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every minute of sanctification there is so excellent a condition of joy and high satisfaction, that the very calamities, the afflictions, and persecutions of the world, are turned into felicities by the activity of the prevailing ingredient; like a drop of water falling into a tun of wine, it is ascribed into a new family, losing its own nature by a conversion into the more noble. For now that all passionate desires are dead, and there is nothing remanent that is vexatious, the peace, the serenity, the quiet sleeps, the evenness of spirit, and contempt of things below, remove the soul from all neighbourhood of displeasure, and place it at the foot of the throne, whither when it is ascended, it is possessed of felicities eternal. These were the waters which were given to us to drink, when, with the rod of God, the rock Christ Jesus was smitten: the Spirit of God moves for ever upon these waters; and when the angel of the covenant hath stirred the pool, whoever descends hither shall find health and peace, joys spiritual, and the satisfactions of eternity.

THE PRAYER.

O holy Jesus, fountain of eternal life, thou spring of joy and spiritual satisfactions, let the holy stream of blood and water issuing from thy sacred side cool the thirst, soften the hardness, and refresh the barrenness of my desert soul; that I, thirsting after thee, as the wearied hart after the cool stream, may despise all the vainer complacencies of this world, refuse all societies but such as are safe, pious, and charitable, mortify all sottish appetites, and may desire nothing but thee, seek none but thee, and rest in thee with entire dereliction of my own caitive inclinations; that the desires of nature may pass into desires of grace, and my thirst and my hunger may be spiritual, and my hopes placed in thee, and the expresses of my charity upon thy relatives, and all the parts of my life may speak thy love, and obedience to thy commandments: that thou possessing my soul, and all its faculties, during my whole life, I may possess thy glories in the fruition of a blessed eternity; by the light of thy Gospel here, and the streams of thy grace, being guided to thee, the fountain of life and glory, there

to be inebriated with the waters of paradise, with joy, and love, and contemplation, adoring and admiring the beauties of the Lord for ever and ever. Amen.

Ad SECTION XII.

Considerations upon Christ's First Preaching, and the Accidents happening about that Time.

1. "WHEN John was cast into prison, then began Jesus to preach;" not only because the ministry of John, by order of Divine designation, was to precede the publication of Jesus, but also upon prudent considerations and designs of Providence, lest two great personages at once upon the theatre of Palestine might have been occasion of divided thoughts, and these have determined upon a schism, some professing themselves to be of Christ, some of John. For once an offer was made of a dividing question by the spite of the Pharisees,

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Why do the disciples of John fast often, and thy disciples st not?" But when John went off from the scene, then Jesus appeared, like the sun in succession to the morning star, and there were no divided interests upon mistake, or the fond adherences of the followers. And although the holy Jesus would certainly have cured all accidental inconveniences which might have happened in such accidents; yet this may become a precedent to all prelates, to be prudent in avoiding all occasions of a schism, and, rather than divide a people, submit and relinquish an opportunity of preaching to their inferiors, as knowing that God is better served by charity than a homily; and if my modesty made me resign to my inferior, the advantages of honour to God by the cession of humility are of greater consideration than the smaller and accidental advantages of better penned and more accurate discourses. But our blessed Lord, designing to gather disciples, did it in the manner of the more extraordinary persons and doctors of the Jews, and particularly of the Baptist, he initiated them into the institution by the solemnity of a baptism; but yet he was pleased not to minister it in his own person. His apostles were baptized in

John's baptism, said Tertullian; or else, St. Peter only was baptized by his Lord, and he baptized the rest. However, the Lord was pleased to depute the ministry of his servants, that so he might constitute a ministry; that he might reserve it to himself as a specialty to "baptize with the Spirit," as his servants did "with water;" that he might declare, that the efficacy of the rite did not depend upon the dignity of the minister, but his own institution, and the holy covenant; and lastly, lest they who were baptized by him in person might please themselves above their brethren, whose needs were served by a lower ministry.

2. The holy Jesus, the great Physician of our souls, now entering upon his cure, and the diocese of Palestine, which was afterwards enlarged to the pale of the Catholic church, was curious to observe all advantages of prudence for the benefit of souls, by the choice of place, by quitting the place of his education, (which, because it had been poor and humble, was apt to procure contempt to his doctrine, and despite to his person,) by fixing in Capernaum, which had the advantage of popularity, and the opportunity of extending the benefit, yet had not the honour and ambition of Jerusalem; that the ministers of religion might be taught to seek and desire employment in such circumstances which may serve the end of God, but not of ambition; to promote the interest of souls, but not the inordination of lower appetites. Jesus quitted his natural and civil interests, when they were less consistent with the end of God and his prophetical office, and considered not his mother's house, and the vicinage in the accounts of religion, beyond those other places in which he might better do his Father's work in which a forward piety might behold the insinuation of a duty to such persons, who, by rights of law and custom, were so far instrumental to the cure of souls, as to design the persons; they might do but duty if they first considered the interests of souls before the advantages of their kindred and relatives; and although, if all things else be alike, they may in equal dispositions prefer their own before strangers; yet it were but reason that they should first consider sadly if the men be equal, before they remember that they are of their

• Lib. de Baptis.

kindred, and not let this consideration be ingredient into the former judgment. And another degree of liberty yet there is; if our kindred be persons apt and holy, and without exceptions either of law, or prudence, or religion, we may do them advantages before others who have some degrees of learning and improvement beyond the other: or else no man might lawfully prefer his kindred, unless they were absolutely the ablest in a diocese or kingdom; which doctrine were a snare apt to produce scruples to the consciences, rather than advantages to the cure. But then also patrons should be careful, that they do not account their clerks by an estimate taken from comparison with unworthy candidates, set up on purpose, that when we choose our kindred we may abuse our consciences by saying, we have fulfilled our trust, and made election of the more worthy. In these and the like cases, let every man who is concerned deal with justice, nobleness, and sincerity, with the simplicity of a Christian and the wisdom of a man, without tricks and stratagems, to disadvantage the church by doing temporal advantages to his friend or family.

3. The blessed Master began his office with a sermon of repentance, as his decessor, John the Baptist, did in his ministration, to tell the world that the new covenant, which was to be established by the mediation and office of the holy Jesus, was a covenant of grace and favour, not established upon works, but upon promises, and remission of right on God's part, and remission of sins on our part. The law was "a covenant of works," and whoever prevaricated any of its sanctions in a considerable degree, he stood sentenced by it without any hopes of restitution supplied by the law. And therefore it was the "covenant of works;" not because good works were then required more than now, or because they had more efficacy than now; but because all our hopes did rely upon the perfection of works and innocence, without the suppletories of grace, pardon, and repentance. But the Gospel is therefore "a covenant of grace," not that works are excluded from our duty, or from co-operating to heaven; but that, because there is in it so much mercy, the imperfections of the works are made up by the grace of Jesus, and the defects of innocence are supplied by the substitution of repentance. Abatements are made for the infirmities and

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miseries of humanity; and if we do our endeavour now, after the manner of men; the faith of Jesus Christ, that is, conformity to his laws, and submission to his doctrine, entitles us to the grace he hath purchased for us, that is, our sins for his sake shall be pardoned. So that the law and the Gospel are not opposed barely upon the title of faith and works, but as the " covenant of faith" and the "covenant of works." In the faith of a Christian, works are the great ingredient and the chief of the constitution, but the Gospel is not a covenant of works," that is, it is not an agreement upon the stock of innocence without allowances of repentance, requiring obedience in rigour and strictest estimate. But the Gospel requires the holiness of a Christian, and yet after the manner of a man; for, always provided that we do not allow to ourselves a liberty, but endeavour with all our strength, and love with all our soul, that which, if it were upon our allowance, would be required at our hands, now that it is against our will, and highly contested against, is put upon the stock of Christ, and allowed to us by God in the accounts of pardon by the merits of Jesus, by the covenant of the Gospel. And this is the repentance and remission of sins which John first preached upon the approximation of the kingdom, and Christ at the first manifestation of it, and the apostles afterward in the name of Jesus.

4. Jesus now having begun his preaching, began also to gather his family; and first called Simon and Andrew, then James and John, at whose vocation he wrought a miracle, which was a signification of their office, and the success of it; a draught of fishes so great and prodigious, that it convinced them that he was a person very extraordinary, whose voice the fishes heard, and came at his call: and since he designed them to become "fishers of men," although themselves were as unlikely instruments to persuade men, as the voice of the Son of Man to command fishes, yet they should prevail in so great numbers, that the whole world should run after them, and, upon their summons, come into the net of the Gospel, becoming disciples of the glorious Nazarene. St. Peter, the first time that he threw his net, at the descent of the Holy Ghost in Pentecost, caught three thousand men; and at one sermon, sometimes the princes of a nation have been converted, and the whole land presently

VOL. II.

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