to our soules; and especi­ally that last and greatest miracle, of all mira­cles, of the institution of the most blessed Sa­crament of the Altar. So that, to omit all o­ther moderne miracles (which yet are innu­merable) Christ our Lord doth still vvorke miracle vpon miracle in this blessed Sacra­ment. For this is consecrated in thousands of places, daily and hourely; and it is imparted as easily and liberally to the worst and wicke­dest of vs all (if euen now at last, we haue a resolution to mend) as it was to his own most blessed mother, and his Apostles. And this, is not only a lasting miracle of instruction, and direction, and consolation, both of body and soule, as those others were; but it is a miracle of high communication and perfect vnion. Wherby the omnipotent Maiesty of God,Matt. 26. Marc. 14. Luc. 22. Ioan. 13. is content, after a sort, to make sinfull man, be­come one thing with himselfe. That diuine goodnes vouchsafing to leaue it to his Church by way of Legacy in the night precedent to his passion, as euen now I am endeauouring to shew.

Of the infinite Loue which our Lord Iesus, shewed to vs, in the institution of the blessed Sacrament, and the holy Sacrifice of the Masse.

CHAP. 45.

OVR Lord God of his goodnes giue vs grace, that in vs it may be verified, which [Page 258]hath bene vttered by his owne sacred mouth: Habenti dabitur; Matt. 13. To him who hath, shall be giuen. And that, since he hath indued vs with Faith, in the beliefe of the misteries of his pretious life and death; we may still haue Faith, more and more; wherwith to giue a firme, & feeling, & inflamed kind of assent, to all the testimonies of his infinite loue, which haue bene made to vs, his miserable creatures. ForWhat loades of mercy our Lord doth lay vpon our soules. verily, in this kind, he layes such loade vpon vs; and doth, as it were, so presse vs euen to death with his deare mercies; that if the eyes of our mindes, were not eleuated by his supernatu­rall grace, and fixed therby vpon an infallible truth; we might be beaten blind with seeing, and starued with surfetting, as we see many others are; and the very vastnes of those mi­steries which are opened to vs for our cōfort, by Christ our Lord, would make vs halfe doubt, whether they were, or could be true, or no.

The beloued Apostle, and Euangelist S. Iohn, had lodged himselfe, so long, so neere the hart of our blessed Lord; that he was ea­sily able to discerne, and declare how excel­lently he loued vs from the beginning; and that withall, his loue continued towards vs to the end. Iesus autem, Ioan. 13.cùm dilexisset suos, in finem di­lexit eos. Nay the motion of the loue of his di­uine hart towards man, hauing bene so natu­rall in him; it is no meruaile if it vvent more violently in the end of his sacred life, then at the beginning. All the passions of that happy [Page 259]soule, were intyrely subiect to the commaund of his reason; and he held it to be a thing a­greable to the dignity & immutability of the God he was, to speake of all things (as was toucht before) after a positiue manner, and wonderfully (as we vse to say) within com­passe. Superlatiues, and Exaggerations vsed to be thin sowed in the blessed mouth of our Lord IESVS. Nor is he, in effect, euer found to haue said any thing, as seeming to haue bene transported with any extraordinary, or passionate desire, or care; butWhen he came towardes the passiō our Lord did seem to breake his pace. only con­cerning that which he was to suffer in his sa­cred Passion, and that which he was to doe, in the night precedent to the same.

When formerly he was aduising his A­postles to haue great confidence in the proui­dence of God, (by letting them see what a care he had euen of sparrowes; and inferring ther­by, that he would incomparably more, haue care of them) he exaggerated not the matter,Matt. 10. but did only aske: If themselues were not to be more esteemed then many sparrowes? Wheras yet one soule, is more in the sight of God, not on­ly thē many sparrowes, but then al the whole material world put together. When he had a mind to tell them, what a misery it was for that wretch, that he would make himselfe the betrayer of the sonne of man; Matt. 8 [...]. he only said; wo be to that man, it had been better for him if he had neuer been borne; which was but a very plaine, and positiue manner of expression. For as much as, not only this greatest sinne which euer [Page 260]was perhaps conceaued, but the least mortall sinne that can be imagined, without repen­tance, doth make a man much more vnhappy, then if he were vtterly depriued of being. When he professed the omnipotency of his e­ternall Fathers power, to deliuer him out of the hands of them who tooke and tyed him; he told them only,Matt. 26. that if he should pray for any helpe of that kind, his Father would send, more then twelue legions of Angells, to his succour. Wheras he might as good cheape haue said, twelue thous­and, as twelue legions. But our Lord IESVS, was not wont to vse any superlatiue manner of speach; and he hath had many seruants, who haue carefully imitated him in this, as in the rest. But yet neuer thelesse, whē he reflected v­pō the thought of that passiō, which he was re­solued to vndergoe for the Redēption of mā; the very desire of the approach of so happy a day, made him cōfesse, that he was in paine, till it did arriue.Luc. 12. Baptismo habeo baptizari, & quo­modo coactor, donec veniat. Or rather he did not so much say, that he was in paine, as by words of interrogation, (in the way, after a sort, of seeming impatient) he asked himselfe this ve­ry question in effect; How much am I payned, how straitely am I imprisoned, til I haue my fil of suffering for the loue of man?

IustOur Lord did long for the tyme when he might in­stitute the B. Sacra­ment. so may we see, that when the time of celebrating the feast of the Paschal lambe was come; he grew euen greedily desirous, to eate it, in the company of his B. Apostles, before his Passion. And for their comfort, he [Page 261]would not choose but say,Luc. 22. Desiderio desider aui manducare vobiscum hoc Pascha antequam patiar. That he desired it, and that with desire vpon desire; and such desire, as could neuer be ap­peased, till he were satisfied, till that tyme of the last supper were past, wherin he had re­solued to impart vnspeakeable tokens of his loue to them; and so the other tyme of his Pas­sion, wherin he was to endure the depth of all torments, and affronts for the same loue, were then immediatly to come.

In the euening therfore, and within few howers of his Passion, this enamoured Lord of ours, hauing all the parts and passa­ges therof in his eye, and looking, as it were, in the very face of death, and such a death; he yetOur Lord kept the shew of all his sorrow to himselfe. Ioan. 13. laid vp all the sorrow in his owne hart, and would discouer to his Apostles, no other semblance then of ioy and comfort, least his griefe might be a cause of theirs. He conuer­sed with them after his ordinary and familiar manner; he disposed himselfe first to eate the Paschall lambe with them. After that, he sate downe with them to a common Supper; He kept his diuine countenance full of quiet­nes and peace; He tooke them close about him, on all sides; He cheered them vp, with his gratious eyes, and he carued them with his liberall hands. Nay with those hands, (to the dispēsation wherof his eternall Father had cō ­mitted all things) he disdayned not then, to wash the vncleane feete of those poore Apost­les. For which purpose first, he put of his vp­per [Page 262]garment, as any hired seruant was to haue done;Ioan. 13. and by the force of his owne armes, he tooke a big vessell full of water, & out of that, he silled a lesser. He girt himselfe with a to­well, into which he tooke their corporall vn­cleanes; as a figure of how he would purify their harts, by his sacred Passion; For then he was to beare the deformity of their sinnes vpon the shoulders of his body, which was a kind of winding sheet to his soule. When our Lord had thus performed this act of re­ligion, in eating of the Paschall lambe; and of incomparable suauity in his conuersation; & of vnspeakeable humility, in the Lotiō of his Apostles feete; he returned to the table, and a­mazed all theThe Angells might well be a­mazed to see the sonne of God giue his owne body in food to sinners. Angells of heauen, whose vnderstāding did euen agonize, in seeing him performe, that supereminent act of Charity; when he instituted the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and ordeyned the holy Sacrifice of the Masse, which was so worthy of an infinite God.

This was done by diuine goodnes, im­mediatly vpon his hauing washed the Apost­les feete. And our Lord was pleased, by that vnspeakeable humility of his, to prepare, and exalt them to a participation of so high myste­ries, as were to follow.Ioan. 7. The holy Ghost was not then descended, because the sonne of man was not ascē ­ded vp to heauen. And therfore it is no meruaile, if S. Peter, were at that tyme to seeke, concer­ning the reasō, why our Lord would vse such an excesse as that. But he was told, that he [Page 263]should vnderstand the mystery afterward,Ioan. 13. and then he would easily know withal, thatThe great pu­rity which is requisi­te, to a Ca­tholique Priest. no purity in this world could be too great, for the disposing of themselues, to that which they went about; which was to be ordeyned Priests; and not only to partake, but also to dispense the pretious body and bloud, of our blessed Lord.

Our Lord IESVS did therfore take bread into his hands; he blessed it, and gaue therof to his Dis­ciples, when first he had pronounced the words of Consecration ouer it. Declaring, and con­sequently making it, to be that very body of his, which was to be offred vpon the Crosse. That being done, he also tooke the Chalice, and he consecrated that in like manner; affir­ming, and therby also making it, to be that very bloud, which was to be powred out af­terward, for the saluation of the world. He authorized and commaunded them withall, to doe the like in commemoration of what he should haue done, and suffered for them.

Now incomparable was the loue which our Lord shewed heerin both in substance & circumstance. InMost strong in substance, & most sweet in circum­stance. substance, because he gaue himselfe for the food of his seruants; and in the manner of it, because he did it in such a sweet, and tender fashion towards them; & at such a tyme, when yet his owne hart, was oppressed with sorrow, through the fore­knowledge, and expectation of his bitter Pas­siō, which was thē at hand. Nay he was plea­sed (as appeareth by the words of the sacred [Page 264]Text) to beIn the very con­secration, he speake and thought of his Pas­sion. feeding his thoughts actually vpon how he was to giue his body vp, by his bitter Passion, and to shed his bloud, by a vio­lent, and most dishonorable effusion, euen whilst he was graunting that legacy, and con­secrating the same body and bloud of his, for the comfort and ioy of mankind, vnder the fa­miliar and delightful formes of bread & wine. He was taking his leaue of them, though yet he knew not how to leaue them. But as he went from them, in that visible manner, ac­cording to which he had conuersed vvith thē til that tyme; so yet, he vvould bind himself to come in person to them for their comfort, though in another forme, vvhensoeuer they should haue a mind to call him.

How our Lord would not harken to those reasons, which might haue disswaded him from shewing this great mercy to man. Of the necessity of a visible Sacrifice: and how our Lord himselfe, doth still offer it.

CHAP. 46.

IF reason might haue preuailed, it seemes that he should haue taken heed vvhat he vvas about doe.Matt. 7. That if Pearles were not to be cast to swyne, much lesse vvas this inualuable ievvell, to be mis-spent vpon so many, vvho vvould continually be vvallovving in the filth of sinne. That there vvould be a vvorld of Pagans, Iewes, Heretiques, and vvho vvould [Page 265]not beleeue, and would blaspheme the truth therof. That millions of Catholikes, though they did beleeue it, would not yet frequent it, but would rather for beare this bread of life, & this fountaine of heauenly water, then the muddy miserable gust of some carnal pleasure, or some base interest of the world, which yet doth but lead them from a Purgatory in this life, to a Hell in the next. That some would do worse then to abstayne; for notwithstan­ding that they resolued still to sinne, they would yet presume with Sacrilegious mouth to prophane this Lord of heauen and earth; & to bring God into that house, wherof the de­uill had possession and dominion. And in fine, that they would be too few, who would of­ten resort to it with due reuerence of that Ma­iesty; with hungar after true sanctity; with loue of that immense beauty; and with that purity of hart which might forbid them to la­uish and wast themselues away, in pursuite of creatures.

This might haue seemed to be the voyce of reason which was to haue diuerted our blessed Lord, from submitting himselfe to such indignity, as he seemed, by his mercy, to grow subiect to. ButHow the infini­te loue of our Lord made an­swere in our be­halfe to this infi­nite wise­dome. he, on the other side, would needs vnderstand it to be otherwise. And that he being an infinite God, it vvould become him well, to be infinitely good. That it should not be long of him, if all the world were not inchayned to him by loue. That if any man would either vnder-value the bene­fit; [Page 266]and much more if he would abuse it other­wise, a most rigorous account should be asked therof. And that, in the meane tyme, it would be comfort inough for him, if such as were re­solued to serue him, might be incorporated to him; not only by supernaturall grace, but by this supersubstantiall bread, which should cause an vnspeakeable vnion betwene him & them. This was a principall reason, why our Lord was pleased to institute both this diuine Sacrifice and Sacrament in this last supper of his; but he did it, besides, for the fulfilling of Prophesies, and the perfecting of the figures of the old Testament.

He was not come, as himselfe had for­merly affirmed, To breake the law, but to fulfill it. And therfore as he was pleased to eate the Pas­chall lambe, with all those Ceremonies which the law required, and which, till then, were to be of force; soThe Paschall lambe was a fi­gure, both of the death of Christ our Lord, and of the B. Sacra­ment. the same, being partly a figure of the Passion and Death, of our Lord IESVS; and much more properly, of the Blessed Sacrament, and the holy Sacrifice of the Masse, it became his Truth and Good­nes, to ordaine and institute them at that tyme.

For his Church in euery one of the states therof, aswell vnder the law of nature, as the written law, was the Spouse of Christ our Lord; and in vertue of that only coniun­ction, it vvas acceptable and pleasing to the eternall Father. But particularly it was to be so, vnder the Law of Grace, vvhen once it [Page 267]should come to be fed, by his sacred body, and inebriated by his pretious bloud. And ther­fore, as in those former tymes, the Church of Christ our Lord, had neuer bene without her Sacrifices (neither is there indeed, or can there be, any true Religion, without a reall, and proper Sacrifice) so much lesse vvould he per­mit, that Spouse, vnder the lavv of grace, to vvant this soueraigne meanes, wherby to pro­test the faithfull, and incommunicable ho­mage, vvhich she ovves, to him. For The Oblation of Sacrifi­ce is the highest act of re­ligion. a Sa­crifice, is a worship of Latria; and the supreme act of religion, wherby (through the oblation, and externall mutation of some corpor all thing, (according to the par­ticular rites, and sacred ceremonies which are perfour­med, by persons, who are peculiarly deputed for that purpose and are called Priests) the excellency of the di­uine Maiesty, and the supreme Dominion which it hath, ouer the life and death of all the creatures, is acknowledged and protested. Now therfore, Christ our Lord, vvould not depriue vs of this bles­sing. But as, vvith great aduātage to vs, he had already changed the Circumcisiō of the old law, into Baptisme; so also was the diuine Good­nes pleased, to make all those figuratiue Sacri­fices of the same old lavv, yeild vp their pos­session in the nevv, and giue place to this one other most excellent Sacrifice, of his ovvne most pretious body and bloud.

The Sacrifices of the old lavv, vvere blou­dy;Num. 1. & 3. and they vvere offred by that braunch of the Tribe of Leui, which descended from A­ron. But yet Melchisedech, also vvas a Priest, [Page 268]and that long before;Gen. 14. Psal. 109. and he offred an vnblou­dy Sacrifice, and it consisted of bread & wine. Novv Christ our Lord, vvho is our true high Priest; did summe vp all the Sacrifices of both those kindes, into his ovvne sacred selfe. For as those former bloudy Sacrifices, did pre­figure the Sacrifice of his pretious life vpon the Crosse; so that other of bread and vvine, did prefigure the Sacrifice of the holy Masse. And so truely and properly, is this last a Sacrifice, and so truly vvas he the Priest, vvho offered it first in this last supper of his; and so truly did he ordaine his Apostles to do the like by those vvords, Hocfacite in meam commemorationem, Doe this in commemoration of me, Luc. 22. (& in their persons, all those others also, of succeding ages vvere appointed to doe it, vvho should in like man­ner, be ordayned by them) that vnlesse this truth be sincerly and religiously granted, vve shall neuer be able to verify those vvords of the holy Ghost, vvherby it vvas prophesied thus by Dauid, Psal. 109. concerning Christ our Lord, and so vnderstood by the holy Fathers of the Church (as vve shall shortly see,) Tues sacerdos in aeternum, secundum ordinem Melchisedech: Thou art a Priest for euer, after the order of Melchisedech.

But a true and lawfull Priest he is, af­ter the order of Melchisedech, and a Priest he is to be, till the end of the vvorld. And alth­ough he be raigning still in heauen, yet con­tinually doth he exercise this office of his, by his deputies, vvho are true Catholicke Priests. And principally it is he, vvho offereth vp his [Page 269]ovvne body and bloud, together vvith them; he being the only true Originall Priest, and these other (though properly & truly Priests) yet being but partakers of his Povver, & Or­der, by his grace. Novv this body and bloud of our Lord IESVS vvho is the one only Sacri­fice, and vvho vvas offered vp in a bloudy mā ­ner vpon the Crosse, is novv offered dayly, in an vnbloudy manner vpon our Altars. Con­teyningThe sacrifice of the Masse is both Propitia­tory Impetra­tory, and of thanks­giuing; & doth be­nefit both the quick & dead. Mala. [...]. in it selfe, all sufficiency, and a­boundance of grace, both for the liuing and dead; for the propitiation of sinne, and the paines vvhich follovv it; the thanksgiuing for benefits already receiued, & the impetration of graces to be heereafter graunted, by Al­mighty God. And this is that Sacrifice wher­of Malachy did so cleerly prophesy; vvhen (reprouing the Sacrifices of the old lavv) he spake thus, as in the tyme of the lavv of grace: Ab ortu solis, vsque ad occasum, magnum est nomen meum in gentibus &c. From the rysing of the sunne, to the going downe therof, great is my name among the gentiles. And in euery place, there is sacrificing, and there is offered to my name a cleane oblation; because my name is great among the Gentills, sayth the Lord of Hosts.

Of the iudgemēt which the holy Fathers of the Church haue alwayes made of this holy Sacrifice, and B. Sacrament; and the great venera­tion, which they had them in; and the motiues whereby we may be in­duced to do the like.

CHAP. 47.

VVELL might the Prophet say, that this Sacrifice vvas pure and cleane, since it is no lesse then God himselfe; though not as God, but man. And the cheife Priest also is God vvho dayly offereth vp the same, together vvith the subordinate Priest. And al­though no Quire of Angells can speake as magnificently of it, as the thing deserues; yet the Fathers of the Church haue done theyr best, to acknovvledge and admire it. And for the comfort of my reader, I vvill cite him a fevv of the many passages vvhich are found in them.

Who is more the Priest of God, saythCypr. l. 2. Ep. 3. S. Cyprian, then our Lord Iesus Christ, who offered a Sa­crifice to God the Father, & he offered that which Mel­chisedech offered, towit, bread and wine, that is to say, his owne body and bloud.

When we offer this Sacrifice, sayth Cyril. Hierosol. (one of the fathers of the first Councell of Nice) in Catech. mist. 5. Saint Cyrill, we afterwards make mention of the dead.

We erect not Altars to Martyrs, saith Au­gust. de ci­uit. Dei l. 22. c. 10. Idem. Confes. l. 9. c. 13. S. Augustine, but we offer Sacrifice to him alone, who [Page 271]is the God both of them and vs. This S. Augustine saith; and he relateth els vvhere of his mother, That when she was dying, she desired him to remem­ber her, at the Altar, where she was wont to be pre­sent, euery day; and from whence she knew that holy SacrificeThe body of our Lord. to be dispensed, wherby the hand wry­ting was blotted out which was contrary to vs.

Our flesh, sayth Tertul. l. deresur­rect. carnit cap. 8. Tertullian, doth secd vpon the body and bloud of Christ, that the soule also may be made fat with God.

The bread which our Lord gaue to his Disci­ples, (as Cypr. de coena Domini. S. Cyprian saith of the Reall Presence) being changed not in shew, but in substance, by the omnipotency of the word, was made flesh. That as in the person of Christ the humanity was seene, and the diuinity lay hid; so hath the diuine essence vnspeakea­bly powred it selfe, into this inuisible Sacrament.

We doe rightly beleeue, sayth Gre­gor. Nys­sen. in ora­tione ca­techistica cap. 37. S. Gregory of Nisse, that bread being sanctified, by the word of God, is transmuted into the body of the word of God.

We know, and haue it for most assured, sayth Cyril. Ierosol. cathe. Myst. 4. S. Cyrill Bishop of Hierusalem, that this bread which is seene by vs, is not bread, although the tast e­steeme it to be bread, but that it is the body of Christ.

Many mothers, saith Chry­sost. hom. 83. in Matt. S. Chrysostome, put out their children, when they are borne, to be nurst by o­thers; but Christ our Lord would not doe soe, but doth nourish vs with his owne body, and so doth conioyne, & glew vs to himselfe.

O miracle!Chry­sost. l. 3. de Sacerde tio. O benignity of God, sayth the same S. Chrysostome! He that sitteth aboue, with the Father, at the same instant is handled by the hands of all; and he deliuers himselfe vp to such as will receaue [Page 272]and imbrace him. And in Chry­sost. hom. 24 c. 10.1. Epist. ad Corinth. another place, he sayth thus, That which is in the Chalice, flowed out of his side, and of that doe we communicate.

This indeed, as sayth S.Saint Ephrem (who was familiar with Saint Basil the great) lib. de natura Dei non serutanda cap. 5. Ephrem, exceedeth all admiration, all speach, and all conceipt, which Christ our Sauiour the only begotten sonne of God, hath done. To vs who are clad with flesh, he hath giuen fire, and spirit to eate, namely his body, and his bloud.

My bread, sayth Am­bros. l. 4. de Sacra men [...]is. S. Ambrose, is vsuall bread but this bread is bread, before the words of the Sacra­ment, but whē the cōsecration once doth come, of bread it is made the flesh of Christ. Let vs therfore settle this point how that which is bread, can be made the body of Christ? By consecration. This consecration, of what speach and words doth it consist? Of the words and speach of our Lord Iesus. For all the rest which is said, is either prayse giuen to God, or there are particular prayers, made for the people, and for Kings, and others. But when he comes to the tyme of making the B. Sa­crament, the Priest doth no longer speake in his owne words, but in the words of Christ. The speach ther­fore of Christ, is that which makes this Sacrament. What speach of Christ? Thevery same wherby al things were made. Our Lord commaunded, and the heauen was made. Our Lord commaunded, and the earth was made. Our Lord commaunded, and the sea was made. Our Lord commaunded & al the creatures were made. Thou seest therfore how effectually the speach of Christ doth work. IfNote this con­sequence. then there be such power in the speach of our Lord Iesus, as to make those things be, which were not; how much more effectually, will it worke towards the making of them be which are; and to make them be changed, into other, then what they were. [Page 273]ThereforeMarke well the expresse authority of this Saint. that I may answere thee, I say: That it was not the body of Christ, before the consecration; but after the consecration, I say to thee, that then, it is the body of Christ.

Christ was carried, sayth Aug. in Psal. 33. Conc. 1. Ibid. S. Augustine, in his owne hands, when commending his body to his A­postles, he said, Hoc est corpus meum, this is my body, for then he carried his body in his hands.

And agayne, Our Lord would place our sal­uation, in his body, and bloud. But how did he com­mend his body and bloud to vs? In his humility. For vnlesse he were humble, he would not be eaten and drunke.

The good Pastour, sayth Greg. in hom. 14. in Euang. S. Gregory the great, laid downe his life for his sheepe, that he might turne his body and bloud into our Sacrament, & might feed the sheepe which he had redeemed, by the nutri­ment of his flesh.

Vnder the species of bread (sayth S.Cyril. Ierosol. in Catech. Myst. 4. Cy­rillus Ierosolymitanus) the body is giuen thee; and vn­der the species of bloud, the wine; that so thou maist become participant of his body & bloud. So shall we by [...], that is Carryers of Christ, when we shall haue receiued his body and bloud, into our body; and so, as S. Peter saith we shall be made consorts of the diuine nature.

And (according to that of S.Cyril. l. 10. in Iohn. c. 11. Cyrill) if any man shall mingle wax, which is melted, by fire, with other wax, which is also melted, in such sort that they both doe seeme to be but one, made of both; so by the coniunction of the body and bloud of Christ our Lord, he is in vs, and we in him.

S.Greg. l. 4. Dia­log. c. 58. Gregory doth surther say: What faith­full [Page 274]soule can doubt, but that in the very hower of the Sacrifice, the heauens doe open, at the voyce of the Priest; and that in this mystery of Christ Iesus, the Quires of the Angells doe assist; the highest and the lowest things doe meete; Terrestriall and Celestiall things are ioyned; and there is made one thinge, of things which are visible, and inuisible.

Heere then we are taught, by the holy Fathers of the Church, (whome I might haue cited to this purpose, both more at large, and more in number) the inscrutable loue of our Lord IESVS to mankind, expressed in these high mysteries, of the blessed Sacrament, and the holy Sacrifice of the Masse. But how shall we be able to disingage our selues, for being euen ouerwhelmed with the huge weight therof, since the superexcellent Humanity of ourThe incompa­ble digni­ty of the person of Christ our Lord.Lord IESVS (consisting of that pretious body, which first was framed out of purest bloud of the all-immaculate Virgin, by the only hand of the holy Ghost, and of that glo­rious soule, which in the first instāt of the crea­tion therof was hypostatically vnited to God the sonne, the second person of the most B. Trinity; (and the same person, being indiui­sible from the other two, of God the Father, and God the holy Ghost) that this person, I say, of Christ our Lord, should be communi­cated to all the Priests of the holy Catholike Church, to be offred daily, ouer all the world, and to be receiued into the brest both of them, and al the other faithfull children of that mo­ther, as often as thēselues should desire. What [Page 275]Cherubim is able to discouer the greatnes of this benefit; and what Seraphim hath his hart hoat inough, to breath out such ardent flames of loue, as grow due to God vpō this account? How full of reason was the exclamation and admiration of holy Dauid when he said, Psalm. 34. & 9. That there was none like to God, in the cogitations which he interteyned for our Good? No man, no creature could euer haue aspired to such a happines, or so much as to haue conceaued, that euen the diuine nature it selfe, had bene able to expres­se such goodnes. But God is God, and God is loue, and the loue euen of Creatures is full ofHow full of In­uention great loue is.inuention, for the inioyning, and (if it were possible) for the very exchanging them­selues by loue into one another. And now as God is infinite, in all things, so is he infinite, after a particular manner, in his loue, and by consequence, he is infinite in his inuention.

How inspeakeable honour had it bene for man, to haue bene, though but admitted, to the sight alone, of Christ our Lord, in the blessed Sacrament?Num. 88.For if the sight of that bra­sen serpēt with faith in Christ our Lord (who was then but to come so long after) were a­ble to cure the Israelites of the stings of ser­pents; how much more would the only sight of our blessed Sauiour, with faith, haue suffi­ciently serued to cure their soules of all their sicknesse? How much happines had it bene for vs, to touch the sacred host, with our hāds; the senfible part of the same host being a gar­ment which sits so close vpon the body, and [Page 276]soule of Christ our Lord. For we know that a woman was cured of a bloudy flux, Matt. 9 & 14. Marc. 6. Luc. 8. by the on­ly touch of the hemne of his looser garment. Such ho­nour and happines had bene much for vs to haue receaued; but it was nothing, in cōpari­sō of the excessiue charity of our Lord, which would not be satisfied with doing lesse then all. For what could euen his omnipotency haue added, to the trace which heere he hath deuised; not only of a coniunction, but of an vnion; and that such an one, as is the most in­ternall which can be imagined, being in the way of food. S. Augustine sheweth how God hath made as able to feed vpon him, by a meer spirituall manner, in the mistery of the In­carnation; and we may fitly apply the same wordes, to this Sacramētall kind of feeding, as indeed these two misteries haue great affinity with one another. GodA pas­sage of S. Augusti­ne, which well de­serueth to be consi. dered. Manual. cap. 26. became man (sayth this incomparable Saint) for mans sake, that so man might be redeemed by him, by whome he was created. And, to the end that God might be beloued by man after a kind of more familiar manner, he ap­peared in the likenes of man. That so, both the inter­nall, and the externall senses of man, might be made happy in him; and that the eye of our hart might be fedd by the consideration of his diuinity, and the eye of our flesh and bloud, by that of his humanity. That so, whether we should worke inward, or outward, this humane nature of ours which was created by him; in him might be sure to find store of food. This S. Au­gustine sayth, and if this might be well affir­med in respect of the Incamation of our Lord [Page 277]IESVS, how much more may it be sayd, in res­pect of the mystery of the blessed Sacrament; where we feed not only spiritually, but besi­des, after a sacramentall, and yet reall māner.

How we doe both feed, and are fedd vpon, in the blessed Sacrament; and of the admirable ef­fects which it must necessarily cause, in such as do worthily receaue it; and of the reason why it must be so; and of the Figures which forshewed the same.

CHAP. 48.

VVE may wel perceaue, that our Lord IESVS, is a great freind ofGod is a great friend of vnion. Vnion. His person is distinct, from the other persons of the B. Trinity, but the essence is one, and very same of them all. When he was resolued to become man, he was also pleased to knit mans nature to the nature of God, by the Hy­postaticall vnion. An infinite honour this was to man; for it grew true heerby. that man was God; and that God was killed vpon a Crosse, for the loue of men. Yet though by that vnion in his Incarnation, he brought vs all to be his allies, he did not personally vnite himselfe to vs all. But by this lastHow our Lord vniteth vs to himself. sacramentall vnion of him and vs, when purely we take his pre­tious body & bloud into our selues, vnder the quality and condition of food; he maketh e­uery one of vs, much more one with him. And then no meruaile, if the honour he doth vs, & [Page 278]if the ioy he giues vs, (when the fault is not our owne) be the greatest which we can re­ceaue in this world. For we inioye none of the other mysteries of the life, and death of our Lord IESVS, but onely by faith, and memo­ry; wheras this, is present to vs, in very deed; and present so, as the food which we receaue, is present to vs.

And so, in like manner, when no impe­diment is at hand, it breeds a great loue of his goodnes, and a great delight in his sweetnes, & in fine, an vnion of vs both, in one. Though with this difference from other food, that (as S. Augustine was taught by our Lord) we change not him into vs, Confes. l. 7. cap. 10. as by eating other food we vse to chāge it; but we are changed into it, by it, if we approach to it, with a pure and hungry soule; & so fee­ding in this B. Sacrament vpon him, he fee­deth also vpon vs.

Nor is it strange that we should both feed, and yet be fed vpon, when Almighty God is a party to the contract: Omnia quaecum­pue voluit fecit: He can doe what he will; and he is pleased to will,Psalm. 113. that he, and we, should feed vpon one another. And to such, as en­deauour to be truly, and entirely, and purely his; he contenteth not himselfe with lesse then thus to come to them in person, with desire of vnion. And he isThe vnspeake­able bene­fits which are reaped by wor­thy recea­uing the B. Sacra­ment. Psal. 147. washing away all the dregs of sinne by that fountaine of grace. He is thawing all frozen hardnes of the hart by the sweet breath of his Spirit; Flabit Spiritus e­ius & fluent aquae; and he is consuming the rust [Page 279]of their selfe loue, by that burning fire of his charity; comforting them in all afflictions and satisfying them in all their doubts and wants; illuminating their vnderstanding; and com­posing their will; and fixing their imaginatiō; and possessing, and imprinting himselfe vpon their memory; calling in, and consecrating their senses; and sealing vp their harts to him­selfe. And changing, at length the whole tast of their soules, he make them loue that which he loues, and hate that which is any way of­fensiue to him. To conclude, of deuills (which perhaps they were) they become as so many Angells, in flesh & bloud; & are naturalized, after a sort with God, & grow to be euen ve­ry Christs, according to that of the blessed Apostle, who said of himselfe: Viuo O hap­py holy state. ego, Galat. 2 [...] iam non ego, viuit verò in me Christus. I liue, yet now not I, but Christ is he who liueth in me, by my liuely imitation of his diuine vertues, and by a per­fect conformity, or rather transformity of my spirit into his.

AndNo wonder is strange where God is the worke man. Psalm. 111 [...] what meruaile can it be, that such wōders as these be wrought in man, since it is the Creatour of man, and of all things els, who descends so low as to liue in him; he of whom it is sayd, that, Gloria & diuitiae in domo eius? What meruaile is it, if we be made so glo­rious and so rich, since he vouchsafes to make pure and humble soules, the house wherin he desires to be intertayned, and euen to be the very couch wherin he delighteth to be en­loyed, by the most chast, but yet most strayte [Page 280]imbracements of diuine loue? What meruaile, I say, if such as receiue this food with pure af­fections, doe lead euen in this world, a life which is not of this world; since the selfe same God, who feeds all the spirits of heauen, hath contryuedIn some sort we are e­quall to the An­gells euen in this life. a way, how to giue himselfe for the same food to mortall men? The same food I say, though it be dressed after a different mā ­ner, and serued in vnder a disguise of the acci­dents of bread and wine, as betwene two co­uered dishes, according to the custome, amōgst great persons?

Euen this of the disguise, was also done, out of an admirable diuine loue to vs, who had not bene able in this fraile state of ours, to see God and liue. And besides, we grow thus, to haue a meanes of exercising most heroicall acts of Faith, towards him. To which acts of beleeuing in this life, doth correspond the re­wards and glory, of perfect seeing in the next. But the substance of the food, is still the same, both heere and there.Apoc. 22. AndOur food in the blessed Sacramēt is the ve­ry same, wher with the happy soules are feasted in heauen. therfore S. Iohn. (according to the obseruation of Doctour A­uila) relates, that it was one, and not diuers Trees, which he saw, on both the bancks of that riuer, which flowed out of the throne of God. Vpon the one of which bancks being the tryumphant Church in heauē, Christ our Lord doth sustaine them there; and on the other bancke, which is the militant Church, wherof we haue the honor and happines to be members, the same tree of life doth feed vs heere.

We are also taught this very truth, by [Page 281]the sacred mouth of Christ our Lord himselfo,Iohn. 6. who said: That he was the bread that came downe from heauen. If therfore he be the bread of hea­uen, he is the food of the inhabitāts of heauen: and if that food be thus imparted to his childrē in this world, it must be only their fault, if they lead not euen heere a life of heauen. WeHow man en­nobleth other food by eating it, but he is ennobled by this see that in the case euen of common food (how base soeuer that be) it is raysed (by being eaten) to the dignity of becōming a part of him who eates it; because the man is nobler then the meate, and he assumeth it therfore vp, to him­selfe. And what should then become of such as doe worthily feed vpon this bread of life, this nourishmēt of heauē, which is Christ our Lord; but that, for as much as this food is infi­nitely of better quality then our selues, by eat­ing it we should be transformed into it; and of terrestriall in our conuersation, should become celestiall; and resemble the Angells in purity, since we carry resemblance to them, in the food we take, which is the God, and King of glory.

An infinite, and of it selfe, an incredi­ble thinge this is, that such creatures as we, should be sublimed to such a height of digni­ty, euen in this life. But to the end that it might astonish vs the lesse, when it should ar­riue, and that our wonder might be all con­uerted into loue, itThe banquet of the B. Sacramēt was for­told by many Fi­gures be­fore it came. was the good will of God, to foretell vs of it long before; and to re­prosent it, as it were, to our very eyes by way of figures and shadowes; that so being accu­stomed [Page 282]to consider those shadowes, we might, with more facility, imbrace the body, when it should be come. For this is the accomplish­ment of al those figures of theExod. 11. Paschall lambe; of thePsalm. 77. Manna; of the bread ofExod. 25. Proposition; of the Banquet which KingHester. [...]. Assuerus made; & of many others. And as it was a body in re­pect of those former shadowes and figures, so may it be accounted, in some respects, but as a figure, in respect of the celestiall Banquet of eternall beatitude, which shall be serued in, hereafter, as the second course of our delicious fare, when we are to feed for all eternity.

The Sacramentall presence of our Lord IESVS, doth stay no longer, then the species of bread and wine remaine; but the ayre & ver­tue thereof, doth still contynue, till it be dri­uen thence. AndThe wonder­ful effects of the B. Sacramēt. so great effects they are, which grow vpon it, (in such as are carefull to comply with God) as giues them aboundant testimony that no lesse then omnipotency it selfe, is there. Nay it is most certainly true, that the blessed Sacrament, doth worke, and that very often, (in the soules of such as dispo­se themselues deuoutly to it) so many, and so wonderful effects, sometimes in giuing strēgth of body, where it was wanting before; some­times in the vtter extirpation of some passion; sometymes in the infusion of some great ver­tue; sometymes in changing, at a very instant, the whole sense of the soule (making it all tryumph with ioy, wheras immediatly be­fore it was halfe dead, of griefe) as doth much [Page 283]declare and proue, the diuinity of Christ our Lord. Yea and theyr soules doe feele it so; as that if there were no other argument, or au­thority, in the whole world, but what they find within themselues, it might serue to giue them great assurance, that Christ our Lord is no lesse then God.

AThe great life & vigour which growes to the soule by the B. Sacra­ment. Minerall this is, soe full of Spi­rit, that it leaues a liuely tincture in the violl, wherinto it hath bene powred. It perfumes the whole soule, if it be well dissolued by acts of loue. But then we must doe, as we vse whē a roome is well perfumed, to keepe the doores and windowes shut. Recollection in this case, doth euen import a man, as much as his life. Which yet if God bid him giue ouer, and that his diuine Maiesty, doe, for the reasons ofSpiri­tuall com­forts must giue place to the ex­ercise of charity & obedience 2. Cor. 2. Charity or Obedience, require him to open, and impart himselfe to others, he shall be still, A good odour of Christ our Lord to God; but withall he hath so much strength, as not to be dissipated, in himselfe.

Of the great Loue of our Lord, in conueying the Blessed Sacrament to vs, vnder the species of bread and wine. Why it is neyther necessary, nor conuenient, nor scarce possible for all Chri­stians to communicate of the Chalice. Of di­ners kinds of Vnion: And how liberall our Lord is to vs, in letting vs all frequent these diuine Mysteries so often.

CHAP. 49.

AS the loue of our Lord IESVS, was full of inuention, in disposing him to per­forme this worke; soThe great loue of our Lord, doth ad­mirably appeare by diuers circum­stances. was it also, in the manner of contriuing, and dispensing it, ac­cording to the capacity of man. And first con­cerning the formes or species, vnder which he is presented to vs, what other, could haue bene thought of, either more agreable, or more gustful to the nature of man, thē they of bread & wine? If, for the punishmēt of our sinnes, or the mortification of our senses, he had bene pleased to ordaine, that we should haue recei­ued him, in the formes of pitch, or inke; as him­selfe would therby haue bene subiect to no indignity at all; so yet still we must haue ac­knowledged, that it had bene infinite mercy for vs to haue receiued such a pretious Iewell as that, in how course, or homely case soeuer, it had come.

But bread and wine, are the very sta­nes of corporall strength, and comfort; and he confined his body and bloud, to the species of [Page 285]these two creatures; that so this superscription (as it were) of the Loue-letter which he was writing to vs, might prepare vs, for an ex­pectation of those sublime, and sweet contēts, which lay within. YetThe Bloud of our Lord, is alwayes together with his body; and for that reason, it was necs­sary for lay people to receaue both the body and the bloud distinct. Nay there are many other rea­sons which make it neyther conueniēt nor yet possible to receaue them so. because there are some, who haue a naturall auersion from the tast, and euen from the very sent of vvine, which no man euer had, from bread; Because there are some countries, so remote, both from the Sunne, and from the Sea, as that there, wine is hardly to be found; Because in the infinite multitudes of Christians, it would be impossible, for all to receaue of the sacred Chalice, without indangering, yea and com­mitting much irreuerēce; Because some would be so sicke of pestilent feauers, as that euen a drop of wyne, would doe them hurt; Be­cause persecutions would be sometymes so great, as that it might be fit, to leaue the bles­sed Sacrament in the custody of some parti­cular men, and women, to be receiued by themselues for their comfort, in some great exigent of distresse, and danger (as was often done in the primitiue Church by the testimo­ny of Tertullian and others) and which could not be done with the Chalice, for any long tyme, or euen almost at all, in any hoat coun­try. For these reasons, I say, and for many o­thers, which by the wisedom and loue of our Lord IESVS were thought conuenient (and especially because his body is a liuing body (and consequently it cannot be without the bloud) he was pleased, that both the bloud & [Page 286]the body should remaine vnder the species both of bread & wine, that so he who recea­ued one, might be sure to receaue them both.

AndIn the sacrifice of the Masse the reason is very different. howsoeuer, for as much as con­cernes the Sacrifice of the Masse, both the bread and wine are seueraly to be offered, consecra­ted, and consummated by the Priest (for in these three acts, the substance of the holy Sa­crifice doth confist, and not in the prayers, or Scriptures, which doe either precede or fol­low, or interlace them, since these latter, doe but serue as an addition for deuotion, & for a spirituall ornament to that high action. For as much, I say, as this Sacrifice which is dayly offered vp, vpon the Altar, is to be a most liuely representation of the bloudy Sacrifi­ce of our Lord, vpon the Crosse (a representa­tion, for as much as concernes the manner of it, but no representation for as much as con­cernes the thinge, because both the one, and the other, is but only one, and the very selfe same Sacrifice) yet when there is only questiō of receauing the blessed body and bloud of our Lord' IESVS in the nature of a Sacrament, the same Lord was pleasedThe Church is to ordai­ne of ma­ny things, according to that spirit of discretion which reigneth in it. to leaue it, to that spirit of discretion, wherwith he would eminētly indue his Church; to ordaine when it should be conuenient (for necessary it could no way be) to vse both the bread & the wine distinct, and when but the one of them alone.

It is also well obserued, by spirituall writers, that the very species of bread and wine, doe inuite, and bespeake our soules, to [Page 287]a very intrinsecall vnion, both with God, and our neighbour. In these species, we may cō ­sider, that there is an vnion of two sorts. The one of them, hauing bene setled by nature, & the other growing on, by industry, or art. The naturallTwo kinds of vnion which are shewed by bread & wine. vnion consisteth in this; That many graynes doe grow vpon one eare of corne; and many grapes vpon one cluster of the vine, with great resemblance to one an­other. The artificiall vnion, which is made betwene them doth defeate the former natu­rall vnion; that so, that former, may become more perfect. For first by plucking off, or pres­sing the grapes, or breaking and grinding the graynes of Corne; and then, by separating the chaff, and husks, and branne, and skinnes, & stones, it growes to be one paste, or liquor, which is perfected, and purified afterward, by heate; the must by the naturall heate which it hath; and the bread by the heate of fire. And thē we can not know, which graine of corne in particular, was white, and which was browne, or which grape was great, & which was small.

TheseHow these two kinds of Vnion are found in men. Vnions also there are, and are to be in men; The naturall as they are men of flesh and bloud; and the other supernaturall, as they are faithfull Christians, regenerated by grace, and animated therin, by his diuine Sacraments. In vertue of the former vnion, we loue our kindred and friends. And because this loue, doth vse to carry imperfection with it, through the influence of selfe loue, and the [Page 288]mixture of temporall & vayne respects, Christ our Lord commeth to vs, in this supernaturall Sacrament, and doth take, as it were, our sou­les and the desires therof, all in peeces; casting away that which is inordinate, vnmortified, and any way vnfit, concerning honour, or e­state, or delight, or any other earthly thing whatsoeuer; and he doth so boyle and bake vs in the blessed Sacrament by the fire of his cha­rity, as that we may grow to be perfectly v­nited, both to him, and within our selues, and to one another. And then wil that be fulfilled which the blessed Apostle sayth,1. Cor. 10. That we are all one bread and one body, we who are partakers of that diuine bread, and of his Chalice. But though this may be truly said, to some proportion, of all such, as doe carefully and deuoutly come to this blessed Sacrament; yet most eminently is it true, of them who are fed therby, in the state of holy Religion. Whose perfectThe vnion of religious persons is a kind of mirocu­lous thing. V­nion, hath so very much of the miracle in it, that it conuinceth euen the most malicious tookers on. For euen they, when they are in their wits, cānot ascribe it to any other cause then the powerful presēce of the grace of God & the powerfull grace of his presēce, that such a world of persons of so different & incompa­tible nations, ages, humours, descent, dispo­sitions, and talents, should liue together in as perfect a mutuall consent of mind, as if they were all, the twynnes of one, and the same naturall mother.

TheOf o­ther cir­cumstan­ces, which do greatly shew the loue of our Lord. ardent loue of our Lord IESVS, [Page 289]doth also as liuely appeare in other circum­stances of this diuine Sacrifice, and Sacrament of the Altar. It is true, that such as receaue Christ our Lord, with great purity of hart, & are content (as it were) to be at cost, and care, to adorne their soules, when they to be sit at this celestiall Banquet; are receiued by him, with an vnspeakeable communicatiō of him­selfe; and he imbraceth them with armes of so great delight and ioy, as is very different from what he ordinarily doth, to such as approach Iesse deuoutly to him. At this we are not to wonder, for the loue of our Lord IESVS, to vs, is not like the loue of men, which if it be very great, it puts them, as it were, out of their wits. But theThe loue of our Lord, doth no way de­rogate from his infinite wisedom. loue of our Lord God, doth not take him one haires breadth from home, nor doth it derogate at all; from his high wi­sedome. Nor are there in the world, any weights, either of gold, or diamonds, so pre­cise or nice, as the weights of the wisedome of our Lord God, whereby he values euery thought of preparation which is made, more or lesse, when we approach to his presence. And accordingly he receaues vs, either like his seruants, or like his Sonnes. But yet still this is true, that there is no person in state of grace, who may not celebrate if he be a Priest, nor no other man or woman, but may commu­nicate otherwise of the body, and bloud, of Christ our Lord with great profit.

ThisOur Lords loue doth still more and more appeare, by the cō ­sideration of other circum­stances. Lord might haue annexed this incomparable benefit, to the only state of per­fect [Page 290]Chastity; or only to such persons as had performed certaine grieuous penances; or, at least, to such alone, as had neuer dishonored or profaned either this soueraigne Sacrifice, or most venerable Sacrament, by ill receiuing it. But his Charity would not endure, that any one should be excluded from such a benefit, if at last he would be content to loue him. He might haue abridged vs to one only tyme of cōmunion in all our life; or at least, that we should not communicate aboue, once a yeare. But so farre he was, from giuing any such re­straint as this, that he desires nothing more, then that we should often repaire to this food of life. Yea, and he hath inspired his holy Church, by his holy Spirit, to counsaile her children to frequent it; and to driue them out of her company byThey are excō ­munica­ted, who doe not commu­nicate once in the yeare. excommunication, if at certayne tymes they doe not satisfye the lon­ging, which he hath, to become therby, one with them.

There is no necessity, or important occasion in the world, either corporall, or spi­rituall, either publicke, or priuate; for which this holy Sacrifice may not be offered. And not only brings it profit to liuing men, but to such as haue led vs the way to Purgatory; where the paines are much discounted heere­by, as S. Augustine, De cura pro mor­tuis pos­sim. and many other of the Fa­thers doe aboundantly shew. So also, in our receiuing the blessed Sacrament; we of the layty, are put to no stint heerin; but euery Christian may communicate as often, as his [Page 291]owne ghostly Father shall thinke fit. And as, whenThe King of Glory vouchsa­fes to come and visit in person e­uery beg­gar. we haue health of body, we may, in euery Church, goe to him; so when we are sicke, we neede take no care in this, for he wil be sure to come to vs. And if it were an in­comparable mercy, as we haue seene it to be, in the last discourse of the miracles, for our Lord IESVS, to visit and cure the sicke of cor­porall diseases, whilst himselfe was mortall; how much more is he to be magnified, by all the powers of our soules, since he cōsines him­selfe, as a man may say, to our Altars; and bin­des himselfe to be there, at all the howers, both of day and night; and to be ready in all wea­thers, and vpon all warnings; and sometimes, with small attendance, to transport himselfe to the death-bed of euery beggar, yea and of euery sinner, (who may perhaps haue profa­ned him in the same Sacrament) to cure and comfort their afflicted soules. And all this he doth, now that he is glorious in heauen, and sitting at the right hand of God.

SometymesHe is pleased to be expo­sed for our cōfort opon our Altars, for many howres together. he is pleased that we shall not only receaue him, which action is begun, and ended as it were, at an instant; but moreouer, vpon great solemnities, as also vpō other particular occasions of the Church, we may haue the cōfort to see the blessed Sa­cramēt with our corporal eyes, for some good tyme together. And sometymes it is exposed, for the space of forty howers vpon our Altars. And because he reapes much honor, and vve much good, by the meeting of many pious [Page 292]affections in one; and for that, the multitude of the faithfull is so great in euery good towne that no one Church can hould them, for that purpose; this mercifull Lord of ours, is con­tent to be carried in procession through the streets, and publicke places; and so to take ho­mage from whole Cittyes at once, whereby theyHow we reuer­se the dis­honour which was done to our Lord in tyme of the Pas­sion. doe, the best they can, to reuerse the ignominies and affronts, which he receiued in the many most paynfull and most shameful processions, which he made to the house of Aunas, of Cayphas, of Pylate, of Herod, and of Mount Caluary, in that night, and morning of his bitter Passion, for our Redemption.

The misery is shewed, and the errour is partly con­uinced, of such as doe not imbrace the be­liefe of those diuine Mysteries.

CHAP. 50.

VVHo shall therfore be euer able, in­ough to admire this Soueraigne Lord of loue, for the mercy which he hath shewed vs, in this blessed Sacramēt of his most pretious body and bloud; and for the care he hath taken, of the cōpletenes of our comfort heerin.Psalm. 105. Quis loquetur potentias Domini, auditas fa­ciet omnes landes eius? Who I say shall be able to declare Gods power, and to proclaime his prayses?

And how much reason therfore is it, that there should not be in the world, any [Page 293]Priest, or other faithfull Christian, who will not set vp, the rest of all his comfort in this life, in frequenting this bread of heauen; and in spending some part of his dayes and nights, in preparing to receaue this diuine food, with due deuotion? If our Lord IESVS,Lue. 14. tooke it ill in the Ghospell, that they would not re­sort to that supper of his (which was indeed a type of heauen it selfe, and yet withall of this heauenly mystery;) how heauily wil he lay it to our charge if we be negligent in comming to this Table: whē himselfe is both he who in­uites to the banquet, & the very bāquet it self? But OThe lamenta­ble ingra­titude of such as are not Catholi­ques. misery to be eternally deplored, euen with teares of bloud; that in these woefull dayes of ours, there should be any found with the name of Christians vpon their forehead, who yet renounce the benefit, yea and ex­presly blaspheme, the inuiolable truth of this mystery.

Miserable creatures they are, & a thou­sand tymes miserable, who do, by this mea­nes, eyther ignorantly, or maliciously, degra­de, and depose themselues, from the most so­ueraigne point of Christian dignity, which the infinite wisedome, and loue of God him­selfe, was euen able with all his omnipoten­cy to impart to the meanenes, and weakenes of sinfull men. Yet some of them being pres­sed, as it were, to death, by the euident words of Hoc est corpus meum; (so often iterated by so many of the holy Euangelists) haue begun, of late yeares, to affirme, that they beleeue the [Page 294]reall presence of our Lord, in the blessed Sa­crament, as well as wee; but only that they dare not pronounce de modo. ButTheyr speach de modo is a false and foolish stift. our Lord doth know, that they speake not as they mea­ne, but only to abuse the people. Neither can they beleeue it as we doe, according to their other particular declarations, concerning this doctrine. And yet in truth, if they did beleeue the thing it selfe, and did only differ de modo, as they say they doe, (amongst which modo's, or wayes, they vnderstād our doctrine of Tran­substantiation to be one) how could they dare so wickedly blaspheme this our Doctrine cō ­cerning the modus, & yet professe that they are ignorant of the modus, or way, how the reall presence comes to be in the B. Sacrament.

But thisThe scope of this book is not to teach faith but loue. Treatise is not intended, for the setling of the truth of the Catholike faith, and to conuince them of errour, who inpugne it; but only to inflame the hart of the true Christian to heate of loue, vpon those reasons and motiues, which are already ministred, by the light of faith to our soules. That other taske, hath bene performed by multitudes of our learned Authors, wherof the world is ful. I will only beseech them, for the loue of our Lord IESVS, that they will procure to purify their hartes from sensuality, and other sinne, which blindes that soule wherin it raignes; & till then, we will wonder the lesse, that men of so bestiall life, as the founders of their reli­gion were, had no sight wherwith to pierce into so pure mysteries.

The carnall man cannot discerne of things be­longing to God; 1. Cor. [...]. and if not of things which are but belonging to him, how much lesse, of the substance of this blessed Sacrament, which is God himselfe? as truly God, as he is God, who made heauen and earth. In the meane tyme, these people deserue much pitty at our hands, who whet the teeth not only of infi­delity, against God, but euen of Enuy against themselues. For what doth it looke like but enuy, since they refuse to beleeue, and to im­brace so great a good, vpon this cheife reason, because they thinke it is too good, to be true? AndThe counter­feyt san­ctity, and preposte­rous pre­tence of the humi­lity of Sectaries. this peruerse and preposterous humi­lity, togeather with a seeming to take such a counterfayte care of the dignity and Maiesty God; is one of those bucklers vnder which they hide themselues, from the darts of loue, which he would faine be shooting at their soules,

For they say it is an indignity, and what if a rat, or a dogge, should eate the blessed Sacrament, and I know not what vnsauoury stuff of the kind. But they consider not the while, that God receaues farre more dishonour, in being prophaned by a Iudas, or any other obstinate sinner, then if the body of our Lord, should be eaten by as many rats, as there are blasphe­ming Heretikes in the world. That Sunne, (true Sunne of Iustice) can well inough, tell how to keep his beames from being defyled, vpon any filthy dunghill. And if he could not, it would goe hard with him. For the diuini­ty [Page 296]of Christ our Lord IESVS is actually, & in­trinsecally, in all the parts of all the creatures of the whole world, both by essence, presēce, and power; yea and in all the deuills of hell, as truly as in any Angell of heauen; or els that thing, would instantly giue ouer to be. And now, if theNote this most certay ne and ap­parant consequē ­ce. diuinity of Christ our Lord, be in all vile places without any indignity; the humanity, how noble soeuer it be, will be farre from disdayning to keep it company.

Little doe these deceaued creatures con­sider, how low our mercifull Lord could be content to descend for the loue of man, to­wards the receauing (if there should be cause) of dishonour, by the meanes, either of beasts, or other men. And I should thinke, that the Temptation of Christ our Lord, by the Prin­ce of darkenes in the wildernes,Matt. 4. might read them a lowd lesson vpon this subiect. For there, our B. Lord, was not only tempted by the deuill; but that diuine goodnes, did suffer that sacred Sonne of the blessed Virgin, to be taken as hath been said, & posted vp & downe in those armes or hands, which the infernall Spirit, had assumed to himselfe, for that pur­pose. Or if they had rather looke vpon the Sonnes and slaues of the deuill, then vpon himselfe; Let themNote also this consequē ­ce. behould how that holy humanity, being so knit to God as that it made the selfe same person with him, was content for loue of vs, to be spit vpon, to be buffeted, & stript stareke naked, & scourged, & crucified, & blasphemed, for the loue, & for the good of man.

I find it not so strange, that a Iew who called Christ our Lord, Impostour and Tray­tour, should deny this Doctrine of the blessed Sacrament; because he beleeues him to be a Traytour, and a Lyer, who said, That the bread was his body. I find it not so strāge, that a Pagan or a Morisco, should deny it; for he also denies to beleeue, that God did make himselfe man, and dye. But that a Christian, who saith, that Christ is God, and who acknowledgeth those words of, Hoc est corpus meum, to haue bene spoken by his owne sacred mouth, and that, so immediatly before he dyed; and besides, in the nature of a last will, and Testament (which no ordinary wise man, would haue penned, in doubtfull and ambiguous termes;) that a Christian I say should cut himselfe out, such a motly kind of faith at this; and argue against Gods power, by saying that his body must needs be subiect to all the qualities of other naturall bodyes, whether he will or no; and against his infinite mercy, by not beleeuing that he would submit himselfe (though he sayd he did) to such indignities, as they conceaue him to be subiect to, by this kind of communication of himselfe; this I say is strāge, and I say agayne, that it deserues to be eter­nally deplored with teares of bloud.

For, inThe denyall of this do­ctrine doth shoot at the dis­grace of Gods om­nipotency or infinite wisedome or infinite loue. in fine, all the arguments which they bring against the probability of this diuine truth, are but so many arrowes, shot vp by them, against his omnipotency. And all those reasons wherby they would [Page 298]taxe it of any absurdity, or inconuenience; are but so many teeth, which offer to carpe and teare away, some part of his infinite wisedom. And all those charges, wherby they would lay aspersion vpon it, of indignity; are but so many protestations, that they are not capable of the supereminent science wherof the blessed Apostle speakes,Ephes. 3. cōcerning the infinite good­nes, and loue of Christ our Lord, to man.

Of the Obligation which we haue to God, for so great a benefit; and who are most bound to be deuo­ted to it, and why; and how happy they must needs be, who frequent it with deuotion.

CHAP. 51.

LET the same loue of IESVS Christ our Lord intercede with the Eternall Father, that they may not for euer, be depriued of this food of life. Without which, it is no meruaile, if they be dayly, more and more disposing them­selues to dye, that fearfull double death both of body and soule. And for our parts, we who are Catholikes, letThe great o­bligation which Catholi­ques haue to God for the blessing of our faith. vs adore that excellent Maiesty, for this high mistery; and especially, for that light of faith, and grace wherby he hath enabled vs to beleeue it, & to loue him for it. Nay let vs do it so much the more, as there are too many in the world, who dishonour and blaspheme him, euen for this very exces­se of his goodnes. Which though he designed [Page 299]to all mankind; yet to vs alone, he hath giuen efficacious helpes, wherby to gather the true fruite therof. And so letWe must pro­cure God amends, for the faults of others. vs double our de­uotiō to this bread of Angells, as that we may make Christ our Lord, a kind of amends (as I may say) in respect of the much loue which he hath wholy lost, vpon the vnbeleeuers, & blasphemers of this mystery; so that we must pay not only our owne, but others debts.

Especially it will concerne such of vs, to be entirely deuouted to it, as haue much disho­noured or prophaned this diuine Sacrament; either by any notable want of preparation before the receauing it; or of recollection af­terward; and much more if when they came to this Table they examined, and looked vpon their conscience, through the false spectacles of selfe loue and passion, and not through the cleere pure christall glasse, of the law of God. For thus they taught themselues to beleeue grosse lyes insteed of truth; and to walk in the darke, through the most intricate and obscure waies of sinne, and thereby they haue come to pollute themselues, and prophane the holy thinges of God, and to commit as many sacri­ledges, as they receaued Sacraments, and they would infallibly, and most iustly haue dropt downe into hell, if our Lord had not, been infinitely mercifull towards them.

Such persons as these (and there are too many such in the world) when they commu­nicated or celebrated, in such a state of mind in mortall sinne, as this, did deserue to be [Page 300]strucken with suddē death, at the Altar, where they stood, or before which they kneeled; and there to haue made their entrance into the e­ternall torments of hell fire. ItOur Lord might haue in­flicted great pu­nishmēts for this great fault and yet still haue been full of mercy. had bene mercy and infinite mercy in God, if giuing them grace, to repent their sinnes afterward, he had but strucken them, at the present, with some signe from heauen, in the face of the world; according to some such examples of his Iustice, as were seen sometymes by the te­stimony of S. Cyprian, and others, in the pri­mitiue Church. Or els, if he had depriued them, of the vse of reason, and made them mad, and franticke for a while; Or els if, to­wards the sauing of their soules, he had per­mitted them, for a tyme, to be possessed with Legions of deuills, in their body; and to be sub­iect to their rage, by tearing their flesh with their owne hands, and throwing themselues into fire and water; and foaming, and vtte­ring dreadfull cryes; and wandring by night, in darke woods, or els amongst the sepulchers of dead men, as we find in the holy Ghospel, that possessed persons did vse to doe. This & more then this seuerity, might our Lord haue vsed against the prophaners of this mystery, & yet, haue shewed excessiue mercy; if withall he had giuen them grace, to repent at last. But these sinnes are frequent, though the ex­emplar punishment be not so. For our Lord expecteth vs to penance, that so he may not be forced to take reuenge; and this he doth in the bowells of his owne charity, and the in­uinciblenes [Page 301]of his patience, for which, let all the Angells prayse him.

But for this very reason of his infinite goodnes (euen abstracting from the double & trebble dangers, which either delaies of our conuersion, or relapses from grace, doe vse to bring) it will be tyme for vs all, to turne the leafe; that the good may be better, and the bad, may procure to be growing good. ForEuen the excel­lency of the food makes the not diges­ting it the more daunge­rous; but as for this food, by grace we may di­gest it if we will. we are to know, that the more nutritiue the food is, in it selfe, the more imminent wil our dāger be, if we will needs be still, so weake, as to want that heat of loue wherwith it is to be di­gested, by our soules. And it may happen to vs heere, as is vseth to doe in the case of com­mon food, that insteed of health, we shall find our selues more desperatly sicke of surfetting, by our approach to this bread of heauen. But so, on the other side, if we prepare and purge our selues by penance; if we arme, & streng­then our selues by prayer, and practise of solid vertue; this tree of life will fructify in our soules after a strange proportion; and the more, the oftner, we shall feed, thereon Nor shall we need to feare, that by frequenting this myste­ry, either the benefit which it will impart to vs, or the veneration which we shall be ena­bled to carry towards it, cā any way decrease, but the contrary.

TheWhy the fre­quenting this bread of Angells doth breed increase of reue­rence and loue of God. pleasures of the world, glut a man for the tyme, and he is ready to starue for hungar afterward. And so the couersation of many, is valued highly till it come to be in­ioyed; [Page 302]but by custome, and familiarity, there growes contempt. It is not, it cannot be so in this case of ours. For the honor, and profit, & delight, which is both found and felt, by trea­ting, in this inward manner, with the infinite spring, and fountaine of all Good, doth easily put vs out of feare, that euer, there can be any want of reuerēce, but only with such, as come not to it, as they ought. In all things, but es­pecially in this blessed Sacrament, he is of in­finite greatnesse, and goodnes, to such as will resort to him with h̄ble loue; or rather who will but giue him leaue to resort to them; and who lay no impediment in his way, but that he may inioy them all, as he desires. For, as much more willingly, doth Christ our Lord repose in such a soule, then euen in the Empe­riall heauen it selfe, as the preparing of that soule (although it be yet but the seate of his grace) did cost him more, then the building of heauen though it be the seate of his glory. For heauen did but cost him a word, which was but one simple act of his will; but the soule of man, did cost him many a bitter sigh, and ma­ny a salt teare, and so many drops of his pre­tious bloud, as that he had no more left to giue.

The next discourse is to giue vs a larger prospect vpon the obiect of his infinite suffe­rance, as this is, striuing to make vs feele and ponder, the care he takes to keep vs from suf­fering any misery, at all, either of sinne, or paine. For in this diuine Sacrament of Sacra­ments, [Page 303]toThe many of­fices which our Lord per­formes to soules in this B. Sa­crament. the poore oppressed Orphane he shewes himselfe, a most deere and louing Father; To the sicke and wounded patient, an expert & careful Phisitian; To the negligent, and wandring sheepe; a pittifull, and watch­full Pastour; To the ignorant, and vnlearned scholler, a wise, and most diligent Maister; To the penitent and afflicted soule, which splits with griefe for hauing offended such a Goodnes, and melts with loue, through the desire to enioy such a beauty, he is a pardoner, a protectour, a perseruer, a cherisher, an illu­minator, an inflamer, a companion, a friend, a spouse, an all in all.

O fireThe conclusiō of this discourse, in the way of prayer. diuine, O sacred food, O hea­uenly feast! So heauenly, as thou dost incor­porate thy selfe in vs, & vs in thee, & dost after a sort, euen Deify our nature, in this mortall life of ours; by making it, in a manner, one thing with thyne. Let thine eye looke backe vpon thine owne auncient mercies. And since thou hast taken such strange pitty vpon thy Creatures, by thy vouchsafing hitherto, to dwell in such durty houses; take pitty, now at last vpon thy self. And make henceforth, these our harts, such holy Temples, as may become thee, O thou King of glory, to inhabit; and therin, for euer to be adored. Let all the facul­ties of our soules, and all the senses of our bo­dy hange like so many incensories before thy Altar, and breath out eternal prayse of thy ho­ly name; and euen spend themselues wholy in thy seruice, in contemplation of this infinite [Page 304]benefit. Thou hast lodged a treasure as rich as thou thy selfe art rich, in these fraile vessells of our soules. Giue vs therfore grace, to carry thē about, with such a care to keep them safe from breaking, as that the Iewell may be for euer ours. Humble vs, deere Lord, by what other way thou wilt, but let not our former sinnes, be punished by our contemning, or vnderua­luing these soueraigne mercies.Luc. 12. And since v­pon thy bringing the fire of they holy Spirit into the world, thou didst expect that it should be all inflamed; do not permit, that we should yet remaine so voyd of heate; when thy vn­speakeable goodnes doth so often bring into our bosomes, yea and into our very breasts, that fornace of this very fire, which is thy self; this death of sinne, this spring of vertue, this bread of life, this cure of passions, this strength of weakenes, this treasure of grace, this ban­quet of ioy, this roote of glory, this conduit, and conue yance of all good things.

Of the infinite Loue which our Lord Iesus discoue­uereth to mākind in his sacred Passion; with a reflection vpon the dignity of his diuine person; and the vse which heer we are to make thereof.

CHAP. 52.

OVR Lord IESVS was figured, in the old Testament,Isa. 1. Gen. 49. with great propriety, by the flower of the roote of Iesse, and by the Lion of the [Page 305]Tribe of Iuda. A flower he was, both through the sauour of his benesits, and through the o­dour of his diuine conuersation, as the prece­dent discourses will haue shewed; and a Lion he was also by the nobility of his strength, and Passion, as will now appeare. Fortitude is both actiue and passiue, yea and the Passiue is farre the greater, and farre the harder of the two. TheThe whole life of our Lord, may in some sort be called a Passion. course of his whole life, was like a field so thicke so wed with crosses, and cares, that it may all be accounted to haue bene a kind of continued Passion; but yet, because the last day and night of the same life, did so abound therwith, it is this alone, which is e­minently knowne, and called, by that sad name.

In this state he was to be, when the Pro­phet Esay foresaw, and spake of him, to this effect. He hath no grace or beauty; Isa. 53. we haue seene him and there was nothing in him, to be seene; & we desired that he might be contemned; as the most aba­sed thinge amongst men. A man of griefe, and who did euen possesse the knowledge of infirmity. His face, was as if it were hiddden, and despised; and we had him, in no estimation. It was he indeed, who bare our infirmities, and who suffered our paines; and we esteemed of him, as of some Leaprous person; and as one who had bene strucken, by the hand of God, and so deiected.

How truly were these things perfor­med, in the persō of Christ our Lord through­out the course and current of his Passion, wil instantly be represented heere; when first [Page 306]youIn the consideration of the Passion of Christ our Lord, it is neces­sary to ponder his infini­te Maie­sty, as he is God. shall haue bene desired, to looke a little backe, with the eye of your consideration, v­pon the first Chapters of this whole discourse, wherin the dignity of the person of Christ our Lord is touched. For so, when we shall haue coupled that former excellēcy, with this present infamy; & shall withal, haue weighed how the only reason that moued him to dis­poyle himselfe of the one, and to vest himselfe with the other, was a desire of the glory of God, which might redound to him by our good; And that he emptyed himselfe, out of his owne felicity, to the end that we might partake therof in heauen; And did euen as it were inebriate himselfe, with the Chalice of affliction, affronts, and desolation, that so in the strength of that, he might secure vs from the eternall chaines of fire in hell; IThe vse of these con­sideratiōs. thinke we shal not be so blindly bold, nor so wicked­ly vngratefull, as not to detest our sins which were the cause of all his sorrow; and continually to lament, and serue, & loue that Lord, who was pleased to vndergoe, such pe­nance for them.

Consider therfore, I say, that he whose Passion you are to read, was the only Sonne of the sacred Virgin Mary, that most excellēt and perfect pure Creature that euer was. Cō ­sider that his humanity, was framed by the hād and skill of the holy Ghost, out of her Royall and all-immaculate bloud. Consider that he was beautifull aboue all the Sonnes of men, for cō ­plexion, for constitution,Psalm, 44. and for grace, and [Page 307]motion. Consider the complete sanctity of his holy soule, which animated that body, so full of beauty; The high purity, the wide cha­rity, the profound humility, the entyre con­formity, and transformity of his will, into the will of God; with al other vertues in the high­est degree, which God could communicate to a creature.

Consider the other incomparable guifts and graces, which were imparted to him or rather ingulfed in him, beyond all measure & proportion. That guift of Prophesy and Mira­cles; That treasure of incorruptible wisedome; That euer - flowing riuer of his infallible Knowledge, Experimentall, Infused, & Bea­tificall. Cōsider that this body and soule, were knit by the indissoluble bond of Hypostaticall vnion, to the second person of the most bles­sed Trinity, who (according to the words of the Creed of the Councell of Nice) is God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begottens not made, consubstantiall with the Father, by whom all things were made. Consider, if thou canst, the infinite, eternall, simple, vnchangeable, inde­pendant essence, and wisedome, and power, & goodnes of this diuinity. It being the foun­taine of Immortality, Purity, Liberty, Verity, Clarity, Peace, Plenty, Grace, Glory, Swauity, Ex­cellency, Beauty, Maiesty, Felicity, Prouidence, Pre­seruation, Protection, Iustice, Mercy, Pitty, Longa­nimity, and Loue. Consider that to euery of these Attributes, there belongs an addition of being infinite; and that in a word, he is the substāce, [Page 308]and the summe, the circumference, and the Center of all Originall created perfection.

Of the most tender and diuine Loue and care, which our Lord Iesus shewed, at his entrance into the Passion, in his last sermon, and long prayer, to his eternall Father.

CHAP. 53.

THIS man, this God, this God and man, did abandon himselfe so farre, as to suffer hideous things for the loue of vs. And we are bound, with our whole harts, not onely to carry great compassion towardes him, but to fly a mayne, from all that which is any way offensiue to him, who did voluntarily, and with a kind of infinite charity, cast himselfe into such a bed of Thornes, for our sakes. For as soone as our Lord had instituted the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and the holy Sacrifice of the Masse; and had therbyThe Apostles ordayned Priests, with au­thority to ordayne others to the end of the world ordayned his Apostles Priests, who (in the person of their successours, and such as should lawfully be sent by them) might perpetuate the celebra­tiō of those diuine misteries, till the end of the world; he went disposing himselse to that Passion, which Iudas was already gone to bring vpon him. And notwithstanding that he knew, how vast things they were to be, yet desired he with excessiue appetite, to im­brace them. This is plainely insinuated by that expression of the holy Prophet, who saith of [Page 309]ChristOur Lord did long for his fill of suffering for our sakes. Ierem. Thren. 30. our Lord, Saturabitur opprobrijs, which implyes a being hungry after the enduring of reproach, and scorne for vs; as a man might be after some curious and costly banquetting dish; and that, at the tyme of his Passion, he should be sure to haue his longing satisfied.

But before he went forth to the place where he knew he should be betrayed, and apprehended, he resolued to take a kind of leaue of his Apostles; he had intertayned thē with a large, and amourous, and most myste­rious discourse. And although, as a man may say, one of his feete were already in the graue, and that he was soone to find the whole rage and fury of hell vpon him, for the sending of the other after it; heOut Lord was tenderly carefull to comfort his Apost­les in the middst of his owne greatest sorrowes. applyed himselfe yet to comfort them, and to forget himselfe (as was sayd before) with such a courage, as might well become that man, who was the naturall Sonne of God; and with such a loue, as might well declare the diuine pitty which he carried to the Sonnes of men. For from hence it came, that he tooke such tender care, to arme them against all future feares; He told them to this effect, and almost in these very wordes; That indeed he was to goe away; but withall,Ioan. 14.15.16.17.that he went. to prouide a place for them. He assured them, that their afflictions (whensoeuer they might happen) should not last; but quickly be conuerted into ioy; and such a ioy, as neuer should be taken from them. He insi­nuated himselfe to their rude capacities, by sweet and tender comparisons. He made the eternall Father to be a husbandman, that so himselfe [Page 310]might be the vine; wherof they were to be the braun­ches. He told them what care the Father himselfe would take to purge and purify their soules, from tyme to tyme; He shewed them what a glory it would be for them, to resemble their Maister in his Crosse; and he made them knovv vvithall, that they should not carry it, alone; but that in the place of his owne corporall presence, which then was the obiect of their senses, he would send them a comforter, the Holy Ghost from heauen, who should inhabit, and sanctify their soules. He promised them his Peace, which should shew them a safe, and quiet port, wherin to ride, in the very midst of all the difficulties, and grea­test daungers of this world. He told thē, in plaine tearmes, that he loued them; and he besought thē, that as they loued him, they would keepe his commaun­dements; and that if they would doe so, both he, and his Father would come and visit, and dwell with them. He told them moreouer, that euen his eternall Father loued them, and that whatsoeuer they would akse they should be sure to haue; whether they should aske it of himselfe, or of his Father, in his name; yea and he desired them to aske somewhat of him, that so their ioy might be full; as if he had bid them try, and be euen iudged by themselues, whether he had said true or no.

It serueth also to shew the very passio­natenes, (as I may say) of his loue,Agreat proofe of the ten­dernes the loue of our Lord Ie­sus. that he was content to repeate the selfe same expres­sions of it, many tymes. To declare that he could not say that, inough, which he thought, he could neuer doe too much. We see how tenderly he called them his seruants, his Dis­ciples, [Page 311]his friends, and that he would tell them all his secrets; his Sonnes, and euen his little Sonnes, whome yet he would not leaue as Orphans without a Father. And now we shall heare him pray the eternall Father, for them, in most efficacious and obliging words; That he would sanctify them in his Truth. He presseth him by the highest points of diuine Rethoricke, which could be though of. He puts him in mind; Of the eter­nall loue he bare the Sonne; and of the faithfull ser­uice which he the Sonne had performed to the Father. He also representeth the Fathers Mission of the Sonne; and he avoweth; That as the Fa­ther had sent him, so had he seent them. He begs the vnion of all his children with one another, and of all those children with himselfe; that so he being in God, and they being in him, they all might also come to be one, in God. In thisHow earnest our Lord Iesus was for vs, in his suyte to his e­ternall Father. suite of his, he is so im­portunate, and proceeds so farre to vrge the same, that in effect, he tells the eternall Father that he will not be denyed therin.

Nor was he content that this should be an vnion of inferiour degree, but an vnion with perfection, and consummation. Iust so as in a broath, which is made of diuers meats, there is an vnion of those meates, in that broath; and if they boyle in it till they euen boyle away, there is not only an vnion of the meates, but a consummation thereof, into that broath. And although in most places of holy Scripture, when our Lord spake to his Apostles or Disciples, he meant not that his words should be for them alone, but that all [Page 312]the world should be comprehended in their persons to whome then he spake; Yet his loue at that tyme was not content to intend vs, on­ly by way of inference; but that dying flame, would needs be sending out certaine flashes, which yet extend themselues so farre, as euen to lay expresse hold vpon euery one of our indiuiduall persons, who haue the happines to be members of the holy Catholike Church. Which they only are, who beleeue the Do­ctrine of Christ our Lord, by the preaching of the Apostles, or of those Apostolicall men, who haue a lawfull and direct mission from them. And therfore he said (for now I cite his owne very words) I pray not only for them, (that is to say, for his Apostles) but for those others also, who will beleeue in mee by their preaching, that they be one, as thou, O Father, art in mee, and I in thee, so they also may be one in vs; and the world may beleeue that thou hast sent me. And that glory, which thou hast giuen me, I haue giuen to them, that they may be one thing, as we are one thing. In thee, and thou in mee, that they may be A strāg desire for Christ our Lord to make to God, in our be­halfe. consummated in one; and the world may know that thou hast sent me; and that thou hast loued them, euen as thou hast loued me. I will, O Father, that they, whome thou hast giuen mee, may be with me, there where I shall be. That they may see the glory which thou hast giuen mee, be­cause thou louedst me before the framing of the world. O thou iust Father, the world hath not known thee, but I haue knowne thee, and these haue knowne that thou hast sent me. And I haue made my name known to thē; and I will make it knowne; that the same very loue, [Page 313]wherwith thou hast loued me, may be in thē, & I in thē.

These, amongst many others, were the words of our bleffed Lord, in that last diuine sermon, of his. Wherby we may see the amou­rous and restlesse desire, which tooke posses­sion of his hart, wherwith he sollicited his e­ternall Father, that we might behold the glo­ry which he had giuen to him; and placing as it were his wholeOur Lord Ie­sus did place his honour in beeing Lord by his eternal Father, for vs. credit vpon the obtey­ning of these fauours for vs, when he begs it, to the end, that so the world might come to know that the Father had sent him. As if he should haue said, that in the face of the world, he had giuen his word both for our Redemption and Sancti­fication & Vnion, and for our right, to raigne in heauen with himselfe; and that if the eter­nall Father, should not make good that word; the world might haue reason not to beleeue, that he was, as he had said, the Sonne of God.

The horrour, and terrour, and sorrow of Christ our Lord, togeather with his Prayer in the Garden

CHAP. 54.

NO sooner had he ended that speach, but instantly he went out, with his Disci­ples, ouer the Torrent of Cedron. Ioan. 18 [...] He did perhaps passe ouer that Torrent, without once tasting any droppe therof; but the whole world was a kind of Torrent of affliction to him; & his whole life was that way, wherin, he did not only tast, but take deepe draughts therof, be­fore [Page 314]he exalted his head, Psalm. 109. by ascending vp to hea­uen. Already did the sensible, or inferiour part of his soule begin to be obscure, and sad with care. He was pleased to leaue it after a sort, to it selfe, for the increase of that paine, which he desired to suffer. For els his soule, being vnited to the diuinity, would haue bene farre from feeling any thing but vnspeakeable ioy. But leauing eight of his Disciples not farre of, he tooke, to himselfe, the three whom he fauoured most;Marc. 14. S. Peter, S. Iames, and S. Iohn, as the fittest to be eye witnesses of his afflictiō, because they had beene fortified by hauing bene present at his Transfiguration.Matt. 17. Marc. 14. Luc. 22.

He bad them watch and pray, least else they might enter into Temptation. But the lead of their sad harts, drew downe, and closd' the doores of their heauy eyes; making them sleep (after a sort) whether they would or no. Our Lord had, by that tyme, retyred himselfe a little e­uen from them, into perfectSolitu­de is fit for such as pray. solicitude. Not that he had need therof (who knew not what be longed to a distraction) but to teach vs in such cases, what we are to doe. Yea and to make euen men of the highest prayer, and contemplation, not to contemne the prepa­rations and helpes, which weaker persons are wont vse. When he had prayed a while, he went to visit his Apostles. And so he did a­gayne at two seueral tymes afterward; for no paine of his owne, was able to make him for­get them. And although in all reason, they were to haue been sharply reprehended for [Page 315]such a dulnes; yet he would not open his mouth towards the holding of any such lan­guage. ButThe wōderfull meeknes of our B. Lord. he pittied them rather, and bad them, at the last, sleepe on; and (to the extreme confusion of such as for tryflles are cholerickly transported against their seruants) he excuseth, and defendeth, and euen comen­deth them, for the promptitude and good de­sire of their minde; although their body of flesh & bloud were fraile. Returning therfore againe to pray; his soule was ouer wrought with griefe, in such excesse; that his valiant hart which knew not what belonged to feare, and his silent tongue which vsed not to vent it selfe by speach, were not ashamed to pro­fesse that he was all seized with terrour; that he was oppressed with a kind of wearines; & that he was surcharged with so profound sor­row, as made him say; That his soule was sad, euen to the death.

What a blessed goodnes was this in him, to plucke vp those stakes, & dikes, which for­merly had made it impossible for such thought as those, to breake in, and ouerflow him; and now to giue way to suchThe weakenes of our Lord hath obtayned strength for his seruants, in their sufferāce. weakenes in him­selfe; that by the merit therof, so much grace might be applied to men, and not only to men, but euen to tender and delicate Virgins; as that in vertue therof, they might be able, with patience, and euen with ioy, to endure, as cruell Martyrdomes, as euer the rage, of the most barbarous Tyrants could inuent. For, as we grew to haue perfect life, by the obediēce [Page 316]of his death; and true honour, by his humili­ty and shame; so by this weakenes of his, we haue gayned strength; by his wearines, ala­crity; and by his griefe, his faithfull seruants haue obteyned ioy, in their greatest misery. From hence we may also gather an other fruite of cōfort; that since our Lord himselfe went so farre in the expression of his distresse, his ser­uants must not thinke (when thēselues should be much deiected by their crosses, in the infe­riour part of their soule) that therfore God is angry with them; if still, in the superiour, they will imitate this Lord of ours. Who not­standing he desired, that the Chalice might haue passed from him, did yet resigne himselfe, with intire abnegatiō of his owne wil; accep­ting thus,Luc. 22. & imbracing the wil of God; Pater si est possibile transeat à me Calix iste; attamen non mea voluntas, sed tua siat. Father, if it be possible, let this Chalice passe frō me; yet not my will, but thine be done.

Now as the charity was vnspeakeable, which our Lord IESVS, was pleased to expres­se, both in bearing such a vveight as this for our Redemption, & in letting vs heare the groanes which it cost him, for our instructiō, & consolation; so who shall be able to sound into that bottomlesse pit of his profound hu­mility, which drew the God of glory to submit himselfe to such indignity, and to make him content to need the comfort of a creature, though he were an Angell, which Angell must come downe from heauen like a prince of glory, whilst the creatour of all the [Page 317]Angells, was planted there, so full of misery. And that he would find himselfe in such ne­cessity ofHow he persi­sted in prayer. persisting in his prayer; some­tymesLuc. 22. vpon his knees, & sometymesMarc. 14. pro­strate vpon the ground, & often repeating the same Prayer, and that in the selfe same words; as if it had bene like, to proue a kind of doubt­full case, what would become of him, at last. But of that, there was no doubt at all; for besides his Hypostaticall vnion, with the di­uinity, his happy soule was fully in God. And both by the straytes, into which he was con­tent that the inferiour part therof should be cast, for as much as concerned any sense of cō ­fort; as also by the course which he tooke to become victorious in the end, he went recor­ding wayes, and rules for vs, wherby we might also conquer all our enemies.

Our blessed Lord, in the meane tyme, was labouring, as it were, for life; & to such plunges was he brought, as to find himselfe in expresse agony,Luc. [...] for so the holy Euangelist de­clares. Now this is the state of dying persons, in the last moments of their life; when the eyes being already dymme, the teeth being knit, the hart strings being straynd, and all the no­ble partes being in commotion (as this Globe of the lower world vvould be, in a generall earth quake) the diuorce of the body and soule seemeth neere at hand. And it is to be noted, that this grevv in him, vvithout any torment then inflicted vpon his body; and only from theThe excessiue anguish of mind which our Lord Iesus felt. anguish of his minde. Hovv exquisite [Page 318]therfore, and hovv insufferable must that an­guish be? But the more closely he vvas to be set vpon, by that Sea of sorrovv, vvhich see­med, as if instantly it vvould svvallovv him vp, the more firme vvas his hope in God, and so also must ours be, in such occasions. And after the rate of our discomforts, so is our Prayer to be increased. Forvve see, it is affir­med of our blessed Sauiour, that vvhē he vvas grovvne to be in Agony, he produced his prayer into great length;Ibid. Et factus in agonia, pro­lixius orabat.

Prayer is therfore that, vvhich still he recommends to vs heerby; and vve see vvith hovv profound reuerence it must be made; and vvhat high estimation vve are to make therof, as shortly vvill be shevved more at large. And since our blessed Lord vvas content to repeate the selfe same prayer thrice; vve are to pitty the poore men (vvho vvill needs be our ad­uersaries) vvhilst they laugh and scoffe at vs for our often repetition of the sameThat Repetitiō of the same prayers is commen­ded by the exam­ple of Christ our Lord. Prayers. Indeed if vve did but say them, vvith the lips and tongue alone, as they impose vpon vs, & tooke not care to accompany them, vvith the application, and attention of our minde, they might still laugh on, and the deuill vvould keepe them company therin. But othervvise, vve see, by this mystery of the Garden, that Repetition of Prayers, is no ill custome, if vve vse it as vve ought. And then if still they vvill needs be laughing at as, for the vse therof, they vvill be faine to doe it alone, for the deuill is [Page 319]not such a foole, as to doe so too, since he knovves he looses by the bargaine.

A heauy Agony to our Lord IESVS, that vvas; but a happy one for vs; since he offred it to the eternall Father, for the obtayning of comfort and strength, notThat Agony of our Lord, got cōfort for vs, both in our affli­ctions of mind, and diseases of body. only in all the distresses of minde, as vvas said before; but in all the deadly diseases of body also, vvhich might come to carry vs out of this life. And it is in vertue of this Agony, that vve see the seruants of God, so full of patience, and cou­rage; and sometymes euen of ioy, vvhen they are vpō that bed, & euē as it were, in the very iavves of death. Nor vvhen they are abando­ned by the help of the vvhole vvorld, and vvhē their corporal strength is entirely gone; can yet all the proud deuills in hell, (vvho are then imploying all the force and fraude they haue to their perdition) disquiet their con­science, or disturbe their peace.

What griefe it must needs cause to our blessed Lord, to be estranged from feeling comfort in God.

CHAP. 55.

BVT vvhat might that be, the very ap­prehension vvherof, vvrought so impe­tuously vpon our blessed Lord, vvhome no­thing had bene obserued to distemper in the least degree, through all the course of his holy life; vvhat kind of thing I say must that be, vvhich durst assault his hart vvith sorrovv? Or [Page 320]of vvhat had he bene ignorant till then, the knowledge wherof, at that tyme, might be able to put the powers of his mind into that appearance of disorder? His knowledge was still the same, but his loue, in some sort, was not the same; for it seemes, as if euery minute of his life, he had bene adding new feathers to those wings, wherby his hart was flying to­wards the comfort of ours. And knowing of how great aduantage to vs, his humility and patience would be, in the sight of God,Our Lord was pleased to suffer much for vs whom he loued so much. it was only his pleasure, at that tyme as hath been sayd, to hide the comfort of his diuinity, from the inferiour part of his soule; wherby those apprehensions, and reasons of griefe, and desolation, were of vnspeakeable torment to his minde. Which so long as it was feeding, vpon the cleere, and sensible vision of God, could not so much as once distract it, from in­cessant ioy. Whereas novv he vvas so very farre from ioy, that vve see him, as if he had been halfe ouercome with griefe. To let vs knowe, by the way, that as all our burthens, are light when they are carryed vpō our backs by the help of God; so when he retyreth his holy hand, there is not the least of thē, which may not trouble the strongest Saint that liues.

But the obiect which caused such excessiue anguish to our Lord IESVS, & which wrought so farre euen vpon his sacred body, as to make it vtter a prodigious svveat of very bloud (and that not by drops, but as it vvere by streames and flood,Luc. 22. (vvhich did not trickle, but run [Page 321]downe a maine, from the heauenly earth of his body, to the terrestriall earth wheron he knee­led (which was made a kind of heauen, by drinking vp that quintessēce of life) wasThe disho­nour of God and the perdi­tion of man, was the two edged sword, which cut our B. Sauiours hart in funder the glory of God, which he saw prophaned by the sinne of man; and the soules of all man­kind, (wherof he loued euery one, a million of times more then his owne pretious life) ad­dicted to the eternall torments of hell fire. For this was that sword with a double edge which did, as it were, cut his soule in sunder,

Who is also able to imagine, what a sad affliction it must be to him, to be depriued, for one moment, of the feeling of that soueraigne delight & ioy, wherewith he did so abound, from the very instant of his Conception; by the sensible shining of his diuinity vpon his whole soule, which now, in part, was abrid­ged thereof. The want of any communica­tion of Almighty God, to a hart which hath seen light, in light; is of so great moment how little soeuer it be, that it wōds that hart with much griefe; which doth well discerne, that nothing of that kind, is little. To know any thing of God, by way of sensible experience, doth kindle in the spirit, a very furnace of de­sire to enioy the rest. And how much sorrow then must it feele, to be depriued, euen of what it had? The liues of Saintes are full of the sweet, and sad complaints, which they haue made to God, vpon such occasions; and in particular, you may see store of this, in the life of that great woman, Blessed Mother Teresa [Page 322]of Iesus, which was written by her selfe, vpon the commaundement of her ghostly Father.

And not only did this holy Passion, raigne among such soules departed, as the Church esteemeth to be Saints; but, by the goodnes of God, we haue met with some a­mongst the creatures who are yet in flesh and bloud, who seruing God in great purity; & in conformity therof, hauing bene admitted to some deere imbracemēts of that heauēly spouse of their soules, haue gone lamētably mourning and that for a long tyme together, (like so ma­ny Turtles for the absence of their beloued) through the wāt of that infinite Good wherof before, they had beene admitted to take a taste.

TheyThe great sor­row which is felt by the spouse of Christ v­pon any hiding of himselfe from a soule; or euen by liuing in this Pil­grimage. are so deeply wounded with loue, that to be hindred from inioying him, is wont to giue them excessiue griefe. They feele it so much, as they know not how they shall endure that want; since the only remedy of all their other paines, is the certaineBy of­ten thin­king vpō God. mea­nes, to increase this one paine of theirs. For as a sore is most felt, when it is most toucht; so is their paine augmented by speaking, or thinking of things which concerne Almighty God; whose breath they smell, but vpon whose substance they are not suffered now to seed; and yet all things els are a torment to them. They thirst and pine, they euen con­sume and melt, and they cry out to our Lord; and there is none but only himselfe, who can comfort, that swelling and gasping soule of theirs. And though they seeme to be neere [Page 323]him (yea, and so they are, in very deed) yet they find themselues to be, as in a prison, out of which they know not how to breake.

Such affects as these, doe raigne in the harts of some choyce seruants of God, vpon the consideration which they haue of wan­ting certayne feeling communications of his diuine Maiesty, in this woefull pilgrimage wherin they liue. Yea it is not many yeares, since one who was sicke of this sweetly sad disease, was so happy as to dy of a flux of tea­res; and another, whose hart strings brake, and he instantly dyed in exercising some acts of the loue of God; and so it was found, when he was opened.

MeasureThe incompa­rable griefe of our Lord Iesus. then by this, what depth of sorrow it must cause, in the hart of our B. Lord, to be absented so, from the feeling frui­tion of God, whome he knew so well, whom he loued so much; and whome so perfectly he had inioyed before. In comparison of whose knowledge, and loue and ioy in God, the knowledge, and loue, and ioy of all the other creatures put together, is not so much as one single moate, compared to the whole body of the earth. And yet wheras they with all this griefe of theirs for wanting God haue yet, through his goodnes, some such kind of feeling of him still, as makes it to be, in the midst of paines, a kind of most ioyfull sufferance; our Lord was pleased to take the bitter without the sweet for himselfe; and only to feele, and penetrate the want vvherin he vvas of that [Page 324]good; vvithout enabling the inferiour part, to reflect vpon that same very good, in the vvay of conceauing any Comfort by it.

The incomparable sorrow of Christ our Lord, through his consideration of the dishonour of God, and the sinne and misery of man: togea­ther with the sight, of what himselfe was to suffer.

CHAP. 56.

NOVV, if it vvould be of such vnsuffera­ble paine, for Christ our Lord, to be on­ly absented or estranged from Almighty God (vvhich absēce, is no sinne but only a punish­ment, and vvhich is not, many tymes', of any offence at all to the diuine Maiesty (but serueth only, for a probation of vertue, and for a preparation to an increase of grace) hovv may vve thinke that it vvould pierce his hart from side to side, to see (as hath been sayd) that God prophaned, his glory disgraced, his lavv transgressed, and all those creatures, vvhom he had created after his ovvne Image, to en­ioy heauen vvith eternall felicity; to stād novv so neere vpon the tearmes of being damned to euerlasting misery. He savv vvhat Adams happy state had beene, and vvhat a miserable a state it vvas grovvne to be. He savv, that rea­son vvhich vvas a Queene, vvas novv become the drudge of Passiō. The sinnes of the vvhole [Page 325]world were to passe vpon his account; nor was the least of them to be pardoned by the Iustice of God, but in vertue of the sacred Pas­sion, which then, he was about to vndergoe. They wereThe true cause of our Lords ex­cessiue sorrow. all represented to his dolorous, afflicted mind, as distinctly as they were di­stinct in their being cōmitted; and a million of tymes more cleerly, then the men who cō ­mitted them, did euer see them.

Let a man but thinke, how many sinnes he alone, may haue committed in some one day of his life; and then how many daies he hath liued; & how many of his sinnes he hath forgotten; & how many of his actions, words & thoughts, are accounted sinfull in the sight of God, which yet did not seeme so to him. Let him thinke how many men there are in the towne where he may chance to be; how ma­ny in the Prouince; how many in the king­dome; how many in all Europe; how many in all the world, at this tyme. Let him thinke, how many there haue bene in the whole world, throughout all the ages therof, since the begining; and how many there may be, before the end. And who shall now be able once to conceaue of the innumerable sinnes, which haue bene, are, & are to be cōmitted, by all this race of mākind?Prouer. 14. since the iust man sinneth seauen tymes a day, by veniall sinnes; and many, who goe for Saints with vs, will be found to haue committed many, and many Mortall.

What shall we therfore say, of such wicked men, as drinke iniquity, vp like water? Iob. 15. [Page 326]whether they be vicious Catholicks; or blas­phemous Heretiques; or disobedient Schis­matiques; or perfidious Ievves; or Prophane Pagans; or bestiall Turkes and Mores? What Legions, what milliōs, what worlds of sinnes must there haue been presented to the soule of Christ our Lord to suffer for? since (for as much as concerned him) he accepted the punishment of them all; and that, by so exact scales of di­uine Iustice, as that if any one of all those sinnes, had not be committed, the Passion of Christ our Lord had bene so much, the lesse grieuous. And it was to be their fault vvho vvould not, by Faith & Penance, apply that Passion to their soules, if they were not saued therby; and not any defect of the Passion it selfe of Christ our Lord; who savv, & knevv, and counted, and accepted euery one of their particular sinnes; and made (for as much as cō ­cerned him) oblation of an inestimable pay­mēt, in discharge of the same particular sinne.

NotOur Lord Iesus suffered not only for all the sinnes which were cō ­mitted, but for all those o­thers also which would haue been commit­ted with­out his grace. only did he see and suffer for all finnes which already are, and are he [...]reafter to be cōmitted, but also for all those other, which vvould haue bene committed by them all, if they had not bene preuented, by the Grace vvhich grevv from God, in contemplation of the Passion of Christ our Lord. For no lesse vvas his pretious bloud to be the Antidote, & preseruatiue against all sinnes, vvhich might haue byn cōmitted, then it vvas to be the re­medy, and cure of such as vvould be commit­ted indeed. So that euery man did add some­vvhat [Page 327]to this sorrovv of our Lord; both good, and bad, past, and present, and to come, vvith­all their sinnes, vvhether they vvere great or small; of thought, vvord, or deed; vvhether the vvere mortall, or veniall; of omission, or commission; vvhether actually they vvere, or would haue been committed, if they had not bene preuented by this costly meanes.

And ifOther conside­rations which do open the sight of the soule, to dis­cerne the loue and griefe of our Lord Ie­sus. novv vve vvill but consider hovv infinitely the nature of God, doth ab­horre any one single sinne; And hovv strait­ly our Lord IESVS had obliged himselfe out of loue, to satisfy Gods Iustice for them all. And hovv certainely he savv, that the farre greater part of men, vvould take no benefit at all, by that bitter Passion. But that some would not beleeue it; some others vvould not apply it; yea, and that some would euen blaspheme it, as thinking it impossible that God himselfe should be so good to them. If vve consider that men vvho seriously desire to serue God vvith perfection, are profoundly afflicted, euē for the least discorrespondence to the motion of his holy Spirit; and much more for any small defect, into vvhich, by their fault, they may haue fallen; And vvhen there hath beene question of greater sinnes, there be men and vvomen, vvho haue dyed as hath been sayd, euen of pure repentance & sorrovv for them. And yet hovv fevv sinnes had they to be sory for, in comparison of the sinnes of the vvhole vvorld? And hovv little could they be sorry, euē for their ovvne, in cōparison of the griefe, [Page 328]vvhich did seize the hart of our blessed Lord, for those very sinnes? WhichWe shall greeue for onr sinnes after the rate of our know ledge, and loue of God. vvas so much greater then theirs, as his knovvledge, & loue of God, & them, & his vnderstanding & de­testation of all sinne, vvas greater. If vve cō ­sider the seuerall kinds of sinne vvhich (as hath been touched before) vvere distinctly repre­sented to the minde of Christ our B. Lord; All the sinnes of Idolatry & heresy offending after an infinite māner his most religious pie­ty; All the sinnes of pride, his profound hu­mility; All the sinnes of vvrath, his inuincible patience; All the sinnes of cruelty and enuy, those bovvels of his charity and mercy; All the sinnes of gluttony, and prodigality, his his perfect pouerty and sobriety; All the sinnes of abhominable, bestiall, (and not so much as to be named) sensuality, his impenetrable, & supercelestiall purity.

If concerning Idolatry, vve consider that it is either exteriour, or interiour. Exteri­our vvhen Sacrifice is offred to a materiall ex­ternall Idoll; & interiour vvhen Christians, or any other do lodge a creature in theyr harts, which though they know, not to be God, yet they esteeme, and obey, and doe more ho­nour to it, then to God. And if vve consider, hovv for these seuerall kindes of sinnes he felt, and vvas to feele, a seuerall kind of Crosse; an outvvard crosse, to vvhich they vvould cru­cify his sacred body; and another vvhich vvas inward, to which he crucified his ovvne hart, through griefe and loue.

InHow our Lord was wounded by the conside­tion of Gods iu­stice, and bate of sinne; and our great misery. particular our Lord had his eye, vpō that inflexible decree of God, which dāned so many millions of Angells, for one only sinne. And how for one sinne, he droue Adam out of Paradise. Yea and how, not only for the fault or guilt of sinne, he is so terrible; but e­uē for the penalty due to any one sinne alth­ough the fault be put away by pennance, that he inflicteth excessiue paine in Purgatory, if satisfaction be not made in this life. He had besides in his sight the miserable weakenesse of man, towards all good workes, which weakenesse men cōtract by sinne, (besides the sinnes thēselues) and these are the effects & te­liques therof. And he well knew, that they would make it very difficult for men to serue God, without a great abōdāce ofgrace which he only could tell how to merit for thē. Add to this, that he cleerly saw, all those vast af­fronts which in that night, and the next day, were to be done to himselfe, with the hideous torments which he vvas sure they would in­flict vpon him. He also saw the Martyrdo­mes of all his Prophets past, his Apostles, and other Martyrs which were then to come; the banishment and confiscation of his seruants, persons, and goods, the contempt and propha­nation of his Sacraments.

There was no place, wheron he could tell how to rest the head of his hart. The Sy­nagogue was all, in effect, corrupt; and al­most dead, and buried. His Church vnder the name of Christian not then borne, One [Page 330]of his Apostles was gone to betray him; ano­ther would shortly deny him; and the rest, were vpon the point to runne from him. His B. Mother (in whom only he might haue ta­ken intiere delight) was to suffer martyrdome in her soule, which was to be transpierced with a sword of sorrow. Whithersoeuer he might cast his thoughs, in the search of some little com­fort, they were bowed, (as it were) and bea­ten backe againe, into his owne sad hart, which was become a whole Sea of sorrow. How would he grieue for all this, vvho grie­ued till he wept againe,Ioan. 11. and till he was troubled, and did groane in spirit, for the only temporall death of Lazarus.

All these things I say, being vvell con­sidered, and duely pondered; IIt is no wonder if such incō ­parable causes of griefe did produce so strange effects in the woun­ded hart of our Lord Ie­sus. cease to meruaile, that such a generall muster of hell as this, had like, euen vvith the only apprehen­tion therof, to haue extinguished the pure lampe of his pretious life. Or yet, that it cost him so much shame, vvith the horrour, to see such a vvorld of filth cast before him (vvhich novv he vvas to take vp, and to make his ovvne) as vvas able to put him into expresse Agony. Or, in fine, that it drevv out that svveat, and euen shovver of bloud, as if it had bene to shevv the profound reason vvhich e­uen all his body had, to blush therat. Or els (according to the deuoute contemplation of holy S. Bernard) as if he should haue shed teares ouer all his body, since his sacred eyes alone, had not inough of the sluce for such a purpose.

Of the excellency of Prayer declared by occasion of that Prayer, of our B. Lord in the Garden.

CHAP. 57.

INFALLIBLY he must needs haue dyed, vnder this huge weight of sorrow, if particular force had not bene sent him, by the good will of God, as the sorrow of the same kind (though incomparably of an inferiour degree) hath de­priued many others of their life. Nor are we able to discerne visibly by what meanes this strength, and succour came imparted to him, but only by the visitation of the Angell; and the feruour and perseuerance of his Prayer to the eternal Father.We ought to carry great de­uotion & reuerence to the An­gells of God. Now since our Lord, who as God, was the King of glory, did not yet disdaine, as man, to accept that seruice and as­sistance from an Angell; much more must we, who are in the next degree to Nothing, carry great deuotion to those blessed spirits, who come to vs with succour in their hands, at such times as when wee are in greatest straites.

And as for the vse of prayer; since it is an eleuation of the mind towards God; & a trea­ty of the soule with him; Since, he admits vs, whensoeuer we apply our selues to haue au­dience; Since, not only he receaues vs, if we come, but he loues vs so deerly much as to in­uite vs, and commaund vs; yea and to be high­ly offended if we refraine; Since he inclynes himselfe to enrich vs, with al heauenly graces, [Page 330] [...] [Page 331] [...] [Page 332]vpon the only price, of being desired by vs that he will make vs rich; and that the more we aske, the more we haue; Since he is of so excellent condition, as neuer to cast his bene­fits into our teeth, which temporall Princes, who are but dust and ashes, otfen doe, and yet the fauours which they cā afford, are but trash and toyes, and euen they, are often tymes de­nyed; and yet all men are glad to be their suy­tours; Since according to the persons, vvith whome we are accustomed to conuerse, vve sucke their qualities into our selues; & therfore by negotiating the busines of our soules, with that fountaine of Sāctity, it is not possible, but that we should improue our selues therin; Since, howsoeuer in other things, the Saintes of God haue bene of different gust, one excel­ling in exteriour penāce; another in mortifica­tiō of himselfe within; one addicting himselfe to action; anotherto contēplation; and the rest, & best, to a life mixt of both; yet there was ne­uer any Saint (vnlesse some perhaps, who haue bene conuerted and canonized both at once, with some Martyrs Crowne) who hath not bene diligēt in the vse of Prayer. And lastly & chiefely, since we find it to be recommēded, both by the Doctrine, & exāple of our Lord IESVS, throughout the whole time of his ho­ly life; & especially now in the garden, whē he was to treate of the great affaire of our re­demption; And when, after a sort, it was put to a kind of question, whether he should liue, til the next day & leaue his life vpō the crosse, [Page 333]by the hands of others; or else to dye that night, of the pure griefe of his owne distressed and wounded hart; Since we see him, at an instant, become victorious ouer al the powers of earth and hell; And that he who immediat­ly before, was so defeated; immediatly after­ward, was so full of courage, as to say to his Apostles (in the third visit which he made thē, (at euery of which tymes, he found them slee­ping) Rise vp, Matt. 26. behold the man who is at hand to betray me; Since by this example, & the practise of our blessed Lord, both mentall, and vocall prayer are set out; vocall in few words, though thrice repeated; & the mentall as being much the more excellent, taking vp a farre longer space of tyme; for when he fell into that Agony, it is expressed by the Euan­gelicall history, (as hath bene said already) that he persisted long in Prayer;Ibid. Since the Apost­les, who were commaunded by our Lord to watch and pray, least els they might enter into Temptation, did for the present, fall a sleep, through their negligence in the vse of that ho­ly exercise, when they should haue waked; and shortly after, did forsake their Maister, when they should haue accompanied him to his crosse. Since these things, I say, are so, and not only these, but a thousand more, which appeare in their workes, who write of Prayer, and much more in their harts, and liues who vse it much; What Christian soule is that, which will not apply it selfe, to this holy & happy exercise. Which howsoeuer it be a guift [Page 334]of God, and depends vpon the liberality of his holy, hand, yet as he worketh in all things sweetly, so doth he also in this parti­cular; and he is pleased to vse some men, to­wardes the instruction of others; the former exercising their charity, and the latter their hu­mility; ItIt is necessary to take coun­sayle in the vse of mentall Prayer, of some good spi­tuall mai­ster. wil therfore be wholly necessary, for him who will study this art of arts, to be­take himselfe to some well experienced guide. Though, in regard, that it is not so much a busines of the head, as of the hart, the best mai­ster, vnder heauen, will be a pure and vertu­ous life. For prayer and practise of vertue are very circular, & depēdant vpon one another. And he who prayes deuoutly, will liue ver­tuously; and he who procures to lead a ver­tuous life, will quickly be able to praye de­uoutly. And we see the effects of this happy exercise (as hath been said) by what it wrought in the wounded soule of our Lord IESVS; and how it raysed him vp into so much strength, as to enable him to goe, and meete those ene­mies of God and him, in the face; whome, not long before, he besought his eternall Father, that he would auert.

Wherby yet we must not vnderstand, that we are authorized to thrust our selues into imminent and certaine danger of death; whē, without any disseruice to Almighty God, or disaduantage to his cause, we may auoyd the same. ButHow we are to carry our selues in the flight of perse­cution, more or lesse. only that when our Lord doth call vs to it, and when the hower is come, which he, in his eternall prouidence hath pre­fixed, [Page 335]we are to encounter, & to imbrace the Crosse, with alacrity. In former tymes, the malicious Iewes had a minde to haue appre­hended, & so to haue precipitated him downe from a hill;Ioan. 7. but he made himselfe inuisible to their eyes; and the cause is there assigned, be­cause his hower, was not then arriued. And so he could also heere, haue, as easily, made himself insensible to their hands if it had not bene, that the same hower of his, which was not come before, was come now. And with vnspeakea­ble loue, he was pleased, that that other, should be said to be no hower of his, because it vvas not appointed for him to suffer in.Luc. 22. But this vvas his hovver, and it vvas also the hovver of those perfidious Ievves, and of the Prince of darkenes, by reason of the povver, vvhich then vvas giuen them, ouer Christ our Lord.

The apprehension of Christ our Lord, and a iust expostulation with the Traytour Iudas, for that hideous treason of his: togeather with a descrip­tion of mortall sinne, and the danger which we are put into, by all voluntary veniall sinnes.

CHAP. 58.

THE Traytour Iudas, who made himselfe the keeper of that clocke, for that tyme; had woone it vp, and set it so, (by the men vvhome he had put to vvorke) that it vvas grovven ready, euen then, to strike. For be­hould he came vvith a band of Pagan soul­diers, [Page 336]& a great svvarme of Ievvish Officers, to apprehend and sell his Mastier, ouer, into the possession of death. Whosoeuer had seene those two troopes, encounter one another; mightChrist our Lord, and Iudas did leade the two kingdoms of God & the diuell. haue beheld a most liuely picture in little, of the kingdom of God, & of the deuill. The former being lead, by Christ our Lord, who marched in the head therof, with his meeke, and innocent, humble, little flocke. The latter, guyded by Iudas, with a great mul­titude of followers, who were tumultuous, wicked, bloudy, enuyous, and hypocryticall men.

ButAmost iust ex­postula­tiō agianst the Tray­tour Iu­das. tell me, O thou miserable creature, since the Sōne of the virgin, tooke but twelue Apostles, out of the whole world, and made choyce of thee for one of them; what could moue thee to forget so high a benefit? & much more what could induce thee, to conspire the death of such a benefactour? Since he had gi­uen thee the charge of the little tēporall mea­nes he had; and that, by consequence, thou must needs, be next at hand, both at the re­ceiuing of those Almes, which were afforded to our Lord IESVS; & those others also, which he would be euer imparting to the poore, out of his little store; how couldst thou freeze in that yce of thy malice, and enuy, euen then, when thou wert (as it were) rosting round, betweene those two burning fires of charity.

What colour, euen of common sense, couldst thou haue, to sell that Lord, for thirty peeces of siluer; Matt. 17. to whome thou hadst seene the [Page 337]very Fishes of the Sea pay Tribute? Matt. 17. and how a word of his mouth, fed at seuerall tymes so many thousands of men and women in the wildernes. Couldst thou, being an Apostle, sel that Lord for thirty peeces of siluer, Matt. 16. when thy selfe hadst seene so lately, that the enamoured pe­nitent S. Mary Magdalene (who was but new­ly conuerted from a life of sinne) could find in her noble, and tender hart, to cast away (as a man may say) three hundred such peeces,Marc. 14. as thy thirty were, vpon a pretious oyntment, wher­with to honor the head of our blessed Lord, as it were, in the way of a complement. Since thou hadst found by dayly experience, that he knew the thoughts both of his friends, and them, who would needs become his foes; what phrensey was that, which could make thee thinke, that thou wert able to ouerreach him, by the disguyse of a treacherous kisse, wherby thou didst, as bad, as call him foole, into the bargaine? And since thou hadst seene, that his body was not obnoxious to the obli­gations of other bodies, but that the windes and seas obeyed him; and that he could walke vpon the waters, and become inuisible when he would; what stupidity (besides the impie­ty) was that in thee, to bid them be carefull to hold him fast, and lead him safe; wherby thou didst insinuate, that he was but a kind of Iu­gler, or Impostour, who would worke him­selfe out of their fingars, by some tricke or o­ther, of Legier-de-main?

Hadst not thou seene the worlds of [Page 336] [...] [Page 337] [...] [Page 338]Miracles which he had wrought? He who had restored eyes to the blind, could not he haue bidden thyne eyes see no more? He who had made Paralitiques sti [...]re, and goe, could not he haue made all thy bones and si­newes wither in thy skin? He who, only, with a Lazarus veni foras, had fetcht that dead man out of his graue;Ioan. 11. had not he bene able with the burning breath of his mouth to haue spit thy kisse, into thy throate, and at the in­stant to haue depriued thee of life? But tell me yet againe, O thou Monster, and insamy of mankind, could those accursed feete of thine, lead thee on, to such a mischiefe, which euen but that very night, had bene washt & wiped by those hands of mercy? Could thy tongue become the forge of so much treachery, as to salute him with Hayle Maister, when thy er­rand was nothing els but to betray him? could that mouth imploy it selfe in deliuering him vp to death, by animating those wretched mē against him (who yet needed no incourage­ment of thine) which for diuers yeares had bene dayly fed, both at his table, and from his trencher?

If thy kisses were so cruell, what vvere thy vvounds; or rather vvhat wound vvas euer so mortall, as thy trayterous kisse? And although thine ovvne reprobate consciēce did not strike thee through vvith horrou [...]; vvould not the presece of all thy fellovv-Apostles, beate thee blind vvith shame, vvho vvere so many vvit­nesses against thee of all those benefits which [Page 339]thou hadst receiued; & that euen then, so late­ly, at the hands of such a meeke and mercifull Lord? And hadst thou no body to sell him to, but those very men of the whole world, who did hate him most? And was it possible for thy Tygars hart, not to relent at least, when thou camest to behould that holy person of his? And though now he were no more able to worke vpon thee, as an obiect of loue, yet was it possible, that thou shouldest not be wrought vpon by him, as he was growne to be an ob­iect of compassion? For thou couldst not but discerne, a great change in his diuine counte­nance, towards palenes, and weaknes, since thou hadst seene him last before, through the Agony which he had susteyned, and the sweat of bloud which he had powred forth in the Garden?

At least, wert thou able to receaue the sound of that celestiall voyce into thine eares, which (besides the sacred tune) did expresse that sweet, and charming ditty,Marc. 14. Luc. 12. Amice ad quid venisti, osculo silium hominis tradis? My friend consi­der what it is, about which thou comesi, caust thou find in thy hart to betray the sonne of the Virgin, & with a kisse? And was not euen this of power, to make thee, at length retract the treason, which thou hadst contriued? hadst thou more thē a Legiō of deuills in thee which at the hearing of his voyce would not leaue thee free; for of other mē we read, that he dispossessed thē, of whole Legions all at once, by the only word of his sacred mouth. At least, if there were no re­medy, [Page 340]but thou wouldst needs cōmit that vast sinne, it might haue serued thy turne to haue betraied him by a deputy; or if thou must needs do it in sight, it might yet haue beene frō a far of. But to do it, both in thine owne person, & that so very neere at hād, as both to speake to him, & to heare him, & to embosome thy selfe by a kisse, and so betray him; was such a high straine of wickednes, that we need no lesse then the assurance it selfe of Gods holy Spirit, to make vs beleeue that it should be true.

OThe [...] in [...]. mortall sinne, which art both mortal, & immortall; in that thou puttest the soule to death, but a death which yet knows not how to dye. What ruyne dost thou bring to the hart of man, wherin thou raiguest? what per­fect miracles dost thou worke there, in reuer­sall of those others, which are wrought by Grace? For as Grace illuminates, as it infla­mes, as it instructs, as it enriches, as it exalts, as it delights, as it vnites; iust so dost thou blocke vp, and freeze, and deceaue, and im­pouerish, and abase, and afflict, and dissipate the whole soule of man, into many seuerall waies, and all at once. Thou dost not onely v [...]xe men, which implyes a painefull tossing, from one thing to another; but withall, thou dost racke them, by strange inuentions within themselues; making them liue and dwell in [...], as in their proper sphere, and cen­ [...]e [...]. Thou dost, thou dost, it is well knowne [...] dost; and we all are bound to hate thee f [...] it. Thou art that monster which did take [Page 341]thatThe vnhappy Iudas. man, and by the dust of Passion thou didst first put out his eyes. The Passion of co­uetousnes, by occasion that he kept the purse; and the Passion of Pride and Enuy, because he found, that some were fauoured more then he. And when thou hadst made himHow sinners are not only blind, but mad. Blind, thou didst also make him Mad. He first belee­uing impossible, and incompatible things to be most true; and acting afterward in confor­mity of that beliefe some other things, as if they had bene iust, which were eternally to haue bene abhorred.

Now as Iudas was once an Apostle, and highly in the fauour and grace of God; so it is morally impossible, that he should fall into such extremes vpon a sudden. Nemo repentè sit malus, and much lesse pessimus; especially from a state of such eminency as that. Nor could the deuill be so voyd of wit, as to offer, at a clap, to perswade an Apostle, be betray and sell his Maister, and such a Maister, and for such a try­fle. No, this is seldome, or neuer attempted, or if it be, it is not wont to take effect. Infal­libly he began with him (as we vse to say) at small game; and heThe sleps wherby a soule may quickly fail from the top to the bot­tome. would first aduise him to neglect some knowne inspiration of God; and then to omit the exercising of some ver­tue; and after that, to giue way to some little inordinate affection; and then voluntarily to cōmit some light veniall sin; and so by his in­gratitude, hauing disobliged the mercy of God from giuing him particular succour, and him­selfe growing dayly more weake, and conse­quently [Page 342]the deuill more stronge, he fell into mortall sinnes, and at last, he came, by these insensible degrees, into such an Abisse of im­piety, as it was for him to sell, and betray his heauenly maister.

He therfore who loues danger, Eccles. 3. shall be sure to perish in it, & he who makes himselfe deafe to diuine inspirations, and makes no difficulty to resolue vpon committing certaine veniall sinnes; will not possibly be able to continue long, from such as are mortall. A man who shootes in a weake bow, at a long marke, must ouer-lay; or els he will be sure to fall short. Now there is not any longer way, then from the sinfull hart of man, to sanctity of life; nor is there any weaker bow, then the powers of our minde, which are so afflicted, by so many spirituall wounds. And if any man will re­solue, and hope, by the grace of God, neuer to commit any mortall sinne, let him ouerlay so much, as to be carefull not to commit any ve­niall; & so, and only so, he may perhaps keep his soule, from the guilt of any, which is mor­tall.

But such, in Iudas, was the worke of sinne and such was the treachery which he commit­ted. Yet our Lord IESVS, was still holding on his speedy pace, in the way of loue. ForThe inuincible patience, & meek­nes of our Lord Iesus. in the strength therof, it was, that he did not so much as turne his mouth aside, from receiuing that pill of death, frō that Apothecary of hell. But rather he did behold the wretch, with a countenance compounded of meekenes (to as­swage [Page 343]his cruelty) and of misery, to extinguish his enuy. And because that countenance was not of force inough to worke with him, he spake to him as hath bene said, and he had care euen then, to saue his honour; and he called him Friend. Wishing him first to looke in v­pon himselfe, and to reflect vpon the thing, which he was come to do, by saying (as I haue shewed) Ad quid venisti; and when that would not serue, he aduised him (by saying further, Osculo filium hominus tradis?) to looke vpon his person, he being the Sonne of the Virgin; and to consider whether it were fit to betray the Sonne of such a mother, and that by a kisse.

And howsoeuer the hardnes of that Ty­gars hart were foreseene from all eternity by the eye of God; yet the same eye did also see that it would be hard through his one fault; whether God (in effect) would or no. And althoughThere was mer­cy still for Iudas if he would haue re­pented. he deserued to be wholy abando­ned for his former wickednes, yet euen then, and afterward, if sufficiency of grace would haue serued the turne, it was certainly offred and pressed vpon him by our Lord IESVS; but he would none. How willingly our blessed Lord would haue saued euen that wretched soule, and not only haue giuen him sufficient, but efficacious grace; may also appeare in the sermon which he made after the last supper, where he saith; That he had lost, Ioan. 17. but onely that child of perdition, that the Scriptures concerning him, might be fulfilled. As if he could not haue endu­red it, without much griefe of hart, but onely [Page 344]for the accomplishment of that, which his eternall Father was pleased to permit, who foresavv hovv vvicked that man vvould be.

Of our Lords great loue to vs, in permitting that fall of Iudas: and of that vnspeakeable mercy which he shewed otherwise, in the mystery of his apprehension.

CHAP. 59.

BVT novv as God can dravv good out of euill, so doth Christ our Lord, aboun­dantly expresse his mercy and charity, to man­kind, by this act of Iustice vpon Iudas, in lea­uing him to himselfe. For vvho is he, that vvil any longer presume vpon his ovvne strength? Our Lord hath set many burning beacons be­fore vs, but especialy two, that we may know, and fly the danger, vvhich threatneth vs, on all sides. Out of the old Testament (besides many others) vve haue the example of Salo­mon, Salo­mon. a Type of Christ our Lord, A penne of the holy Ghost, A man to vvhome God had said, Aske, & haue, The vvisest and the vvorthiest King of the vvhole vvorld, and withall, a Prophet. And yet this Cedar of Libanus, vvhich might seeme to haue bene made of in­corruptible vvood; vvas so vvrought into at the roote, by the vvorme of lust, that dovvne it fell, and the fall was great. For he precipita­ted his soule to vvorship (in the place, of the God of himselfe,3. Reg. 11. and of his Fathers) as many Idolls, as the humours of his cōcubines would [Page 345]lead him to; and it is more then we know, if euer he rose againe by pennance.

And heere we haue in the new Testa­ment anIudas. Apostle; one of the twelue, whom, God had elected out of the whole world, to be his Embassadours; one who had liued neere three yeares, in the sight, and tast of that foun­taine of sanctity, Christ our Lord; and of that stream of purity & charity, his all-immaculate mother, whom all generations shall call blessed. One who had wrought miracles,Luc. 2. and exercised do­minion ouer the Princes of darknes, by com­maunding them to depart out of possessed persons; One before whome, the King of glo­ry had kneeled downe to wash his seate; one who had bene fed with the body of our bles­sed Lord, which he gaue with his owne sa­cred hands. This man, this Monster (to shew vvhat a monstrous thing euery liuing man is sure to be, at the instant that he deserues to be forsaken by the omnipotēt mercy of our Lord God) made such hast to hell, as that he suffered not his eyes to sleepe, nor his eye lids to slum­her, till (hauing entred into a part with those perfidious Ievves) for thirty peeces of siluer he put himselfe vpon betraying, and by a kisse, this Lord of life, into the hands of death.

This LordThe loue of our Lord to vs in the losse of Iudas. gaue vvay to this inestimable offence against himself, that it might be a great and lovvd vvarning Peece of meeknes, for as much as he vouchsafed to suffer; & of humility & feare, for as much as Iudas presumed to do. To the end that no priuiledge of fauour, or [Page 346]possessiō of present vertue, might make any man rely vpō his ovvne strength, which is al but vveakenes.2. Cor. 7. But that, adhering to God by faith, hope, & loue, we might worke our saluatiō with a filiall seare, & a trēbling ioy. For the whole race of mankind, was nothing at all in the way of nature, and to nothing it would in­stantly all returne, if it vvere not conserued by the omnipotency of God, as by a kind of con­tinuall nevv creation. And, in the way of grace, vve are all lesse then nothing, and the holyest soule vvhich euer vvas, might instant­ly plunge it selfe in sinne, if it vvere abando­ned by Gods grace.

If then we haue our being, both in the state of nature, and of grace, by the particular fauour of our Lord God; it follovves, that the more graces he giues, and the more fauours he shevves to a soule, so much the more, must it be subiect to him. And they are to serue, but as so many bills of debts, vvherby it is bound to find hovv base and beggarly a thing it is of it selfe; and consequently hovv profoundly humble, and gratefull, it must be to our Lord, vvho only knevv hovv to enrich it. For our Lord is a great God, and vve are vveake, vn­vvorthy thinges, vvho can giue him nothing by vvay of retribution; but only a continu­all, & faithfull, and humble acknovvledg­ment, that vve areHow we are to entertaine the me­mory of Gods fa­uours, & of our owne sinnes. nothing vvorth. And as, through his infinite goodnes, vve may call to mind euen our greatest sinnes vvith much comfort, vvhen once vve haue done true pe­nance, [Page 347]for them; so through his infinite great­nes the soule which receiueth fauours, and vi­sitations of him, in particular manner; must thinke of them with great apprehension and feare, vnlesse they be intertayned with much humility, and improued by Prayer, and other industry.

The griefe which our Lord IESVS had, for euery single sinne of the whole world was excessiuely great as we haue shewed. How ex­cessiue therfore must it needs haue been, to see this hideous sinne of this Apostle? And by the measure of his griefe, we may find the measure of his former loue; for loue it was which made him grieue. The thing which might comfort him in that affliction, was to cōsider, what an innumerable number of soules, would take warning by this sinne of Iudas. As soone ther­fore as that treacherous kisse was giuen, and that our Lords sacred words and inspirations were contemned, by that miserable creature; our Lord IESVS, went on, towards the troope, enquiring whome they sought. And when they told him that it was IESVS of Nazareth, Ioan. 18. he in­stantly answered, that he was the man.

But as, on the one side, they saw him a man, so on the other, he then gaue himselfe, Gods truestThe Maiesty of our Lord Ie­sus, euen when he he was mortal, & seemed miserable Name, of Ego sum, I am; though they vnderstood it not. But he thought good to let them see, that he had somewhat in him­selfe of the God. And so resoluing to try all imaginable wayes for the mollifying of their marble harts; and perceauing that the mildnes [Page 348]which he had vsed with Iudas, succeeded not; he gaue such a Maiesty to those two words as serued to cast them to the ground. We may imagine heerby with what terrour he wil ap­peare, when he comes as Iudge, who, in his ve­ry Passion, wherin he meant but only to suf­fer, could so declare his power. We may also well perceaue heerby, that they were stran­gely confirmed in malice; since a miracle of that nature, being wrought vpon the per­sons of themselues had no meanes to make thē rise to pennance. But they rose, by the permis­sion of God, to continue in their sinne; and to aske our Lord the same questiō a second time; and a second tyme to receaue an Answere, to the same effect. Our LordOur Lord had no care of himselfe, but much of his A­postles. Ibid. adding further, by way of commaundement, that they should suffer his Apostles to retire themselues, what­soeuer they might haue a mind to doe with him.

And it seemes to haue bene impossible for that diuine Lord, to haue cast his thought vpon any creature, to whome he must not be shewing mercy. For when S. Peter, (in dete­station that they should presume to lay hands vpon his Maister) had picked out one of the busiest of them,Ioan. 18. and had cut of his right eare; our Lord was so willing to suffer, as to mislike the impedimēt, which his disciple was about to giue. And by a touch of Malchus eare, with his omnipotent hand, he cured that enemy, who came to lead him to the Passion; hauing repressed his friend, who went about to hin­der [Page 349]it. And euen as they were binding him, he made no resistance at all; he reproached them not by declaring their sinnes; he vpbraided not the miracles which so aboundantly he had wrought vpon them, or theirs; he framed no quarell against them, but only this action of vnkindnes;Luc. 22. That he bauing imployed himselfe so much, vpon instructing, and teaching them, to their good liking, in the Temple; they should now come forth against him with swords, and Clubbes, as they would haue done against some insolēt & bloudy thiese. As if he had said. If you come indeed, to seeke the true Redeemer and Saniour of your soules, you shall find, to your comfort, that I am he. But if you looke for some Traytour, or seditious enemy of God and man, your leuell is ill layed. Though yet, for the glory of God, for the exercise of all vertue, and for the recouery of the world from hell, and sinne, I am content to be mi­staken for such a one. Yet nothing could induce them to relent. But, as the manner is with men, who when they are desperately resolued to doe a thing which their conscience telleth them, that reason requires them to forbeare; the greater the force of that reason is, which is prest against them, the more eagarly are they inflamed, & euen blinded with rage to worke their will.

As soone therfore as they had appre­hēded & bound him, with far greater cruelty then any Christian hart knowes how to ima­gine; it cannot be chosen, but that they would dragge him, more like a dogge then a man. NotWhat soeuer in­commo­dity they indured was reué­ged by the vpō our Lord. that he went vnwillingly, but because [Page 350]the presse must needs be great; and they were also, in bloud, against him; and would all, so desire to be the executioners of some parti­cular affliction, and affront vpon him; that they could not but hinder one another. And then, if any of them were iustled, if any chan­ced to st̄ble, or fall; vpon whom would they reuenge themselue, but vpon him, who with patience (which was indeed diuine) permit­ted himselfe to be carried, in that painefull iourney to the howse of Annas, vnder that cruell cudody, which the accursed Iudas had aduised them to keep him in.

Of the blow which was giuen vpon the face of our B. Lord in the high Priests howse; of the fall of S. Peter. How our Lord was taxed first of Blasphe­my; and of the excessiue Loue of our Lord, in dll these particulars.

CHAP. 60.

SHALL I need to say, that it shewed an infinite kind of loue in our Lord, that he vvould vouchsafe to be presented before An­nas, and then before Cayphas, at their seuerall hovvses,Matt. 26. Luc. 22. Ioan. 18. and before all that race of persidious Ievves, vvho thē, very thē, cōspired his death? That he, being the fountaine of vvisedom & knovvledge, and the King of glory, vvould for our sakes, be arraigned, and be contented to passe vnder the censure of those slaues of the deuill, vvho vvas his slaue. And he, in their prosecuting of that suite against him, to main­taine [Page 351]that inuincible patience, and profund silence, notvvithstanding all their clamours; and so seldome to haue opened that blessed mouth of his? He referred himselfe that first tyme, when he vvas examined about his Do­ctrine, to the iudgment of themselues,Ioan. 18. vvho had heard him teaching in the Temple. And vvhen, for saying but so, (in the vvay of an­vvere to the high Priest) a barbarous vvretch,Ibid. vvho vvas attending in that Court, & knevv that he should please his betters by it, stroocke that face, vvith his polluted hand, vvhich the Angells doe so reuere, and reioyce to see, he did not damne him, nor strike him dead,1. Pet. 1. vvhich yet most easily & most iustly he might haue done; nor so much as sharpely rebuke, or reprehend him for it, though it vvere so levvd an affront, as is neuer vvont to be put vpon any slaue, in the vievv of Iustice. But he asked him only, vvith great meeknes, why he strooke him, if he had spoken well; and if he had spoken ill, Ibid. why did he not informe the Court against him? By vvhich kind of plea, our Lord, though he vvere the Creatour of all things, did not as­sume to himselfe, the least aduantage aboue the vvickedest, and basest thing aliue. That so by suffering, he might shevv hovv much he loued vs. For the more he suffered, the more rich the Church vvas to be of merits, & so the more copious our Redemption.

Whilst these things vvere acting,Psalm. 120. in the house of Cayphas, S. Peter, who at the ap­prehension of Christ our Lord, vvas fled a­vvay, [Page 352]vvith the other Apostles (forOur Lord was euer in care to giue vs comfort. our Lord IESVS vvas content to be vvholly aban­doned, euen by his dearest friends, that it might serue for our comfort, vvhen vve are forsaken by ours) could find no resting place for his thoughts, till together vvith S. Iohn, he came after our Lord, to the hovvse of Cayphas. But (vvhether it vvere, that his countenance complayned of some perplexity; or that the manner of his speach, or habit, made it be thought, that he vvas a Disciple of Christ our Lord) he vvas questioned by diuers, and he denied his Maister to them all, and said vvith oathes and protestations,Marc. 14. that he did not so much as know the man.

A great offence in it self, & a iust punishmēt of a former fault, which he had made in presu­ming vpon his ovvne strength. For that vn­speakeable loue vvhich he bare to our blessed Lord (vvhich vvas not only, as of a friend to a friēd, or as of a Disciple to his Doctour, but of any indulgēt father, who might halfe doate v­pon a Sonne) did seeme novv to him, to be so cōnatural to his very soule, as that he thought, he could not loose it, but vvith his life. Wheras in very deed, it vvas the meere guift of God. and for such he ought to haue acknovvledged it; and so, distrusting himselfe, he should haue confided in our Lord. It vvas therfore plea­sing to our deere Redeemer, to permit that de­nyall, out of infinite loue both to S. Peter, and to vs; though it could not but goe, the vvhile, very deeply to his ovvne tender hart; that S. [Page 353]Peter who was not only one of his friends, but of his fauourities, should forsweare, that he did not so much as know him.

HeHow our Lord did loue S. Peter euen in suffering him, thus to full. Ibid. loued S. Peter, in suffering him thus to fall, for therby he taught him, how to stand more firmely afterward, which is neuer to be done by any soule, but vpon the ground of humility. He loued him also most deerly, in making him rise againe so soone, both by the shew of his corporall presence, to the o­thers eyes of flesh and bloud, and by the sweet pure light of his grace, which was imparted to the eyes of his soule. And that light had so much heat also with it, as to draw vp the va­pours which powred themselues down after­ward, at full speed, through his cloudy eyes.

Our Lord be euer blessed, for his owne infinite goodnes, who, in the bitterest of those sorrowes, shewed such mercy, and had such memory, both of him, and vs. For thus the world is filled with Sea-markes, which instruct vs how to saile through the Tempest of this life, towards the safe port of heauen. That when we passe by a Iudas, we may take heed of auarice, and enuy, because it ends in desperation. And when we passe by a S. Peter, we may forbeare to fall vpon selfe conceipt, which will put vs vpon many sinnes, and which afterward will cost, and can be only cured by penance. It was also an act of exces­siue charity in Christ our Lord, to let him feed vpon the experience of his owne frailty; that so, hauing a resolution to make him the [Page 354]supreme Pastour of his Church, and to giue him the keyes of pardoning, Matt. 16. and reteyning sinnes, he might easily pitty others, since he had fallen into so deepe a pit himselfe; and all others al­so, might be kept very farre, from presuming to confide in their owne vertue, since euen S. Peter was not able to secure himselfe from growing worse.

But as for thoseA de­fence of S. Peter from the reproach which se­ctaries would lay vpnn him. Luc. 22. wicked people, who in the hatred they haue to the Catholike Church, would impute to the head therof, that in this denyall of his, he had lost his faith; they are not so much as to be heard. For the holy Scripture insinuates no such things, but the very contrary; since Christ our Lord him­selfe declared how, he had prayed already to his e­ternall Father, that S. Peters faith might neuer faile; and moreouer, the voyce of reason, and the streame of all the holyAug. de correp. & gra. c. 8. Chrys­hom. 81. in Matth. Theophi­lact. in c. 22. Lucae [...] & alij passim. Fathers, doth con­demne that errour. And we see how soone he returned to bitter penance for his fault. And it was farre from the loue of our Lord, to suf­fer, that this most excellent Apostle, should fall out-right into infidelity, who had neuer offended him before, but venially, and only out of too free a hart. Nor euen now, but by the meere mistaking of the confines of Grace and nature, which were not so well set out, till afterward, by the comming of the holy Ghost.

And of this we are certaine, that be­fore, he had loued our Lord most vnspeaka­bly tenderly; and at a clap he had left all the [Page 355]worldMatt. (9. for him; and had cast himselfe into the veryMatt. 14 Sea, to approach him; and at the apprehension of our Lord, he had drawne hisIoan. 18. poore, single sword in his defence, a­gainst so many hundreds of Armed men; and he had wōded one of the hoa [...]est of them; & it was nothing but euenMare 14. the very passion of loue to our Lord that seized his hart, which could carry him, so instantly, into so apparāt danger, as it must be for him to put himselfe in the high Priests howse, when he was but then newly come, from wounding his seruāt Malchus. And though this sinne of denying our Lord IESVS, were a very great one; yet all the deuills of hell, cannot make it more, then of meere frailty; and his pennance for it, began almost at the very instant, when it was com­mitted, and that continued till the last mo­ment of his life. At which tyme, he gaue, in­steed of teares, his bloud vpon a Crosse, as our Lord had done for him; but with his head tur­ned downeward through humility. And the holy Scripture sheweth,Luc. 24. how our Lord appea­red to him alone, after his Resurrection; & we heare not that he once rebuked him, for that former sinne. And before his Ascension, vve are very sure since the holy Ghost it selfe hath said so) that, our Lord making S. Peter decla­re the loue which he bare him, at three seue­rall tymes, before the Apostles; he gaue him the charge both of them, and all the rest, who would be either lambes or sheepe of his flocke. Ioan. 15.

Now since our Lord himselfe (vvho [Page 356]vvas offended, and vvho best can tell, hovv deepely) did so svveetly and so magnificently forgiue, and forget S. Peters sinne, it is but a signe of a cankered and malicious minde, to be exagerating the same vpon al occasions. And let them, vvho are so insolent in taxing this Prince of the Apostles for his sinne of frailty in denying Christ our Lord vvho is the head;Note. at that tyme vvhen truth could be dis­cerned, but as by the light of a candle; Let them, I say, take heed, that dayly themselues be not committing farre greater sinnes, against the same truth, vvhilst they are not only de­nying, but blaspheming and afflicting it in the body of Christ our Lord, which is his Church; vvhich truth,Isalm. 19. they yet may see, as by the light of the Sunne. For in she sunne, God hath placed his Tabernacle, vvhich S. Augustine vnderstandeth of his Church.

The vvicked Priests, suborned false vvitnesses against our Lord; but he vvould not so much as reproach them for it; & much lesse conuince them of levvd practice; nor e­nen open his mouth vvhen it might any vvay haue bene, in his ovvne discharge. Only vvhē Cayphas coniured him in the nameThe high se­uerence which our Lord did carry to the name of God. Matt, 26. of God. to say whether he were the Sonne of God or no; both because he had the place of high Priest at that tyme, and yet further, for the high reuerence vvhich he carryed to the holy name of God, his ansvvere vvas expresse and cleere, though short and meeke, That he was the sonne of God. And heerpon they declared him to be vvorthy [Page 357]of death as a blasphemer.

O false painted face of the world, how vayne and deceiptfull are thy iudgments! and how many are there now a dayes, who if they should see a Cayphas sit with great solemnity, authority, and attendance, vpon the cause of Christ our Lord, who were cōtemptibly stā ­ding at a barre; and should heere a Cayphas af­firme, that he were an ennemy to the word of thé Lord, or the State, would infallibly ioyne with him against our Lord; & be drawne by those vayne appearances, to beleeue for the tyme, that they said true. But whatsoeuer the thought of the people was of Christ our Lord, his enamoured hart, did so deadly thirst after their good and ours, vpon any termes; as that he, being God, did not abhorro to be accoun­ted a blasphemer of God; so that by the ap­plicatiō of that pretious merit to vs, we might, of slaues, become the Sonnes of his eternall Fa­ther. AndThe loue of our Lord Iesus to vs, made him easily ouercom [...] all diffi­culties. Ibid. howsoeuer it was an vnspeakea­ble detestation of that thing, which raigned in his most reuerent soule; yet was his loue to the name, and imputation therof, in effect, as vn­speakeable, since the more deeply he had cause to be auerted from it, the more aboundantly he deserued by it, for vs. But the Priest cried our, Blasphemy, what need haue we now of any wit­nesses? Those hypocryticall eyes were cast vp to heauen, the garments were rent, and our Lord, without his answering any one word, was esteemed and decreed, by them all, to be worthy of death. We haue read of Saints who [Page 358]haue bene armed with patience against all o­ther affronts; but when they haue bene called Heretiques, they could not chuse but breake their pace, and declare that they detested that imputation. But heere the Saint of Saints could be content to be called Blasphemer, & yet to make no demonstration, that he tooke the least offence therat.

The abundant, and most bitter scornes, which our B. Lord indured with excessiue loue, in that night precedent to his death.

CHAP. 61.

EXCESSIVE was the indignity, and di­shonour which Christ our Lord endured at that first examination, by Annas, and Cay­phas; which yet will seeme, but a kind of no­thing, if it be cōpared to that which followed, in the rest of that woefull night, when our Lord was imprisoned in the high Priests house. And if, at his being taken, he were as well bound by ropes, as the Traytour Iu­das could deuise; there is no doubt but that now, they would lodge him in a dungeon low inough, and load his delicate body, with as many irons, as it could beare.

It is true that the Prophet Hieremy, had beene thrust downe into a deepe well; & the Prophet Daniell into a Lake of Lyons; and the Patriarcke Ioseph, was cast into a cesterne; and theThe seruants of our Lord were cō ­forted by him in their af­flictions, but him­selfe would feel none in his. Martyrs of Christ our Lord, haue suffe­red vnsufferable kinds of torment; yet what­soeuer [Page 359]affliction, or feare they were subiect to, the hād of God was there, either to deliuer, or at least to cōfort thē therin. But our Lord had heere resigned al comfort; he had resigned that hower, that is, the whole tyme of his bitter Passion, to the Prince of darkenes; and he had suspended the vse of his owne power, for as much as concerned the receauing of any sen­sible consolation at all. I would therfore be glad to know, what dolorous, infamous af­front that could be, which, in that night of shame & sorrow, was not put vpon our bles­sed Lord, by those instruments of the deuill.

If whilst he was yet abroad at liberty, whilst he was rauishing them with his diuine words, euen in spight of their peruerse harts, whilst he was both dazeling the eye of enuy, and hypocrisy with his sanctity; and amazing them by the Maiesty, & obliging them by the mercy of his miracles, they would yet be fin­ding meanes to snarle against him, and to vn­dermine him; what kind of quarter is it likely now that they would keep with him, when all the miracles which he wrought, were to let them outrage him, as much as they would, and all the language which he vsed, was that inuincible silence which he neuer brake, in all that nights bitter durance.

If whilst he shewed so many tokens of his being the Sonne, or at least a man of God; they would yet take occasion from the facility and suauity of his conuersation, to esteeme him as a drinkerMatth. 11. of wine; If from his mercy [Page 360]and loue, to the gayning of peruerted, and impure soules, that he was a man whoIbid. li­ked to spend his tyme in bad company; If frō his saying that he was auncient toIoan. 8. Abraham, that he was proud, and made himselfe God knowes what; If from the wonders which he wrought, vpon the Sabaoth,Luc. 13. that he was an irreligious and prophane person; If from seeing that he did supernaturall things at other tymes, that he performed them by aLuc. 11. pact, with the deuill; If from their obseruation that his fanctity, and benignity made the people loue him, thatLuc. 23. he was a popular, seditious, and vnquiet person; If from his auowing, that he, Ioan. 10. and his Father were one; that he was an ex­presse Blasphemer, and, as such a one, they were once, about to stone him. If then, I say, they were so insolent, and arrogant; shall we thinke that now, they could grow calme, and tender-harted towards him? When already, they had seene him receaue a cruell buffet from that Sycophant, in the very view of the high Priest; and that the same high Priest did not so much as once reproue him for it, which cer­tainly he would haue done, if that fellow had but presumed to beate his dogge. Shall vve thinke, that it gaue him any credit for them to obserue, that one of his Disciples had betrayed and sold him to thē for a toy? Shall we thinke that his meekenes would appease the rage of those hungry wolues, they hauing bene so lōg in hunting, after this innocent lambe? Who in that tyme of his sheering, no nor yet in his [Page 361]flaughtering afterward, did not so much, at open his mouth, to make any one complaint? Or rather shall we not conclude, that they tooke offence, euen from that very patience of his? Which howsoeuer indeed, it grew frō no other cause, but only a profōd roote of loue, theyHis very pa­tience made thē more out­ragious against him. would yet impute it, either to some witchcraft, which might kindle their hate a­gainst him; or cls to some extreme stupidity, which might vrge them on, to an increase of contempt? Or finally, shall we thinke that our Lord would change their mindes, to make thē, in some miraculous kind, forbear him (though otherwise it were much against their will) which priuiledge, yet he had neuer vsed to help himself thereby in his whole life? It is not credible. It is not possible. But a most vndoubled truth it is, that those wretches did afflict and dishonour him, all they could; and that our Lord was not only willing to endure al that, but al the rest which they could deuise.

The holy Scripture it selfe, doth this once, giue such a view of what kind of Ban­quet was then set before this spouse of our soules, to feed vpon; as that the consideration therof, which hath bene taken by deuout per­sons, hath made tempests of sighes rise from their harts, and floods of teares, flow from their eyes, through the compassion of his griefe, and the admiration of his diuine loue, inA bit­ter Pottō. sucking downe, so greedely, such huge draughts of the scalding bitter stuffe, which in that dolorous night, was put vpon him. It [Page 362]tell vs,Matt. 2 [...] that they strocke him with the Palmes of their hands; that they did, beate and buffet him; that they spit vpon him; that they hoodwincked him; that they would be stryking him againe; and that they scoffed and scorned him; bidding him prophesy, who it was, that had strocken him.

But is it possible that the God of heauen and earth, should suffer such thinges at their hands, and that for the saluation of vs, yea and euen of them, and of all the world? Yea so possible it is, that God would suffer it; as that it would haue bene wholly impossible, that any who had not bene God, should haue en­dured it.

Consider therfore heere, what variety of affronts they found out for him, and how euery one of them, had a kind of particular re­proach belonging to it. They boxed him, as hath bene said, with their hands at large; and therin they treated him, as a man would doe some villanous, lying boy. They buffeted him with their fists, and in that they vsed him like some idle, and base, vvicked slaue. They spit vpon him, and so they did, as good as say, that he vvas an infamous, & most odious blas­phemer, who deserued to be the outcast both of God and man. They blinded him, & thē they boat him againe; and to make themselues merry (as a Lord of mis-rule is vvont to doe in a iolly Christmas) they vvould bid him Pro­phesy, who had beaten him; and therby they cal­led him foole, and sot. And they alluded to the vvickednes, of vvhich they vvould needs [Page 363]suppose him to haue bene guilty, in aspiring to be accounted a Prophet, by the people. Such vvasThe inuincible loue of Lord, did conquer the power of all their rage. the excesse of their rage; and our Lord, the vvhile, vttered not one vvord of reproofe, nor shevved not one gesture of mislike; though his thoughts vvere not silent, but vvell im­ployed. Yet not vpon securing himselfe from their vvrongs, but vpon sorrovving prosōd­ly for their sinnes.

To haue seene any creature in that vvo­full case, vvould haue moued any cruell hart to pitty; how much more to haue seen (though it had not bene, as he vvas also God, but on­ly man) that excellent beauty of the diuine countenance of our Lord, so abhominably defeated, and euen murthered (as it vvere) by those perfidious Ievves. For murthered it vvas by those cruel buffets; & insteed of odoriferous and pretious gumms, it vvas imbalmed in their nastly, and impure spittle. And it may also be accounted, to haue bene buried, in that beast­ly cloath, vvhervvith they blinded, those svveet-sad-eyes.

The least of vvhat they did to him at that time, doth inuolue such a deale of indignity as is beyond al conceit; butHow infamous an affront it was for them to spit vpon our Lord. yet that of the spit­ting seemeth to exceed the rest. It is an odious, and infamous kindof affront, not vsed to any flaue, euen by his Lord, vvho hath an absolute dominiō ouer him. But if at any tyme it be, it is to shew a meeting together, of the extremity of contempt, and hate, in the hart of him, who desires, by this vgly meanes, to shevv it selfe. [Page 364]Nay when we do but spit, for the meere dis­charge, and ease of nature, we procure to doe it so, as that no person of respect may, so much as see it. If by errour it should fall vpon some stoole, or andyron, or euen but vpon a mans shoe; he is not well, till it be wyped. And therfore I doe not wonder, if they forbare to strike, or euen to touch his face, after they had so desiled it, till first, they had put a veyle, be­twene. The true place of spittle, is either the ground, that instantly it may be trodden out; orelse the fire, where, in a moment, it may be consumed. But now this vnholesome excre­ment, which being deliuered out, vpon neces­sity, is not suffered to continue vpon the mea­nest, & basest creatures, or cloathes we weare; was thought good inough, to dwell vpon the most pretious parts of the person of Christ our Lord. And although the Prophet Isay, might meane (by that great diffiguring of our Lord which he foresaw and foretold) the whole troope of torments which came vpon his diui­ne person; yet it seemes that this of his spittle, was pointed at by him, in particular manner.

The holy Scripture doth further say, that they vttered many other most blasphe­mous things against him. But whether it were that it would exceed the bounds of modesty for vs to heare of the words or deeds themsel­ues which those miscreants vsed; or els, to the end that euery one might haue the greater merit, to contemplate in pious manner what they were; the holy ghost thought fit, to wrap [Page 365]them vp in silence. Which certainly was done vpon high designe, and great mistery; and S. Hierome saith, that till the day of Iudgement should arriue, we were not fully to know, the strange meanes, wherby that night, they ve­xed our Lord, in the house of the high Priest.

Yet whatsoeuer, they either did or said, it is certaine, that the very things themselues, were not so odious, in the sight of God, as was the ground from whence they grew. AnThe scornes which they put, vpon our Lord, were dou­bled by the root of malice, frō which they came itch they had, at the very rootes of their prophane harts, in chafing, and scratching wherof, by doing those detestable dishonours to our Lord, they did triumph, and spring with a most pe­tulant, and pestiferous kind of ioy. And so, on the other side, though the very outrages them­selues, were far more enormous then we can conceaue, which declare the infinite patience and humility of Christ our Lord; yet the li­berall hart of loue wherwith he offred them all to God, for our good, and wherwith, he (behoulding vs all at that very time) could haue bene content to suffer more, as afterward we shall see he did; is that which ought both to comfort, and confound vs most.

How our Lord was solemnly adiudged worthy of death for Blasphemy; and of the death of Iudas; and how they send our Lord to Pilate.

CHAP. 62.

BVT then, as the importunate malice of them, who had our Lord IESVS in charge, kept him farre inough from taking any rest; so the Priests and elders themselues, might not so well be said to be gone to sleepe, as to bed; through the rage of enuy, which, in all like­ly-hood, kept them both waking, and thin­king, that euery minute was an age, till it were day; at which tyme, they intended to perse­cute our Lord to death. They did therfore all, Confestim manè, Marc. 15. at the very point and peepe of day, call themselues togeather, in the forme of a Councell. Where the vvicked Cayphas (giuing account to that vvhole assembly, of vvhat had passed, the night before, amongst those fevv vvhich could be gathered togeather, vpon the sudden) did againe, vvith the same hypocriti­cal shew of piety, presse our Lord, that for the reuerence of the liuing God, he would declare to them, Whether he were the Christ or no Our Lord, out of his knovvledge, that whatsoeuer he should say, they would netther beleeue him, nor an­swere him, nor yet dismisse him, vvould vvillin­gly haue forborne his answere; but being pres­sed by this coniuration, he declared to them [Page 367]yet once againe to this effect, That he was the Christ. And that once the tyme would come, when they would know it to their cost; and beleeue it, when it would be too late; when they should see him sit­ting, at the right hand of the power of God, and com­ming downe vpon the clouds of the ayre. Heere vpon theyOur Lord Ie­sus, the God of life, con­demned to death. solemly pronounced him to be an ex­presse blasphemer, and that he vvas worthy of death. And so they instantly carryed him away bound to Pilate.

Whilst the meaner sort were loading him with a thousand wrongs, the grauest, and greatest of them, (who would needs goe with him, to testify the excesse of their malice, (though it be not the vse of men of rancke, to cheapen themselues, by accompanying cri­minall persons in the publique streets) would not fayle to hold most hypocritical discourses: As protesting, in their zeale to the lavv of God, hovv much it grieued them, that the Pa­gan Iudge (to vvhome they vvere going.) should be forced to knovv, that amongst the men of their Religion (vvhich the prisoner vvas) there should be a creature so impious, & so blasphemous, as most vvickedly they accu­sed him to be.

Our Lord IESVS, in the meane tyme, vvas not to seeke for patience, in the bearing of vvhatsoeuer affront they could put vpon him; nor vvould he vvho had endured the greater, refuse the lesse. Novv aThe sinne of the Iewes was grea­ter against our Lord, then that of the Gentiles. lesse offen­ce it vvas in them, for him to be presented be­fore a Pagan, and prophane person, vvho had [Page 368]no knowledge at all of the true God, or of his law; then before a congregation of men, who had the custody of his auncient Testament, & for whose saluation and perfection, (they be­ing his owne chosen people) he was particu­larly come into the would. And so, the more fauoured they had bene, the more faulty they were, in persecuting Christ our Lord; & that euen for no other cause, but only for the very zeale which he had of their good.

They might haue considered, how ear­nestly they had cōcurred to the sinne of Iudas, and therfore they should haue feared his puni­shment; which was the falling into a greater sinne. For when he saw that they were then going actually to procure the death of Christ our Lord; and when he began to looke in v­pon himselfe, and vpon what he had done; & then discerning cleerly, the deformity of his sinne, which the deuill had before, procured to hide; he hungeThe lamenta­ble of death of Iudas. Matt. 27. himselfe by the necke, & his body brake in the middle, and his bowells fell about his feete; and instantly his soule sirnke downe, into the lowest place of hell.

How would that accident strike the hart of Christ our Lord with sorrovv? For as our Lord is incomparably more sory for our sinns, then for his own paines; so vvas this, a greater thē that fin. For to finish in despaire of Gods omnipotent mercy, is the most grieuous sinne, vvhich man is able to commit. It strooke, I say, our Lords hart vvith griefe, yet those vvretches vvere not touched by it, tovvards [Page 369]remorse. But notwithstanding that Iudas re­stored to them, the price, wherby he had bene wrought to act that treason, and did declare himselfe to haue sinned in betraying that innocent bloud, they neither relented in themselues, nor tooke compassion of him; but seornefully made answere, that it was not a thing which belonged to them, and that all was to run vpon his account.

A memorable example, of how truly and miserably, they are deceaued, who serue the world, the flesh, or the deuill. ForCon­sider seri­ously of this truth. what­soeuer may be promised before hand, yet in fine, when the turne is serued, no care is taken of their comfort, but they may with Iudas goe hange themselues. And so they doe many tymes, and more, I beleeue, in our only coun­try of England, then in all the rest of Europe put togeather.Matt. 29. But the thirty peeces which Iudas restored to the Priests, were not cast into the Treasury, but imployed vpō the Purchase of a place to a pious vse. And S. Augustine no­teth how it was by a most particular proui­dence of God,Serm. 128. de coena Dom apud Ariam. that the price of the bloud of Christ our Lord, should not serue for the ex­pence of liuing sinners; but for the buriall of deceased Pilgrimes: that so, with the price of his bloud, he might both redeeme the liuing, and be a retraite for the dead.

The hate of those malicious Priests, & Elders to Christ our Lord, and consequently his loue to them, and vs (since for their parti­cular, and our generall good, he was content to endure so much at their hands) appears yet [Page 370]more plainely, by other circumstances. For the tyme when they persecuted our Lord, was the day of the greatest solemnity and deuotiō, of the whole yeare. It was the feast of the Pas­chal, when all the Iewish world was come to Ierusalem, Luc. 22. to assist at those sacrifices, and cere­monies of the the law, in the Temple. And as the affronts were so much greater, then if they had bene done at a more priuate tyme, & the malice of the high Priests, so much the more eager since they could not be perswaded to put it of, to a lesse busy day; so was the loue of our Lord excessiue euen heerin, who was contented with the publicity of his shame, at that tyme; because, by meanes therof, the no­tice of his Passion togeather with the miracles succeding it, would the more speedily be spred; and more readily beleeued, shortly after, throughout the world.

The circumstance of Pilates person, doth plainely also shew the particular rancour of their hart; since they hated Christ our Lord so much, as that it made them earnest, & glad, to shew themselues subiect to that Romane Iustice. They detested the subiection which they were in, to Rome; They loued not Cesar whome they tooke to be a Tyrant, and Vsurper ouer them; they loued not Pilate, whome they knew to be a most corrupt, and wicked Iudge; they loued not the exercise of his Iudicature, which serued but to refresh the memory of their owne misfortune, in their hauing lost the vse of that power. But their [Page 371]predominat malice to Christ our Lord, made them content to gnaw, and swallow all such bones as those.

When Pilate was come sorth, they be­gan to make their charge against the prisoner; accusing him, in bitter termes, of most odious crimes; but still (as the manner of such persons is) only in generall termes. Which yet, out of theThe base con­ceit which the lewes had of Christ our Lord. base cōceit they had of Christ our Lord, and the pride which they tooke in themselues they thought would haue sufficiently induced Pilate to proceed against him. And so indeed, they did as good as say, when afterward being pressed to produce their proofe, they insinuated that it was more then needed. For if the man had not bene wicked, they would not,Ioan. 18. said they, haue brought him thither. And with­all, they did not so much as vouchsafe, to giue our Lord any particular name, but they only sayd, Inuenimus hunc &c. We haue sound this fel­low, disturbing the peace of our people, Luc. 23. and forbid­ding, that Tribute should be paid to Cesar, and decla­ring himselfe to be a King.

Yet Pilate, being moued by the sight of the person of Christ our Lord, did (beyond his custome) forbeare to make such hast, as, at the instant, to pronounce an vniust sentence a­gainst him; but he tooke him into his house, hand to hand. And finding vpon the speach, which passed betwene them, that our Lord had no designe vpon the honours, and aduan­tages of this world; norOur Lord had nopretēce vpon any other kingdom then that of heau [...]. pretended to the exercise of any other kingdome, then that of [Page 372]heauen (to which he endeauoured to draw men by teaching them to obey God, who is the supreme King therof) and the Iudge for his part, not caring what became of heauen or heauēly things;Ioan. 18. he came quickly forth againe, & declared that he found the man not guilty.

How Pilate examined our Blessed Lord; and how he sent him to Herod. Of the scorne which Herod put vpon him. How the returned him to Pilate; and how Pilate re­solued at last to scourge him.

CHAP. 63.

BVT they persisted in their malicious clamours, and protested that the prisoner had bene sowing rumours, Luc. 13. & making stirres through­out all Iury, beginning at Galiley, and procee­ding as farre, as that very place. Now Galiley, was belonging to the iurisdiction of Herod, who had bene the murtherer of S. Iohn Baptist; and betwene Pilate and him,Ibid. there had bene illA cur­tesy of a Courtier. quarter, till that tyme. But he chaun­cing to be then at Ierusalem, this Pilate, put a Court-tricke vpon him; for he sent the priso­ner to him, as if it had bene out of a kind of respect; wheras chiefely it was, because he would faine be rid of the cause.

To Christ our Lord, nothing came a­misse, who still, with his accustomed humi­lity, patience, silence, obedience, and most ar­dent loue, and desire of the saluation of man­kind, did apply himselfe to renounce any gust [Page 373]of his owne, and gaue himselfe all away to theirs. And this true Prince of Peace was cō ­tent to vndergoe all that paine, and to endure all that scorne, which would be put vpō him, both at Herods Court, and in the way,Ibid. be­twene him and Pilate, vpon condition that so, he might be an occasion of recōciling the em­nities of those two, though both conspired to his preiudice. For he knew that by that cur­tesy,Ibid. which Herod would take so kindly at the hands of Pilate, from that tyme forward, they would be friends.

This Herod was a famous, infamous per­son for his sensuality, his cruelty, and a world of other vices. And for as much as he had heard, often speach of Christ our Lord, and of the reputation which he had, both for his wonderfull workes, and for his admirable wisedome, he had anThe curiosity of Herod. Ibid. extreme curiosity to satisfy himselfe, in those two points. In con­formity therof, he earnestly desired to see some miracle of his working. And for as much, as concerned the fame of his wisedome, he pro­cured, (by a world of questions, which he as­ked) to see whether truth would answere, to the voyce which ran of him.

But our Lord IESVS, who was not come into the world to make men sport; but to doe them good; nor to satisfy the curiosity of their heads, but to impart true sanctity to their harts would not vouchsafe to loose one word, vpon that wretched King; nor cared he (through his loue to be suffering for vs) to defend him­selfe [Page 374]against all those impudent lyes, which by the Priests and Elders, were thundred out, in a perpetuall storme of words against him. Yet euen Herod himself could not be so vniust, as to allow of the plea, which was made in ac­cusation of him, for as much as concerned the substance of his cause; but yetThe falle and foolish iudgemēt of the wife men of this world. Ibid. conceauing, (by occasion of his continuall silence) that ei­ther he was some silly fellow in himselfe; or els perhaps, that in comparison of him, our Lord thought himselfe to be of farre inferiour speach, and wit (and therfore would not dis­credit himselfe by saying any thing) he did con­temne him with his whole guard of souldiers, after a most disdaineful manner; and in token therof, he returned him to Pilate, with a fooles coate vpon his backe. This act amongst the rest, bred an ex­traordinary contempt of Christ our Lord, in the peoples minde; in regard that Herod and his Court, were esteemed as a kind of Touch, wherby men might be knowne distinctly, & iustly, for what they were. But howsoeuer, this contempt did our Lord vouchsafe to vn­dergoe; and this coate of scorne was he contēt, and glad to weare; for our confusion, in res­pect of our former vanity; and for our instru­ction, how we are to carry our selues in future occasions. WhichAgreat lesson of many vertues at once. must not be, to stand v­pon the reputation of our sufficiency, wit, or knowledge; we, who are but wormes and flyes; when the King of glory, the word, the increated Wisedome of Almighty God, wherby all things were made, is content for our sakes, to cast [Page 375]himselfe before the eyes of our Faith, all con­temned and derided, as any Idiot, or naturall foole might be. Nor are we to care, though our patience be accounted feare; or our humi­lity basenes; or our silence simplicity. Nor, when it concernes the seruice of God, and the good of soules, are we to shrinke from our du­ty, and good desires, though all the world should despise, and hate vs for it.

But when Pilate found that Herod had not thought him worthy of death, he was glad of that occasion, and pressed it hard vpon the Iewes; as knowing indeed, that it was not the zeale of Iustice, but the rage of enuy, which had incensed them against him. Sometymes he questioned our Lord IESVS, to see if any thing would come from him, in the strength wherof he might acquite him. But our Lord, who desired nothing lesse, then what might tend to his owne discharge; and nothing more then what might tend to our aduantage; was so profoundly and inuincibly silent, as did amaze the Iudge.Marc. 25. And woe had bene to vs, if this silence of our Lord had not bene ex­ercised by him; through the merit wherof, the eternall Father will looke with mercy, vpon those millions of sinnes, which be howerly cōmitted, through the impertinent, indiscrect, and vncharitable, impure speach of men.

Sometymes againe, the Iudge would be vsing all the art he had, to make them de­sist from their desire of his ruine,Marc. 25. Luc. 23. and in parti­cular he thought of two expedients. The for­mer [Page 376]of them was, to punish him so cruelly out of very pitty, as that, with the sight therof, they might be moued with compassion towards him. So that he resolued to haue him scourged; and to that end he deliuered him ouer to the discretion of his souldiers, who had none. The torment of Christ our Lord,Audi Pi­iac 120. in this mistery of his flagellation, is excellently pondered by Father Auila. He faith therfore to this effect. ThatNote this for it deserueth all atten­tion. if a man would exhibite a spectacle, wherby the lookers on, were to be moued to loue; that man would take care, to giue it all those aduantages of grace and beauty, which were any way, to be attractiue of loue. ‘If he were to present an obiect, wherby the specta­tors were to be strocken with feare, he would not faile to accompany it, with such instru­ments, and demonstrations of terrour, as might affect, and afflict their mindes with feare. And so heere, since Pilates care, and study was, how to winne those implacable Harpies, from that hungar, and thirst, after the destruction, and death of Christ our Lord; no doubt can be made, but that he would adorne, and dresse him, in the most lamentable attyre of tor­ments, which he could deuise; that so by the sight of that excessiue misery, he might conuert their perfect malice into some little mercy.’

This designe of his, he was obliged to communicate with the Executioners, who were to be his souldlers, for els he had not bene true to his owne end. And then, I will leaue it, to the reasonable imagination of any crea­ture, [Page 377]if such an insolent race of people, as that vseth many tymes to be (hauing receaued an expresse direction from their Commaunder, for the execution of such a cruelty, vpon a pri­soner, who was so persecuted by all the prin­cipall men, and Magistrates of his owne pro­fession) were not likely to shew cruelty in­ough, vpon that pretious body, of our bles­sed Lord.

Of the cruell Scourging of Christ our Lord, and how with incomparable patience and charity, the endured the same.

CHAP. 64.

THEY strip thim therfore, into the same nakednes wherin he was borne; & wher­in he had neuer bene seene, but in his infancy; nor then, but by the sight of the Angells, and those farre purer eyes, of the All-immaculate virgin mother. They stripped him I say, who in all the daies of his blessed life, had neuer seene so much as any part of himselfe discoue­red naked, but only those hands which were still imployed in shewing mercies. There are millions of men and women, in the holy Ca­tholike Church, who in their high loue of pu­rity, do neuer so much as looke, euen vpon their owne face in a glasse, and much lesse v­pon any naked part of their body; excepting only in the occasions of meere necessity, when they shift their cloathes; yea and then, they do [Page 378]it very sparingly, and with a kind of horrour, euen to see themselues. But from those neces­sities Christ our Lord was still exempt, who in all his life, did neuer shift or change his cloa­thes. And thatEuthym. in cap.. 27. Match. Maldonat. in cundem loium, & omnes recentiores cōmuniter. Garment, which was wo­uen without any seame at all, by those pure hands of his sacred Mother, did miraculously grow, togeather with the body it selfe. Now in the loue of mortification and purity, all the Saints of the Church, must not compare with him, wherin he exceeded them all, more then heauen, doth excell the earth.

If therfore there be amongst vs so many thousands of sacred virgins, who would rather giue vp their liues, then they would once ex­pose their naked bodies to open view; Let vs beg of our Lord, by his owne supreme puri­ty, that he will giue vs to vnderstand, & make vs sensible at the very rootes of our hartes, of howThe excessiue affliction which it must giue to our B. Lord to be striped naked. great a torment it was to him, in the way of shame, to be stript stark naked, before those Pagan souldiers; and to let that pretious banquet of his pure humanity, be fed vpon, & deuoured by those petulant & prophane eyes of theirs? How great a torment was it to thee, O Lord, in the way of shame; and yet withall how meekely didst thou endure it, and how much ioy did it giue thee, to be sacrificing the merit therof, to the eternall Father, for the impetratiō of all that Angelical purity, which hath florished since that tyme, in so many mortall bodies of flesh and bloud?

They tyed him then to a piller, as na­ked, [Page 379]as I haue heere bescribed; as if there had beene danger, that either like some slaue he would haue run away; or els like a child he would be shrinking, & declining the strokes, wherwith they had resolued to load him. But he was inwardly bōd so fast,Ose. 12. with such cords of Adam, which were chaines of loue; as that in comparison therof, those outward cords, were but as threds of a spiders webbe, which would haue bene farre from holding him to that pil­ler against his will; him, who makes the foun­dations of the earth tremble, & the pillars of the world shake, with the least breath of his Nostrills, whensoeuer he thinks fit to worke vpon the world, by way of terrour.

They began then to scourge our Lord,Ioan. 1 [...]. with excessiue cruelty. And as a violent tem­pestof hayle, would destroy a fruit tree, which were in flower; so did those cruell men, not only blast that diuine sweet beauty of our Lord, by breathing vpō it, with the filthy ayre of their lasciuious, and scornefull tongues; but they brake through it, with those scourges. They clasped and circled him in, with euery blow; as so many snakes would doe some pre­tious, and odoriferous plant; which yet were so medicinall withall, as to be able to cure a whole world of men, of a whole world of diseases.

It is able to grieue any ciuill noble hart. to see, in Italy, and especially at Rome, how the barbarous Goths, and Vandals, (when like an inundation, they ouerflowed those florish­ing [Page 380]fields of the world) did leaue the markes of their long nayles behind them, in the rui­nes of so many sumptuous buildings, and cu­rious statues. But what hath any sumptuous building, or any curious statue to doe, by way of comparison, with that pretious humanity of our Lord. That Temple of the holy Ghost, which the fulnes of the diuinity did substantially inhabite; Colos. 2. and that superexcellent Image, that double Image of the eternall Father. For an image he was of God, euen as he was but man; but then againe as God, he was an Image be­gotten not made, by the increated vnderstanding of the eternall God. And what comparison thē, cā there be, betwene the barbarousnes of those Goths and Vandalls, with these men of bloud, who drew this holy house, into such decay.

They did not onlyHow the house of Gods humanity was hand­led. vnfurnish it, but they procured to beate downe the walls, and they made so many wide windowes in it, with their rude hands, as by which, the soule would infallibly haue flowne out, and forsa­ken it, if it had not bene held fast perforce, by the tye of loue; that so it might liue to endure the rest of torment, which was prouided for it. A strange kind of ornament it was, for that garment of his pretious humanity (being hy­postatically vnited to the diuinity) to be so thicke ouercast, and imbrodered with stripes, insteed of stitches, as that it could now no more be knowe, but only by the eyes of Faith, of what stuffe it was made. Which caused the Prophet Esay, who foresaw him in this woe­full [Page 381]traunce, to declare that he was not to be discerned, for who he was; but mistaken for some base, leprous person.

The bloud ran flowing out of his body, through the force of their fury, as formerly it had done in the gardē, by the reflectiō which he made vpon the worlds impiety. But not a word was heard to fal out of his sacred mouth, wherwith he did euen kisse those very rodds; since by their afflicting him whome he con­temned, he made a bath of delight and ease for vs. A bath of bloud that was, which be­ing vnited to the diuine person of the Sonne of God, was adored by all the Angells, as the bloud of God; andThe infinite valew of the least drop of the bloud of Christ our Lord. whereof the least drop was able to haue redeemed milliōs of worlds. And yet, on the other side, it was drawne out of that pretious body, by cruell & contumeli­ous scourges; it was spilt vpon the ground and troden vpon, by those base vnbeleuers. And this infinite Lord, was content to accept this tormēt of the flagellation with excessiue loue, and in particular manner, he accepted it, in satisfaction of the sinnes of sensuality, which had bene, and would be committed in that kind, throughout the world. We may ther­fore see, whether our carnall pleasures, & the delights of sense, be not wicked things; since the pardon therof, was to cost the Sonne of God so deere. But as it will worke our par­don, if we apply it to our soules by tymely pennance; so if we shall continue to please our selues by those transitory and impure de­lights, [Page 382]which did put our Lord to so deadly paine; what kind of vengeāce shall we thinke that is, which will be sure to seize vs, both in body and soule.

How our blessed Lord was crowned with thornes, and blasphemed, and tormented further, with strange inuention of malice: And how he endured it all, with incomparable Loue.

CHAP. 65.

YET this was not all; for the souldiers who had receiued cōmission to scourge him in so bloudy manner, to the end that by that cru­elty the pitty of the Iewes might be awaked; tooke the bouldnes, out of their owne Ca­priccio, to put the most ignominious, & with­all most bitter torment vpon him, which euer, in the world, had bene conceaued. When therfore they had wearied thēselues in scour­ging him, and there was now no more place for new wounds (since all his sacred body, was growne to be as it were one continued wound, or rather a kind of Cake, of bloud) they vntyed him from the pillar; they gaue him leaue to cloath himselfe, though they had almost taken away the strength wherwith he might be able to doe it; and they lent him, for the present a little rest, till they had resolued, what they were to doe. And because the Priests and Elders, had charged him with pro­curing, [Page 383]by fauour of the people, to be made a King, whome they had found by experience, to be so subiect to themselues; theyWhy they resolued to crowne him with thornes. thought it would carry a good proportion to the sup­posed cryme of his ambitiō, if they could find some meanes, to make him a conunterfeit kind of King, and to afflict him in point both of ease and honor; by the appearance of all those ornaments, and demonstrations, of respect & seruice, which are indeed of honour to true kings, when they are truly meant; but to him they were of excessiue affront, and paine.

They made him then, with his hands fast tyed, sit downe, all naked in most seruile manner, for now they had stripped him, the second tyme. And calling their whole troope of Guard togeather, they clapt (in imitation of the Princely robes of a King) a purple mantle, Matt. 27. Marc. 15. Ioau. 19. about his backe, which could not choose but sticke to his sacred flesh, for there was no skinne betwene, to part thē. They put a Reed into his hands, insteed of a Scepter; and a plat of thornes vpon his head, insteed of a Crowne. They did then, with incredible ioy of hart to see his misery, salute him, and say, All haile, O King of the Iewes. Then would they be taking the Reed out of his hands, and they would beate the Crowne more deeply into his head; and then, spitting in his face, they kneeled downe, and adored him, in shew, as they would their King. All this did Christ our Lord endure for vs, and he did it with a kind of infinite meekenes and loue; not complay­ning [Page 384]therat, nor declaring the least mistike therof, either by pittying himselfe or blaming them. But he confounded therby (and that af­ter a most puissant manner) the arrogant pride of earth and hell; offring vpThe Corona­tion of our Lord had a spe­cial ayme at the pardon, & cure, of the sinnes of Pride. his owne hu­miliation in propitiation for all the sinnes of the whole world, & especially for such as were committed in the way of pride, and for the obteyning such grace, at the hands of God, by meanes heereof, as might enable his true seruants, to imitate his humility.

It ought to fill our soules with extreme confusion, to find that we, who professe to be the seruants of our Lord, are yet so dull in deuising meanes how to expresse our reuerēce and loue towards him. Our wits lye cleane another way. And euen in Prayer, we haue sometymes, inough to doe, to entertaine this spouse of our soules, with aboundance of so much, as mentall acts of loue; and much more difficulty we find to performe them afterward by way of practise. Yet heere, these enemies of God & man, are teaching vs, by their lewd example, (whose wits did serue them but too well) to increase the torment of our Lord at an easy rate, vnto themselues. For when they had stript him naked, in the sight of so many impure eyes; and scourged him so cruelly, as that it might seeme almost impossible to giue any increase, ether of shame or torment; be­hould how full they are of strange inuention; and their malice findes meanes to deuise such exquisite waies to augment them both, in such [Page 385]a measure, as makes all that seeme little, which was done before.

It is trueA com­parison of his presēt scornes with the former. that before, he had most blasphemously bene spit vpon, but it was at midnight, and in Cayphas his house, and but only by his keepers. But heere it is done, al­most at noon day, & in the Vice-Royes Court, and by a whole troope of Pagan souldiers. He was then already come, from being most cru­elly scourged, ouer all his most beautifull and most sacred body, which gaue him paine beyond all expression; but now, behould they haue recourse to his diuine head, which seemed as if till then, it had escaped their rage. And so, that, being the most sensible part of al the rest, and indeed the very source, and seate of sense, the former torment was not so great, as it might haue bene. But heere, with hands, which they arme with iron grauntlets, they wreath sharpe thornes, of great length, into the forme of a hat,Ioan. 19. (which carryeth also the forme of an Imperiall Crowne) and they clap it hard vpon, and into his head, which they be­seige, as it were, round about, with torments, farre exceeding all humane conceipt. It is true that before, he had bene stroken, at seuerall tymes, in the high Priests house, both with the fist, and with the flat of the hand; but now his head is beaten, not with their hands (for they could not haue so much as touched him, with­out wounding themselues) but the Reed, which, whilst it was in his hands, serued for a note of scorne, being taken into theirs, be­came [Page 386]came an instrument of excessiue paine. For laying load with it vpon his head, their cruel­ty was so witty, as to be able (and that with­out any labour at all to themselues) to make at once, as many new wounds in that most sen­sible part of the whole body, as there were thornes, in that cursed-blessed-Crowne.

A fence ofThe great tor­ment, which those thornes, must needs giue our Lord. thornes made with care, is able to keepe wild beasts within the prison of a Parke, as well as if the inclosure, were of wood or stone. And although they haue hi­des, which are like houses, thatcht with hayre; yet they dare not put themselues vpon the pas­sing of such pikes as those. If a single, & short thorne, doe but enter into the most dull and fleshy part of the hand, it puts a man out of patience, till it be pluckt forth. And if it chāce to get, betwene the flesh, and the nayle, it makes a shift to goe for a kind of torment. And many tymes, it breeds the losse of a nayle, and sometymes of a ioynt; and it hath fallen out, that it hath kept men so long from sleepe, as to cast them into feuers, and so to depriue thē, by degrees, of life. What torment then did our blessed Lord endure, when that faire Com­mon of his forehead, grew subiect to such an inclosure of thornes, which imbraced, (as with so many cruell armes) not only that part, but all the rest of his diuine head, round about?

We haue seene men wounded in so sen­sible partes of the body, that the Tents which are put in, doe giue them more paine euery tyme when they are drest, then euen the very [Page 387]wounds themselues would doe. And it grow­eth sometimes so farre, as to make thē swoone. And who shall then be able to comprehend the vnspeakeable torment which now was caused to our blessed Lord, who had so many wounds in that fōtaine of his quicke feeling; and so many seuerall Tents, as there were thornes, which did not only search the wōds but make them. And euery one of them grow­ing so much deeper, and consequently brin­ging more parts of the head (which till then had bene vntoucht) into the same confedera­cy of cruell paine, as those bloudy men would haue a mind to strike him, at seuerall tymes, ouer the head, with that Reed.

And thus it was cleerly, and complete­ly fulfilled of Christ our Lord, that; A plant a pe­dis vsque ad verticem capitis, Ioan. 1. from the very sole of the foote, to the very crowne of his head, there was not a spot, free from bitter paine. He feltOur Lord felt that in his body, which the Prophet Dauid & all sinners feele in their soules. Psalm. 17. that, in the vniuersall torment of his body, which the Prophet Dauid found, concerning the miseries of his soule; when, in the bitternes therof, he thus expressed himselfe. Non est sanitas in carne mea à sacie irae tuae: non est pax ossibus meis à facie peccatorum meorum. There is no health in my flesh by reason of thy wrath, nor there is no peace in my bones, by reason of my sinnes. And verily it seems, as if it had bene an expresse prophesy, of the degrees wherby the tormēts of our Lord should grow vp, at length, to the top of torment, towards the appeasing the wrath of God by the propi­tiation which he would offer for the sinne of [Page 388]man. Since as soone as they had depriued the whole masse of his sacred flesh, of health and beauty, by that cruell scourging; they put themselues vpon an inuention, how to passe into, and pierce his bones, (in the most noble and pretious part of him, which was his head) by that bloudy Crowning. To such excesse as this did the sinne of man in generall arriue, & to such an outrage did those wretches in parti­cular extend themselues; and with such an ex­tasis of loue did Christ our Lord apply his minde, to the saluation (for as much as might concerne him) of the whole world; as for that purpose, to beare this infinite kind of paine & shame with an infinite kind of loue and ioy, in the Superiour part of his soule.

How we ought to carry our selues in the Considera­tion of the Ecce Homo, Behould the man; and how our Blessed Lord did carry himselfe both interiourly and exteriourly at that tyme; and especially of his inuincible silence, and contempt of all humane comfort, for Loue of vs.

CHAP. 66.

BEEING thus drest vp, he was led out by Pilates order to be seene, and pittied by the people, if that poore man might haue had his will. Our Lord might then haue serued well, for the very deuise, and earacter of torment; & so he was, & as to such a one, the word which Pilate gaue him,Ioan. 19. was Ecce Homo: Behold the man. [Page 389]And verily it was no more then needed, that Pilate should say he was a man; for as they had vsed him, he had scarce the resemblance of such a creature. Himself had professed by the mouth of his holy Prophet I am a worme, and no man. Psalm. 21. A worme which being trodden vpō, did not re­pine; that we, who indeed are the true worms, might not be oppressed by our inuisible ene­my, but be adopted,Rom. 8. by the merit of his humi­lity and charity, into the liberty of the glory of sōnes of God. A worme, but a silly worme, which spinns herselfe to death, for the good of others; and cōuerteth leaues (which may serue for an Embleme of the vaine hart of man) into a substance of vse and honor.

And though Pilate did not speake imme­diately to vs, when he said behould the man, yet this once, we will doe as he desires. And not only will we behould him, but it shall be against our wils, if euer we behould any thing els, but only for the loue of him. We will be­hould that man, who became man being God; and who being man, grew yet so much lower then man, as to be the outcast of men; to the end that we, who are the worst of men, might grow partakers of the diuine nature. Isa. 53.2. Pet. 1. We will behould that man, to adore him with all the powers of our soule; & to lament the sad case into which our sinnes, and his loue to vs, haue cast him. We will behould him, and we wil wish with­all, that vpō the price of all our liues, we were able to doe him any one faithfull seruice. We will behould him, as our soueraigne King, [Page 390]though heere he vouchsafed to become a sub­iect to the basest slaues. We will behould him, as our law-giuer, and yet our law; our sacri­fice, and yet our Priest; our Redeemer, & yet our Price. We will behould him with pro­found reuerence, that so we may reuerse al the acts of shame, and paine, which he accepted for our benefit.

By theWhat we are to contem­plate by the eyes of Faith, in this mistery of the Fla­gellation of our B. Lord. eyes of faith and loue, we wil behould his glory through that Crowne of thornes. His stole of immortality, through that purple robe. His scepter of omnipotency, through that Reed of scorne. His incompara­ble beauty, through the spittle, which desiled his diuine countenance. And insteed of those counterfait acts of homage, which those Ido­latrous souldiers did performe; we will cast our selues all, before him; with entire humi­lity, and trembling loue. Esteeming our selues worthy of a thousand Hells, forA cost­ly remedy of a great disease. hauing needed such a costly remedy of our miseries, by the innumerable sinnes which we haue committed. And wheras those wretches pro­cured euen to breake his hart, with the foole scoffe of Aue rex Iudaeorum, we vow our selues to prayse him thus, both with hart & tongue; All hayle, O thou true King of Christian Catholikes; All haile, thou Sonne of God, and of the Virgin. We see thy sorrowes, and they fill our soules with sadnes, and we are wishing, if it were thy will, that we were so happy as to partake thereof. O that our sighes were able to make a veyle, wherwith [Page 391]to couer thy nakednes: and our teares, a bath, wherwith to wash away thy vncleanenes; & our throughts, a bed of flowers, wherwith to refresh thy faintenes; and our actions a ban­quet of fruite, wherwith to recouer thee from that weakenes, wherin we see that our sinns haue laid thee. At least, deere Lord, let vs not be so miserable as to continue in those sinnes of ours, since they are the cause of this excesse, which hath beene wrought vpon thee. But do thou make the rootes of our hartes tye thē ­selues hard, about thy sacred feete, that so like liuing plants, they may grow vp vnder thee; being watred by any one drop of thy omni­potent bloud; distilling either from the pier­cing thornes of thy diuine head, or from the stinging scourges of thy pretious body.

These corporall paines wherby we see that the body of Christ our Lord was so ouer­loaden, is that which Pilate bad the Iewes be­hould. And whatsoeuer effect it wrought with them, it breeds a very astonishmēt in vs, not only in respect of what we see, but much more, by that which we are taught to beleeue, and inferre by this obiect of our sight. For, as according to that of the B. Apostle,Rom. 1. the inuisible things of God, that is, his infinite wisedome, with the rest of his diuine attributes, may be discer­ned, after a sort, by the vnderstanding, through a consideration of the visible things which he hath made; so by the vnspeakeable paines which we see inflicted vpon the sacred person of Christ our Lord, who is the liuely image of God, and [Page 392]theExte­riour suf­ferance with pa­tience is a great signe of great loue exteriour meekenes wherwith he bare them, we may grow into contemplation of the excellency and perfection of his charity.

Howsoeuer therfore the exteriour of his flesh and bloud; howsoeuer the diuine countenance which he carried, being all cō ­pounded, betwene extreme sorrow and ex­treme shame, vpon the sense of that con­tempt and tormēt, be an obiect which ought to draw vs all, running after it; yet, if our Lord would giue vs leaue to diue so deepe, we should wonder much more, at the inte­riour of his soule, then at the exteriour of his body. Happy were we, if we had eyes wher­with to looke into that hart, which had so rich a mine of patiēce as could neuer be drawn dry, by all the malice which was exercised by those laborious, and malicious hands. For how much soeuer we see; there is more and more, and yet still more to be seene; & what­soeuer we can say, or thinke, is very farre frō being inough. And we are still to remember, that whatsoeuer the fruite of vertue be in all the actions, and passion of our blessed Lord, the roote from whence it riseth, is euer most pure and perfect loue. No interest, no weake­nes, did worke on him, but only an ardent desire of the glory of God, to be manifested in the procuring of our eternall good.

The strength and purity of this loue, doth most liuely appeare by the solitude and silence wherwith he suffered such hideous things as those. ToA most pregnant signe of purity, & perfect confidēce in God, not to care for comfort from creatures. receaue crosses so, as [Page 393]not to desire or care, I say not for prayse, but not so much as for any comfort from any crea­ture; is a cleere and pregnant signe of pure loue, and perfect considence in God. If so we can be content to suffer, we haue cause to cast our selues at the feete of our Lord, with hum­ble thanks,Cant. 2. for drawing vs so close, after the odours of his pretious oyntments. But the world is farre from this, and our weake nature is willing to vphold it selfe, by the wauering reed of hu­mane consolatiōs, which it wil needs cōceaue, to be a staff strong inough to support vs. But we quickly find our errour to our cost. And as, if we did cast our selues vpon God, he would not retire himselfe, to let vs fall; so by leaning vpon the comfort of creatures, he per­mits vs then to sayle, out of most tender mer­cy, that afterward, womay learne to stand fast, in him.

The loue euen of the most ardent Se­raphim is of little heate, if it be set by the loue which raigned in the hart of Christ our Lord, whilst he was scourged and crowned; & yet their loue may well be great, since it groweth out of an immense ioy, which they haue in the fruition, and feeling of that euer present and infinite good, which is God. But heere, our Lord did, as it were, infinitely excell that loue of theirs, though all the sensible obiect, which the inferiour part of his diuine soule had, were the affronts which came frō the af­fliction wherin he was at that tyme; and the top of shame and torment, which so instantly [Page 394]afterward, he was to find, in the consumma­tion of his Passion, vpon the Crosse. And what thē can heere become of any loue, which we conceaue our selues to beare, towards this Lord of loue; since ours, is so full of frailty, & misery, and vnfaithfull dealing? What a kind of nothing will it proue, if it be all compared with one only spark of this pure pretious loue; qui attingit à sine vsque ad sinem fortiter, & disponit omnia suauiter; Sap. 8. Wheras ours, doth nether reach home, nor last long, nor is it of any intense de­gree, but so very luke warme, that vnlesse the heate of hart, and the thirst of our Lord were very great, he would cast vs out of his mouth, & not sucke vs in, as he doth, that so we may be incorporated into himselfe.

The Iewes preferre Barabbas before Christ our Lorde and Pilate, through base feare, gaue sentence of death against our Lord; and with in­cessant Loue, he endured all.

CHAP. 67.

OExcessiue cruelty, of those enuious hy­pocriticall Iewes, for the appeasing wherof, the mercy of Pilate was euen cōstray­ned after a sort, to be thus cruell. He shewed him to them, being scourged, and crowned, after this bloudy manner; with hope that ha­uing drawn from him such a streame of bloud, and tormenting him still, with that crowne of thornes, it might haue satisfied the thirst of [Page 395]their rage. Togeather with that spectacle of pitty, he made a protestation of our Lords in­nocency, but it would not serue. For they, as if already, they had bene confirmed in malice, in hell it selfe, did stil demaund with a cōstant, and generall clamour, that he might be crucified. Matt. 27. SoAll turned to the disad­uantage of Christ our Lord. as this designe of Pilats came to faile; & nothing had been gayned therby, but the shed­ding of almost, al the bloud of Christ our Lord (one drop wherof was a milliō of tymes more worth in true accōt thē as many creatures & worlds as God himselfe can make) & the pier­cing of that head, where lay the wisedome, of the wisedome of God. We may yet see, by the way, that though Pilate had a great desire to free him, in regard of his innocency; yet e­uen that desire, was accompanied with an ex­tremely-base conceite, of Christ our Lord: Since he resolued not, to maintaine his cause, but thought him a fit man, vpon whom con­clusions might be tryed; and to put him, at a venter, to the sufferance of that intollerable scorne, and paine, rather thē he would speake one resolute word in his behalfe. Our Lord, all the while, had the wisedome wherwith to weigh euery one of those thoughts of his, to the very vttermost that it could beare; and he had patience to endure it; and aboue al, he had the loue wherwith to offer it, to his eternall Father, for our discharge.

Yet Pilate still went on, with a velleity, or coole kind of appetite, to saue his life; and he set another Proiect on foote, which he [Page 396]thought might peraduenture take effect, and that was grounded vpon this custome. The Iewes,Matt. 27. Marc. 17. Luc. 23. were wont, in honour and reuerence of their great Passeouer, to free some prisoner, who was lyable to death, by the hand of Iu­stice. There was at that tyme, a seditious mur­therer in prison, and he was called Barabbas. Now Pilate was of opinion, that putting the question betwene Christ our Lord, and that wicked man, they would neuer haue bene a­ble, to let that murtherer weigh downe our Lord IESVS, in the ballance of their pitty. But he was deceaued, and they demaunded the sauing of Barabbas; and cryed out amaine (whē there was speach, of who should be dismissed) Non hunc, sed Barabbam, not him, but Barabbas; & whē there was speach of what should be done with IESVS, they sayd; Tolle, Tolle, crucifige eum. Away with him, Away with him, let him be crucified.

If then, ourA deep wound inflicted vpon the tēder hart of Christ our Lord. blessed Lord were not wounded with griefe, he neuer was, nor could be wounded. That he should liue to see the day, wherin that people, which was his owne flesh and bloud; which had particularly bene chosen of God; which he instructed with so much care; which he had cured of all diseases with so much power; that people, which so lately before, vpon that day, which now hath the name of Palme-sunday, had exhibited to him the greatest triumph in tokē of homage which perhaps had bene seene in the whole world;Matt. 21. Marc. 11. Ioan. 12. That now I say, it should so abase him below a Barabbas, a seditious, and bloudy thiefe; not­withstanding [Page 397]that Pilate who was a Pagan, and in other respects, a most wicked man, did let them see, that yet he was a Saint in respect of them, by intreating them rather to dismisse the King of the Iewes,Note this con­trapositiō. then him; & on the other side, that Christ our Lord, should with so profōd meekenes, endure such a height of scorne, without shewing that he misliked it, without oncce reproaching the wicked life of that malefactour, by so much as setting out the innocency of his owne; without vpbrayding the ingratitude of that lewd natiō, by so much as saying that he had neuer murthered any of them, as the other had done; but to let them do their worst, by way of offence, and he the while to do his best, by way of patience, and loue; and euen then, to giue vp to God that very act of his acceptation, both for Barabbas, and for them (who were much more faulty, then that wretched man;) what shall we say heere, but that the hart of our Lord was grown a whole world of griefe & loue; and that we are miserable, who cānot euen consume with the very thought therof.

But woe be to vs; for we are so far frō this, as that euen we our selues, are the body, wherof that wicked race of Iewes was a fi­gure. For so often doe we also prefer Barabbas before Christ our Lord, as we choose the for­saking of God, for the committing of a mortall sinne, of whatsoeuer kind it be. Nay therin, we doe preferre, euen the very diuell, before God himselfe. And yet so infinite is his loue, [Page 398]as that still he beares it at our hands, as then he bare it at theirs.

But shall we now lend an eye, to our Lord IESVS, as he was procuring to pay the debt of Pilats curtesy to him, or rather of that lesse malice, then was vttered against him, by those Iewes. As God; he did cast into the hart of Pilats wife, a vehement desire, that her hus­band would not cooperate to his destruction, as he was mā; yet the frozen hart of that mise­rable creature, would not kindle it selfe, by such a sparke. But the Iewes pressing hard, & and pretending;Luc. 13. Ioan. 19. that Christ our Lord had made himselfe a King; and protesting that they would haue no King but Cesar; and withall that The same ar­gument preuayls too must in these dayes. if Pilate should dismisse Christ our Lord, they would proue him to be no saithfull subiect, and friend to Cesar; the vniust weake man, was forced by his owne vicious feare, to giue sentence against our Lord. Nor would he go one foote out of his pace, nor put himselfe to the trouble of defending his owne innocency, against the calumniations of the Iewes, which yet with all ease he might haue done, in case they should haue complay­ned against him. But he rather chose to con­dēne innocency it self, to that reward of wic­kednes; and life to death; and he permitted, that charity should be tormented by the hāds of implacable malice and enuy.Luc. 23. For the ho­ly Scripture sayth, That he deliuered him ouer to the will, and appetite of the Iewes, He destroied his owne words by his deeds. Matt. 27. washing first his hands, and protesting by that cere­mony, that he was innocent from shedding [Page 399]the bloud of our Lord IESVS. Wheras the ig­norant hypocrite ought rather to haue clean­sed his hart, from so great impiety, as it is for a Iudge, to neglect his duty, for humane res­pects.

What hope might then, Christ our Lord conceaue, that any other thing could befall him, then the very quintessence of that worst, which might be deuised? Since they were to be his guides, into what Laby­rinths of torment would they not lead him? How would they not incense the vulgar, by telling certaine graue and well countenanced lyes, wherof we haue some dregs, remayning to these days of ours? what bribes would they not fasten vpon those souldiers, that so they might add the vttermost of any circumstance which might increase his shame and torment? And our blessed Lord saw it all; and if therin he had seene a million of tymes more thē that, he had a hart prepared to beare it all, vpon condition that it might doe vs good.

How our Lord did carry his Crosse; and of the exces­siue Loue he shewed in bearing the great af­fronts which were done to him, in his iorney to Mount Caluary.

CHAP. 68.

THEY did therfore then, take of his pur­ple Robe, and put vpon his backe his owne former cloathes, that so, as he went, the [Page 400]world might know, for his greater scorne and shame, euen by the first appearance, that it was he. And then they loaded his weake & wounded shoulders, with the Crosse, wher­on he was to be crucified; which was a point of barbarous and vnwonted cruelty. For wheras men are accustomed, out of meere hu­manity, to hide the instrument of the execu­tion, from other criminall persons, they did not only not hide it in the case of Christ our Lord, but they made him carry it, as if he had double deserued death. But the Crosse was so very heauy, and he was growne both therby, and otherwise, so deadly weake, that not be­ing able to walke vnder it, they constrayned another to assist him.Luc. 23.

Now when we see that Christ our Lord, who was so enamoured of the Crosse, was yet vnable to fetch strength inough out of his owne weakenes, for the carrying it, we may well imagine that the world went hard with him. AndIt is the plea­sure of God that we helpe to beare the crosse of Christ our Lord. withall we must know, once for all, that since his Crosse was not wholy to be carryed by himselfe alone, he will haue all his seruants assist him in it; & imbrace those Crosses which shall come, for the exercise of our patience, & the testimony of our true loue in whatsoeuer forme the good will of God shall be pleased to send them. Whether they be in that of sicknes, or shame, or banishment, or losse of goods, or spirituall desolation, or corporall torments, for the cause of Christ our Lord, or in fine, though it should be death it selfe.

The place to which they led our Lord, and where they meant to crucifie him,Luc. 23. was Mount Caluary, without the citty of let usa­lem. As he was going, his misery seemed so great, and he was so disfigured with durt, and sweate, and bloud, and so weakned with the excesse of affliction (he whome formerly the world had bene so much obliged to) that the obiect wrought vpon many women, who were lesse ill disposed. And as they were fol­lowing him in the midst of a mighty troope of men, who went to see him put to death, they did bitterly bewayle his misfortune. But our Lord,Ibid. though in his hart he accepted their compassion of him, in gratefull part; yetOur Lord Ie­sus had no gust but in suf­fering for vs. through his loue to suffer, and to suffer home, for the loue of vs, he refused to take compla­cence in that pitty of theirs. And he aduised them to transferre their care of him, to a consi­deration of themselues. Letting them know the calamities which were comming towards them and their posterity; and that if he who was innocency it selfe, were so afflicted for the sinnes of others, how grieuously should men be punished for their owne.

This was then the aduise, which with perfect loue he gaue to them, and in them to vs and all the world;Whet we are to looke for comfort in affli­ctions. instructing vs how to seeke for the comfort of our afflictions, not in the pittifull teares, or moaning tongues, or fawning entertaynements of others; but in the Testimony of a good consciēce, a strong hope in God, and a faithfull obedience to his holy [Page 402]will.Ibid. And by his asking, If such things as those were executed in the greene wood (wherby he in­sinuated himselfe) what would be done to the dry wood? wherby he aymed at them) he doth, with the oracle of his owne inuiolable truth, stop vp the mouths of wicked, and prophane persons. For they say, that the Greene wood (which is Christ our Lord) did suffer all, vpon his owne person, and that, as for them (who are dry wood) they haue nothing to suffer for themselues, but that it sufficeth to beleeue, that he suffered all. But heere our Lord is expresse in shewing, that our sight of his miseries, in the way of punishment, must spurre vs vp to make vs bitterly lament our owne miseries, in the way of sinne; and that the seeing or be­leeuing of those afflictions endured by him for vs, would not serue our turne, vnlesse we ap­plyed them to oursoules, by true contrition.

By these externall acts of loue, and by thoughts, when the occasions of acting fayled, did our Lord goe wearing out, that long way betweene Pilits house, and Mount Caluary. HauingOur Lord was cōpassed in on eue­ry side by great af­fronts. the perfidious Priests and Elders on the one side, and the prophane scoffing souldiers on the other. The executioners were close at his heeles; the publique Cryer leading him the way, and proclayming him for a seditious, and a trayterous person in the eares of all that world. The people would be running sometymes before him, and some­tymes behind, (as the manner is in such cases) shouting out, & reproaching him, euery one [Page 403]according to his owne fancy, or rather phren­sy. And they who could not follow him in the streets, would not sayle to place thēselues in the windowes; making vp (like some ken­nell of wide-mouthed dogs) the full cry of Traytour, Deuill, Sorcerer, Drunkard, Idiot, False prophet, Hypocrite, Blasphemer, and a hundred reproaches more then these, which their immortall malice, would be sure to dart out against him.

And besides, it is very probable, that they would accompany these bitter words with barbarous deeds; for what should hinder them, since they had all power in their hands and such springs of poyson in their harts? They below kicking him on, as they would haue done some mad musled dogge; when through the excesse of weaknes he was scarce able to goe; and they aboue, whilst he was resting, would be casting vncleanesses vpon his sacred head.

Our Lord the while, had his holy eyes cast down, but his hart was raysed; his hands were bound, but his affections were at liberty, and enlarged. He went fulfilling the Prophe­sies;Isa. 53. Sicut homo non audiens, & sicut mutus non a­periens os suum. Like a man who had not bene able to heare, what they sayd against him; and as farre from speaking to them, as if he had bene wholy dumbe; and as S. Gregory sayth,Greg. in 3. psal. p [...]e­nitent. Qui cogitationes iniquorum nouerat, blasphemantium voces non audiebat. And he who knew euen all their wicked thoughts, would not so much as [Page 404]seeme to heare their blasphemous words. To confound our great impatience, or (to speake more properly) our want of Faith and loue, when we will not, for the glory of God, and in imitation of his diuine exāple, (who endu­red so infinitely much for vs) endure the least reproach, or so much as any touch that way, without reply, and perhaps, reuenge.

The Crucifixion of our Blessed Lord; his quicke sense, and seuerall paynes distinctly felt: and of his vnspeakeable patience, and Loue to vs therein.

CHAP. 69.

THE hower was then all run out, and our Lord IESVS, who, according to that of the blessed Apostle,Philip. 2. Thought it no wrong to e­steeme himselfe equall to his Father, did empty him­selfe, not only by taking the nature of man v­pon him, but he did also, humble himselfe with­all, to death, yea, and to the very death of the crosse, which was the most opprobrious of all others. They had stripped him thrice before, starke na­ked, in the Court of Pilate. First when they went to scourge him; & then, when they put on the Purple Robe, and after when they dis­robed him, and led him towards the Crosse, in his owne cloathes. And nowThe fomer scornes were put againe v­pon our Lord, but with cir­cumstan­ces which did much increase both his paine and shame. they did the same againe, but with the addition of two circumstances, which did extremely increase both his shame, and paine. For his garments [Page 405]were euen baked, as it were, to his sacred bo­dy, both by the length of tyme, which had occurred betwene his beginning and ending that last, and most dolorous procession of his, betwene Pilats house and Mount Caluary; as also by the weight of the Crosse, which du­ring part of that tyme, lay with intollerable paine vpon his shoulders; and lastly, by the binding of his armes and hands, both to his body, and to one another. These cloathes be­ing growne so fast to his flesh, and pluckt off, by those rude hands, with as much rigor as they could tel how to vse, must needs increase his torment to a strange proportion.

It could not also choose, but that his sēse of shame was also raysed to a great height. For before, that sacred humanity was seene, but by as many as could throng into Pilates Court. But now, vpon the top of Mount Caluary (as if it had bene, at a kind of gene­rall day of Iudgement) Romans, Grecians, Pagans, Iewes, and they of all the Prouinces of the East, Priests, and people, men and wo­men, of all conditions, and ages, and in fine, an Epitome of the whole world, was present.

For the increase of his confusion, and to hide the hatefull spots of their iniustice, they led, in his company, two murthering theeues to execution, thatWhy they lead him in the company of thee us. their notorious crimes, might make some impression or influence of bad aspect, vpon the innocency of our Lord IESVS. And to the end that the worst in all re­spects, might not be wanting to him, they [Page 406]resolued that his Crosse should stand in the midst of the other two,Marc. 15. as in the more hono­rable place of infamy. This crosse they now brought him to; and as before they laid it vpō him, they laid him now, vpon it. It was al­ready bored through. And if perhaps they had made those holes, which were meant for his hands, further off from those others which were deputed for his feete, thē the lēgth of his body would beare; they must be faine to add to the rest of his tormēts, that other of the rack, to make thē reach: For their particular cōfort, who for his sake should be afflicted in the same kind, by the persecutours of his Church.

The executioners being there, with their hāmers and nayles, did extend & spread him vpon that hard bed of death; and they transpierst those hands of Charity, and those seete of humility, & purity, with sharpe strōge nayles, driuen in, by a multitude of blowes; making his pretious body the very anuile, whervpon the hammer of ourOur sinnes were they which crucified our Lord by the hands of the Iewes sinnes, did by the hands of those crucifiers, beat so hard. If any one of them relented, at the sight of that diuine sweet sadnes, through the compassion, which such an obiect as that, could not easily choose but exact, euen of Ty­gars; it tended but to the increase of his paine. For the more kind they were, the longer they were likely to dwell about doing that office, and so the more cruell they fell out to be. If, on the other side, as they wōded his hands, with theirs, so they had also in their will, a vehe­ment [Page 407]desire of his destruction, and death; that cruelty and sinne of their hart, went streight to his; and wounded him worse, through his loue to them, then, through their hate, they wounded him. So that, whether they were cruell to him, more or lesse, being considered in thēselues, yet in regard of him, all wrought byAll wrought by way of increasing torment to our Lord. way of increasing torment.

The extreme parts of our body, which be our head, our hands, and our feete, haue all those veines, and arteries, and sinewes, shut vp, and as it were, driuen by the direction of nature, into a narrow compasse, which goe at ease, through larger parts. The fleshly parts of the body, are dull, in comparison of those others; and indeed so dull, as that, compared with these, they can scarce, in effect, be said to feele. Yet who is he, that, if (being a person of honor) he were content that his flesh should be pierced, or but euē the typ of his eare should be publikely bored through, for anothers fault, would not thinke that he had wrought a kind of wonder of loue. But now, the sinewes are they, which are truly sensible, of sharpe, and stinging paine. Whereof we see the expe­rience, in them who are subiect to the tooth­ach. Which, as it is the thing that makes dogs mad; so euen men, are little better, if indeed they haue it in extremity; and all, but be­cause some one sinewe is fretted, by the des­cent of rhewme, which remaines about the roote of a tooth. The torments therfore which our blessed Lord endured, as before, by his [Page 408]Crowne of thornes, so now by the nayles of his hands and feet, what were they but great things, which wāt a name; since they were suf­fered in parts, which were the proper seates, as a man may say, of the sesitiue soule, where the sinews meet; & wherby the whole body after a compēdious māner, might be most afflicted.

To this let vs add the consideration of this other truth which was once touched be­fore. That through the perfection and purity of his complexion, and constitution, Christ our Lord had incomparably, a quicker sēse of feeling, then any creature who euer liued. A­gaine, let it be weighed, how he was a conti­nuall Maister of himselfe, and was neuer to be put to any such saynting, as men sometymes are subiect to; who by any great excesse of la­sting paine, are brought from any feeling at all, therof. Yea the reason of Christ our Lord was so farre from being trāsported in the least degree, as that he feltOur Lord did feel euery one of his paynes as distinctly, as it he had felt but only one. the remainder of eue­ry one of the buffets, which had bene giuen him, and of euery one of the stripes of his bo­dy, & of euery one of the thornes of his sacred head, and of euery one of the nayles of his blessed hands and feete, in as distinct, and cleere, and seuerall a manner, as if he had suf­fered but that one only single paine, whatsoe­uer it were. So also the seuerall causes which afflicted his minde, did neither yeild to one another, nor drowne nor maister them of the body; but euery single griefe of his minde, was as distinctly felt as any one of thē alone could [Page 409]be. Wheras when others are subiect to seuerall paine, and griefe; the maister-paine is that which carryes away all their thoughts from the rest. As a vehement fit of the Goute, or Stone puts away all remēbrance of an ague; and as a very killing griefe of minde, will make a man forget any bodily paine.

Yet all this paine, or rather all these mul­titudes of seuerall, and most exceshue corporal paines, (togeather with a cleere beholding of the deadly and vndeserued malice wherwith they inflicted them vpon him) were not of power, either to winde him vp into the due estimation of his owne soueraigne dignity, which was so prophaned; or to let him down into any diminution of his charity; or to make him behould mankind, (which by their sinnes must all be accompted to haue conspired to­geather more or lesse, to his death) with any other eyes then of endlesse pitty, though, by instāts, they wentin creasing their cruelty. For howsoeuer a man might thinke, that what they had already done, must needs be al which they could doe; and that nothing more remay­ned to be deuised, which might add to the mi­sery of our blessed Lord; Yet see a while, how farre the rage, and wit, of cruelty, and of en­uy, is able to reach. For, byThe torments of our Lord still increased. rearing the Crosse vp aloft in the ayre, that it might fall with more strength and force into that hole which had bene made of purpose for it in the earth, and that so it might be able to sticke fast therin; what a dissolution must the whole [Page 410]frame of the body of our Lord, needs find, in all the ioynts therof.

Infallibly the parts of his pretious body were all disioynted. And least it should be thought that this were but a pious, and on­ly possible imaginatiō, without further grōd; let it be remembred how Dauid said of these persecutors, in the person of Christ our Lord,Psalm. 21. Dinumerauerunt omnia ossae mea; They numbred all my bones. Which cannot well be done, whē they are fitted to their natural places; but when they are once wel put out of ioynt, they push forth, and appeare to any eye, with ease. And in another place it is said of him in his owne person,Ierem. 23. Contremuerunt omnia ossa mea, which implyes such a generall kind of com­motion of all the bones, in the skinne, as so many stones would be subiect to, in any bagg if it were well shaken.

Nay his torments were moreouer of that kind, as that during all those full three howers, wherin he was hanging vpon the crosse, they increased of themselues, by the naturall weight of his owne body. For that weight, made fresh wounds, both in his hands and feete, by making the former grow higher and wider, and the whole frame of his body, more out of ioynt. WeHow the tor­ments of Lord were re­newed. haue seene already, how the wounds of his head, had bin renew­ed & increased by those blowes of the Reed; and so also euen, by the very weight therof, they went increasing euery minute. We haue seen how the wōds of his body which were [Page 411]giuen him by those scourges, were renewed by the often putting on, and off his cloathes. And now they were all increased, by the ex­cessiue cold, which his nakednes gaue him, through his comming so lately, from that fire of heate, which his flagellation, his coronatiō, his procession, and his creeping, or crawling vp the hill, had cast him into. And that cold was also augmented afterward, by another miraculous accident which was growing v­pon the whole world at once, as I must short­ly shew. And heere we see how the weight of his pretious body, doth still increase the torment of his sacred hands and feete, and consequently of the whole body it selfe.

Of the excessiue torments of our Lord, and how he was blasphemed by all sortes of persons, and of the diuine patience and Loue, wher­with he bare it all.

CHAP. 70.

THIS passion was so highly beyond all president of former ages, and persons; as that our Lord himselfe, (though he vsed, at that, & all tymes else to carry his sufferance in profound silence) did yet inuite vs thus, long before, to the consideration therof,Ierem. 1. by the mouth of his holy Prophet, O vos omnes qui trā ­fitis per viam, attendite & videte si est dolor, sicut do­lor meus. O all you who passe by the way, obserue & see, if there be any griefe, like this of mine. Vent, saith [Page 412]another, in the person of Christ our Lord, in the Passion,Psalm. 68. in altitudinem maris, & tempestas de­mersit me. I came into the depth of the Sea, and I haue bene euen drowned in the tempest. He came in­to the depth of those thoughts, wherof the ho­ly Prophet said,Psalm. 91. that they were too very deepe: Ni­mis profundae factae sunt cogitationes tuae. A Sea it was rather of mud, then waters, and he was plunged,Psalm. 68. in limo profundi, & non est substantia; in­to that pit of mire, from which he could nether be free, nor find any resting place, for his feete, therein. Nor is it strange, that he should say that he was drowned, when vpon the Crosse he came into the Tempest indeed; since we find that in the garden, where this Tempest was only present to his imagination, it had al­most cost him his life. The imaginatiō of fear­full men, doth often, by way of anticipation, represent things worse, then they proue in­deed, because they seeme to feele, whatsouer their weake harts are induced to feare. But in the minde of our Lord IESVS Christ, it could not be so, for he foresaw things, iust as they were to proue; and that bare foresight, had cast him into that bitter Agony; it had made him powre out a sweat of bloud; and it had for­ced him to say,Marc. 14. that his very soule was sad euen to the death. A wonderfull thing it were, that a coale of fire, should be buried and drowned in wa­ter, & yet should cōtinue still to burne. Christ our Lord is thisThe vnquēch. able loue of our Lord. liuing coale, of the fire of loue; for though he were all steeped, & soa­ked, and euen drowned in the water of affli­ction [Page 413]for our sinnes;Cant. 8. Yet, aquae multae non potue­runt extinguere caritatem. The siery coale of his loue, could not be quenched, by those many waters. Nay as wind doth kindle other coa­les, so did these waters of tribulation, kindle this of his loue to vs.

Already vpon his condemnation, the Tytle or cause of his death, was deliuered in writing by Pilate, to be fixed to the instru­ment therof, which was his Crosse. This tytle carried these words,Matt. 27. Luc. 23. Marc. 18. Ioan. 19. Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeo­rum: Iesus of Nazareth, King of the Iewes. And for so much as concerned the intention of Pi­late, it was deliuered by a kind of chance. But the superiour prouidence of God, did ordayne for reasons of infinite wisedome, that it should be so. And although the wicked Iewes were scandalized therat, and would faine haue had it changed, from affirming positiuely,Ibid. that he was king of the Iewes, to a saying only, That he had said so; yet could they not be gratified ther­in. The words were written in Hebrew, Greeke, and Latine, which were the mother, and mai­ster-tongues of the world, and so were to con­tinue to the worlds end. And now they were consecrated, in most particular manner, to the publique seruice of our Lord God; and as such they are, and will be vsed in the holy Catho­like Church, whatsoeuer is muttered by the aduersaries therof, who are also the aduersaries, both of the signe of the materiall Crosse of Christ, and of the liuing Crosse also, which is Mortification and Penance. But, the while, [Page 414]though Almighty God had his ends heerin for our good, (as hath been sayd) yet their malice went by other wayes; and they vsed it to no other purpose, which was only for the increa­se of his ignominy, in the eyes of them, who seeing such a glorious Tytle aboue, and such a dolorous and deiected person vnderneath,Matt. 17. Marc. 15. Luc. 23. Ioan. 19. might the more readily, and profoundly con­temne him, and our Lord did with excesse of charity stoope to all.

The souldiers, whilst he was suffering, had so little care, or thought of him, as that instant­ly they were at leasure, to fall to rifeling for his cloathes. And they who made no difficul­ty to breake through, & teare his sacred body, frō head to foote, tooke care not to breake, or cut his seam-lesse coate. Our Lord was stil cō ­tent with all, and not only was he resolued to giue his life for their soules, but he gaue way, that his cloathes should apparell the bodies of his persecutors. He had said before that our bo­dies were more worth thē our garmēts. Matt. 6. And if this be true in our case, how much more infinitely true, was it in his. Both because, through our Pride, our cloathes be richer thē he euer wore, and because our bodyes are so much baser, thē that most pure, and pretious body of his. But these wretches did cast vp their account after another fashion, marking all things els, with great Figures, but esteeming this Lord of all things for a meere Cypher.

The sacred Text doth further note, that they, being appointed to watch & guard him [Page 415]whilst he was hanging vpō the Crosse, were so far from bearing any part of his sorrow out of pitty, as that they setBarba­rous wretches. themselues downe at their ease, which a man would scarce haue done, at the death of any common rogue; es­pecially if it were a death of torment. Let Pa­gans take their pleasures for a tyme, when the Sonne of God, is suffering such bitter paine for them. Let the prophane souldiers of Pilate (who figure out the libertines of this world) sit downe, and take their ease, notwithstanding that our Redeemer, made choyce of paine; and by choosing it, did facilitate and sanctify it, vpon his owne sacred person, to our vse.

But as for vs, who are Catholikes, and Caualliers of Christ, let it be farre from vs to doate vpon delights, which he auoy­ded, and to abhorre affronts and paines,Bernard. ser. 5. in festo om­nium SS. an vncomly thing, for any inferiour member of a body, to hunt after commodity, and ease, when the head of the same body should be crowned and pierced with thornes [Pudeat sub capite spinoso mēbrum fieri deli­catum.] Our head is crowned, and we are not liuing parts of his body, but the Canker of he­resie hath consumed vs, or at least the Gan­grene of sensuality hath killed vs, if we suffer not, togeather with this head by true compas­sion; which true compassion, implyes, not a pittying, but a ioynt suffering, according to our strength of body, and the dictamen of true loue, to the beloued; and which if it be true indeed more easily your may perswade the [Page 416]soule which hath, it not to liue, then the bo­dy not to suffer.

The mortall life of our blessed Lord was drawing on apace towards an end; but yet for the little while that it was to last, he was not content with that one Crosse alone, to which he was nayled by the cruell hands of those ex­ecutioners, but he admitted also of other cros­ses, to which he was shot, by the blasphemous tongues of all those kindes of people which were present. They had put him out of the reach of their fingars, that he might hange as he did vpon Irons, in the ayre. But yet they gaue him not ouer so, for they wounded his hart, with most blasphemous, and bitter scoffs.

The people which past in troopes,Matt. 27. Marc. 15. Ioan. 19. be­fore him, did, with serpentine tongues, and countenances full of scorne, cry out (vah) to him. And they accompanied it with the most contumelous gesture, and iogge of the head, which they could deuise, as the holy Scripture it selfe doth insinuate. And that interiection, with the words that followed, doe as bad as say after this manner: ‘Thou wretch, thou hy­pocrite, thou vgly impostor; thou wert talk­ing of wonders, but to what an end hath thy wickednes brought thee, now at last? Thou hadst a minde to be a King, but what beggar is so base as not to be thy better? might it please your Maiesty to come downe from the crosse, that we, your most humble and faithfull ser­uants, and vassalles, may doe you homage? Thou talkedst of being the Sonne of God, & [Page 417]the Sauiour of the world; Will it please your Diuinity, to be good to your Humanity; Will it please you to let your Charity beginne at home, and to saue your selle? Thou tal­kedst of what thou couldst do, if thou wert disposed; and that the Temple, was but a toye; and that thou wert able to put it downe and rayse it vp againe, in a trice. Might your Om­nipotēcy be intreated to beginne with throw­ing downe that Crosse, and to cast away those nayles; and by iuggling, to play least in sight, as in former occasions you haue been known to doe. Vah, wretched, wicked thing, the worst of creatures, the out cast of the world; we hate thee, we abhorre thee, we despise thee, we spit at thee, we defy thee. The earth hath refused to be trod vpon any longer by those pernicious feete of thine; the heauen is walled vp against the entry of such a miscreāt as thou. There is no place for thee but hell, dye therfore quickly, and be damned,’

These are infinite blasphemies, and we all abhorre them all, as we doe the deuill him­selfe; but infallibly, they are but triuiall things in comparison of those others, which were darted out indeed, against our blessed Lord vpon the Crosse. ForA de­monstra­tion that the blas­phemies which were vtte­red against our bles­sed Lord were most enour­mous thinges, though the holy Scripture toucheth them in in few words. since they acted their worst by the way of doing, they would be sure not to fall short in saying. And the rage they had, would quicken vp their wits; and the excessiue wrongs which then already, they had done him, would exact at their hāds, a making good of what was past, by the vtter­most [Page 418]most demonstration of how deepely they de­tested him at that present. The high Priests be­sides, are recorded in holy Scripture to haue put scoffs vpon him, after a particular manner, and they sayd to this effect; This fellow, had a guift to helpe other folkes, but he hath not the tricke to saue himselfe. If he, he the King of Israell, let him come downe from the Crosse, and we will belieue him. The good mā did put his trust in God, but if God haue a minde to him, let him take him.

The barbarous souldiers also were still vpon their old haunt of scorning him;Ibid. hauing bene bribed, in all appearance, by those wic­ked Iewes, euen from the beginning when he was scourged, and crowned with thornes. And they were so voyd of pitty, as to be of­fering him vinager, though they did, but e­uen that in iest, and scorne, at that tyme wher­as wine was wont to be giuē to all men, who were placed in that deadly trance. Yea and e­uen one of those very theeues, who then were suffering death togeather with him, tooke tyme not to thinke of his owne torments or imminent death, togeather with the danger of eternall damnation which he was in, through the lust he had to be like those sauages vnder whome he suffered; and he would needs be then at leasure, to reproach, & blaspheme our blessed Lord.

How our Lord Iesus did exercise the Offices of Re­deemer and Instructour vpon the Crosse; and of the three first wordes, which with in­comparable Loue, he vttered from thence.

CHAP. 71.

SVCH was the cruelty of all kinds of peo­ple against our Lord, as he was hanging vpon the Crosse, and such was the affliction, which in the inferiour part of his soule he felt, vpon euery one of those particular paines, and scornes. Nor was there so much, as one single word, a signe, gesture, or a thought of malice, in any one of all those many harts which wēt not to his, by the way of griefe. Yet see also how it wrought in the way of loue. As soone as the Crosse was reard, and that already they had set al those markes vpon him, which were to carry him to his graue; & that still he was hearing the bitter scoffs, & blasphemies wher­by they prophaned his sacred eares; he went exercising two of his chiefe offices, in a most admirable manner, and in a most eminent degree.

TheseOur Lord Ie­sus the Media­tour of our re­demption and the Doctour of our soules by by way of instructiō. were, to be the Mediatour of our Redemption, and the Doctour, in that Chaire of the holy Crosse, for our instruction. He then turned himselfe in most gratious, but most dolorous manner to his eternall Father; beseeching him to forgiue al their sinnes, who [Page 420]had any way concurred to that death of his. Father (sayth he) forgiue them, for they know not what they do. Ibid. Of God, as God, he knew not how to hope for such a fauour, in respect of them, and therfore he coniures him by the tē ­der name of Father; that so he remēbring him to be that most beloued Sonne,Matt. 3. (he in whome he was well pleased) he might be mercifull to those wretches, whose cause he had vndertakē to plead. For, howsoeuer they had found in their harts to giue him so many wounds of death, with so much scorne and rage, yet he could not find in his, to forsake them in theyr sinns, but to begge that they might haue grace to returne by penance. And because he easily foresaw, that the crime was so enormous of it selfe; his vnspeakeable charity went seeking waies, how to excuse the grieuousnes therof, by taking a part from their malice, and ascri­bing it to their ignorance who committed it. And he who in that Agony in the Garden, prayed but conditionally, that the bitter Cha­lice of his punishment, might passe from him, had so much moreOut Lord had far more care of vs, thē of him­selfe. care of them, then of himself, as to pray, in absolute termes, that the Chalice of Gods fury, might not come to thē. Not only he did it in absolute termes, but he did it, at his death; when Fathers are not wōt to refuse their sonnes. And he did it more ouer, in the midst of those excessiue torments, when euen enemies vse to gratify one another: and he did it by way of represēting so good a rea­son for the obtayning of his suite, as wherby [Page 421]he would conuince, and oblige the Eternall Father to graunt it.

It was true that they knew not, that he was the naturall Sonne of God; but that igno­rance was their fault, and a iust punishment of blindnes, for their other sinnes. And the wor­kes which he had done, did manifest him to be, what he said he was. And though he had not bene the Sonne of God, yet their owne conscience told them, that he could not but be a man of God, and of a most innocent and holy life; and therfore they ought in reason to haue been very farre from intending such a ruine, as they brought him to. There was therfore, much to be said against them, & little for them. But yet our Lord, through his infi­nite loue, did let passe that much,Hebr. 5. and laid hold of that little. And he was heard by the Fa­ther for his reuerence. And many of those mi­serable men, were conuerted by the migh­ty hand of God; and not only many of them, but many millions of our soules in after ages are dayly conuerted, in the vertue and strength, of this holy Prayer. Now with­all, this soueraigne Doctour did then read ma­ny lessons in one. NamelyThe instuction which is giuen vs by this prayer of Christ our Lord. that we must excuse the faults, and much more, the dispu­table cases, which occurre by way of question, whether or no our neighbours haue done ill; yea and euen we are to pardon our greatest e­nemies, in admiration and imitation of this diuine charity of Christ our Lord. For what­soeuer affronts or wrongs, they may be offe­ring [Page 422]to put vpon vs; who sees not what flea­bytings they must be, in cōparison of the wo, into which our Lord was cast, vpō the crosse? Besides that he was the King of glory, and did suffer for vs, who were the most wicked sla­ues of Sathan. Since therefore we were for­giuen, being the enemies of God, and who were in all reason, to be condemned, to hell fire, for our many and most grieuous sinnes; what rigour shall we not deserue at his hands, if we forgiue not our enemies, for loue of him.

Now to let vs see withall, how farre he was from loosing any thinge in the sight of God, by induring the bitter paine and igno­miny of the Crosse; he tells vs, in language plaine inough, that the Father who before, had deliuered all power into his hands, did meane nothing lesse then to resume the same, and he shewed euen then, that he was God. For instantly heThe admirable mercy of our Lord to the good Thiefe. Luc. 23. subscribed the petition of the Good Thiefe (who rebuked the blasphe­my of his companion, and besought our Lord that he would remember him, when he should be in his kingdome) with such a gratious Fiat, and vpon one single, and short request, as may aboun­dātly let vs see, that we serue no lesse thē an in­finite God; & that it costs him nothing, to giue kingdomes; or rather that it costs him much; but that he is content to impart them to vs, at an easy rate. Yea euen as easy as it is to aske, so easy shall it be for vs to haue, if death preuent vs of being able to doe other workes of pen­nance. And besides we learne by this, that [Page 423]our Lord is so liberall, and so full of loue to our felicity, as that he takes no day with vs (if the disposition which we bring, be good) any more then he did to this happy Thiefe, who heere did make so good a ful point of stealing, as that after a sort, he may be accōted to haue stolne away the kingdome of heauen; and he obtayned, that this sentence should be pro­nounced by the mouth of truth it selfe, It shall be so, and this very day, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.

O infinite goodnes of our Lord, who had fogotten as it were, to speake when it cō ­cerned him to haue answered for himselfe; but who had neuer yet learnt to hold his peace, when his speach might cōcerne the comfort & saluation of such as desired the same. Hereby we may cleerly find the great force of Grace, which at an instant, is able to make a great Saint of the greatest sinner. So that, as we may not presume of Gods mercy at the last hower of our life, because we see what became of he wicked Thiefe; so by the good Thiefes exāple we are bound not to despaire therof. Withall we may well perceaue in the person of Christ our Lord, who was wholy innocent; and of the good Thiefe who was growne penitēt; & of the wicked Thiefe, who was hardened in his sinne, thatThere is no kind of people which is not in this life to beare a Crosse. Bell. de sept. verbis in this life of tryall, there is no kind of mē who can expect to liue with­out their Crosse; as heere we see, that all three sorts of men, are crucified. Good men haue their Crosses, and so haue the bad, and so also [Page 424]haue they who, of bad, grow good. But with this difference it goes, that the Crosses of good men, end in glory, and of the bad, in euerla­sting torment and shame.

Now since our Lord was so mercifull to this good Thiefe, though he had led all his life in sinne; how much more would it con­cerne him not to be vnmindfull of his deerest friends, and especially of his all-immaculate mother, and his beloued Disciple. This Mo­ther and Disciple had found him out, as he was passing betwene Pilats Court, and Mount Caluary. For as much as concernes the exces­siue griefe which had dominion ouer the hart of the sacred Virgin, I shall haue oportunity to speake heereafter of it; and for the present I only take occasion heerby, to loue the loue of our Lod, who, by ordayning, that his blessed Mother with S. Iohn, should be present neere his Crosse at the tyme of his Passion (be­sides the enamoured penitent Saint Mary Mag­dalen, and Mary of Cleophas, and Salome) was plea­sed to add, to his owne former griefe, this se­cond griefe, which consisted, in that he saw them grieue. And especially in discerning, with the eyes of his minde, the fulfilling of that sad prophesy of Simoon, who foretold that the sword of sorrow, Luc. 2. should one day pierce the very soule, of his blessed Virgin-Mother.

He had no will to call her Mother, in regard that he would not wōd her yet more deeply, by putting her in mind of such a see­ming miserable Sonne. But especially he for­bare [Page 425] The reason why our Lord did not call our B. Lady, by the name of mother from the Crosse. to vse that name, because he being so odious in the eyes of all that wicked, and abu­sed world; it could not chuse but to haue bene of great disaduantage to her at that tyme, to be known, and considered for his mother, by so many as were spectators there. But he did that in other words, with admirable charity, which did liberally prouide for the comfort both of her, and the whole world. For he gaue this blessed mother of his, to be the mother of S. Iohn, and in his person of all mankind, by these words of his, Woman, behold thy Sonne. And he gaue to S. Iohn, and to all the world in him, a tytle of calling and knowing the sacred Vir­gin, by the name of Mother, when he sayd to him, Behold thy Mother. Ibid. So sweet a songe did this dying Swan of ours deliuer, & so rich did he make his holy Catholike Church, when, departing out of the world, he left it such a legacy as this, wherof heerafter I shall speake a part.

Of the darcknes which possessed the world, and the excessiue desolation which our Lord endured with incomparable Loue, whilst he was saying to his eternall Father, Deus Deus meus, vt quid dereliquisti me?

CHAP. 72.

ALL these former seuerall words, so full of diuine consolation, and instruction, were vttered with vnspeakeable loue, by our blessed Lord, soone after the rearing of his [Page 426]Crosse, with himselfe vpon it. And then did a kind of darkenes ouerspread all the earth. Matt. 17. Marc. 15. It was not possible that it should grow, at that tyme, by any naturall cause of an Eclipse, for then it could not haue lasted so very long, that is to say, three whole howers,Ibid. Ab hora sexta, vsque ad nonam. Besides that the Sunne & Moone, were then in such relation, and position (in respect of one another) as that the Sunne could be, no way Eclipsed then. And, in fine, if this darknes had growne by an Eclipse, it could not haue reached to be vniuersall ouer the whole earth; as yet the holy Scripture saith it was; and so it hath bene testified, and pro­ued, not only by the Euāgelists, (whose word is of all authority with vs Christians) but also by S. Denis Areopagita, See this Apud Bell. de 7. verb. Dom. Lucianus the Martyr, Ter­tullian, & others, who wrote therof at once, in seuerall parts of the world. Besides that Phle­gon a Pagan (which may serue for the confu­sion of Iewes and Atheists in this point) affir­meth how in that yeare, and vpon that very day, and hower, when our Lord did suffer, The day was turned into so expresse night, as that the starrs were then seene in the firmament.

ThisThe reason of that mira­culous darcknes which did ouerspred the earth darkenes was drawne vpon the world, by the miraculous power of God, to declare the perfect innocency of our Lord IE­SVS, and the enormity of their sinne who had condēned him; & whose sentence he reuersed, after this omnipotēt manner. And as in some respects, it could not but be of excessiue terrour to see a Noone day turne Mid-night, as it [Page 427]were at an instant; and that, without any na­turall cause at all: so yet, it was an effect of the infinite loue of God, and of the former prayer of Christ our Lord, when he beged the forgi­uenes of their sinnes. For this was then a meanes of the conuersion, and of the pennance after­ward of all that troope of people (as S. Luke affirmeth) wherby the greater part of them is only to be vnderstood) who continued till the end of the Passion.Luc. 27. For they saw the won­derfull things which happened, and they re­turned into the citty, beating, euery one, his brest, through excesse of sorrow. And so euery one of them, went raysing a Trophey, to the infi­nite mercy of our Redeemer,The infinite mercy of our Lord God. who gaue such abundance of effectuall grace euen to thē who had made thēselues his deadly enemies, and that before he was taken downe from the Crosse, as if it had bene, euen in reward of all their wickednes, and cruelty agaynst him.

But as now the whole world was ouer­wrought with a material darkenes, by the mi­raculous hiding of the sunne (which did such homage to the Creatour of all things, as by ab­senting it selfe, to make a kind of ve [...]e wher­by his nakednes might the lesse app [...]e) so al­so were the harts, in effect, of the wh [...] [...] [...]orld and especially of those cruell perso [...] tours, growne spiritually darke, by the abundance of sinne, which puts out the light of grace, whersoeuer it enters. Now to these two kinds of darkenes, which were at that tyme in the world, and worldly men; another kind of [Page 428]obscurity did correspond, in Christ our Lord; in such sort, as that we may securely affirme, that since the world was created, and inhabi­ted, there was neuer any such generall darke­nes as that. For by the light (as a man may say) of that darkenes, euen halfe an eye would ea­sily discerne, how mightily, the Power, the Wisedome, the Sanctity, the Angelicall beau­ty, the Princely Maiesty, the diuine Dignity, and the incomparable Felicity, and glory, of the true and naturall Sonne of God,The darcknes of desola­tion, of Christ our Lord, and how his supre­me digni­ty was al­so obscu­red. was obscured at that tyme. The sunne was doubly gone, for besides the darkning of the materiall Sunne, himselfe, who was the true Sunne, seemed no more a Sunne but rather a moone, and that all Eclipst. For as the Moone when she is Eclipst, though she haue her globe all bright towards the heauen, yet is it all blake towards the world; iust so, Christ our Lord, though in the superiour part of his soule, he saw God, and was as high in glory, as now when he is raigning in heauen, yet in the in­feriour part therof, there was a most profound darkenes and desolation.

This drew out of his mouth, those words of the Psalme, wherof it seemes he was in cō ­templation at that tyme.Matt. 27. Psalm. 21. Deus Deus meus, vt quid dereliquistime: My God my God, why hast thou for sa­ken mee. Misterious words; which were vtte­red, to shew the vnspeakeable affliction of Christ our Lord. Who for the greater glory of God the Father, and through the excesse of his loue to vs; and for the more abundant pro­pitiation [Page 429]and satisfaction of our sinnes; & for the more complete crowning of his owne humility, patience, and supreme purity of mind; was pleased to want all kind of pro­rection, which might be of any comfort to him. In other respects he was (as hath bin said) so conioyned, and vnited to Almighty God, as that it was wholy impossible, that euen for any one instant, he should euer be separated, or abandoned by him.

For, as God, he was vnited by way of Essence, to the Father; as man, he was vnited to the Diuinity, by hypostaticall Vnion; Bell. Ser. de sept. ver­bis. as a soule, which saw the face of God, from the very first instant of his Conception, he was vnited to him, by the Vnion of glory. And as that ves­sell of sanctity, which was not only all filled, but ouerflowed by the holy Ghost, whose guifs he receiued, not according to any set or limitted measure, but beyond all measure; I say, as he was this vessel of sanctity, he was v­nited to God, by will, and Grace. And from any one of these Vnions, not only could he neuer be separated indeed, but not so much as doubt, that he might be so. To say therfore that he was forsaken by God, in respect of any of those former wayes of Vnion, is grie­uously to blaspheme the God of heauen and earth; and to prophane the dignity and Ma­iesty of the soule of Christ our Lord; and im­piously to interprete and attribute that excesse of his diuine charity, to the deepest dishonour which he could rece [...]ue; as that most wicked [Page 430] Caluin Lib. 2. Instit. cap. 26. §. 10.21.12. & in harm. mc. 27. Matth. Sectary hath presumed to doe. Affirming that our Lord despayred of Gods mercy v­pon the Crosse, when he vttered those words. And that he felt the very paines of the damned in his soule; the greatest wherof, is the knowledge, and feeling of hauing lost Almighty God.

And although he will pretend, that he exalts the mercy of God heerby, since God suffered his Sonne to endure the very paynes of hell, for the reliefe of man; yet, (besides the hideous blasphemy which these words doe euen of themselues inuolue) the wretched Heretique is so blind withall, as not to know, or so wicked as not to confesse,A de­monstra­tiō wher. by that blasphe­my is de­fected. that the dignity of Christ our Lord was such (in re­gard of the hypostaticall vnion with the diui­nity) that any one single sigh alone of his, be­ing applyed by faith and charity, had bene of merit to saue innumerable millions of worlds of mē, though euery of them had bene as wic­ked, as that most wicked man himselfe. If ther­fore one only sigh had beene inough, for the redemption of the world; then certainly, those other many, and most sublimely accomplished acts of vertue, which that happy soule of Christ our Lord, did worke, through the whole course of his diuine life, being accōpa­nyed by those vnspeakable torments which he endured, with a kind of infinite loue to vs in his sacred passion before his death, will make his redemption of vs, most superabundantly copious, without needing to haue recourse to any such impious and hereticall blasphemy, as [Page 431]that miserable man suckt from the authour of lyes, to be dispersed by the disciples of his lewd Doctrine.

The Catholike Doctrine, & the truth is that which hath already bene declared; That our Lord IESVS was content to be depriued of all sense & feeling of diuine comsort, which he expressed by those dolorous words of his. And his pleasure also was, that we should be told, that he vttered them, with a loud voyce.Ibid. ToWhy our Lord spake those words with a loud voyce. the end that euen from the most remote corners of our hard harts, we might heare thē, and adore him for them. And now, as he asked not that question with a lowd voyce, as if the eternall Father could not haue heard him if he should haue spokē softly, so neither did he aske it at all, as not knowing, or needing to be certified why he was so forsaken by him; since our Lord knew all things. And how should he be ignorant of that which so much concer­ned himselfe, he who knew the secrets of all harts, and how the eternall Father would dis­pose therof;Colos. 23 and in whome the all treasures of knowledge & wisedom were heaped vp. But he asked that question, to the end that we might seeke for the Answere of it; and seeking it, might find it; and finding it out, might learne to know both the grieuousnes of sinne therby, which was so sharpely punished vpon Gods owne only Sonne; the infinite torments from which we are to be deliuered by such a costly meanes; the inestimable value of grace, for the purchase wherof, to our vse, Christ our [Page 432]Lord was content to sel whatsoeuer he could part withall, both in body, and reputation, & euen in the inferiour part of his very soule; the vnspeakeable glory of the kingdome of heauen, which was only to be opened thus, by the Golden maister-key of the infinite loue of Christ our Lord. For vpon the only tur­ning of this key towards vs, those lockes, do all fly open, wherin the eternity of selicity, is treasured vp for vs, in the house of God.

Of the excessiue loue which our Lord Iesus did ex­presse by the silence and solitude wherwith he en­dured those vnspeakeable torments vpon the Crosse: and how, the whyle, he was negotiating our cause with God.

CHAP. 73.

THIS Passion, opens the doore of eter­nall felicity to vs; but heere we see, how for the tyme, it did shut the gate of comfort a­gainst our B. Lord. For betwene the end of his three first speaches, and this complaint which he made to his eternall Father, which was the first of his fower last, there passed v­pon the point of three full howers; during all which tyme, this Sonne of the Virgin did not once so much as open his blessed mouth. O that our Lord, would heere graunte the suite of his humble seruants, whilst they desire to haue some sight, and tast of that dolorous [Page 433]condition wherin then he was lodged for our sinnes. O that we might partake some little part of that amazement, wherwith al the qui­res of heauenly spirits did abound; when they saw, their Creator planted in the ayre vpon a Crosse, deformed from head to foote with tor­ments, prophaned with blasphemies, & atten­ded in silēce by darkenes; & yet withall, so far from taking reuenge of any dishonor that had bene done him, as that he suffered still, with entire submission, and with inuincible loue both of God, and man.

But that which still, me thinks, makes the rest more strange, and wherin more of the God appeares, is that strāge kind of silenceThe admirable silence of our Lord, and how he did not once cō ­plavne ei­ther of his paynes or our sinne. wherof I spake before; and that totall absence of expressing any manner of complaint, by so much as any one word, yea or euen sigh or groane. It was said before, that our Lord him­selfe had inuited the world to behold the case wherin he was; and if we were content to do so, vpon the summons of Pilats Ecce homo; how much more are we to six our harts vpon this tragicall figure of our owne making; now that we are called to it by Christ our Lord. I can­not thinke of this strange spectacle, what me thinkes I would, nor can I yet say, what I thinke, but in weake and cloudy manner. Our Lord giue vs grace to thinke and say heerof, as we ought, and that we any doe, as he de­serues. But certainly since he hath giuen vs such faculties of mind, as wherwith to won­der at strange things; his meaning is, that we [Page 434]should imploy them vpon such an obiect, as is his bottomles hart, in this tyme of his han­ging vpō the Crosse. For then, was he sacrifi­cing himself, vpon that Crosse, as vpō the Al­tar of whole world, at once. ThenThe infinite affaires our Lord did nego­tiate vpō the crosse. did he, as it were, shut himselfe vp for the Redēption of mankind making dispatches which he sent, by moments, to the mercy and Iustice seate of God; and speeding of all his memorialls, con­cerning the erection, and propagation of his Church, the illuminating of Pagans, the mol­lifying of lewes, the reducing of Heretikes, the instruction of all soules, the propitiation of sinnes, the satisfaction of all paynes, the im­petration of all graces, and the retribution of thankes, for all benefits. There did he adore God in highest contemplation, there did he prostrate himself with profound humiliation. There did one of the extended armes of his soule reach to the Angells in heauen, and the other to Lymbus below the earth; & his hart, the while betwene them both, was imbracing the whole race of mortall men, with desire to make them all one, with him, in that king­dome of glory, vpon the purchase wherof, he was then disbursing his hart bloud.

He had nothing but deadly sorrow by him, but he saw that ioy before him, which he was eternally to take in the glory of God, and good of man.Hebr. 2. And therfore, Proposito sibi gaudio, sustinuit crucem confusione contempta. If e­uer his hart did appeare to be an infinite kind of thing, it was in those three howers of tor­ments [Page 435]desolations, and silence. He was, at that tyme, withall the world or rather with as many little worlds as there had bene, were, & were to be reasonable creatures in it; but there was not any one of thē with him, in the way of giuing him, the least sensible comfort. So that we may conclude, that his Father, and Sonne, and seruant Dauid, did most truly, & litterally prophesy of him when he said,Psalm. 10 [...]. Vigi­laui The sad soli­tude of Christ our Lord. & factus sum, sicut passer solitarius in tecto. He was kept well awake, like a solitary sparrow vpon the roofe of a house, which knowes not whither to retyre it selfe; being strocken by the voyce of thunder, and frighted, on euery side, by the flashes of lighning; and battered, euen to the very braines, by an impetuous storne of rayne, and hayle. O thou innocent lambe of God, which takest away the sinnes of the world. Thou Lambe of God who art also God, and becamst a Lābe; that so thou mighest not on­ly haue wooll wherof to be fleeced, for the couering of vs; but bloud also, which thou wert glad to shed, for the giuing of life to vs. And how deeply are the soules of vs thy ser­uants wounded, to see this multiplication of thy miseries? How cordially are we afflicted, that we can but be astonished at this solitude and silence, and those vast torments of thine? Or rather how much are we ashamed that we scarce say true, euen when we say that we are sory for them; since we are so wicked withall as that we giue them not leaue, to worke those effects vpon our soules, for which they were [Page 436]suffered vpon thy pretious body? How long shall we be the slaues of sinne, since thou hast fought so hard for our liberty? How long shall we care for the contentments of this life, since thou, who art more to vs then millions of liues, didst for the loue and example of vs wretches, contract and tye thy selfe to such an endlesse shame of reproach & torment? How come we to be so miserable, as that we are able so much as to liue, when we see that thou, who art the King of glory, and the God of life, art thus going to dye? Would not lesse, deere Lord, haue serued the turne, for the ac­complishment of our redemptiō; but that thou must needs be thus obnoxious to such a vastity of anguish, as now we see thee in? Lesse would haue serued to satisfy the iustice of God, since by reason of the Hypostaticall vnion, any one act, or sigh of thine, would haue ouerbought many millions of worlds from hell. But no­thing could satisfy that vnquencheable heat of thy hart, vnlesse thou hadst endured all this Chaos of confusion & torment. Because ther­by, not only our saluation, but our sanctifi­cation also, was to be more nobly wrought, more sweetly, and more honorably for vs, more gloriously for God, and therfore more gustfully and delightfully for thee, in the supe­riour part of thy soule, howsoeuer in the infe­riour, it cost thee deere.

Of the vnspeakeable thirst of our Lord which he did indure, and declare with incomparable Loue to man.

CHAP. 74.

THERE remayned now a Prophesy, to be fulfilled cōcerning the thirst of our Lord vpō the Crosse. The torment of extreme h̄ ­gar, is sometymes so great, as that we read of straite and long sieges of townes, where the inhabitants haue bene driuen by the rage therof not only to eate vncleane beasts; but euen mothers, haue deuoured the very childrē of their owne body; yea and euen the flesh of their owne Lymms. And yet most certain it is, (and we take a kind of tast therof, by our owne dayly experience) that euery one of vs who haue, at any tyme found our selues in ex­tremity both of hungar and thirst, haue felt the thirst incomparably more troublesome thē the hungar.The great tor­ment of great thirst be­yond that of hungar Such againe as haue trauelled sundry dayes, in some dry and barren deserts, (as it hapneth to many, in the Southern and Eastern parts of the world) such as haue felt the ma­lignity of burning feuers, doe well vnderstād what I say. Nor is there almost any treasure v­pon earth, which some such man would not be glad to giue, for a glasse of water. Now thirst is otherwise also caused, by excesse of labour, by heate, by griefe of minde, by payne of body, and especially by the spending of [Page 438]much bloud. And we seldome let bloud, whē we are taking Phisicke (though it be but in iest) but it serues to giue vs increase of thirst.

How ardent then must the thirst of Christ our Lord needs haue beene; in whome alone, al the causes of extreme thirst did meet? For during all that day, and the whole prece­dent night, he had bene perpetually in tormēt, And besides his Agony, and bloudy sweat in the garden, he had bene dragged, and buf­feted, and all inflamed, by those cruell scour­ges, & thornes. And lastly he had byn bored through with nayles, vpō which he had now, hunge almost three houres, with streames of bloud continually flowing from him; and his spirits were exhausted by a world of deadly sorrow at his hart, to increase his thirst. This torment he endured, all that while, without once, so much as saying, that he endured it. Nether did he expresse himselfe now at last in this kind, through the delight he meant to take, or paine he meāt to driue away by drin­king: for already he was, euen vpon the ve­ry pitch, and brimme of death. And he who in all that tyme, had bene swallowing vp the want of drinke, in silence; could easily haue extended his patience, to those next minutes, which were to be the last of his life.

ButThe reason why our Lord de­clared his thirst. this Lord of ours, was pressed so close by his spirituall thirst, of suffering as it were infinite things for the loue of vs, and for the gayning, & instructing our soules, by these examples of his inuincible patience; as that it [Page 439]made him contemne, & euen forget his owne materiall thirst, though it were to him of ex­cessiue paine. This Originall of Religious O­bedience which is Christ our Lord, doth also shew heerby, the forme wherin Religious per­sons are to expresse themselues to their Supe­riours. WhichA good lesson for Religious men. is, not to be, so much by way of earnest desire, of that which they would haue, as by way of declaration of that, wherof they are in want; and when that is done, the Superiours are to proceed as they see cause. For so did Christ our Lord forbeare to desire to drinke; and he only said, That he was thirsty, to those souldiers, who were made his Superiours, by his owne admirable humility and charity: submitting himselfe entirely to their wills who were bribed and bent to doe him all the mischiefe they could. For when he told them of his thirst, what was it which they could find in their harts to giue him? The same thing which they had offered him before in iest, and in the way of scorne, the same they were content to giue him, now in earnest, for a conclusion to all their cruell courtesies.

When they were going to crucify him, they would not giue him wine til it were dis­tempered with Gaul,Matt. 27. Marc. 25. which is the Embleme of malice and bitternes. And now that he is giuing vp the Ghost, they present him with a spunge full of Vinegar, which is the Em­bleme of rage, and sowernes. O vncharitable wretches! and who made you, of men, such sauage monsters? But O infinite Charity and [Page 440]meekenes, and patience of Christ our Lord, who accepted of al, without the least reproofe of their impiety. And as at the foote of the Crosse he had refused to drinke of that Gaul, because it was mingled with wine, to the end that he might be suffering, whilst he liued, without any drop of the wine of comfort; yea or so much as the being knowne to want it; so now, that he was vpō the very point of death, he refused not to drinke of that pure vinegar, because it was all sharpe and sower.

He left those draughts which should haue any mixture of comfort in them, with Crosses, for those Martyrs, whome, he meant to make glorious by following his diuine ex­ample. And by his taking the vinegar of tribu­lation, he did conuert it into the wine of strength & cōfort, after a cōtrary māner to that wherby wicked men are wont, through their ingratitude, to turne the wine of his blessings, into the vinegar and Gaul of sinnes agaynst him. Abusing the abundance of his mercy; and making that a motiue of their wicked liberty, which would tye any honest hart, so much the more inseparably, to his seruice. He also dranke this vinegar, toThe many ex­cellēt rea­sons why our Lord was plea­sed both to endure and to de­clare his thirst. the end, that as al­ready he had sanctified the mortificatiō of the other senses, by his example, for the instru­ction and consolation of his faithfull seruants; so also they might be taught by this, to be far, and very farre, from all superfluous care of meate and drinke; and much more, from all inordinate delight therin; since all the sweete [Page 441]meates, wherwith our blessed Lord, was plea­sed to make vp his mouth in this mortall life, was but a draught of vinegar, out of a sponge, at his death.

By this drinking therfore, he enableth vs to be content, with course, and common, and vnpleasant meat and drinke; and by the merit of his thirsting, after this corporall drinke, he hath killed and quenched our spiri­tuall thirst after vaine, and vicious delights, which nourish and feed vp our soules in sinne. And so also, on the other side, (according to S. Augustines expositiō of the sixty eight Psalme) our Lord IESVS, did not only declare his ex­treme thirst, of corporall drinke, but also his ardent thirst after the saluation of his enemies, and of all the world. How infinitely therfore shall we be without excuse, if we giue him not to drinke of our good deeds, since he is so greedy of them, and was so tormented for want therof. Yea, and how worthy shall we be of all reproach and paine; if he, hauing be­gun to vs in so sad a Cup, with desire & thirst of our good; we shall not procure to resem­ble him by thirsting, both in body and soule, after the aduancing, and increasing of his Glory.

Of the entyre consummation of our Redemption, which was wrought by Christ our Lord vpon the Crosse; and of the perfection of his diuine vertues expressed there.

CHAP. 75.

OVR Lord IESVS, hauing drunke this vi­negar, declared, that whatsoeuer had bin prophesied to be accomplished by himselfe, was now fulfilled; and he signified it by say­ing this word, Consummatum est: All is fulfilled. And as he, who only refresheth and filleth the soule of man with whole flouds of ioy, was already content to be tormented with thirst; so now, for the apparailing of our soules with the life of Grace, he was ready to deuest himselfe of the life of Nature. He had former­ly complyed with the care which he had of our instruction, and now we haue seeue how he hath accomplished our Redēption, by his Passion. By meanes of this Passion he finished the building of his Church. And since he had formerly layd a note of folly,Ioan. 19. vpon such a man as should beginne to rayse a building, and not bring it afterward to perfection; our Lord, who was the increated Wisedome of the Eternall Father, must needs be farre from falling into any er­rour, of the same kind. And indeed it was wholy necessary, that, in his great goodnes to vs, he should not depriue vs of such a diuine example of perseuerance, as now we haue ob­tayned, by the Cons̄mation of his course of [Page 443]Passion, vpon the Crosse; sinceAll la­bour is lost with­out perse­uerance. Deut. 23. without perseuerance, all our labour is but lost. Our Lord did therfore perseuere, and he did perfect that which he had begun.

If the workes of God, are most truly sayd to be entirely perfect, his Passiō was to be so, in most particular māner; which amōgst these other workes, is said, with a kind of eminen­cy, to be his worke. Now what sufferance could be more perfect, in the way of humility then for the Lord of life and glory, most wil­lingly to endure a death of excessiue contume­ly and shame, at the hands of his Rebellious Sonnes, and most wicked slaues? What more perfect in the way of patience, and purity of hart, then to suffer, without the accesse of any ima­ginable comfort, as Christ our Lord, vouchsa­fed to doe? What more perfect, in the way of conformity and obedience, then, without once harkening to the inferiour part of the soule, to range the Superiour, to the will of God; not only with solid patience, but with supreme ioy? What more perfect in the way of Chari­ty, then to endure the extremity of affront & paine for his mortall enemies? And at the ve­ry tyme, when those enemies were tormen­ting him, for him to be protecting them, and negotiating their cause with bitter sighes, in the cares of almighty God? What moreThe incompa­rable per­fection of the worke of the pas­sion of our Lord. per­fect, in the way of contemplation, then, in such distresse, to be looking at ease so many wayes at once, from the death and contumely of a Crosse, as if it had bin from some tower of [Page 444]recreation and delight. To haue God himselfe, and all the world so perfectly and cleerly in his eye, and all at once? To be offering euery graine, of all the Passion, in forgiuenes of all the sinnes of the whole world; wherof then, he saw euery one more distinctly and cleerly, thē any man did euer see any one of his own. What more perfect in the way of diligence, in giuing vs direction how to carry our selues, then that, when himself was so deeply woun­ded by those incomparable torments and af­fronts, he would furnish vs, with such diuine documents and examples drawne from his owne sacred person. Wherby we may become victorious in all our combats; & find the edge of our afflictions so abated, as that they should neuer cast vs vpon despaire.

What thing is more perfect in the way of corporall sufferance, then so to suffer, as that there may be nothing which suffers not. There is nothing higher then the head, and we haue seene how the head of Christ our Lord did suffer, by that hideous crowne of thornes. There is nothing lower then the feete; and we haue seen how the feete haue suffered by cruel nayles. There is nothing of a man, more wide or large then his hands spread abroad, at the armes end; and we haue also seene, how he suffered by nayles driuen through his hands. Those hands, wherin he said that, he Isa. 49. had written vs, and Ioan. 12. wherby he would draw vs to­wards himselfe, with diuine pitty, when once he should be exalted vpon the Crosse. In fine, there is no­thing [Page 445]more then all; and we haue seene how he hath bene scourged all ouer, & pierc't, and fettered, and spit vpon, and boxt, and buffe­ted, and bored, and beathen through with Iron, for the pure loue of vs. And euen whilst he was hanging vpon the Crosse in expecta­tion of death, he vouchsafed still to be affron­ted, and blasphemed, beyond all morall be­liefe; and he, the while, euen when vinegar was giuen him to drinke, in that torment of thirst which he endured, did regorge in the deernes of his loue to vs.

He perfectedHow our Lord Iesus did perfect the figu­res and sa­crifices of the old law vpon the Crosse wherof he also fulfil­led the prophe­sies. Luc. 22. 1. Cor. 11. the imperfection of the old law in the law of grace, which he did pro­mulgate heere. He perfected all the Sacrifices of the old Testament in this Sacrifice of him­selfe vpon the Crosse; the memory wherof he had already commaunded his Priests to perpe­tuate, by the dayly oblation of his owne pre­tious body and bloud vpon their Altars. He perfected all the Prophesies, which were made concerning his owne life and death. He perfected all those figures which had bene de­liuered of him in the old Testament, for the disposing of the mindes of the faithfull, to­wards the beliefe of their Messias, who was thē to come.

We haue heere the history of Noe. For as he was made drunke,Genes. 9. by the vine which he planted, and had his nakednes discouered by his children; so was our Lord stript naked, more then once, as we haue seene, and that by his children, of whome his Prophet in his [Page 446]person said;Isa. 1. Filios enutriui & exaltaui, ipsi autem spreuerunt me. I tooke care to breed, and bring vp my children, and they tooke pleasure to despise and disho­nor me. He was also inebriated by the loue which he bare to his people; which, like a vine he planted with miracles; and pruned with Doctrine, and watered with bloud. And that vine inebriated him also, with another kind of wine, the wine of torments, and re­proach, wherwith he was stuft, and cloyd. By which kind of liquor, although he were not (because he would not be) disgusted, yet we haue heard him by his Prophet thus com­plaine of this vine, after a most deere, and kil­ling manner;Isa. 5. Expectauit vt faceret vuas, fecit au­tem labruscas. I expected that my vine, should haue yielded me wine, for the comfort of my hart; but it yielded me nothing but veriuyce, which hath set my teeth on edge. We haue heere a better, then thatNum. 21. Brasen serpent, the sight of whome, will cure the bytings of all those serpents, which are our sinnes. We haue heere the true Dauid, who kild that Gyant 1. Reg. 17. Golyas (being a figure of the Prince of darkenes) with the fiue stones of his fiue sacred wounds; and he cut of the Gyants head, with the Gyants sword; conque­ring the Deuill by death, which was his wea­pon drawne by sinne. The same might be shewed in al the other figures, which were de­liuered of our Lord in the old Testament, & which were perfected, and fulfilled vpon the Crosse. So that our Lord might iustly say, Consummatum est: The worke of my Passion, [Page 447]the worke of mans redemption, both in re­gard of the thing it selfe, and of the manner how it hath bene wrought, and borne, is per­fect, consummate, and complete.

Of our Lords last prayer, to his eternall Father: of his excessiue griefe and loue expressed in the separation of his soule from his body; and of the grace & beauty of the Crucifix.

CHAP. 76.

THERE did now remaine no more, but that our Lord IESVS hauing taken care of the whole world, and hauing particulerly powred forth those seuerall benedictions vpō it, frō that treasure-house of the Crosse, should also commend himselfe into the hands of the eternall Father. A te principium, tibi desinit, might the soule of Christ our Lord, say to God. He began his Passion with the inuocation of his Father,Luc. 22. in the Garden; he cōtinued it, by pray­ing to him, whē the Crosse was erected with himselfe vpon it, and now he concluded it, by recommending himselfe into his hands, & still vnder the sweet and gracious tytle of his Fa­ther. Instructing vs therby in all our actions, & especially in such as are of moment, & most of all, when we are either endeauouring, or enduring any thing, which doth immediatly concerne the glory of God, and the true good of men (as this mistery of our redēption high­ly did) to prepare our selues by Prayer, be­fore [Page 448]we beginne to eleuate our mindes of­ten to God, whilst we are in working; and to presse with instance,Ibid. when we are conclu­ding. Father (saith he) into thy hands I commend my spirit. 1. Cor. 6. And if we will procure to be one spirit with him (as S. Paul exhorts vs all to be) alrea­dyHow we assure our selues to be cō ­mended by Christ our Lord. Hebr. 5. we may perceaue, that Christ our Lord did no lesse pray for vs, then for himselfe. He prayed, as the same Apostle sayd els where, Cum clamore valido, & lacrymis: with a lowd cry and with teares; and therfore it is no meruaile, if he were heard by the Eternall Father, both for himselfe and vs. But yet so, as that we must concurre with him, and suffer, & pray, cry out, and weepe for our selues, and for our sinnes; since he hath traced out the way of do­ing it, for the sinnes of others. But the misery is, many tymes, that whilst we doe so often vsurpe this holy Prayer of our blessed Sauiour, wherby we protest our selues to commend our spirit into the hands of God, we doe but cōmend it only in word; or at the most, we doe but giue it, with one hand, and take it backe a­gaine with the other; and indeed, we deliuer it ouer to his enemies by sinne, or at least, to strangers, by fulfilling vaine and lesse good desires. Wheras if we would doe it, as Christ our Lord was found to doe; we should no sooner bequeth our selues to the seruice of our Lord, but that instantly, we would take a lōg & euerlasting leaue of a wretched world.

Our Lord, when he had giuen his spirit to God, expired. Luc. 23. And we if we expire not, if we [Page 449]dye not to the sinnes and vanities of this life, the spirit will be still where it was, and we doe but say we giue him that, which indeed we reserue for others, or at least for our selues. But that other kind of alienation,(b) There will be no true life and liber­ty, vnlesse there be a true death to imper­fection, & passion. is the only way to haue a true possession of our soules. Seruire Deo regnare est. This bondage, doth on­ly, bring perfect liberty; This kind of expi­ring by death, doth only inspire vs with true life. Christ our Lord, for loue of vs, did leaue (as we haue seene) his life of nature, that we might be animated by the life of grace. And woe be to that wretched man, who shall ra­ther choose death then life, and such a life as hath been bought to our hād, by parting with such a iewell, as was the life of Christ our Lord.

He had vnspeakeable cause to loue his life, but we haue no cause at all to be in loue with ours. The reason why we may punish, & euen hate, (as one may say) our bodyes with a iust, and holy kind of hate, is because other­wise they will be giuing ill counsell to the soule. TheIn what case we desire a separa­tion be­tweene the body and the soule. 2. Pet. [...]. reason why, in some cases, we may wish (so farre as may stand with the good will of God) to haue this Tabernacle of our flesh and bloud dissolued by death; may be, be­cause we doe highly apprehēd a feare of sinne, and so we may be glad to dye the first death, when we hope our selues to be in good state; least afterward we may dye the second. And besides, we haue reason to long for the sight of God, from which we are exiled, in this [Page 450]Pilgrimage. But Christ our Lord, did euer see the face of God; and the Superiour part of his soule, was as glorious, & as closely vnited to the Diunity, in the bitterest torments of the Crosse, as now is it, at the right hand of his Father. And besides, there could be no daun­ger, that euer that impeccable soule, could sinne. As therfore there was no cause, why Christ our Lord should of himselfe desire, or euen admit of any separation of his soule from his body; so whatsoeuer motiue it were, that should induce him to it, that must necessarily be acknowledged for a great one. For neuer did, nor neuer could any creature, in any reason, so deerly, and delightfully loue the cō ­iunction betwene his soule and his body, as Christ our Lord loued his. Nor consequent­ly, could any, or all the creatures, so much ap­prehend and abhorre any separation of the bo­dy, from the soule, as Christ our Lord would haue apprehended, and abhorred that of his; if some mighty reason, had not moued him to it. BecauseThe reason why Christ our Lord must needs loue the coniun­ction of his body and soule after a most emi­nent mā ­ner. no creature, nor all the creatures put togeather, had euer found any body, so sweetly, so continually, and so perfectly obe­dient to all the dictamens of a holy soule, as our Lord IESVS, had sound his body; and this is the only, or at least the principall reason, why any man should loue his body.

So that, for Christ our Lord, to indure that the coniunction of such a body and soule, should be broken for how short a tyme soe­uer) was the Crosse beyond all the corporall [Page 451]Crosses which he endured in his Passion, con­cerning himselfe. Yet of this he admitted, as we see. And since there was no power which could oblige him to it, in the way of force; it doth cleerly appeare, that he performed it, v­pon a commandement of loue. For loue is the King of all affections, and disposeth of them all, at pleasure. And amongst seuerall loues, the Superiour loue is still the King, to whom all inferiour loues giue place. If then Christ our Lord, did so deerly, and so iustly loue his owne pretious life, incomparably more then any of vs, can, by any possibility, loue ours; and if yet that loue, were content to yield to his loue of vs; and that indeed he dyed of pure and perfect loue (which is yet declared further to vs, by that sweet declyning of his head when he gaue vp the ghost) let vs endeauour to conceaue, what an infinite kind of loue, this was.

And let vs beg of him, by his owne pretious wounds, that he will make vs, in all things as like himselfe, as he desires. And that as a meanes therunto, he will print himselfe thus crucified vpon our harts; and that the eye of our mind, may be euer looking, at ease, vpon this sweet figure; theThe grace and beauty of the Cru­cifix. sweetest that hath bene seene, or can be conceaued; the fittest to moue all the affections of a Christian hart; whether they be of compassion, or ad­miration. And verily I thinke, that it is not only faith, which brings vs to be of this be­liefe; but that (euen abstracting from the qua­lity [Page 450] [...] [Page 451] [...] [Page 452]of the diuine persō) of Christ our Lord & the cause for which he suffered, (which yet in­deed, are the things that subdue vs most) the very figure it selfe of an excellent man, so ex­posed to publique view vpon a Crosse, is the loueliest, and the noblest Image and peece of Architecture that can be deuised. The head be­ing inclined downeward towards a kisse of peace, and the armes extended abroad, which shew that it is wholy against their will, that they imbrace vs not, because they are nayled. And the whole frame of the body, carrying and conuaying it selfe downe by degrees into a point, after such a louely & gracefull māner; as that not only the eye of Christianity, but euen of curiosity it selfe, can desire no more. ButThe straite obligation of Chri­stians to our Lord Iesus Christ. as for vs, to whome it belongs, in a farre superiour kind to this, it will become vs to adore him, who suffered so for vs, with­all the powers of our soule; and to wish, that, in some proportion, he would make vs able to pay our debts, by euen dying for the loue of him, as he vouchsaft to doe for loue of vs. In the meane tyme we may well be humble, and wonder how we are able to belieue such things as these, and yet to liue.

Of the great Loue of God, expressed in those pro­digious thinges which appeared vpon the death of our Blessed Lord. Of the hardnes of mans hart, which keepes, no correspondence with so great loue. Of the bloud, and water, which flow­ed out of the side of Christ our Lord: and how he did in all respects, powre himselfe out, like water, for our good.

CHAP. 77.

IT pleased the greatnes, and goodnes of Al­mighty God, that immediatly before the death of Christ our Lord,Matt. 27. the veile of the Tem­ple should rend it selfe; that the earth should quake; that the stones should cleaue, that the Sepulchers should open, and many of the dead should rise, & shew thēselues in Ierusalem; &The vse of the prodigi [...] which ap­peared v­pon the death of our Lord Iesus. so these thinges might serue, for a figure of the great conuersions, from the obstinacy and death of sinne, which were to follow vpon the death of our B. Lord. As also to the end, that those inanimate creatures might reproach the ingra­titude of them who had life and reason; and that the people of the other world, might cō ­demne the vast impiety of them of this, who had murthered thus, the Lord of life.

Now the same action lyes, against all sin­ners of these dayes, aswell as against them of those. For whosoeuer do commit any mor­tall sinne, doe (by the testimony of S. Paul) their best towards the recrucifying of our Lord Ie­sus; Hebr. 6. [Page 454]and they preferre Barabbas before him, as hath bene said. And howsoeuer the finne of those persecutours, seeme to haue beene grea­ter then ours can be, in regard that they, con­curred not only maliciously, but immediatly, to his destruction; yet, for as much as they did not, though they ought to haue knowne ex­presly, that he was the Sonne of God which we acknowledge, and beleeue him to be (and because the holy Ghost was not then descen­ded as now he is, into our soules, or desires to be, if we be ready to receaue him,) that sinne, which would be lesse in it selfe, is greater in vs. And we are not worthy to liue, if we fly not, from all that which giues disgust, & dis­honor to such a Lord; and if we suffer not with him, who suffered so cruell things for vs. We shall else be lyable to that sad complaint of S. Bernard. For (speaking against the hard­nes of mans hart, which refuseth to relent to­wards the true loue of God, wheras yet those very stones, and earth relented) he sayth most sweetly thus:Bernard. serm. de Pass. Dom. Solus homo non compatitur, pro quo solo Christus moritur: Christ our Lord dyed for man alone, and yet man alone takes no com­passion of Christ our Lord; wheras yet other creatures, for whome he dyed not, had com­passion; that is, in theyr kind, they suffered with him.

TheThe deadly malice of the Iewes to Christ our Lord, which ouerliued his death. malice of those Iewes was such, as to thinke all that nothing, which we haue heere described to haue bene inflicted vpon the persō of Christ our Lord, when he was a­liue. [Page 455]And therfore they thought that he could not be dead so soone.Ioan. 19. Bloudy wretches they were; For if malice had not put them out of their wits, they would rather haue wondred, how he could haue liu'd so long; considering how barbarously he had bene treated. But though he were dead, their contempt & hate was still aliue; & a Captaine looking on,Ibid. had so little pitty, as to pierce his sacred side with a Launce, and to execute cruelty vpon his Corpes; which no Ciuill person would haue done vpon the carcasse of a beast. Our Lord, before he dyed, forsaw what they meant to do, and resolued to suffer it; and so to gayne the glory of ouercomming by suffering, & by being ouercome. And he was pleased,Rom. 5. that where their sinne and malice did abound, there should his grace, and loue superabound.

For behould, he had reserued certain bloud and water next his hart; and the Eagle S. Iohn, who had eyes wherwith to behould the Sunne, did see it issue out of his side. He deliuered himselfe in these words;Ioan. 19. Et continuò exiuit sanguis, & aqua: That instantly bloud and wa­ter did issue forth. As if he should haue sayd, that they had lyen there to watch their tyme; to the end, that as soone as euer the ouerture should once be made, by that point of the Launce; they would instantly not fayle, to spring out, and spend themselues for the good of man. For through the opening of that wound Beniamin was borne,Gen. 35. though Rachel his mother dyed in trauaile. And the Church of [Page 456]Christ our Lord, doth proceed from thence; and like another Eue, it was fram'd out of the side of our B. Sauiour, (who was the second Adam) when he was dead, as the former Eue, was framed out of the side of the first Adam, Gen. 2. when he was sleeping. And therfore no mer­uaile if the Church of Christ our Lord, & all her lawfull and faithfull children, doe carry a most profound internall, tender loue and re­uerence, to the Crosse of Christ our Lord; & especially to this sacred wound of his side; as to the country from whence shee came, and whether shee procures to goe. And in confor­mity of this loue, the same Church is carefull, to be stil refreshing our memory of this Crosse making theThe frequent vse of the holy signe of the Crosse. signe therof in all her Sacra­ments, Ceremonies, and Benedictions; & tea­ching her true Catholikes, not to be ashamed therof, but to blesse our selues often according to the custome of all ancient Saints, with that holy signe, vpon our foreheads, vpon our mouths, & vpon our harts; that so the whole man, may be euer walking in remembrance of this mistery; and that so we may be the better disposed to beare with patience and loue, any contempt, or paine (that is to say, any spiri­tuall Crosse) which the holy, wise hand of God, shall think fit to send vs, and to do it for his sake, who dyed vpō that materiall Crosse.

And now we haue seene by all this holy History of our Lord IESVS, that whe­ther he be aliue or dead, he is all ours; and in despight of sinne he will make vs also wholy [Page 457]his; if we will, but now and then consider how he sold and abandoned himselfe for our benefit.Psalm. [...]. It was sayd by his seruant in his per­son, Sicut aqua effusus sum: I am powred out, and spilt like water, which euery base creature treads vpon. Now water besides, is a most obedient kind of thing. It easily takes what impression you will; it applyes it selfe to whatsoeuer place you will put it to. Looke backe ther­fore, and see, if our Lord haue not bene powred out like water. What place or posture, or what kind of punishment, did he refuse, which they would put him in. Or what thing was that, which they would not make him subiect to, which eyther the head could inuēt, or the hart inflict, or the hand could act. He seemed not in that part, to haue bene so much a man, as a very thing, a passiue substance, a liuelesse in­strument, a pile of grasse, in the presence of a great winde, vpon which they had all power to worke their will; for he had giuen his, a­way. He turned head at nothing, but accep­ted of all the scorne and paine, which they could load him with.

In theHow our Lord was sub­iect to all kinds of oppressiō. Garden we haue seene how for wāt of others, he was his own executioner, & tooke such sad thoughts into his hart, as him­selfe was not ashamed to expresse. In his ap­prehēsion or taking, he was subiect to the fu­ry of a popular tumult, though it were cōte­nanced afterward, by the lying face, & tongue of Iustice, in the house of Annas, and Cayphas, to make that seeme laudable, which indeed [Page 458]was damnable. He was subiect in that house, to the hypocrisy and enuy of the Priests of his owne Law, togeather with the indignity, which the Sycophant did him, by that blow, vpon his diuine face. In the imprisonment of that night, he was wholy subiect to the cour­tesy of those keepers of his, who had only a care not to kill him, before day, that then they might after a manifold kind of manner. In the examinations of Pilate, he would submit himselfe to the Tribunall of a Pagan; and in that of Herod, to the scorne of the secular pow­er, of his owne Religion. And both there & afterward, in Pylates Court, to all the torments and shame, which could be deuised by those disolute souldiers. In his way to Mount Cal­uary, he would be silent to that world of cla­mour, and when he was arriued to the top of the hill, those bloudy executioners were not so insolent & cruell in commāding, as he was mild, & ready to obey.

IfHow entirely our bles­sed Lord would needs submit himselfe to al kind of insolē ­cies. they had a minde to binde him, he meekely offered them his armes, for that pur­pose. If they had a mind to box & beate him, & to plucke him, by the venerable hayre or beard; if to spit vpon his diuine face, he neuer so much as turned it, either from their rage or scorne; but they strocke & spit, vpon him at their pleasure. If they had a minde to strip him starke naked, they did it, & he replyed not a­gainst it; though I nothing doubt, but that it was the greatest torment which he endured; and they stripped him, not only once, but [Page 459]fower seuerall tymes, and the last tyme of the fower, did continue till that happy syndon, his winding sheete, receiued, & shut him vp, from their eyes. If they had a mind to scourge him, he let them doe it in most bloudy man­ner, which transformed that vnspeakeable beauty, into a kind of leprousy, at an instant. If they would resolue that his imperiall head should be also wounded; & that after a man­ner, both of torment, & reproach beyond ex­ample; he did not so much as aske, by what commission they did it; but he submitted that diuine head, to a crowne of long & piercing thornes. If, not content with that, they were yet desirous to renew his paines, & to giue him, at once, many wounds in that most sen­sible part of his body, and that as often as they should list, he lent them a Reed wherwith they might doe it, by striking him vpon the head, at theirfancy. If yet they should resolue to pierce his body through & through, in the most liuely parts therof, with cruell nayles, he extended his hands & feete, to admit what soeuer they could deuise to doe. If they had an humour to scoffe and to blaspheme him, he had eares wherwith to heare them; and yet he had a hart wherwith to pray for them, whilst they were cursing him. So truly, and so en­tirely did he powre himselfe out, as any water might be spilt, which costeth nothing. He powred forth his sighes, and prayers in the presence of God; and his teares, in the view both of God, and man. He powred forth his bloud, both, [Page 460]through the anguish of his minde, & through the torments of his body. He powred forth his honour, in being so prophanely blasphe­med, and so opprobriously spit vpon, and in being so shamefully, and so often buffeted, and stript of all his cloathes in the sight of all those worlds of people; and lastly he powred forth his precious life, which he resigned, into the hands of his eternall Father.

A Conclusion of this discourse of the Passion of Christ our Lord; and the vse which we are bound to make thereof: For the greater that the loue and mercy is which he expressed therein, the more excessiue will his rigour be, for our contempt therof.

CHAP. 78.

BVT howsoeuer this water of the foun­taine of life, were spilt, with strange libe­rality for our good; yet there fel not one drop, for which we shall not be called to a most strict account, if we be so wretched, as not to saue it from being lost. For weThe mystery of the Passion & death of Christ our Lord, doth looke ve­ry many wayes at once. are to vn­derstand, that it was not any one onely part, which was represented by Christ our Lord v­pō the Crosse; but they were very many; & it cōcernes vs much, to marke thē all. Not only doth the infinite mercy of God shine bright­ly in this mistery; wherin we see that his own increated Sonne was content to dy for the sal­uation of man; but his infinite Iustice also, [Page 461]doth no lesse appeare; since it would not be satisfied with lesse then the death of such a Sonne.

Not only may we heere discerne, the pit­ty, which he beareth towards sinners; but he giueth vs also as cleere a prospect, vpon his vnspeakeable detestation of sinne; since for the abolishing therof, he was then to imploy no lesse then the very death of God. And since Christ our Lord, being the increated wise­dome of the Eternall Father, would needs vn­dergoe all those torments, for the remission & extirpation of sinne; it is a cleere demonstratiō, that he felt the weight of our sinnes, more heauily, then he did his bitter and opprobri­ous death; since no wise man would accept to suffer a greater paine, for the excusing of ano­ther, which were lesse. So that, as by the hu­mility and charity of God, which is so liuely exprest in the crucifixion of our Lord IESVS, we are obliged to loue him, and to imitate his Humility and his Charity; so by the conside­ration of that Maiesty of God which we may discerne, and of the high purity of his nature, and his great hate of sinne, we are taught to reuere him, and to tremble,2. Cor. 5. and to carry firme resolutions to serue him with all fidelity, and care; and rather to dy a thousand tymes, then once to presume to offend him in the least de­gree.

S. Paul declareth to vs, that Deus erat in Christo, mundum reconcilians sibi; The How Christ our Lord is the Me­diatour betweene God and man. ommpotent God did descend to be vnited to the humanity of Christ [Page 462]our Lord, that so he might reconcile the whole world to himselfe; and yet neuerthelesse they are few, who will be reconciled to saluation by our blessed Sauiours death; in comparison of the multitudes which are to perish. For so our Lord assured vs saying.Matt. 7. The way to heauen is a hard and narrow way, and few will dispose themseues to walke in it; but the way to perdition, is a wide and easy way, and it will be walked in by many.

Now this streight way, was the life and Doctrine of Christ our Lord, according to what himselfe had sayd,Ioan. 14. Egosum via, veritas, & vita: I am the way, the truth, and the life. So that, it is not the only death of Christ our Lord which saues the world; but that death, must be applyed to vs by such meanes as the wise­dome of God hath ordayned. This meanes, consisteth in our meeting with God, in the person of IESVS Christ our only Lord. For as God descended downe by him, so by him, we must ascend vp towards God. For this cause, he is said to be medius, & mediator, the middle person, and mediatour betwene God and man; and indeed, the only true medius terminus, wherby we may euer grow to a good conclusion.

The desire of Christ our Lord, is to rayse vs thither, according to his own diuine pro­mise. But a man is not drawne to spirituall things by force, or by the paces of his feete, or by the knowledge of his head, but by the prayers, and pious affections of his hart, and the reformation of his life, by a faythfull coo­peration, with the grace of God.

So as, if we meane to reape the benefit of this Passion, we must firstBeliefe of the mistery of the passiō of Christ our Lord. belieue, with a supernaturall and vndoubted faith, that it was performed by God and man, for the redemp­tion of the whole world. We must then re­flectConsi­deration. vpon it, with most cordiall and pro­found loue; detestingDete­station of sinne. our sinns which were the causes of his suflerance; and resoluing (as I was saying) to dye a thousand deathes rather then to offend him, who was so much offen­ded by them. We mustRefle­ction vpō the ver­tues of Christ­our Lord. consider the admi­rable vertties which he exercised with diuine perfection, vpon the Crosse, and in the whole course of his holy life and death; his humility, his patiēce, his meekenes, his silence, his puri­ty, his conformity, and his Charity. And we are carefully to consider, that it was in his power, to haue suffered as much as he suffered (if he had bene so disposed,) without letting vs knowne, the māner of it. But he was plea­sed to doe it, in the eye of the world, to the end that the world might see the patterne of all that vertue, which it was to imitate. And that, as by the substance of his death, he would redeeme vs, so by the circ̄stances & manner of it, he would instruct and oblige vs to his loue.

For this it was,Matth. 2. that when the Angell re­uealed to S. Ioseph, that the Sonne whome the sacred virgin should bring forth was to be cal­led IESVS, he assigneth, a reason of giuing him that name, the Office which he was to haue, in sauing his people from their sinnes. And as [Page 464]there are belonging to sinne, a guilt, or fault, and a paine or punishment; so was this IESVS, to deliuer his people from them both, and not to be a Sauiour by halfes, yea, and by the les­ser halfe, in deliuering them only from the pu­nishment of hell, as Libertines make thēselues beleeue, but especially to free them, by his grace, and the holy example of his life and death, from committing the very sinnes them­selues, as was [...] the [...] of [...] shewed before.

For the application also of this death and passion, to the saluation of our soules, we must be led by this example, to suffer such Crosses with patience, as our Lord, by the hand of his Eternall, and Fatherly prouidence, shall haue appointed vs to imbrace, as the way and mea­nes of our saluation. Our Lord, in his suffe­rance vpon the Crosse, did sanctify and facili­tate all the Crosses which should euer come to mankind. And as it is most true, that to all such, as apply this Passion to their soules by faith and loue, the eternity of their torment in hell, is conuerted by vertue of this suffe­rance into the temporall paines of voluntary pennance, or else of sickenes, sorrow, pouer­ty, shame, and the like imposed by our Lord God; or else into the paines of Purgatory (sup­posing that they haue not satisfied in this life:) and though the temporall Crosses which they indure, are withall, made light therby; so wee be to the world for giuing life to men, who are so vnworthily wicked, as toAn vn­worthy & most wic­ked er­ [...]our. thinke that Christ our Lord hath suffred all, & [Page 465]that men haue, in effect, no more to doe, but to belieue that he did suffer it.

How can such people thinke that God is wise, if he should haue committed such a folly? How can they thinke that he is Iust, if he would haue falne into such a partiality? How can they thinke that he is holy, if he should haue exercised such impiety? Nay, how can they thinke that he is merciful, if he should haue acted such a part of cruelty, as it would haue bene, for him, to take his owne very Es­sence and substance, his owne increated vn­derstanding, the second person of the most glorious and euer blessed Trinity; and to knit that person, by hypostaticall and indissoluble Vnion, to the body and soule of the sonne of the All-immaculate Virgin Mother, by the o­uershadowing of the holy Ghost; and to make him lead a life, which, as, on the one side, it was of vnspeakeable sanctity (for which he could not choose but loue him, more then in­numerable milliōs of worlds;) so on the other, it was loaden with misery of many kinds, and it came, at last, to end in such a death, & Pas­sion, as we haue heere described; and all this for the sauing of most wicked soules from hel; who, by the account of these men, should still remaine in the seruitude of sinne, and Sathan, whome yet this Lord came to ouercome; and that he should carry and conduct them to hea­uen, to be coheires with him in that kingdom; notwithstanding that in this world, they had not endeuoured to imitate his holy and paine­full [Page 466]life, nor had bene truely carefull to ful­fill his law; nor had conceaued any cordiall, and fruitefull griefe, for hauing transgressed it; and much lesse had voluntarily imbraced, for his loue, some part of those mortifications, & paynes, and crosses, wherwith his pretious life & death did so abound.

Take heed of such dangerous and impi­ous opinions as these, and withall, doe not thinke your selfe free from them, by only say­ing that you are so; vnlesse you beleeue with­all, in the very bottome of your hart, that vo­luntary mortification, and pennance, and pa­tience, and humility, and charity, are vertues wholy necessary for a Christian man. And that the Passion of Christ our Lord, is not to be applyed, but by this meanes. NoWho are true louers of the Crosse of Christ our Lord. crea­ture shall be saued by the Crosse of Christ our Lord, but he who shall loue this Crosse; and no man doth truly loue it, who will not ra­ther dy then crucify our Lord agayne vpon it, by committing a mortall sinne; and no man doth greatly loue it, who for the loue of our Lord, doth not also abhorre all veniall sinne; and who doth not voluntarily depriue him­selfe of many commodities, and delights, which euen lawfully he might haue vsed; and who also will not imbrace, not only all such paine and shame, as cannot be auoyded with­out sinne; but many other contradictions and austerities, to which yet he is not bound, but only by the law of loue. This loue doth worke like fire, in the harts of such as are de­uoted [Page 467]to the Crucifixe; & our Saints liues are full of great proofes therof; & how much soe­uer they pay, they thinke it very little, in com­parison of the very much they owe.

The blessed Apostle S. Paul hath expres­sed this truth very plainely & largely, in these few words,2. Cor. 5. Charitas Christi vrget nos; 2. Cor. 5. The Charity of Christ doth vrge vs on. As if there, he had sayd, (as he did abundantly else where, to this effect) The loue of Christ our Lord, and the memory of the bitter things which he endured, for his wicked creatures, doth spurre vs on to suffer much for him. I doe not, beate the ayre, but I beate my body, 1. Cor. [...]. least preaching saluation to others, my selfe may be­come a reprobate. 2. Tim. 2. It is true that we shall raigne to­geather with Christ; but it must first be true, that we must suffer also with him. It is true, that I am an A­postle, and more then an Apostle, & that the sonne of God himselfe, came visibly to call me to his seruice; Act. 9. & declared me to be a vessell of election, and that I should carry his name before the Kings and Nations of the world; & that I was rapt vp into the third heauē, wher I was made partaker of such high misteries, 2. Cor. 12. at it is ne­ther lawfull, nor possible for me to vtter; But yet it is true withall, that all they who will pretend to be true Christians, must crucify their flesh with the concupis­cences therof; Galat. 5. and they must put on Christ our Lord, as they would put on a garment; Rom. 13. and frame the same Iud­gement of things which he framed, & liue by the same spirit which liued in him. That is to say, both the in­ward, 1. Cor. 12. and the outward man, must be so composed, as that wheresoeuer he goes, he may carry with him the very odour of the piety if Christ our Lord. 2. Cor. 2. And for my [Page 468]part (saith he) I am euer carrying the mortification of Christ lesus in my very body, 2. Cor. 4. that so in this very body of mine, his life may be made manifest to men.

To this effect, spake the B. Apostle in seuerall partes of his Epistles; and he indeed, was a true louer of the Crosse of Christ our Lord;Rom. 5. and this loue made him so glory in tribu­lations, and mortifications, and afflictions, for the loue of the same Crosse, as that he thus, cryed out: Galat. 6. Away with glorying in any other thing. The same doth also belong to vs according to our proportion: and if we faile heerof, we must condemne our selues for vngratefull creatures, and procure to mend. As knowing that other­wise, we doe our best to make our Lord loose the labour, which he tooke for vs. For (as the incomparable S. Austen sayth) to this effect Christ our Lord, De vera relig. cap. 16. apud Ariam. to giue vs the example of all vertue, tooke v­pon him all those painefull, and contumelious things, wherby vertue might be exercised and obtained. He was pleased to be poore, that men might so be drawne to despise those riches, which they loued, to their so great preiudice; for as much as they are instruments wherby they purchase and procure delights, which destroy the soule. He refused to be a tempor all King, that so men might despise places of honor, & cōmaund, which they had, with so great anxiety, desired. He admitted of all kindes of affronts, and shame, to the end that men, who were wont to fly from them, through pride, might vndergoe them with humility. He suffered wrongs, and so great wrongs, as it was, for him, who was most in­nocent, to be tormented, and condemned, to the death of the Crosse, for a malefactour, to the end that men, [Page 469]might be able to suffer wrōgs with patiēce. He accepted of grieuous things, being scourged, and crowned with thornes, and he was afflicted many other wayes, to the end that men, who abhorred torments, might imbrace them, when they should be necessary towards vertue. He accepted, and loued the Crosse, which was the most painefull & cōtumelious death of all others; to the end that men might admit of any such kind of death, as God should send. All those things, by the desire wher­of, we tooke occasion to sinne, namely riches, pleasu­res, and temporall honors, he brought downe, into a base account, by his abstayning from them, and so he taught vs to despise them. And all those other things, by the flying wherof we faile of vertue, and fall to sinne, namely affliction, contempt, and paine, by his suffering them willingly, and by imbracing them with so ardent loue, he made to be amiable, and easy to be endured. And thus, was the whole life, which Christ our Lord did lead in this world; an example, and a liuing Doctrine, of the actions which we were to performe; and of the vertues which we were to pra­ctise. This is said by S. Augustine.

Therfore (to conclude this discourse, of the Passion of our B. Lord) we haueThe summe of this whole discourse of the Passion of our B. Lord. seene how painefull it was; with how great loue he endured it; and with how heroicall vertue it was performed. We haue seene the end and ayme he had therin; which was, not only the redeeming of vs from hell, but the recouery of vs from sinne; the inducing vs to fly from all inordinate desire of honour, estate, and vaine delights; & to imbrace (after his exāple, & for his loue) the exercise of all vertue, & the mor­tification [Page 470]both of the inward, and outward man. Let vs take heed that we contemne not the treasures of his mercies, least we be consu­med, by the fiery torrent of his Iustice. Let vs not pretend to make him loose his labour, for auoyding of a little labour of our owne. He is the wisedome it selfe of God, and can tell how to value to a haire, such a huge indigni­ty as that would be. And of this truth we must be well assured; for it is not only reuealed to vs by way of Faith; but it is written in our harts, by the law it selfe of nature, and rea­son: ThatThe more good God is to men, the more bit­terly will they be punished for the contempt of such goodnesse if a mercy be offered & abused, a vengeance will belong to that offence. If the mercy be great, the vengeance will not faile to be great; and if the mercy be infinite, the vengeance also will be infinite.

And though Christ our Lord, be a Lyon; and the roaring of a Lyon is a frighfull thing; yet he is also a Lambe; & we haue seene how he hath bene shorne, and slaine; and this Lābe is not willingly alienated from his loue to vs. But if he be, then laesa patientia vertitur in furorem: The more inuincibly patient he was, the more implacably furious he will be. And, for my part, I doe not heare, in the whole booke of God, any word which strickes with greater terrour, then when it speakes, of the wrath of the Lambe. Apoc. 6.

The holy Ghospell describing Christ our Lord vpō the Crosse, saith, that they blasphe­med him as they were passing by. Many blas­pheme him by their deeds, who doe not so by [Page 471]their words;Matt. 27. but hauing an Aue Rex in their mouthes, they strike him with the Reed in their hands. If we desire insteed of blasphe­ming to doe him seruice, and so to be happy both in heauen and euen heere; our way will be, not to passe so lightly by his Crosse; but there to behould, & contemplate him at good leasure. For how miserably shall we be out of countenance at the hower of our death, if our conscience may iustly then accuse vs; that we could not so much as find in our harts now & then, to thinke of those bitter things which the Sonne of God, & God, did find in his hart to endure, and that with infinite loue, for our saluation.

Our LordOur great in­gratitude to God will make vs see how very wic­ked we are other­wise. IESVS, giue vs grace, to know, how very wicked things we are. And this knowledge being once well grounded in vs, and our Lord being desired, that for the loue of his bitter Passion, he will make vs see the loue he bare vs in it; we shall grow to take delight in looking often vpon that book with the eyes of our soule; and so they will be hap­pily shut vp from the sight and loue of other obiects. We shall then quickly find, that the Crosse is no such cruell thing, as we haue cō ­ceaued; but that it is short and light, and the reward therof remaines for euer. Besides that the memory of her friends, is honorable after­ward, euen with the enemies therof. Wheras those persecuting Iewes, with Cayphas and Pi­late, & Herod, & al the libertines of the world, who indeed are the enemies of Christ our [Page 472]Lord,Philip. 3. and of his Crosse as S. Paul affirmeth, howsoeuer they triumphed for a tyme, were soone, either beate downe by disgrace like so many bladders, or blsters; or els blowne vp, by a little tyme out of the estimation of God and man, like so many squibbs. And now they haue found their place in hel where they shall remaine as long as God is God; and so will their successors in sinne, succeed them al­so in their punishment, from which our Lord deliuer both them and vs.

Of the vnspeakeable Loue of our Lord Iesus, in be­queathing to vs vpon the Crosse, his All-imma­culate Virgin Mother, to be the Mo­ther of vs all.

CHAP. 79.

OVR Lord IESVS, hauing made his last Will and Testament, in that night pre­cedent to his death, at which tyme he gaue vs his owne pretious body and bloud, not only for the food of our soules, in the blessed Sa­crament, but for a Sacrifice to God in the way of homage, as to a Soueraigne Creatour, by the institution of the Masse; and being, that night, and the next day arriued so farre, in the course of his bloudy, and bitter Passion; as af­ter innumerable other affronts and torments, to see himselfe both naked, & nayled, through hands and feete vpon a Crosse; theThe loue of our Lord Iesus did after asort increase with the torment which he [...]dured [...]our [...]. bowells of his mercy were so farre from being chan­ged, [Page 473]or cooled toward vs, that the neerer they were to breake for griefe, the faster he made them beate for loue.

And therfore, as some tender-harted hus­band would haue done, in fauour of his most faithfull, and beloued wife, who, hauing set­led his affaires, in tyme of health, by way of Testament (wherby he had honorably pro­uided for her estate and comfort) would yet, whē he drew neere to death, (in further proofe of his affection) increase her ioynture, by some Lordships; and plucke of his ringe of greatest price, from his owne fingar, that he might put it vpon hers: iust so was our Lord IESVS plea­sed to proceed with the holy Church his Spouse. To whome, notwithstanding the le­gacy of his owne pretious body, which he had giuen vs already, by Testament; he did also now, when he drew close vpon the confines of death, with incomparable Charity,Our Lord Ie­sus be­queathed his B. mo­ther to be also ours, as it were, by way of Codicill annexed to his last will. Luc. 23. be­queath his sacred Mother to vs, as it were by way of Codicille, which he annexed to that former Will of his.

It hath bene seene already, how our Lord, vpon the death-bed of the Crosse, did vtter seauen Words, or rather declare himselfe by seauen seuerall speaches, both to God and the world. In the former three, he aymed at our only good, and in the latter, to his owne; which yet withall, was also ours. In the first of those three, which was the prayer to his Father, Pater, dimitte illis, non enim sciunt quid faciunt: Father forgiue them, for they know not what [Page 474]they doe, those persecut ours of Christ our Lord were principally intēded, by that diuine good­nes; but yet withall, those men were a kind of figure, and represented, after a sort, all the sinners of the whole world in their persons; and so he prayed for the forgiuenes of them all.Luc. Ibid. In the second which was his speach to the good Thiefe, Amen dico libi, hodie mecum eris in Paradiso: I tell thee, that for certaine, thou shalt be with me in Paradise this very day, the same good thiefe was assured of his saluation, after a most eminent manner; but yet withall, he was a Type, and his person did expresse the chara­cter of all sinners truly penitent; whome our Lord doth instantly restore to his grace & fa­uour,Ioan. 19. vpon their humble, and constant de­sire thereof.

In the third, which was the speach to his B. Virgin-Mother, and his most beloued dis­ciple, Mulier ecce filius tuus, and then, Ecce mater tua; woman behould thy sonne, & then to him, behold thy mother, as this sacred Virgin, and this Disciple were, in most particular manner, de­signed to be the Mother, and Sonne of one mother; so yet S. Iohn, therin did carry the per­son of all mankind, by being made the Sonne of that most excellent Mother. Such was the stile which our Lord held in his death, and such it had euer bene, throughout the whole course of his life; to speakeHow the speaches of Christ our Lord, were ma­ny of thē meant chiefly to such as were then present to him; and yet ex­presly al­so, to such as were to succeed, in the world af­terward. chiefly to thē who were present, and yet expresly also, to those others, who were absēt & thē vnborne. And this truth doth abundantly appeare by [Page 475]the Euangelicall history: and to doubt heerof, were to say the sunne is darke.

Since God was content to be made man for the loue of men, we are brought more easi­ly to belieue, that man shall be made a kind of God, in heauen. And so when we know and consider, that, through Christ our Lord, who is the naturall Sonne of God, we may all be­come the adopted Sonnes of God; yea and so we are, if we dispose our selues to be like God our Father, and consequently to Christ IE­SVS our elder brother, (for that the Father and Sonne, are so very like, that one of thē is well knowne by the other) itHow we are made the brothers of our Lord Ie­sus, both by the fathers & the Mo­thers side. will seeme lesse strange, and nothing disagreable to the infinite mercy of our Redeemer, that as he had vouch­safed to make vs his brethren by the Fathers side, who is God; he would also be pleased to make vs his brethren by the mothers side, as he was man, adopting vs, in the person of S. Iohn to be all, the Sonnes of the sacred Virgin. Nor did that deernes of his loue, shine lesse, in that he would cōmunicate his mother to vs, thē in that he was pleased, that al his other blessings, should be common betwene him and vs. And as Ioseph the Patriarke loued his brother,Gen. 41. by the mothers side with most tendernes; so it seemes, as if our Lord would euen oblige himselfe to affect vs, with a greater tēdernes of loue, now that he had receaued vs, as it were into the same very bowells of purity, which had borne himselfe.

As our Lord IESVS is our brother, for ma­ny [Page 476]reasons, & especially because we are made his coheyres of eternall glory, in the kingdom of heauen: so in regard that we are made so, by the benefit and purchase of his redemption, & consequently that he begot vs by so excellent a meanes to that rich inheritance; heHow Christ our Lord is not on­ly our brother but our father also Isa. 9. Ephes. 2. is also in holy Scripture called not only our brother, but our Father. And so the holy Euangelicall Prophet Esay speaking of the glorious Tytle of Christ our Lord, setteth this downe, among the rest, that he is Pater futuri saeculi, The Father of the future age: that is, of Christians, whome by his faith and Sacraments he would beget to God. This Tytle of Father cost him very deere; for was there any Mother, who by the way of naturall birth, did bring forth any child with such excesse of torment to her selfe, as this Father of ours, IESVS Christ our Lord, did, with excesse of anguish and affliction, be­get euery one of them, who of the children of wrath, were to be made, by his meanes, the Sonnes of God. And therefore, as in course of naturall descent, Christ our Lord was the Sonne of the sacred Virgin; so if we consider him, as the Father, and regeneratour of vs all to grace, then our Lord, and the blessed Vir­gin, may in some sort, be accompted, rather as the spouses, then as the Sonne and Mother of one another.

This way of cōsidering Christ our Lord & our B. Lady, ought not seeme strange to vs, since partly holy Scripture, and partly the cō ­sēt of the holy Fathers of the primitiue Church [Page 477]do so expresly set it forth to our sight.1. ad Cor. 15. For frō hence it is, that Christ our Lord is so often cal­led theHow our Lord Iesus is called the second Adam, & our B La­dy the se­cond Eue. second Adam, who was to repaire the ruines, which the former had drawne downe about the head and eares of mankind. And hence also it is, that we see it manifestly insi­nuated in holy Scripture, and cleerly, and e­uidently expresled by the holy Fathers, that as Christ our Lord came to supply the place of the former adam; so our B. Lady, was to vs a second, & a better Eue, then the former, & that she wrought, both for her selfe & vs, as a most eleuated instrument, and partly as a cause of our restitution to that inheritance, which had bene forfeited by the former. But yet with this great difference, that as betwene the former A­dam and Eue, the Originall & prime poyson of the first sinne, came chiefly, and primitiuely, from the serpent to Eue, and then in a second kind of degree, from her to Adam, and frō him to vs: So betwene this latter Adam, and Eue, which is Christ our Lord, & our B. Lady, the roote & ground of that grace, wherby the re­demption of the world was wrought, came originally and fundamentally from God to Christ our Lord, and after a secondary & in­strumentall manner, through her Sonne our Lord, to our B. Lady.

It is shewed, how our Blessed Lady, and Eue doe resemble one another, and how they differ; and our Blessed Lady is prooued to be the spirituall mother of all mankind; and of the mercifull proui­dence of our Lord God therein.

CHAP. 80.

THE sinne of eating the forbidden fruite was no sooner committed, but God did curse and threaten the Serpent in this māner: Inimicitias ponam inter te & mulierem, & semen tū & semen illius; ipsa conteret caput tuum, &c. I will put emnities betwene thee and the woman and be­twene thee with thy seed, and her with her seed; and shee shall bruize thy head &c. Now this woman and her seed, is Christ our Lord, and our B. Lady, togeather withall the faithfull who were to follow. And the serpent and his head is the deuill, & all his wicked members, whe­ther they be Pagās, Iewes, Turkes, Heretikes, or loose Catholikes. InOur B. Lady was Pre­ordained [...] trīph ouer sinne & hell. this Spirituall warre, so great honour is done to our Blessed Lady, by God himselfe, that by him it is fore-tould, that she shall be victorious therin. For howsoeuer the Sectaries of this age, out of a malignity which they carry against this euer­blessed Virgin will not haue it to be read, ipsa cōteret, shee shall bruize the serpents head, but ipse cō ­teret, that is, Christ our Lord shall doe it; yea how­soeuer diuers of the auncient Fathers doe, ac­cording to the Hebrew letter, read it Ipse, [Page 479](though not out of any such reason as is sug­gested, by these aduersaries of her honour) yet it is plaine, that the vulgar translation, which is of the greatest authority of any other in the whole Catholike Church, and was made by S. Ierome, who besides his sanctity, was the learnest man in those tongues who liued thē, or perhaps hath liued since, in the world, doth read Ipsa, and not Ipse: Apud Ca­nisium l. 5, c. 9. Ambr. de suga saecu­li l. 7. Aug. lib. 11. c. 36. Greg. lib. 1. mor. c. 38. Beda in Genesim, Bern ser. 2. sup. mis. sus &. and so also doth S. Am­brose, S. Augustine, S. Gregory, Venerable Bede, S. Bernard, and many more. And indeed, whe­ther the lection be Ipse, or Ipsa, the sense will fall out to be in effect the same. Because if we read Ipsa, the B. Virgin is to be vnderstood to haue this priuiledge from God, through Christ our Lord; and though we should read Ipse, yet we know euen therby, that Christ our Lord was not pleased to do it but by her; and he ex­pressed, for her honour, that it should be done by the seed of her, and that none but such as are her seed, shall euer be able to ouercome the Serpent.

Vpon this reason it is, that the holy Fa­thers are so frequent, and expresse, in styling our blessed Lady, Mater viuentium, The mother of such as liue by grace, as Eue was called Mater viue­tium, the mother of such as liued by nature, though afterward, she deserued both to be accompted and called Mater morientium, the mother of such as dy by sinne.Hieron. de Scrip. Ec­cles. Epiph. l. 1 to. 2. hist. 31.

S. Irenaens, (whome S. Epiphanius and S. Hierome calleth the Successour of the Apostles, the Disciple of S. Policarpe, and the Martyr of Christ, [Page 480]& who florished within an hundred and odd yeares of Christ our Lord himselfe) doth of­ten, and at large, and expresly shew, the cō ­parison which in some respects is to be made between our B. Lady, and our Grandmother Eue:Irenaeus l. 3. contra haeres. c. 33. but I will only cite one passage, or two out of him. As Eue proouing disobedient, grew to be a cause of death, both to her selfe, & the whole race of mankind: so Mary, hauing a man predestinated for that purpose, (but yet she being still a Virgin, and be­ing also obediene) was made a cause of saluation, both to her selfe, and all mankind. And shortly after, he affirmeth, That that knot, which was tyed by the disobedience of Eue,Lib. 5. ad­uersus hae­res. c. 19. was loosened by the faith of Ma­ry. And in another place, he saith expresly, that the Virgin Mary by her obedience to God, was made the aduocate of the Virgin Eue.

Iustinus the Martyr (who was yet more ancient then Irenaeus) wryteth thus of Eue, & our blessed Lady.In dial. c̄ Tryphone. A man was borne of a Virgin, that so by the same way, wherby disobedience had en­tred, by the same, might pardon be obtayned. For Eue, being yet a Virgin, by conceauing that word of the ser­pent, brought forth disobedience and death; but the Virgin Mary, after she had conceaued faith, with glad­nes (the Angell Gabriell bringing her that ioyfull mes­sage,) made answere thus, Be it vnto me according to thy word.

Tertullian saith,Cap. 7. car­ne Christi. Eue beleeued the serpent; Mary beleeued Gabriell; that which the former sinned in beleeuing, the latter, by beleeuing did blot out.

S. Austen sayth, that the disobedient Eue de­serued punishment, but Mary by her obedience, obtay­ned [Page 481]the pardon of it. S. Epiphanius, who is his aun­cient, sayth,Lib. 3. hae­resi 78. That Eue was made the cause of death to men; for death came by her into the world; but Mary was the cause of life, by whome life was begotten to vs, and the Sonne of God came into the world by her. And where sinne abounded, there did grace ouer abōd, and whence death proceeded, thence did life also pro­ceed, to the end that death might be exchanged into life. And againe he sayth els where: From Eue all the generatiō of mankind is descended in earth; but heere, this life is brought into the world by Mary, that she might bring forth him who liueth; and she is made the mother of the liuing.

S. Chrysostome sayth,Hom. in­terdict. ar­boris ad Adam a­pud Canis. l. 4. & de Mar. Deip. l. 16. & apud Coc. cium lib. 3. Thesau. art. 50. super. fignum magnum & de laud. vir. apud Can. ibid. death came by Adā, life came by Christ. The Serpent seduced Eue, Mary gaue consent to Gabriell. The seducing of Eue brought death; but the consent of Mary, begot a Sauiour to the world.

S. Bernard sayth, as to Eue: Thou wert too cruell, by whome that serpent did infuse that dead­ly poyson, euen into thy very husband; but the Beleeuing Mary, did reach forth the Antidote, or remedy, both for men and women. The former ministred errour, this latter the propitiation of errour, the former sug­gested that offence, and the later brought forth the re­demption of the same. Make hast therfore (sayth he in another place) O Eue, to Mary; Let this daughter answere for her mother; let her remoue the reproach of her mother, let her satisfy the Father for the mother; for behold if man were cast downe by a woman, he is not to be raysed vp but by a women. With the same facility I might alleadge a great number of o­ther holy Fathers, to proue both the propor­tions, [Page 482]and disproportions which runne be­twene our Grandmother Eue, and the most blessed Mother of God and vs, the All-im­maculate Virgin. But this which I haue al­ready said, will suffice to shew, how the one was a type and figure of the other; and that the holy Fathers of the Church declare, that howsoeuer they are both our Mothers, in se­uerall respects, yet that the East and West, are not so farre off from one another, as this latter, holy, humble Eue, doth in sanctity excell the former.

And now to the point of her being the Mother of vs all, see further howDe sanct. Virgin. c. 6. Ambr. a­pud Bonau in spec. Virg. c. 8 [...] Cyrillus Alex. hom. con. tra Nesto­rium. S. Augustine saith, she is the spirituall Mother of the members of the Church, for as much as she cooperated, to the end, that the faithfull might be borne in the same Church.

S. Ambrose also saith. If Christ be the bro­ther of all beleeuers, how can she choose, but be the mo­ther of Christ? And so doth S. Bonauenture deli­uer the blessed Virgin to be, not only the particu­lar Mother of Christ our Lord; but the vniuersall mo­ther of all the faithfull.

And S. Cyrill giues a massy reason heer­of, when speaking, as to the blessed Virgin, he professeth himselfe in these words: By thee all those creatures, who are retayned in the errour of Idolatry, are conuerted to the knowledge of truth. But theAn ex­cellent cō ­sideration of S. Ber­nard, vpō the sweet prouidēce of our Lord God, con­cerning the B. Vir. cited by Pa. Arias. Bern. ser. sup. missus est. holy S. Bernard shall conclude this point when he saith to this effect; Christ our Saui­our did suffice for the reparation of mankind because all our sufficiency doth come to vs by him, and all that also, wherof we haue need [Page 483]for our saluation. Yet was it most conuenient for our good and comfort, that he should be associated, in this reparation of ours, by such a companion as might be a mother, and such a mother, as that she, being the mother of God, might be also ours. This holy Saint in the same place doth giue many reasons heerof, full of conueniency, and consolation, which heere I shall not need to represent.In his booke de imitat. B. Virg. But it appeares clearly inough, that, as Father Arias notes, for the multiplication of mankind in the course of nature, God framed our first Father Adam. And notwithstanding that he might haue gi­uen sufficiency of power to him alone, for the multiplication of mankind (if he had bene so pleased) yet he would not doe it, but he re­solued to giue him a companion, and helper which was our Grandmother Eue, according to the sweet disposition of his diuine proui­dence.

In the selfe same name,Arias l. de imitat. B. Virg. when the world was lost by sinne, our Lord God hauing re­solued to beget and multiply iust men, who might be heires to the kingdome of heauen, he gaue his only begotten Sonne to be Incarna­te, who by his life and death might beget and breed vs to saluation. And although it be most true, that this Father of ours is all sufficient by himselfe alone, to performe this worke of our Regeneration, because he is of infinite vertue; and who according to the rigour of Iustice, doth merit grace, and glory for his children; and doth obtaine pretious fauours, and satisfy [Page 484]for all kind of sinne; yet neuerthelesse God was pleased according to the designe of his owne excellent wisedome, to giue to Christ our Lord, the most sacred, and most holy of all meere creatures, his All-immaculate Vir­gin Mother Mary, to be a companion to him­selfe, in the spirituall generation of the world, as the mother therof; who might assist, and serue him in so great a worke. Not by way of praying for vs, or of iustifying vs, or of giuing vs grace, or glory, as of her owne guift, (for al that, is proper to the redeemer and Sauiour of the world) but to the end that she might con­curre, to the reducing of sinners by the way of sweetnes and loue; interceding and praying for them, and offering vp, for their good, all those excellent operations, & seruices, which she performed in this life, to her blessed Sonne our Lord, and so obtayning celestiall fauours for them, and facilitating their way to heauen, by discouering the infinite mercy and suauity of Almighty God, to the eyes of their mind. And ifA cleer conse­quence. 1. Cor. 4. S. Paul might say, in the word of truth, I haue begotten you to the Ghospell, how much more might this blessed Lady say it, in a most eminent manner, who did beare and bring forth our Lord IESVS, and did both ther­by, and otherwise, so admirably and imme­diatly cooperate towards the saluation of the whole world.

Not only do many particular Fathers as­cribe the title of Mother, to our blessed Lady, but the holy Catholike Church, doth ioyntly [Page 485]glory in calling her by that sweet name; and esteemes her selfe happy, that she may haue re­course to her, as such. Nor giues she only way to all her faithfull children to acknowledge this maternity of hers in priuate manner; but in that publike Office,In the Of­fice of the Church. wherin she celebrates the prayse and memory of her Spouse, at all the howers, both of euery day and night, as one who well vnderstands, by that spirit of sanctity and truth in which she is guided, that no honour doth more delightfully redound to our Lord IESVS, then that which magnifyeth the happy creature, who gaue him a body of her owne all-immaculate flesh and bloud.

The externall Excellencies, and attractiuenesse of our Blessed Lady. The reasons of congruity which prooue her innocency, and purity; and the innu­merable motiues, which oblige the world to admire & loue her.

CHAP. 81.

TO the end that we may be inuited, and incouraged to gratitude towards Al­mighty God, for giuing his glorions mother to be also ours; and that we may, both con­ceaue of her dignity & comply with our own duty as is fit, I wil procure to shew both what kind of excellent creature she is, in her selfe, & of how admirable vse and aduantage to vs. Touching theThe glorious and holy extraction of our B. Lady. Nobility of her descent, it wil suffice to heere what S. Bernard saith. There [Page 486]is somewhat of the celestiall, Ber. ser. super Sig­num mag­num. Apoc. 12. which shineth in the pro­geny of Mary: That euidently she is descended of Kings; that she is of the seed of Abraham; that she is sponge from the stocke of Dauid. And if this be little, let it be further added, that by a speciall priuiledge of sanctity, she was knowne to haue bene granted to the world, from heauen; That long before she was pointed at from aboue, to our forefathers; That she was pre­figured by misticall miracles, and fore tould by prophe­ticall Oracles. For as much as may further con­cerne the sanctity of her extraction, we must know that it came frō the tribe of Leui, as wel as from that of Iuda. For howsoeuer seuerall tribes were not generally to match with one another, yet that rule had no place in these two, but the Sacerdotall, and the Royall often matched togeather.

her exteriour beauty was such, as be­came the mother of that Sonne,Psal. 44. Ambr. de instit. vir. c. 7. & S. Thom in 3. distinct. 3. q. 1. art. 2. quae­stiuncula 1. ad 4. of whome it was said, Speciosus forma prae filijs hominum: Beau­tifull beyond the most beautifull of the Sonnes of men. And yet a beauty it was, of such an admirable holy kind, as that according to the testimony of antiquity, it had the property to quench all flames of lust in the behoulders. Blessed be our Lord who hath prouided so sweet a remedy for our misery. For knowing (as Father Arias noteth, in his booke of the Imitation of our B. Lady) that one of our greatest enemies, was the inordinate loue of women to men, and men to women; he hath, for the redresse of this inconuenience, giuen a man to the world (who is his owne only begotten sonne) and [Page 487]whome women might both loue, and euen by that very louing they might become pure and chast. And so also hath he bestowed a most beautifull womā vpon the world, which is this glorious Virgin Mother; by the loue of whome, men might deliuer themselues from sensuality, and become the Disciples of her high purity. For by louing this man, and this woman, men are spiritually, as it were con­uerted into them, and doe giue ouer, after a sort, to be themselues. And from hence it hath proceeded, that since God became man, and was pleased to be borne of the blessed Virgin, the feilds of the earth haue produced innume­rable roses of virginity, both in men & wo­men. And the Church hath bene filled with this rare treasure, wherewith the world in former tymes, was not acquainted.

ThereDiuers reasons of congruity which cō ­uince the B. Virgin to haue been free, from all kind of spot. Damase. ser. 1. de Natiuitat. Virg. could be no such defect of power, wisedom or goodnes in our Lord God; but that since he was pleased to take his whole humanity from one Creature, he would also be carefull of that excellent creature in strange proportion. Since the diuinity it selfe, would vouchsafe to be hypostatically, and indissolu­bily vnited, to the flesh which he would take of her body, in her wombe (that wombe of which is elegantly, and most truely said, that it was Officina miraculorum, the very shop, and mint-house of miraculous things) how can it be, that he should not preserue her, from all those sinnes and shames, which the rest of mā ­kind was subiect to? He would not liue so [Page 488]long, in that holy Tabernacle of hers, where she was euer imbracing him with her very bowells; and then haue a hart so hard, as to goe away, as it were, without paying her any house-rent, out of his riches. He came into the world to dissolue the workes of the diuell, 1. Ioan. 3. euen in the greatest enemies and rebells to him that could be found; and therfore he would be sure to preuent the soule of that body, which was but the other halfe of his owne, with such store of benedictiōs, as wherby the very ayre, and sent of any sinne whatsoeuer, might be farre from breathing vpon her.

Christ our Lord descended from heauē to aduance the kingdome and glory of God, and he could not then, giue way, that the hart which had conceaued him, with such faith; & which had adored him with so much loue, in her imaculate wombe; & which had so liberal­ly fed him, at the table of her sacred brest; & lodged him in the bed of her holy bosome; and couered him with the robes of her pretious ar­mes; & which had so diligently attended him, in that Pilgrimage of Egipt; Matt. 2. and had serued him so purely, both with body, and soule, in all the rest of his life & death; that this hart, I say, should euer be in case to giue consent to sinne, wherby she should, of the spouse of god, haue become, according to her then present state, a lymme of Sathan, and be in fine, the mother of Christ our Lord, & yet a Traytour to him, and both at once.

Nay she was not only voyd of sinne, but [Page 489]aboundedThe sublime sanctity of our B. Lady. Luc. 1. Cant. 7. in sactity, whose sacred wombe was foreseene, & foretold, to be Aceruus tri­tici, vallatus lilijs. A rich heape of corne compassed in with a faire and sweet inclosure of Lyllies. And as those Lyllies of her purest body, gaue him a body of such beauty; so did that bread of hea­uen, abundantly feed, and euen feast her soule, with his plenty. The Prophet Ieremy was sanctified in his mothers wombe, and she was therfore to be much more sanctified, who was to apparaile Sanctity it selfe, with a pretious body, made by the holy Ghost, of her purest bloud. And being sanctified then, farre, and farre beyond that holy Prophet; that priui­lege must needs serue her afterward, to so good purpose, as that hauing bene holyer in her mothers wombe then he, she grew afterward, when she came into the world, or rather whē she had brought the Sauiour therof into it, to be incomparably much, and much more holy.

S. Iohn The great ad­uantage which our B. Lady had a­boue all pure crea­tures. Luc. 1. Baptist also was sanctified in his mothers wombe at the presence, and vpon the very hearing of our B. Ladyes voyce (as S. Eli­zabeth doth expresly say,) & he was freed from his Originall sinne, and indued with the vse of reason; and he exulted, and did exercise the operations of his soule (which was the ground and foundation of all the admirable sanctity which florished in that Precursour af­terward) according to the high office to which he was called. So as this mother of God him­selfe, who was the meanes of those benedi­ctions to S. Elizabeths house, by her presence, [Page 490]must euer infallibly, haue bene as farre beyond S. Iohn Baptist in sanctity,Psalm. 1. as she was in digni­ty. For of him it is said that he was not wor­thy to vnty the latchet of our B. Sauiours shoo (though yet he were the greatest,Matt. 11. amongst the Sonnes of mē) wheras she had ben made wor­thy to giue him all the flesh & bloud he had.

It is a most certaine rule of what we are to belieue, concerning the proceeding of Al­mighty God, which S. Augustine giues vs in these words:lib. 3. de lib. arb. c. 5. Quicquid tibi, vera ratione, melius oc­currerit, id scias fecisse Deum: whatsoeuer thou canst conceaue to be best according to the dictamen of recti­fied reason, know, that so it is done by Almighty God. Now, who sees not that it was fitter, & bet­ter, that the mother of God, should haue bene humble then proud; discreet then rash; belee­uing, then incredulous; and, in fine, a perfect Saint, then a grieuous sinner?

Her glorious person is high inough out of reach, assumed to heauen; and God forbid that now any creature, should cōtinue, to cru­cify her, in her honour, and in the fame of her sanctity, or in the effects of her mercy. The Iewes crucified the Sonne, but let no man be so wicked, as to crucify the mother. Let no mā now be like those Heretiques of auncient time who thinking (belike) that the sword of sor­row,Antidico. marianitae apud E­phiphan. haer. 78. Luc. 2. which was foreseen, & foretold, by holy S. Simeon, and of which it was said, that it should pierce her hart from side, to side, at the crucifying of our Lord, did not make the wound wide in­ough; and therfore they would needs procure [Page 491]to keepe it open, with their venemous teeth, and tongues. Let men, I say, be like them so much the lesse, as the Turks themselues in their Alcorā, haue bin cōuinced so far, by the certaine and cleere truth of the purity and perfection of our blessed Lady, as in seuerall places, by way of exclamation and admiration, to say thus of her,Alcor. Mahom. Azoar. 5. & 75. O Maria &c. O Mary thou art more pure, and right, and cleere then all other men or women, who doth perpetually attend to please God alone! There is none borne of the children of Adam, free from sinne, but Mary and her Sonne. There is none amongst the children of Adam, whome Sathā hath not defiled, excepting Mary and her Sonne.

If any wicked man, would needs haue a spight to any other, euen of them who are re­corded in holy writ, they might haue more colour, for there are few who were not sub­iect to some apparent fault.2. Reg. 11. 3. Reg. 11. There was a time when Dauid committed a most inexcusable murther. Salomon fell away to Idolatry; & the Prophets, and Apostles, had their defects. And such as were free from fault were yet found to execute some seuerity, which howsoeuer,Matt. 26. in it selfe, it were iust and good, yet such persons, vse to be lesse attractiue of the loue of others.

If any man should be incestuous, I would meruaile the lesse, although he should cry out against S. Paul, because he deliuered ouer one of that confraternity to the deuill by excom­munication.1. Cor. 5. Or if he would breake his pro­mise made to God, though he rayled against [Page 492] [...]. P [...]eter, Act. [...]. because Ananias & Saphira were stroc­ [...] ̄ dead in the Apostles presēce, for that finne. Or being wholy giuen ouer to frequent Ta­ [...]ernes and playes, & to worke his vnbridled will, whatsoeuer it may cost, if he haue no mind to S. Iohn Baptist, whome he counts to haue bene a melancholy kind of man, & that he was no good Courtyer,Matt. 14. in reprouing Herod for his faults to his face. Or being a Propha­nour of the worship of God, I should not wō ­der so very much, though he maligned the ve­ry fountaine of sanctity, Christ our Lord him­selfe, because he whipt such offēdours as those out of the Temple.Ioan. 2. But in this sacred Virgin, as on the one side there was neuer the least de­fect at all, of which any creature could iustly taxe her; so on the other, she had no such Of­fice as might oblige her to the executiō of any seuerity, vpon the pretence wherof, they could grow to be auerted from her.

Of her excellency otherwise I shall say somewhat afterward, but for her discharge in point of Innocency, I would but aske the sowrest Critiques of the world; What action of hers they did euer note, what word they did euer read or heere; or whatThe excessiue suauity of our B. Lady. coppy of her countenance, they did euer take, in a true light, which did not euē smell with sweetnes, and goodnes? Yet peraduenture this will not serue, because themselues will not be such as they ought. They loue not to see the sensuali­ty and pride of theirowne liues reproached, by the example of her high purity, and most [Page 493]holy humility. And they conceaue her to cast more shame vpon them, then euen the exam­ple of Christ our Lord himselfe would doe. From the imitation of whome, they would excuse themselues because he was God aswell as man; wheras she was no more then a mere creature, though most eminently inspired by the grace of God, which yet they also in their proportions may be. But if they would once procure to imitate this Queene of heauen in her vertues,Note. there is no soule capable of rea­son, which could euer detaine it selfe, from becoming the trumper of her prayses.

If any narrow-harted man be inclined out of ambition to enuy such as aspire to tem­porall Greatenes, his Enuy must looke after another obiect, since she was poore and pri­uate, and loued to be so. If he hate all cruel­ty of condition, he may better imploy that hate, vpon what other creature he will; for in this sacred Virgin, he could neuer see any thinge, which might offend him; vnlesse he will be angry with her, for hauing neuer re­sented any indignity, that could be done her in this life. If he loue to be reuenged of such as doe him any wronge, that passion can haue noe place vpon this Queene of Heauen, who neuer did him or any, any other wrong, then to giue her flesh and bloud to God, that he might spend and shed it for the redemp­tion of man. ButHow we are obliged to pitty, to admire and loue this Queene of heauē. if, on the other side, there be any thinge which he can resolue to pitty, in her he may see a world of paine, for the [Page 494]Crosses of her sonne, supported by him, for the finnes of vs his wicked seruants. If there be any thing which he can be content to ad­mire; in her he sees nobility of bloud, dignity of calling, and sanctity of life, all met in one. If he be not so fierce, but that there is some thing which he may be induced to loue; in her he may behould most incomparable beau­ty of body, with an vnspeakeable suauity of minde; who neuer, in all her life, gaue any one crosse-answere, nor shewed so much as a strange eye to any creature, nor complayned of any incommodity, nor refused to be sub­iect to any impertinency; nor fayled to suc­cour any misery. But if we will looke vpon her story with vntroubled eyes, we shall find all the traces of her pure feete, to haue bene full of a kind of diuine, profound, perpetuall, humble, suffering sweetnes, which at last will oblige men to be her slaues.

Of the incomparable sanctity which is implyed to haue beene in our Blessed Lady, by the consideration of the high dignity of her calling; and how that māner of speach is to be vnderstood, in holy Scrip­ture, wherby our Blessed Lady doth seeme, in the eye of some, to be disaduantaged.

CHAP. 82.

AND how indeed could it be chosen, but that her externall actions, should leaue behind them an admirable odour, whose soule did so regorge with the most sublime [Page 495]perfection of sanctity which might be agrea­ble to the dignity of the mother of God. The B.A iust considera­tion of the excel­lency of our B. Lady drawen from he [...] her high Office. Hebr. 1. Apostle inferred the supreme excellēcy of Christ our Lord, from the name of Sonne which God had giuen him, and that therfore, he did infinitely excell the Angells. For to which of them (saith the Apostle) was it sayd at any tyme, Thou art my Sonne, this day haue I begotten thee? Now the same kind of discourse, hath also place, in honour of our B. Lady. For since, togeather with the name, & Office, the God of power and wisedome is wont to giue all the abilities, and ornaments, which may concerne the same; what thought can there be, that there should be any thing in any meere creature, yea or in all of them p