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God, expresseth itself in the awful respects to his of ourselves to Name, Word, Services, House, Messengers; we de- the hand of
God : scend to that other part, which consists in our humble subjection, and self-resignation to his good pleasure, in all things ; whether to order, or correct :
[1.] The Suffering part is the harder. It was a -in suffering gracious resolution of old Eli; It is the Lord, let from him, meek. Kim do whatsoever he will ; 1 Sam. iii. 18. Surely, ihe good exam
ly and patiently : that man, though he were but an ill father, to his ples thereof. worse sons; yet he was a good son, to his Father in Heaven : for, nothing but a true filial awe could make the heart thus pliant; that represents ourselves to us, as the clay, and our God to us, as the potter; and therefore shows us how unjustly we should repine at any form or use, that is by his hand put upon us.
I could envy that word, which is said to have fallen from the mouth of Francis * of Assisse, in his great extremity : “ I thank thee, O Lord God, for all my pain; and I beseech thee, if thou think good, to add unto it a hundred fold more.” Neither was it much different from that, which I have read, as reported of Pope Adrian f: but, I am sure, was spoken by a worthy divine, within my time and knowledge, of the University of Cambridge, whose labours are of much note and use in the Church of God, Master Perkins; who, when he lay in his last, and killing torment of the stone, bearing the by-standers to pray for a mitigation of his pain, willed them, not to pray for an ease of his complaint, but for an increase of his patience. These speeches cannot proceed but from subdued, and meek, and mortified souls; more intentive upon the glory of their Maker, than their own peace and relaxation.
And, certainly, the heart, thus seasoned, cannot but be equally tempered to all conditions; as humbly acknowledging the same hand, both in good and evil: and, therefore, even frying in Phalaris's buil, as the Philosopher said of a wise man, will be able to say, Quàm suave ! “ How pleasant !" Was it true of that heathen martyr, Socrates, that, as, in his life-time, he was not wont to change his countenance, upon any alteration of events : so, when he should come to drink his hemlock, as Plato | reports it, no difference could be descried, either in his hand or face; no paleness in his face, no trembling in his hand; but a stedfast and fearless taking of that fatal cup, as if it differed not from the wine of his meals?
Even this resolution was no other, than an effect of the acknowJedgment of that one God, for which he suffered. If so, I cannot less magnify that man for his temper, than the oracle did for his wisdom : but I can do no less, than bless and admire the known courage and patience of those Christian martyrs, who, out of a loving fear of him, that only can save, and cast both bodies and souls into hell, despised shame, pain, death, and manfully insulted upon their persecutors. Blessed Ignatius could profess to challenge and provoke the furious lions, to his dilaniation : blessed Cyprian could pray, that the tyrant would not repent of the purpose of dooming him to death : and that other holy Bishop, when his hand was threatened to be cut off, could say, Seca ambas, “ Cut off both."
* Lib. i. Conform. Fruct. 12. + Binius, &c. ! Μάλα ίλεως έδε τρέσας, αδε διαφθείρας, άτε τα χρώματος, άλε τα προσώπο" αλλ' ώσπερ είωθε, ταυρηδόν υποGaéfas. Plat. Apol. &c.
It is not for me to transcribe volumes of Martyrologies. All that holy army of conquering Saints began their victories, in an humble awe of him, whose they were; and cheerfully triumphed over irons, and racks, and gibbets, and wheels, and fires, out of a meek and obedient submission to the will and call of their everblessed God, and most dear Redeemer : insomuch as St. Chrysostom professes to find patterns and parallels for himself, in all varieties of torments, and whatsoever several forms of execution : and the blessed Apostle hath left us a Red Calendar of these constant witnesses of God; whose memory is still on earth, their crown in heaven; Heb. xi. 36, 37, 38.
[2.] Neither is it thus, only in the undaunted sufFin all changes ferings for the causes of God; but our awe subof Estates
jects us also to the good will of God, in all whatsoever Changes of Estate. Do I smart with afflictions? I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him ; Mich. vii. 9. I held my peace, because thou, Lord, hast done it. Do I abound in blessings ? Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my father's house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? 2 Sam. vii. 18. In both; I have learned, in what condition soever I am, to be therewith content; Phil. iv. 11.
2. Thus do we bow the knees of our hearts to Gol, Of our child
in our adoration of his Majesty : both in duly maglike Care of a secret Ap
nifying his greatness and goodness; and in our humproving our: ble submission to his holy and gracious pleasure. selves to God, There remains that other signature of our awful dispoand Avoiding
sition, which consists in a TENDER AND CHILD-LIKE his Displea
CARE, BOTII OF HIS SECRET APPROBATION OF US, AND
OF OUR AVOIDANCE OF HIS DISPLEASURE AND OUR OFFENCE TOWARDS HIM: these two part not asunder; for, he, that desires to be approved, would be loth to displease.
The heart, that is rightly affected to God, is ambitious, above all things, under heaven, of the Secret Allowance of the Almighty : and, therefore, is careful to pass a continual and exact inquisition upon all his thoughts; much more, upon his actions; what acceptation or censure they find above: like as some timorous child, upon every stitch that she takes in her first sampler, looks tremblingly in the face of her mistress, to see how she likes it: as well knowing, that the Law of God was not given us, as some
* have said of Benedict's rule, only to profess, but to perform; and that,
* Error Tho. Aqui. Quodlib. art. 20. Hospin, in Notis ad Regul. Benedicti.
accordingly, the conscience shall find, either peace or tumult. As we are wont, therefore, to say of the dove, that, at the picking up of every grain, she casts her eyes up to heaven; so will our godly fear teach us to do, after all our speeches and actions. For which cause, it will be necessary to exercise our hearts, with very
frequent, if not continual, ejaculations. I remember the story * tells us of that famous Irish Saint t, of whom there are many monuments in these western parts, that he was wont to sign himself no less than a hundred times in a hour. Away with all superstition : although Cardinal Bellarmin I tells us, not improbably, that, in the practice of those ancient Christians, their crossing was no other, than a silent kind of invocation of that Saviour, who was crucified for us : surely, I should envy any man, that hath the leisure and grace, to lift up his heart, thus often, to his God; let the glance be never so short: neither can such a one choose, but be full of religious fear. I like not the fashion of the Euchites; that were all prayer, and no practice : but the mixture of these holy elevations of the soul, with all our actions, with all recreations, is so good and laudable, that whosoever is most frequent in it shall pass with me, for most devout, and most conversant in heaven.
But the most proper and pregnant proof of this fear of God, is the Fear of Offending God || ; in which regard, it is perfectly filial. The good child is afraid of displeasing his father, though he were sure not to be beaten; whereas, the slave is only afraid of stripes, not of displeasure. Out of this dear awe to his father in Heaven, the truly regenerate trembles to be but tempted; and yet, resolves not to yield to any assault : whether proffers of favour, or violence of battery, all is one. The obfirmed soul will hold out, and scorns so much as to look of what colour the flag is; as having learned, to be no less afraid of sin, than of hell : and, if the option were given him, whether he would rather sin without punishment, or be punished without sin, the choice would not be difficult : any torment were more easy, than the conscience of a divine displeasure. It was good Joseph's just question, How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God ? 'Gen. xxxix. 9. Lo, it is the sin, that he sticks at; not the judgment: as one, that would have feared the offence, if there had been no hell.
But, if it fall out that the renewed person, as it is How we incident to the most dutiful children of God, be, affected after
have misthrough a violent temptation and his own infirmity, carried. miscarried into a known sin; how much warm water doth it cost him, ere he can recover his wonted state! what anxiety; what strife ; what torture; what self-revenge; what ejaculations and complaints; what unrepining subjection to the rod! I have sinned; what shall I do to thee, thou preserver of men ? Job vii. 20. So I have seen a good natured child, that, even after
* Jo. Capgrave.
+ Patricius. In one of his Prefaces to his Controversy. || Ivce yap deos ev Ja xai aidws. Plat. Euthyphr.
a sharp whipping, could not be quieted, till he had obtained the pardon, and evened the brows, of a frowning parent. The holy Jealousy
And now, as it is with little ones that have and Suspicion of taken a knock with a late fall, the good man God's children. walks hereafter with so much the more wary foot; and is the more fearfully Jealous of his own infirmity : and, finding in himself but the very inclinations towards the first motions of evil, he is careful, according to that wholesome rule of a strict votary *, Cogitationes malas mox ad Christum allidere, “ Instantly to dash bis new-born evil thoughts against the rock Christ.” And, henceforth, out of a Suspicion of the danger of excess, he dares not go to the further end of his tether; but, in a wise and safe rigour, abridges himself of some part of that scope, which he might be allowed to take; and will stint himself, rather than lash out. Indeed, right reason teacheth us, to keep aloof from offending that power, which we adore. The ancient Almains t, holding their rivers for gods, durst not wash their faces with those waters, lest they should violate those deities : and the Jews were taught, not to dare to come near an idolatrous grove; though the way were never so direct and commodious. No wise man, however he might have firm footing upon the edge of some high rocky promontory, will venture to walk within some paces of that downfall; but, much more, will his sense and judgment teach him, to refrain from casting himself headlong, like that desperate barbarian in Xenophon I, from that steep precipice. This Fear a
The fear of God, therefore, is a strong Retentive Retentive from Sin; neither can possibly consist, in whatsoever from Sin.
soul, with a resolution to offend. As, then, the Father of the Faithful, when he came into Gerar, a Philistine city, could strongly argue, that those heathens would refrain from no wickedness, because the fear of God was not in that place; Gen. xx. 11: so, we may no less irrefragably infer, where we see a trade of prevalent wickedness, there can be no fear of God. Rifeness of sin,
Woe is me, what shall I say of this last age; an argument of but the same, that I must say of mine own. As the want of this this decrepit body, therefore, by reason of the Fear.
unequal temper of humours, and the defect of radical moisture and heat, cannot but be a sewer of all diseases ; so it is, so it will be, with the decayed old age of this great body of the world, through want of the fear of the Everliving God : Rivers of waters, O God, shall run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law; Ps. cxix. 136. Wicked hearts But, what do I suggest to the obdured hearts must have ter- of wilful sinners, the sweet and gracious remedies rible remedies. of a loving fear? This preservative is for children : sturdy rebels must expect other recipes. A frown is a heavy
* Benedict. Reg. cap. iv. Xenoph. De Exped. Cyri.
+ Mart Dorza. Sab. post dominic. 4 Quadrag. punishment, to a dutiful son: scourges and scorpions are but enough, for a rebellious vassal. I must lay before such, a hell of vengeance; and show them the horrible Topheth, prepared of old, even that bottomless pit of perdition : and tell them of rivers of brimstone; of a worm, ever gnawing; of everlasting burnings; of weeping, wailing, and gnashing, when the terrible Judge of the World shall come, in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them, that know not God, and obey him not ; 2 Thess. i. 8. And, certainly, if the sinner had not an Infidel in his bosom, the expectation of so direful a condition, to be inflicted and continued upon him unto all eternity, without possibility of any intermission, or of any remission, were enough to make him run mad with fear: only unbelief keeps him from a frantic despair, and a sudden leap into his bell.
And, if the custom and deceit of sin have wrought an utter senselessness in those brawny hearts, I must leave them over to the woeful sense of what they will not fear; yea, to the too late fear of what they shall not be able, either to bear or avoid. Certainly, the time will come, when they shall be swallowed up with a dreadful confusion ; and shall no more be able not to fear, than not to be. Oftentimes, even in the midst of all their secure jollity, God writes bitter things against them ; such as make their knees to knock together, their lips to tremble, their teeth to chatter, their hands to shake, their hearts to fail within them, for the anguish of their souls. Were they as insensate as the earth itself, Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke, saith the Psalmist : The mountains saw thee, and they trembled, saith Habakkuk; chap ii. 10.
But, if their fear be respited, it is little for their ease: it doth but forbear a little, that it may overwhelm them, at once, for ever, Woe is me, for them! in how heavy and deplorable case are they, and feel it not! They lie under the fierce wrath of the Almighty, and complain of nothing but ease. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence : who can stand before his indignation ? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him ; saith the prophet Nahum; chap. i. 5, 6. Yet, oh, what a grief it is to see, that so dreadful a power should carry away no more fear from us, wretched men; yea, even from those, that are ready to fear where no fear is !
Pains of body, frowns of the great, restraint of The misplaced liberty, loss of goods, who is it that fears not? But, Fear of proalas, to avoid these, men fear not to venture upon
fane men. the displeasure of him, whose anger is death ; and who is able to cast body and soul into hell fire : so, we have seen fond children, that, to avoid a bug-bear, have run into fire or water : so, we have seen a starting jade, that, suddenly flying from a shadow, hath cast himself into a ditch. We can but mourn in secret for those, that have no tears to spend upon themselves; and tremble for them, that will needs gnash. If those, that are filthy, will be filthy still; if secure men will set up a trade of sinning; every good heart