THE SOULES SOLILOQUIE: AND, A CONFERENCE WITH CONSCIENCE.

As it was delivered in a SERMON be­fore the KING at Newport in the Isle of Wight, on the 25 of October, being the monthly Fast, during the late TREATY.

BY The Right Reverend Father in God, Brian Duppa, Ld. Bp. of Salisbury.

Printed for R. Royston, 1648.

THE SOVLS SOLILOQUIE: AND, A Conference with Conscience.

PSAL. 42. v. 5.‘Why art thou cast downe, O my soule, and why art thou disquieted within me?’

THis Psalme was directed to the Sons of Core, but with this Inscription, In finem intellectûs filiis Core, implying a caution, that they should be sure, they understood what they sung; which that they might the easier doe, you shall find this very Verse thrice re­peated over; twice in this Psalme; once in the next: such Repetitions being usuall, when God would awake the Memory: As he does in the 136 Psal. where, that his Mercy might not be forgotten, (without any danger of Tautologie) seven and twenty times he repeats it over, For his mercy endureth for ever.

If we look on This Psalme in the Generall current of [Page 2]it, we shall find it divided between Light and Darknesse; Here a Clowd, and There a Sun-shine; Here a Soule Cast downe, and There Erected: But if we looke upon these words onely, we shall find more clowd then sun-shine. Like a picture, Commended rather by the sha­dowing of it, then the Colours. For however the An­themes sung in the upper Choyre in the Triumphant Church, have ever been of joy, yet in the Militant, Gods lower Choyre hath ever been of Mourners. Among us, he that Sets the saddest tunes, proves the best Musician: For, where the ground-work is our Sin, the descant on it, must needs be our Sorrow.

As Saint Ambrose therefore told his Auditory, That they should not looke in his Sermon for matter to Ap­plaud, but Mourne with him; So, while I touch upon this string of sorrow, if any here sensible of their sinne, or misery, answer me with a sigh, or GOD that speaks to them By me with a Teare, it shall be my Joy, as St. Paul told the Corinthians, That I have made them sorry.

But, if there be others that think the Text too melan­choly for this Place, that come rather to have their Eares pleased, then their Hearts wounded; To these, I must alter my Note, and say, as St. Hierome did to Sa­binian, Hoc ipsum plango, quod vos non plangitis, This makes me sorry, that nothing can make you so.

But, as many that go to see dead bodies cut up, al­though they came not with the purpose to learne Ana­tomy, yet go away informed by that sight, what kind of substance the Heart is, the forme and posture of it; where abouts the Spleen lies, or where the Liver; so you, that came not hither purposely to heare of sorrow, yet when you have looked a while on this Anatomy, when you have seen this Prophet how he dissects himself, [Page 3]rifling his breast, and cutting up his entrals, you may chance to go away instructed too, (perhaps against your wills) what the Soule is, or what the Conscience, what is that sorrow of the one, or what that disquiet of the o­ther; for these are the Lessons that I am now to read you, These are the Troubles that made David crie, Why art thou cast downe, ô my soule, and why art thou disquie­ted within me?

Athanasius counsell'd his friend, that when any trouble should fall upon him, he should fall presently to the reading of this Psalme; For there was a way, (he thought) of curing by the like, as well as by the contrary: for 'tis observed indeed that when two instruments are tuned to the same Unison, if you touch the strings of the one, the strings of the other will move too, though untouch'd, if placed at a convenient distance: That therefore you may trie the same experiment in your selves, doe but set your affections for a time in the same key, in which these words were spoken, if really you feel none, Ima­gine some affliction laid upon you; when you have done so, that you may be the more fully moved, place your attention at a Convenient distance, looke narrowly on this Holy Prophet, observe how he retires himself, shuts out the world, calls his sad soule, to as sad a Reckon­ing, Quare tam tristis? O my soule! thou that wert in­fused to give me Life, nay, saies Philo the Jew; A spark, a beame of the Divinity, thou, which should'st be, to this darke body of Mine, as the Sun is to the Earth, in­lightning, quickning, cheering up my spirits, tell me, why art thou clowded? why art thou cast downe?

This is the first Interpellation of the Soule, as Saint Am­brose calls it; but the next is more abrupt, more trouble­some, caused rather by pangs, and gripes, and tumults, [Page 4]then by sorrow; when the Sinner feeling thornes in his sides, fire in his bones, warre in his Conscience, can hold no longer from expostulating, Not onely why art thou cast downe? But as Symachus renders it, Why art thou disquieted, not within me onely, but against me?

You see then the two maine parts of my Text. The subject of the first, The Dejection of the Soule: the Ar­gument of the latter, the Disquiet of the Conscience. But because there are other observations worth the looking after, We must first make a generall discovery of this Enquiry, Why art thou cast down, O my Soule? &c.

The words imply rather a Soliloquie, then a Dialogue: yet Clemens of Alexandria calls it a Prosopopoeia, where one is made two by way of fiction. But however, there are not many at this Conference, Onely two, if two, Man and his Soule: for Tota domus duo sunt: yet two sometimes such strangers, that man may say of his soul, as the Epigrammatist did of his sullen neighbour, In Urbe totâ, nemo tam propè, tam proculque nobis, None lives more neer me, nor none farther off: or as Myrrha com­plained, She could not enjoy her owne Father, because he was too much her owne: Nunc quia jam Meus est, non est meus, ipsaque damno est mihi proximitas. So be­cause my Soule is mine, therefore it is not mine. No­thing so much as nearnesse makes us strangers. The truth is, that though Aquinas tels us, That 'tis one of the Prerogatives of the soule, to reflect upon her selfe; yet the ordinary Glasse we use, is rather Diaphonous then Reflexive; We looke not in it on our selves, but through it on others; which hath made some imagine the Soule to be of that nature as Moisture is, which Phi­losophy concludes to be bounded, facilè alienis terminis, difficilimè suis, with any thing easier then it selfe.

But to examine this farther. Why should my soule and I become such strangers? Why like my two eyes? There is not an inch betweene them, yet one eye never sees the other. It is as Saint Bernard confesseth of him­selfe, Nihil est corde meo fugacius. The heart is a kind of Runagate, harder to be fix'd then Quick-silver. So that, if I would I cannot find it out. Or is it, that few of us can look on our Wounded Soules, with that pati­ence, as on the soules of others; Like some Chyrur­gians, that (I have seene) faint at a scar of their owne, yet could unmoved either feare, or scarrifie, or launce the flesh of others? Or (to looke no farther for it) Are we else in that strait which Bishop Anselme was in his Meditations, when he cryes out, Gravis Angustia! Si me inspicio, non tolero meipsum; si non, nescio meipsum; si me considero, terret me facies mea; si non, fallit me damnatio mea: si me video, horror est; si non video, mors. What shall I dee? If I looke into my selfe, I shall not en­dure my selfe; if not, I shall not know my selfe: If I consider what I am, the face of my sins affrights me; if not, my damnation steales upon me: to see my self is horror; not to see my selfe is death.

But, what ever the betraying motives are, the effect (I am sure) is dangerous: For he that willingly puts out the Taper of his Conscience, the Candle which God hath set there for him, to see himselfe by, let him know, that he is passing from that voluntary darknesse to a worse; that like an Offender on the Scaffold, he doth but blind his eyes to have his head cut off. But Saint Augustines Prayer shall goe along with me, Noverim me Domine, noverim te: Let me know my selfe, O God, so shall I know thee. In my Afflictions (what ever become of my other friends) let me have, at least, my Soule to [Page 6]talk to. May Sinne never divorce us, nor the Devil ne­ver make us strangers; That, when Thou shalt set me up for a marke for all thine Arrowes, when thou shalt fill me with bitternesse, and cover me with sorrowes, I may not then feare to aske, Why art thou cast downe O my soule, and why art thou, &c.

It was a Proverbiall speech among the Jewes, when they would Characterize an extravagant Busie-body, to say of him, Ben-Zoma nunquam est domi, This man is never at home: But God loves no such straglers; you shall heare him call to his people, by his Prophet Esay, Come my people, enter into your chambers, shut the doores upon you. But Quaenam ista cubicula, saith Saint Augast. nisi ipsa corda? What are these Chambers that God calls us to, but our owne hearts? What is it to shut the doores upon us, but to shut out the world? Yea but this is not all: I have heard of men that have barr'd, and lock'd, and bolted doores upon themselves, and yet all that while have been playing with a feather, or with some thoughts as light. Therefore in the fourth Psalme, God goes farther, In cubilibus vestris compun­gimini, as the Old Translation hath it: Or, as our Bibles render it, Examine, or Commune with your owne hearts in your chambers.

Yea, but this is not enough neither; for the foole could doe as much, he could commune with his owne soule, Soule, thou hast much goods laid up for many yeeres, Live as ease therefore, eate, drinke, and be merry, take thy pleasure. The ambitious man can doe as much, he can talke of such an honour, such a preferment, as if he now enjoy'd it.

But this is not the Argument we are to treat on, this is not to shut out the world, to have so much of the world [Page 7] within us. The Roman that Seneca speaks of, had a better way then this, to keep his soule as cleane, as good Huswives keep their Plate; for every night he look'd in­to it, wiping off the dust, clearing the spots of it, exami­ning it on severall Interrogatories, Quod malum hodie sanasti? cui vitio obstitisti? quâ parte melior es? Tell me, my soule, What sin hast thou this day conquer'd? what passion hast thou powerfully resisted? how art thou improved since the morning? or how decayed? But when he had done this, when he had made this ac­compt with the day, O qualis somnus! quam altus! quam tranquillus! how sweet a sleep did ever follow! how in­nocent I how untroubled! What think you, beloved? Shall not this Morall Heathen rise up in judgement a­gainst them that lie downe in their beds, as the beast doth in the Litter, without any such enquiry made up­on themselves, nay without so much as bidding their owne soules Good night? Or shall he not rise against them, who when God visits them with crosses, have a conceipt, they can drowne their griefe in excesse of Wine, or out-roare their Conscience with loud Instru­ments, calling for company, when they should call for Prayers; Businesses, or sport, or any thing, rather then their owne soules that troubled them? The Jews had a custome indeed to give them Wine that were to suffer death, that they might lesse feele their torments, (a cu­stome not yet out-dated in some Forraigne Parts, at Executions.) But it is observable, that when they of­fered our Saviour Wine at his Passion, he received it not; but when they gave him Vinegar, he took it: Not be­cause the Wine was bitter of the Myrrhe, as many of the Interpreters conceive; for Vinum Myrrhanum or Myrrhi­num, as Plantus calls it, may be sweet Wine, for any [Page 8]thing I find. But the reason rather was, (if we beleeve Saint Chrysostome) that, that Wine being of a stupifying quality, the Sonne of God that took on him all our sor­rowes, He would be sensible of every naile that pierc'd his hands, or feet, of every thorn that ran into his head: And was he sensible of his sorrowes, and shall not we be sensible of our sinnes, that caused those sorrows? Shall we still deale with our souls, as Women when they grow old, deale with their Looking-glasses, turning the wrong side towards them? How comes it else, that we that have the courage to dare to sin, have not the courage to look back on our souls when we have sinned? Had we the least wound in the Body, we should not sleep till we had seene it drest; But we have Soules all mangled over, ul­cerated with Lust, impostumated with Malice, wounded with Temptations; yet as the Levite passed by the wounded man, so every man passeth by his owne soule too, not so much as asking bow it came hurt.

But how shall I move thee wretched and carelesse fin­ner? Shall I tell thee, that as thy soule is an immortall sub­stance, so the wages of thy sinne is as Immortall as thy soule, an immortall and everlasting death: That in the next life thou shalt see thy selfe with trembling, if in this life thou turnest away thine eye in wilfulnesse. But I for­beare; It is an argument that concerns us all so nearly, that I will not doubt, but it hath already made impres­sion: That there are some here, that by this time, are be­ginning a Dialogue with their soules, that are resolved to renew their acquaintance with them. You have a Royall Example for it, I am sure, for you have no lesse then a King that hath led the way; He it is that begins the accompt, commends the Inquisition to you. If there­fore any trouble arise, away every one of you to his [Page 9]owne home, discusse examine, commune with thy self, Why art thou cast downe, O my soule, and why art thou dis­quieted, &c.

Having done therefore with the examination in gene­rall, the Parties, the Manner, the Necessity; Our next work must be to survey the first interrogatory, Why art thou cast downe O my soule?

Sorrow is Sin's Eccho, which made the Prophet say, Peccata nostra responderunt nobis, our sins have answer'd, and (as it were) ecchoed to us: But as the Eccho an­swers not the voice so well, as where there are broken walls, and ruined buildings to return it: so neither doth Sorrow answer unto sin, unlesse reverberated by a broken, a ruined heart: For, I have read of a melancholy man, that could not believe he had an Head, till his Physitian having made a Leaden hat for him, with the weight of that, forced him to crie out, O his head! so there are men amongst us, so lost in sensuall pleasure, so buried in their flesh, that til mischief, like sheets of lead, be thrown upon them, to squeez out a Confession, they have much adoe to remember, that they have a Soule within them. Not to go farther then this Prophet for an In­stance, when almost an whole yeare (as Cajetan com­putes the time) he lay asleep in the dregs of his sin, (his foule adultery with Uriahs Wife) where was his sorrow? or where then was his Soule? well then might he crie out, O his Body, saith S. Augustine, but ô! his Soule was cleane forgotten; nay, they farther had a conceipt, that during all that time, Ipsa anima Davidis transierat in carnem, the very Soule of David was turned into flesh. But no sooner did God begin to shake his rod over him, to punish him with the ravishing of his Daughter, the murder of one Son, the rebellion of another, but instantly [Page 10]we find him, mourning as a Turtle, chattering as a Crane, sitting alone as a Sparrow on the house top. The Devil had given him a Fall, but he felt not that, Sin had given him many, but he felt not them neither; At last God under­took him, he at whose very word the mountains smoake; he threw him downe, and this fall onely made him feel all the rest; This onely made him crie, Why art thou cast downe, O my soule?

It is memorable in Job, that upon the ill news that was brought him, instantly surrexit Job, saith the Text, when one would have thought he would rather have swounded and fallen downe for grief, then he arose. But we find our Prophet in another kind of posture, dejected, prostrate, cast downe in his more noble part, yet S. Hie­rome goes not so far, who translates it according to Symmachus, Why art thou bowed downe? Affliction is a burden; true, but though it bow us, yet we may stand un­der it; But sin is a burden that goes beyond the extent of that word, that doth not onely bow, but cast us downe, which makes Saint Chrisostome say, Nihil est grave nisi peccatum, that nothing is heavy but sin; nothing so hea­vy, as to cast us down, not poverty, not sicknesse, not disgrace, nor any thing, that the wit of sullennesse, or melancholy can devise. As for such afflictions as those, Know you not, saith Saint Paul, that all ye that are bap­tized into Jesus Christ, are baptized into his death, that is, saith Saint Hierome, as into his faith, so into his suf­ferings too: so that it is part of our engagement in our Baptisme. Besides, think of it well, and what is there in that Cup of bitternesse, which thy Saviour hath not ta­sted, for prior bibit Medicus, ut bibere non dubitaret aegro­tus, saith Saint Augustine: He began to thee in all, to encourage thee to follow him; nay, to thy comfort, [Page 11] Ambrose adds a degree farther, Non tam haec ante te quam pro te sustulit, His sufferings were not onely before thee, but for thee. Wouldst not thou think him a strange Physitian, who when he came to cure thee of a Feaver, should himself drink up the Potion? Yet thus did thy Saviour, Thine was the sicknesse, but he that was not sick he kept the diet: Thine the feaver, but it was he that sweat: Thine the Plurisie, but 'twas he that bled for it: Who then can consider this without erecting his de­jected Soule? at least, without a serious inquisition in­to the reason of this melancholy? For, be not decei­ved, God is not alwaies taken with the head that hangs downe, with the folded armes, or with the melting eyes: For instance, when God told Ezekiel, that he would shew him a strange abomination, what was it but, Behold there sate a Woman weeping for Adonis? for Tammuz faith our translation, for so (according to Saint Hierome) the Hebrews named the Adonis of the Heathen, for as Venus mourned for her lost Adonis, so sinners for their plea­sures, when they are either snatch'd from them, or out­dated. The exhausted Adulterer, whose lust outlives his body, that mournes not for having offended God, but for not being able to offend him longer, he is one of those plangentes. He againe that hath his wealth taken from him, the occasion of his ryot, that is temperate only because he is needy, and sorry, because he is either; he is another Mourner of the train: so that you see, there may be a kind of wantonnesse in Grief, an effeminatenesse of the mind, that melts upon all occasions.

But consider I beseech you the value of the Soule, that is thus cast downe, That your Sights are the breath of Heaven, your Teares are the wine of Angels, your Groanes the Eccho's of the Holy Ghost, that there­fore to imploy this sacred Treasure in prophane expen­ces, [Page 12]to lay it out on the trifles of this world, is a Sin no lesse then Sacriledge; Be therefore more thrifty of your sorrow, for the time may come, when you shall want those sighs, which now so impertinently you throw a­way; nay, saith Bonaeventure, should the Devil set thee on that Pinacle where he had our Saviour, should he of­fer thee all the Kingdomes of the whole world for one Teare, to be spent in his service, O doe not give it him, for on thy death-bed, for that One Teare, perhaps thou wouldst give a thousand worlds.

Think of this, ye that feel the heavinesse of your Soul, think of it ye that doe not, for ye may feel it. Know there is a sorrow that worketh repentance, not to be repented of; Know againe there is a sorrow that worketh Death. Re­member there were tears, that got sinfull Mary heaven, Remember again, there were tears that could get Esau nothing. For as in Martyrdome it is not the sword, the boyling lead, or fire, not what we suffer, but why, that makes us Sufferers: so in our sorrows, it is not how deep they wound, but why, that justifies them. Let every one therefore, that hath a troubled heart, aske his soule the why, Why art thou cast downe? Is it not for thine owne sins, or for the sins of others? take either of them, thine eyes will have a large field to water; Is it for that thou hast been a Child of wrath, a Servant of the Devil? Is it for that thou art a Candle set in the wind, blowne at by severall temptations? or is it for that thou wouldst be freed from them? Woe is me that I dwell in Mesech, that I dwell so long in the tents of Kedar. Art thou trou­bled, as Saint Augustine was, when he read that the way to Heaven was narrow, the number small, that travail'd thither? Or hast thou put on Saint Bernards resolution, who had made a compact with his Soule, never to joy [Page 13]till he had heard his Saviour call him, Come thou blessed, nor never to leave sorrowing till he had escaped the bit­ter sentence, Goe ye cursed? If any of these be the Why, the ground of thy sorrowes, if such thoughts have cast thee downe; know, that thy Saviour hath already bles­sed thee; For, Blessed are they that mourne. The Angels are thy servants, they gather thy teares; God is thy Treasurer, he layes them up in his bottle; the holy Ghost is thy Comforter, he will not leave thee. Feare not then to be thus cast downe, feare not to be thus disquieted within thee. Thus having sail'd through one sea of bit­ternesse, the Dejection of the soule, we are againe to set forth, but in a roughet storme, the Trouble of the Con­science, implyed in the next Interrogatory, Why art thou disquieted within me?

The Conscience is in the soule, but none can tell well, whether a portion of it; none can tell you what, whe­ther it be an Habit, or an Act, or both; whether in the Understanding, or in the Will, or in both; whether Pra­cticall, or Theoricall, or mixt of both, is still disputed. But Saint Augustine gives me the truer satisfaction, Sen­tio, quam non Intelligo, I feele thee Conscience, though I doe not understand thee. For as they whom States­men employ as Spies, though they mingle with all com­panies, yet keep themselves concealed: so the Consci­ence which is Gods Informer, sent by him, as a Spie in­to the Soule, mixeth with all our thoughts, as well as actions; and though we know not what the Conscience is, yet what We are, our Conscience knowes full well. Yet as I have seene Lines drawne upon a wall with a coale, so far resemble a face, as he that look'd on it at least might guesse at it: so the Ancient Fathers have ventur'd at some Expressions of this subtile, spirituall thing, the Conscience.

First, if we look to the Nature of it, they tell us, that Conscience is an habit of the soule, not acquir'd, but crea­ted with it: That it is an Invisible Instinct, or a Practi­call Syllogisme, by which we conclude what we should doe, and what not. If we look farther for the use, for the Office of it, Origen calls it Paedagogum Animae, the busie Paedant of the Soul, varying as our actions vary, now discouraging, straight heartning, approving here, re­proving there; Or, if this be not enough, Tertullian shall tell you, that it is Praejudicium Judicii, a kinde of Antidated day of Judgement, a domestick Doomes-day, or as Saint Basil tells you, that it is Naturale Judicatorium, the very Consistory of the Law of Nature. A strange Court, where (almost against nature) the Plaintife, the Defendant, the Judge, the Witnesse, all is but one. For,—Me mihi perside prodit, may every man say, the Con­science against the Conscience, bringing in Evidence; producing the Law, proving the Forfeit, urging the Pe­nalty, giving the Sentence, beginning the Punishment.

But art thou sensible of this, O my soule? that thou carryest thine Accuser, thy Judge, nay thy Hell, or if not Hell, I am sure, one of the paines of it, about thee in thine owne bosome? Dost thou know withall, that it is a Volume which no Jesuite can corrupt, nor no In­dex Expurgatorius strike a Letter out of it; That it is the onely Book of all thy Library that shall goe along with thee into the world to come? Art thou verily per­swaded, Saint John hath not deceived thee, when he tels thee, in the 20. of the Revel. That on that terrible day of Judgement this Booke of thine (though now never so close shut up) shall be then throwne open in the sight of God, in the view of all his Angels: Dost thou not reckon of these things, onely as bug-bears to affrighten [Page 15]thee? But art thou perswaded thus in earnest? If so, O my soul, wert thou cut out of the rock, or marble, yet these are thoughts would make a way into thee, wert thou as rugged as the Alpes, yet this vineger would cat into thee, no wonder then, that such a Meditation cast thee down, or that thou art disquieted with­in me.

They that call the Conscience scintillam Animae, the spark of the Soule, make an enquiry, whether this spark may be put out or no? But the generall verdict goes, it never was extin­guished, no not in Cain, nor Judas, it never will be not in the most desperate Sinner; for cast this sparke into a sea of thy sinnes, yet it will live there even in that sea: scatter it abroad even in the wildernesse of thy thoughts, or cover it with the multitude of thine employments, yet it will live there too: no Cord can strangle it, nor no hand stifle it. Perire nec sine Te, nec Tecum potest, It can neither die with thee, nor without the: yet as the pulse doth not alwaies beat alike, but some­times is more violent, sometimes more remisse; so neither is this spirituall pulse, the Conscience, alwaies in equall agitati­on, somtimes it beats, somtimes it intermits, but straight againe is recurrent. If it come not so fast, as a Quotidian Ague, yet look for it as a Tertian, or if it forbear thee longer, imagine it a Quartan, or if it observe no time, prepare for it in every piece of Time, for these fits will come again, there is no avoiding them.

Saint Bernard, a tried Physitian of the Conscience, distin­guisheth four severall habitudes, or states of it; the first, Tran­quilla, non Bona, a quiet Conscience, but not a Good: the se­cond, Bona, non Tranquilla, a good Conscience, but not a Quiet: the third, nec Bona, nec Tranquilla, neither Good, nor Quiet: the last, tam Bona, quam Tranquilla, as well Good, as Quiet. The first, sear'd; the second, wounded; the third, desperate; the fourth, happy. They that are in the first state, go the way of Naball, who when he had slept, (saith the Text) [Page 16] found his heart dead within him. They that are in the second, go the way of David, still blessed with Gods protection, yet still complaining of his Anger. They that are in the third, go the way of Caine, with their backs against the Sun, not so much are with a look to Heaven. They that are in the last state, go the way of Saints, with joy above their fellows. Give me leave therefore of these foure waies, to make a short description, which when I have done, let every one of you tell his owne soule in which of these paths, he now is travelling.

First, to the most beaten way, Tranquilla, non Bona, the quiet Conscience, not the Good. I may safely say, Hell gets more Passengers by this path, then by any; which makes the Devil so carefull in the dressing it, that he wil not leave a small pible in the way, nor an uneven mole-hill to offend thee, as if he had bin once one of those Angels to whom God had given the Charge that thou shouldst not hurt thy foot against a stone. If thou chance to travell on the way, he sings to thee; if to sleep, he sits by thee, whispering as softly, as the Spouse to the Daughters of Jerusalem, (though to a far worse end) I charge you, O you Tormentors of the heart, that you stir not up, nor a­wake my beloved untill he please. Let there be no outcrie of sorrow, no noise of feare, no alarme sounded of Repentance, but Peace, peace, Lie downe, lie downe in peace, with thy warme sins cleaving to thy bosome. This is the opium, these are the charmes, by which so many souls are laid asleep, but if ever sleep were the true image of death, this is the sleep. Saint Hierome knew the danger of it, when he made that pas­sionate exclamation, O qualis Tempestas ista Tranquillitas! what storme so cruell as this calme? what rock, what ship­wrack? None; Let thy winds rage O God, and the sea roare, let the waves of thy punishments like Mountains fall upon me, split and teare, and sink this vessel of my flesh, rather then ever to let my soule be thus becalmed.

We read, that the Grecians, had an Hill so high above that [Page 17]region of the ayre where Winds are bred, that he that had drawn his name in the ashes of the last years sacrifices, might the next year at his return find the same Letters un-blowne a­way: but if any ones heart here be so calmly seated, that the Devil may at this instant read in the sluttish dust of it, the sins which long agoe he wrote there, if no thunder have clear'd the ayre about thee, nor no wind scatter'd those guilty Cha­racters; if all be hush'd, silence, and rest, and sleep about the Conscience, like the Country of the Sibarites, where not so much as a Cock, the Remembrancer of Saint Peter, was left alive to trouble them; If so, know then, that as long as this soule is thus benum'd, thy God hath given thee over, he will not so much as favour thee with a frown, or blesse thee with his anger. It may be true that perhaps thou doest not feel thy misery, but therefore the more wretched, in Saint Augustine's judgment, because thou doest not feel it; for, Quid miserius misero, non miserante seipsum? Cleopatra that had not a mind to feel her death, poyson'd her self with Aspes, that she might die sleeping; and just so is thy state, thy habituall customary sinnes, those which thou drinkest down like water, as if they were no sins, these are the Aspes that doe benumme thy soule, as cold poyson doth the brain, that casts thee into a sleep ne­ver to be awakened till the Worm that never sleeps awake thee.

But, shall I leave thee so? As the quartan Ague is call'd op­probrium Medici, the shame of the Physitian; so this dead sleep, this Lethargie of sinne may be opprobrium Theologi, the shame of the Divine. I confesse, I never liked those that put so much Vineger in their Sermons, as if their onely errand were, to eate out the hearts of their hearers; so much of the Law, as if the Gospel were not yet given; for though bitter pills may be good physick, yet he that should let his Patient eate no other meat then pills, would prove a mad Physitian: yet for all this, something of bitternesse doth well, there must [Page 18]be a searching of the wound, before there be a skinning. Feare not then thy remedy O my soule, but if thou findest this hard­nesse, this stupidity, this senslesnesse, within thee, get thee to Mount Ebal, see the Curses that were given there, if they wound not deep enough, adde to these some few serious thoughts of Hell, of the utter darknesse, the eternall fire, the everlasting Worme. But when thou hast done this, doe not dwell there, but be sure to look upward again to thy Saviour, Downe with thy knees, though thy heart be stiffe, up with thy Hands, at least, to Heaven, though thy soule stir not; hope in thy God against hope, as Abraham did: get out but an eja­culation, a piece, a word of prayer, ever cleaving to the Rock of thy salvation Christ Jesus, till from the clefts of that bles­sed Rock, thou hear his Mercy answer thee; for so in stead of a quiet conscience, but not a good, God will give thee a good Conscience though for a time unquiet, turning thee out of this sleepy way of Nabal, into the sighing way of David, which gives us the next prospect of the Conscience. Bona, non Tran­quilla, a Good, but not a Quiet.

It is a Maxime in Philosophy, that no Element is heavy in the proper place of it; For should we dive into the bottome of the Sea, we should not feele the weight of all those waves that roul upon us; but out of the Ocean, to carry a small pit­cher of that water, would prove a burden. The like experi­ment we may finde in our selves, as long as we are in the Proper place, the Element of sinne, we do not feele the weight of it, but once being out, the easiest sinne seemes heavy: We then start at a sinfull thought, who before would have leaped confidently from that thought, into the action. Or have we gone farther then thought? have we actually offended? Instant­ly our hearts strike us, we complain, we grieve, we melt into repentance, our very Souls are disquieted within us. But let us take heede we do not alwayes measure Gods anger, by this disquiet; for the disquiet may be the meanes to take away his [Page 19] anger. Tis true, that there are sinnes of infirmity that will still creep upon us; there will be a continuall fight of the flesh against the spirit: But yet, if with an unfeigned reluctancy we can then but cry, either as this Prophet did: O that I had the wings of a dove, that I might flie away, and be at rest: or as the Apostle did: O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? assure your self you shall not die, Sin may hang upon you, as the Viper did upon S. Pauls hand, but poyson you it cannot: It may bring a damnability (as the Schoole speakes) but not damnation.

Yea, but this is not all; Doth not God sometimes would deep the hearts of them he loves? Doth he not leave them in the sense of his bitter wrath? Hath not this Saint of his felt as much, when he was enforced to cry, Will God cast me off for ever? will he be favourable no more? is his mercy clean gone, doth his promise faile for evermore? hath he forgotten to be gra­tious? hath he shut up his tender mercy in displeasure? Nay, hath not the Son of God felt as much? Were they not his words upon the Crosse, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? What then can we vile wormes expect? He that could hide his face from thee, O blessed Saviour, how shall he ever turne againe his face to us? Yea but saith Saint Bernard, that turning away his face from him, is become the onely cause that he will look on thee. Since that time, saith that Father, if God troubles thee, it is, that thou shouldst pray to him; if he flyes from thee, it is that thou shouldst find him. Origen knew as much, when he said, Discedit Deus meus, sed expecto iterum; ve­nit, sed elabitur; elapsus redit, sed nondum teneo. My God for­sakes me often, but still I wait for him againe; he comes, but againe he vanisheth; and againe I have him, though I cannot hold him. Saint Cyprian knew as much, when he likened the accesses and recesses, these commings and goings of God, to the quick flashes of Lightning; the entrance and departure [Page 20]sudden: for Heavinesse may endure for a night, but as sure as the morning Sun shall arise, so sure shall thy morning joy, for joy comes in the morning. And so from this way we passe unto the third, a way rather to look on, then walk in: for this is Cains way, nec Bona, nec Tranquilla, a Conscience that is neither Good nor Quiet.

An ill Conscience is a sleeping Lion, as soone as it awakes, it murthers; or like a Match laid to fire a trayne of Powder, it burnes dimly on, till at last at one fearfull clap it blowes up all. For this is the Devils method, first he makes us senselesse, we feele not sinne at all; next, he makes us desperate, we feele our sins too much. In the senselesse Fit, we live as if there were no Hell; in the desperate Fit, we die as if there were no Heaven. But make haste to get out of this way, all ye that love your soules. Doe but conceive of God that he is not such an one, as by any absolute, peremptory decree hath either designed, or ordered, or sealed you to damnation before-hand; nor such a one that necessitates any of you to perdition: but as that com­municable, diffusive good, that hath so often proclaimed, he would have All men saved. For though at the Tribunall of your unquiet Consciences, your sins stand up against you as a Cloud of witnesses, though the Evidence be brought in, the Accusation proved, the Sentence given, yet as the condemn'd Felon at the Bar hath his Booke to save him, so God this day reacheth out to every one of you a Booke, that learned, unlear­ned, all may read in; the Leaves of it, the pure flesh of your blessed Saviour; the letters of it drawn in blood; the pens that wrote it, thornes and scourges; the clasps of the Book, Nailes; the binding, the wood of the Crosse; and the Title of it, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jewes. Reade then, O desperate sin­ner! Reade but in this Book thy Miserere mei: reade it with a lively and active faith: and though thy soule be even at the brink of death, the Sentence shall be reversed, thy Accuser sha­med, [Page 21]thy Pardon sealed, and thy Conscience quieted. God, I say, shall snatch thee as a brand out of the fire, and pulling thee out of this way, shall direct thee to a better, the way that we are now to speak of, tam Bona, quam Tranquilla, a Conscience as well Good as Quiet.

As the end of all motion is Rest, so the last of these waies, the end of my Sermon, is the way of rest: where the day is a per­petuall Sabbath, the diet a Continuall feast, a Conscience Quiet, and Good too. Sure this must needs be the Paradisus sine gladio, which Saint Bernard speaks of, the Paradise with­out a sword, or Temp [...]m Solomonis sine Malleo, the Temple built without the noise of an Hammer. This, none but this, is the spirituall Arke of the Covenant, the Court of God, the Closet of the Holy Ghost, what shall I adde? But I have a already said more then Saint Augustine did; for he had but named the Peace of Conscience, to his Auditory, and they were so moved with it, as if in those few words, he had shewn them all the joyes of Heaven: Beloved, my desire shall be to leave you so affected, to leave you all in love with a good Conscience. So far in love with it, as to prefer it infinitely beyond what­ever else in this life is deare unto you.

But the hearts of Men are in thy hands O God, to thee therefore we turne our prayers, warme us all, we beseech thee with the com­fortable beams of thy mercy, inflame our cold affections, raise up our downe-cast souls, speak in thy soft whispers, to the wounded Conscience, in thy lowd thunder to the seared: Make the Good Conscience Quiet, and the Quiet Conscience Good, that thy Judgments may Re­claime the one, thy Mercies may Relieve the other, and thy Everlasting fa­vour Crowne us All world without end, Amen, Amen, Lord Iesus.

THE END.

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