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which is holy,” much less to approach the prince of purities; and this was the sense of the old world in their lustrations, and of the Jews in their preparatory baptisms; they washed their hands to signify, that they should cleanse them from all iniquity, and keep them pure from blood and rapine ; they washed their garments; but that intended, they should not be spotted with the flesh; and their follies consisted in this, that they did not look to the bottom of their lavatories; they did not see through the veil of their ceremonies. Flagitiis omnibus inquinati veniunt ad precandum, et se pie sacrificasse opinantur, si cutem laverint, tanquam libidines intra pectus inclusas ulla amnis abluat, aut ulla maria purificent," said Lactantius; “ They come to their prayers dressed round about with wickedness, ut quercus hederû ; and think God will accept their offering, if their skin be washed; as if a river could purify their lustful souls, or a sea take off their guilt.” But David reconciles the ceremony with the mystery, “I will wash my hands, I will wash them in innocency, and so I will


to thine altar." 6. Hæ sunt veræ munditiæ (saith Tertullian) non quas plerique superstitione curant ad omnem orationem, etiam cum lavacro totius corporis aquam sumentes. This is the true purification, not that which most men do, superstitiously cleansing their hands and washing when they go to prayers, but cleansing the soul from all impiety, and leaving every atfection to sin; then they come pure to God." and this is it which the apostle also signifies, having translated the Gentile and Jewish ceremony into the spirituality of the gospel, “ I will therefore, that men pray everywhere, levantes puras manus, lifting up clean hands," so it is in the vulgar Latin ; ocious grīgas, so it is in the Greek, holy hands ; that is the purity that God looks for that lift up their hands to him in prayer : and this very thing is founded upon the natural constitution of things, and their essential proportion to each other.

1. It is an act of profanation for any unholy person to handle holy things, and holy offices. For if God was ever careful to put all holy things into cancels, and immure them with acts and laws and cautions of separation; and the very sanctification of them was nothing else but the solemn separating them from common usages, that himself might be distinguished from men by actions of propriety; it is na

upon them


turally certain, he that would be differenced from common things, would be infinitely divided from things that are wicked. If things that are lawful may yet be unholy in this sense, much more are unlawful things most unholy in all

If God will not admit of that which is beside religion, he will less endure that which is against religion. And therefore if a common man must not serve at the altar, how shall he abide a wicked man to stand there ? No: he will not endure him, but he will cast him and his prayer into the separation of an infinite and eternal distance. “Sic profanatis sacris peritura Troja perdidit primum Deos ;—So Troy ens tered into ruin when their prayers became unholy, and they profaned the rites of their religion."

2. A wicked person, while he remains in that condition, is not the natural object of pity: "Ελεός έστι λύπη ως επί αναξίως XeXOTE 2 HOūvTI, said Zeno; “ Mercy is a sorrow or a trouble at that misery, which falls upon a person which deserved it not.” And so Aristotle defines it, it is aúnin TIS ÊTi woungão ToŨ ávažlou TuYXávelv, “ when we see the person deserves a better fortune," or is disposed to a fairer entreaty, then we naturally pity him: and Simon pleaded for pity to the Trojans, saying,

-Miserere animi non digna ferentis.

For who pitieth the fears of a base man, who hath treacherously murdered his friend? or who will lend a friendly sigh, when he sees a traitor to his country pass forth through the execrable gates of cities ? and when any circumstance of baseness, that is, any thing that takes off the excuse of infirmity, does accompany a sin (such as are ingratitude, perjury, perseverance, delight, malice, treachery), then every man scorns the criminal, and God delights and rejoices in, and laughs at the calamity of such a person. When Vitellius with his hands bound behind him, his imperial robe rent, and with a dejected countenance and an ill name, was led to execution, every man cursed him, but no man wept. “Deformitas exitus misericordiam abstulerat,” saith Tacitus, « The filthiness of his life and death took away pity.” So it is with us in our prayers; while we love our sin, we must nurse all its children; and when we roar in our lustful beds, and groan with the whips of an exterminating angel, chastising those noyaorgious mifupias (as Aretas calls them), “the lusts of the lower belly," wantonness, and its mother intemperance, we feel the price of our sin, that which God foretold to be their issues, that which he threatened us withal, and that which is the natural consequence, and its certain expectation, that which we delighted in, and chose, even then when we refused God, and threw away felicity, and hated virtue. For punishment is but the latter part of sin ; it is not a new thing and distinct from it: or if we will kiss the hyæna, or clip the lamia about the neck, we have as certainly chosen the tail, and its venomous embraces, as the face and lip. Every man that sins against God and loves it, or, which is all one, continues in it, for by interpretation that is love, hath all the circumstances of unworthiness towards God; he is unthankful, and a breaker of his vows, and a despiser of his mercies, and impudent against his judgments; he is false to his profession, false to his faith; he is an unfriendly person, and useth him barbarously, who hath treated him with an affection not less than infinite ; and if any man does half so much evil, and so unhandsomely to a man, we stone him with stones and curses, with reproach, and an unrelenting scorn.

And how then shall such a person hope that God should pity him ? For God better understands, and deeper resents, and more essentially hates, and more severely exacts, the circumstances and degrees of baseness, than we can do; and therefore proportionably scorns the person and derides the calamity. Is not unthankfulness to God a greater baseness and unworthiness than unthankfulness to our patron ?' And is not he as sensible of it and more than we ? These things are more than words; and therefore if no man pities a base person, let us remember, that no man is so base in any thing as in his unhandsome demeanour towards God. Do we not profess ourselves his servants, and yet serve the devil? Do we not live upon God's provision, and yet stand or work at the command of lust or avarice, human regards and little interests of the world ? We call him Father when we desire our portion, and yet spend it in the society of all his enemies. In short, let our actions to God and their circumstances be supposed to be done towards men, and we · should scorn ourselves; and how then can we expect God should not scorn us, and reject our prayer, when we have done all the dishonour to him, and with all the unhandsomeness in the world ? . Take heed lest we fall into a condition of eyil, in which it shall be said, you may thank yourselves; and be infinitely afraid lest at the same time we be in a condition of person, in which God will upbraid our unworthiness, and scorn our persons, and rejoice in our calamity. The first is intolerable, the second is irremediable; the first proclaims our folly, and the second declares God's final justice; in the first there is no comfort, in the latter there is no remedy ; that therefore makes us miserable, and this renders, us desperate.

3. This great truth is farther manifested by the necessary and convenient appendages of prayer required, or advised, or recommended, in Holy Scripture. For why is fasting prescribed together with prayer ? For “ neither if we eat, are we the better ; neither if we eat not, are we the worse ;” and God does not delight in that service, the first, second, and third part of which is nothing but pain and self-affliction. But therefore fasting is useful with prayer, because it is a penal duty, and an action of repentance; for then only God hears sinners, when they enter first into the gates of repentance, and proceed in all the regions of sorrow and carefulness ; therefore we are commanded to fast, that we may pray with more spirituality, and with repentance; that is, without the loads of meat, and without the loads of sin. Of the same consideration it is that alms are prescribed together with prayer, because it is a part of that charity, without which our souls are enemies to all that, which ought to be equally valued with our own lives. But besides this, we may easily observe what special indecencies there are, which besides the general malignity and demerit, are special deleteries and hinderances to our prayers, by irreconciling the person of him that prays.

1. The first is unmercifulness. "Ουτε εξ ιερού βωμόν, ούτε εξ ανθρωπίνης φύσεως αφαιρετέον τον έλεον, said one. in Stobæus; and they were well joined together: “ He that takes mercy from a man, is like him that takes an altar from the temple;” the temple is of no use without an altar, and the man cannot pray without mercy; and there are infinite of prayers sent forth by men which God never attends to, but as to so many sins, because the men live in a course of rapine,


or tyranny, or oppression, or uncharitableness, or something that is most contrary to God, because it is unmerciful. Remember, that God sometimes puts thee into some images his own relation. We beg of God for mercy,

and our brother begs of us for pity: and therefore let us deal equally with God and all the world. I see myself fall by a too frequent infirmity, and still I beg for pardon, and hope for pity: thy brother that offends thee, he hopes so too, and would fain have the same measure, and would be as glad thou wouldst pardon him, as thou wouldst rejoice in thy own forgiveness. I am troubled when God rejects my prayer, or, instead of hearing my petition, sends a judgment: is not thy tenant, or thy servant, or thy client, so to thee? Does not he tremble at thy frown, and is of an uncertain soul till thou speakest kindly unto him, and observe thy looks as he watches the colour of the bean coming from the box of sentence, life or death depending on it? When he begs of thee for mercy, his passion is greater, his necessities more pungent, his apprehension more brisk and sensitive, his case dressed with the circumstances of pity, and thou thyself canst better feel his condition than thou dost usually perceive the carnestriess of thy own prayers to God; and if thou regardest not thy brother whom thou seest, whose case thou feelest, whose circumstance can afflict thee, whose Passion is dressed to thy fancy, and proportioned to thy capacity,-how shall God regard thy distant prayer, or be melted with thy cold desire, or softened with thy dry story, or moved by thy unrepenting soul? If I be sad, I seek for comfort, and go to God and to the ministry of his creatures for it ; and is it not just in God to stop his own fountains, and seal the cisterns and little emanations of the creatures from thee, who shuttest thy hand, and shuttest thy eye, and twistest thy bowels against thy brother, who would as fain be comforted as thou? It is a strange iliacal passion that so hardens a man's bowels, that nothing proceeds from him but the name of his own disease; a “ miserere mei Deus,” a prayer to God for pity upon him, that will not shew pity to others. We are troubled when God through severity breaks our bones, and hardens his face against us; but we think our poor brother is made of iron, and not of flesh and blood, as we are. God hath bound mercy upon us by the

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