Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

We ourselves say, The bed and the throne can abide no rivals. May we not well say of the heart, as Lot of Zoar, Is it not a little one? Alas, it is even too little for God! What! do we think of taking an Inmate into this cottage? It is a favour and happiness, that the God of Glory will vouchsafe to dwell in it alone. 80, O God, take thou up these rooms for thyself; and enlarge then for the entertainment of thy Spirit: have thou us wholly, and let us have thee. Let the world serve itself: ( let us serve thee, with all our hearts.

3. God hath set the heart on work to Fear, the hands on work to Serve him: now, that nothing may be wanting, he sets the head on work to CONSIDER; and that, not so much the Judgments of God, (yet those are of singular use, and may not be forgotten) as his Mercies; Il'hat great things he hath done for you, not against you. He, that looked upon his own works, and saw they were good, and delighted in them, delights that we should look upon them too; and applaud his wisdom, power, and mercy, that shines in them. Even the least of God's works are worthy of the observation of the greatest angel in heaven; but, the magnalia Dei, the great things he hath done, are more worthy of our wonder, of our astonishment.

Great things indeed that he did for Israel! he meant to make that nation a precedent of mercy, that all the world might see what he could do for a people. Heaven and earth conspired to bless them. What should I speak of the wonders of Egypt? Surely, I know not whether their preservation in it, or deliverance out of it, were more miraculous. Did they want a guide? himself goes before them in fire. Did they want a shelter? his cloud is spread over them for a covering. Did they want way? the sea itself shall make it ; and be, at once, a street and a wall to them. Did they want bread ? heaven itself shall pour down food of angels. Did they want meat to their bread? The wind shall bring them whole drifts of quails into their tents. Do they want drink to both? the very rocks shall yield it them. Do they want suits of apparel ? their very clothes shall not wax old on their backs. Do they want advice? God himself shall give his vocal oracle between the cherubims. Do they want a law ? God shall come down upon Sinai, and deliver it in fire, thundering, smoke, earthquakes; and write it with his own finger, in tables of stone. Do they want habitations? God shall provide them a land, that flows with milk and honey. Are they persecuted ? God stands in fire between them and their harms. Are they stung to death? the brazen serpent shall cure them. Are they resisted ? the walls of Jericho shall fall down alone; hail stones brain their enemies. The sun shall stand still in heaven, to see Joshua's revenge and victory. O great and mighty things, that God did for Israel !

Îl. And, if any nation under heaven could either parallel or second Israel in the FAVOURS of God, this poor little Island of ours is it. The cloud of his protection hath covered us. The bloodred sea of persecution hath given way to us, and we are passed it dry shod. The true Manna from heaven is rained down abundantly about our tents. The water of life gusheth forth plenteously to us. The better law of the Gospel is given us from heaven, by the hand of his Son. The walls of the spiritual Jericho are fallen down before us, at the blast of the trumpets of God; and cursed be he, that goes about to build them up again. Now, therefore, that we may come more close to the task of this day, let me say to you, as Samuel to his Israelites; Consider with me what great things the Lord hath done for us; and, as one wished that the envious had eyes in every place, so could I seriously wish that all which have ill will at our Sion had their ears with me but one hour, that, if they belong not to God, they might burst with Judas, which repine with Judas at this seasonable cost of the precious ointment of our praises.

If I should look back to the ancient mercies of God, and shew you that this kingdom, though divided from the world, was one of the first that received the Gospel; that it yielded the first Christian Emperor, that gave peace and honour to the Church; the first and greatest lights, that shone forth in the darkest of popery, to all the world; and that it was the first kingdom that shook Antichrist fully out of the saddle; I might find just matter of praise and exultation: but I will turn over no other Chronicles, but your memory.

This day alone hath matter enough of an eternal gratulation. For this is the communis terminus, wherein God's favours meet upon our heads; which therefore represents to us, both what we had, and what we have; the one to our sense, the other to our remembrance. This day was both Queen Elizabeth's Initium gloria, and King James's Initium regni. To her, Natalitium salutis, as the Passion days of martyrs were called of old; and Natalis Imperii to him. These two names, shew us happiness enough to take up our hearts for ever.

1. And first, why should it not be our perpetual joy and rejoicing, that we were her subjects? O blessed Queen, the mother of this nation, the nurse of this Church, the glory of womanhood, the envy and example of foreign nations, the wonder of times, how sweet and sacred shall thy memory be to all posterities ! How is thy name not Parables of the Dust, as the Jews * speak; nor written in the earth as Jeremiah speaks, but in the living earth of all loyal hearts, never to be razed. And, though the foul mouths of our adversaries stick not to call her miseram fæminam, as Pope Clement did ; nor to say of her, as Evagrius † says uncharitably, of Justinian the great lawgiver, ad supplicia justo Dei judicio apud inferos luenda profecta est, and those, that durst not bring her on the stage living, bring her now dead, as I have heard by those that have seen it, into their processions, like a tormented ghost attended with fiends and firebrands, to the terror of their ignorant beholders : yet, as we saw she never prospered so well, as when she was most cursed by their Pius Vth. ; so now we hope she is rather so much

[blocks in formation]

more glorious in heaven, by how much they are more malicious on earth. These arrogant wretches, that can at their pleasure fetch Solomon from heaven to hell, and Trajani and Falconella from hell to heaven; Campian and Garnet from earth to heaven, Queen Elizabeth from earth to hell; shall find, one day, that they have mistaken the keys, and shall know what it is to judge, by being judged. In the mean time, in spite of the gates of Rome, Memoria justæ in benedictionibus. To omit those virtues which were proper to her sex, by which she deserved to be the Queen of Women; how excellent were her masculine graces of learning, valour, wisdom, by which she might justly challenge to be the Queen of Men! So learned was she, that she could give present answers to embassadors in their own tongues; or, if they listed to borrow of their neighbours, she paid them in that they borrowed: so valiant; that her name, like Zisca's drum, made the proudest Romanists to quake : so wise, that whatsoever fell out happily against the common adversary in France, Netherlands, Ireland, it was by themselves ascribed to her policy *. What shall I speak of her long and successful government, of her miraculous preservations, of her famous victories, wherein the waters, winds, fire, and earth fought for us, as if they had been in pay under Her +? of her excellent laws, of her careful executions? Many daughters have done worthily, but thou surmountest them all ; Prov. xxxi. 29. Such was the sweetness of her government, and such the fear of misery in her loss, that many worthy Christians desired their eyes might be closed before hers; and how many thousands therefore welcomed their own death, because it prevented hers! Every one pointed to her white hairs, and said, with that peaceable Leontius I, “When this snow melts, there will be a flood.” Never day, except always the fifth of November, was like to be so bloody as this : not for any doubt of Title, which never any loyal heart could question, nor any disloyal ever did, besides Dolmang, but for that our Esauites comforted themselves against us, and said, The day of mourning for our mother will come shortly, then will we slay our brethren. What should I say more? Lots were cast upon our land; and that honest politician, which wanted nothing but a gibbet to have made him a Saint, Father Parsons, took pains to set down an order, how all English affairs should be marshalled, when they should come to be theirs.

2. Consider now the great things that the Lord hath done for us. Behold, this day, which should have been most dismal to the whole Christian world, he turned to the most happy day, that ever shone forth to this Island.

That now we may justly insult with those Christians of Antioch, rõ ta Marteīce paye paige *; Where are

Didymus veridicus. + O nimium dilecta Deo cui militat æther •

Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti. CLAUDIAN. t Soc. 1. iii. c. 19. Ταετησι της χιονος λυθεσης, &c. } .ii. p 117. ll Theod. iii. 15.

Dol. P. i. p. 916.

X. 24.

your prophecies, O ye fond Papists ? Our snow lies here melted : where are those floods of blood that you threatened? Yea, as that blessed soul of hers gained by this change of an immortal crown for a corruptible; so, blessed be the name of our God, this land of ours hath not lost by that loss. Many think, that, this evening, the world had his beginning : surely, a new and golden world began this day to us; and, which it could not have done by her loins, promises continuance, if our sins interrupt it not, to our posterities.

I would the flattery of a Prince were treason: in effect it is so; for the flatterer is £uves Pantys, “a kind murtherer.” I would it were so in punishment. If I were to speak before my sovereign King and Master, I would praise God for him, not praise him to himself. A preacher, in Constantine's time, saith Eusebius *, ausus est Imperatorein in os beatum dicere,“ presumed to call Constantine a happy Emperor to his face;" but he went away with a check : such speed may any parasite have, which shall speak, as if he would make princes proud, and not thankful! A small praise to the face

may be adulation, though it be within bounds : a great praise in absence may be but justice. If we see not the worth of our king, how shall we be thankful to God that gave him? Give me leave therefore freely to bring forth the Lord's Anointed before you; and to say with Samuel, See you him whoin the Lord hath chosen ; 1 Samuel

As it was a great presage of happiness to Mauritius the Emperor, that an eu urna," a familiar Devil,” removing him from place to place in his swathing bands, yet had no power to hurt him t; so that those early conspiracies, wherewith Satan assaulted the very cradle of our dear Sovereign, prevailed not, it was a just bodement of his future greatness and beneficial use to the world.

And he, that gave him life and crown together, and miraculously preserved them both, gave him graces fit for his deputy on earth to wield that crown, and improve that life to the behoof of Christendom.

Let me begin with that, which the heathen man required to the happiness of any state, his Learning and Knowledge: wherein I may safely say, he exceedeth all his one hundred and five predecessors. Our Conqueror, King William, as our Chronicles I report, by a blunt proverb, that he was wont to use against unlearned princes, made his son Henry a Beauclerc to those times. But a candle in the dark will make more shew, than a bonfire by day. In these days, so lightsome for knowledge, to excel, even for a professed student, is hard and rare. Never had England more learned Bishops and Doctors: which of them ever returned from his Majesty's discourse without admiration? What king christened hath written so learned volumes ? To omit the rest, his last, of this kind, wherein he hath so held up Cardinal Bellarmin and his master Pope Paulus, is such, that Plessis and Moulin, the two great lights of France, profess to receive their light in this discourse, from his beams; and the learned Jesuit Salkeild could not but be converted with the necessity of those demonstrations : and I may boldly say, Popery, since it was, never received so deep a wound from any work, as from that of his. What king ever moderated the solemn acts of an University in all professions, and had so many hands clapped in the applause of his acute and learned determinations ? Briefly, such is his entire acquaintance with all sciences, and with the queen of all, Divinity, that he might well dispute with the infallible Pope Paulus Quintus for his triple crown: and I would all Christian quarrels lay upon. this duel.

* Euseb. de vitâ Const. I. iv. c. 4.

+ Evagr. I. v. c. 21.

i Malmesbur.

His Justice in governing matcheth his knowledge how to govern: for, as one that knows the commonwealth cannot be unhappy, wherein, according to the wise heathen's * rule, Law is a Queen and Will a Subject, he hath ever endeavoured to frame the proceedings of his government to the laws, not the laws to them. Witness that memorable example, whereof your eyes were witnesses: I mean the unpartial execution of one of the ancientest barons of those parts, for the murder of a mean subject; wherein not the favour of the block might be yielded, that the dishonour of the death might be no less than the pain of the death.

Yet who will not grant his Mercy to be eminent amongst his virtues, when Parsons himself yields it? And if a virtue so continuing, could be capable of excess, this might seem so in him. For that, which was said of Anastatius the Emperor, that he would attempt no exploit, though never so famous, if it might cost the price of Christian blood +; and that, which was said of Mauritius, that by his good will he would not have so much as a traitor die I; and that of Vespasian, that he wept even for just executions §; and, lastly, that of Theodosius, that he wished he could recal those to life again that had wronged him || ; may, in some sense, be justly verified of our merciful Sovereign. I pray God the measure of this virtue may never hurt himself: I am sure the want of it shall never give cause of complaint to his adversaries.

But, among all his heroical graces, which commend him as a Man, as a Christian, as a King; Piety and firmness in Religion calls me to it, and will not suffer me to defer the mention of it any longer. A private man unsettled in opinion, is like a loose tooth in the head, troublesome and useless; but a public person unstayed, is dangerous. Resolution for the truth is so much better than knowledge, by how much the possessing of a treasure is better than knowing where it is. With what zeal did his Majesty fly upon the blasphemous novelties of Vorstius! How many solicitations, threats, promises, proffers, hath he trampled under his feet in former times; for but a promise of an indifferent connivance at the Romish religion! Was it not an answer worthy of a King, worthy of marble and brass, that he made unto their agent for this purpose, in the times of the greatest peril of resistance, “ That all the Crowns and

[ocr errors]

* Plaio.

+ Evagr. I. iii. c. 34. O Socr. I. vii. c. 22.

* Evagr. l. vi, c. 1.

§ Sueton. Vesp.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »