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do this act of discipline so that it may become an act of religion. Let us never be like Esau, valuing a dish of meat above a blessing ; but let us deny our appetites of meat and drink, and accustom ourselves to the yoke, and substract the fuel of our lusts, and the incentives of all our unworthy desires : that our bodies being free from the intemperances of nutriment, and our spirits from the load and pressure of appetite, we may have no desires but of thee: that our outward man daily decaying by the violence of time, and mortified by the abatements of its too free and unnecessary support, it may by degrees resign to the entire dominion of the soul, and may pass from vanity to piety, from weakness to ghostly strength, from darkness and mixtures of im. purity to great transparence and clarity in the society of a beatified soul, reigning with thee in the glories of eternity, O holy and eternal Jesu. Amen.
DISCOURSE XIV. Of the Miracles which Jesus wrought for confirmation
of his Doctrine, during the whole time of his Preaching
1. When Jesus had ended his sermon on the Mount, be descended into the valleys, to consign his doctrine by the power of miracles and the excellency of a rare example; that he might not lay a yoke upon us which himself also would not bear : but as he became the author, so also the finisher of our faith;' what he designed in proposition, he represented in his own practice;' and by these acts
made a new sermon, teaching all prelates and spiritual persons to descend from their eminency of contemplation, and the authority and business of their discourses, to apply themselves to do more material and corporal mercies to afflicted persons, and to preach by example as well as by their homilies. For he that teaches others well, and practises contrary, is like a fair candlestick bearing a goodly and bright taper, which sends forth light to all the house, but round about itself there is a shadow and circumstant darkness. The prelate should be the light consuming and spending itself to enlighten others, scattering his rays round about from the angles of contemplation and from the corners of practice, but himself always tending upwards, till at last he expires into the element of love and celestial fruition.
2. But the miracles which Jesus did were next to infinite; and every circumstance of action that passed from him, as it was intended for mercy, 50 also for doctrine; and the impotent or diseased persons were not more cured than we instructed. But because there was nothing in the actions but what was a pursuance of the doctrines delivered in his sermons, in the sermon we must look after our duty, and look upon his practice as a verification of his doctrine, and instrumental also to other pur. poses. Therefore, in general, if we consider his mi. racles, we shall see that he did design them to be a compendium of faith and charity. For he chose to instance his miracles in actions of mercy, that all his powers might especially determine upon bounty and charity ;' and yet his acts of charity
were so miraculous that they became an argument of the divinity of his person and doctrine. Once be turned water into wine, which was a mutation by a supernatural power, in a natural suscipient, where a person was not the subject, but an element: and yet this was done to rescue the poor bridegroom from affront and trouble, and to do honour to the holy rite of marriage All the rest, (unless we except his walking upon the waters,) during his natural life, were actions of relief and mercy, according to the design of God, manifesting his power most chiefly in showing mercy.
3. The great design of miracles was to prove his mission from God, to convince the world of sin, to demonstrate his power of forgiving sins, to endear bis precepts, and that his disciples might believe in him, and that believing they might have life through his name.' For he to whom God, by doing miracles, gave testimony from heaven, must needs be sent from God; and be who had received power to restore nature, and to create new organs, and to extract from incapacities, and from privations to reduce habits, was Lord of nature, and therefore of all the world ; and thus could not but create great confidences in his disciples, that himself would verify those great promises upon which he established his law. But that the argument of miracles might be infallible, and not apt to be reproved, we may observe its eminency by divers circumstances of probability heightened up to the degree of moral demonstration.
4. First, The holy Jesus' did miracles which no man (before him, or at that time) ever did.'' Moses
smote the rock and water gushed out; but he could not turn that water into wine. Moses cured do diseases by the empire of his will, or the word of bis mouth; but Jesus · healed all infirmities.' Elisha raised a dead child 10 life; but Jesus raised one who bad been dead four days, and buried, and corrupted. Elias and Samuel, and all the prophets, and the succession of the high-priests, in both the temples, put all together, never did so many or so great miracles as Jesus did. He cured leperous persons by his touch. He restored sight to the blind, who were such, not by any intervening accident hindering the act of the organ, but by nature; who were born blind, and whose eyes had not any natural possibility to receive sight; who could never see without creating of new eyes for them, or some integral part cooperating to vision; and therefore the miracle was wholly an effect of a divine power, for nature did not at all co-operate; or, that I may use the elegant expression of Dante, it was such
à cui natura
for which nature never did heat the iron, nor beat the anvil. He made crooked limbs become straight, and the lame 10 walk; and babitual diseases and inveterate, of eighteen years,' continuance, (and one of thirty-eight,) did disappear at his speaking, like darkness at the presence of the sun. He cast out devils, who by the majesty of his person were forced to confess and worship him; and yet by his humility and restraints were commanded silence, or to go whither be pleased : and without his leave all the powers of hell were as infirm and impotent
as a withered member, and were not able to stir. He raised three dead persons to life : be fed thousands of people with two small fishes and five little barley-cakes : and as a consummation of all power and all miracles, he foretold, and verified it, that himself would rise from the dead after three days' sepulture. But when himself had told them he did miracles which no man else ever did, they were not able to reprove his saying with one single instance; but the poor blind man found him out one instance to verify his assertion : 'It was yet never heard, that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
5. Secondly, The scene of his preaching and miracles was Judea, which was the pale of the church, and God's inclosed portion, of whom were the oracles and the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ was to come, and to whom he was promised. Now, since these miracles were for verification of his being the Christ, the promised Messias, they were then to be esteemed a convincing argument, when all things else concurring, as the predictions of the prophets, the synchronisms, and the capacity of his person, he brought miracles to attest himself to be the person so declared and signified. God would not suffer his people to be abused by miracles, nor from heaven would speak so loud in testimony of any thing contrary to his own will and purposes. They to whom he gave the oracles, and the law, and the predictions of the Messias, and declared beforeband, that at the coming of the Messias the blind should see, the lame should walk, and the deaf should hear, the lepers should be cleansed, and to