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Surely also he taught obedience, in that he "I have not hid thy righteousness within did. This was his reisov iori to John Bap. my heart," saith the Psalmist. Absalom, tist: “ It becomes us to fulfil all righteous. | when he would be insigniter improbus, ness." He will not abate his Father one notoriously wicked," does his villany ceremony. It was dangerous to go up to publicly in the eyes of the sun, under no that Jerusalem which he had left before for curtain but heaven. He that would do their malice; yet now he will up again. notable service to God, must do it conspi. His obedience drew him up to that bloody cuously. Nicodemus gained well by Christ, feast, wherein himself was sacrificed : how but Christ got nothing by him, so long as, much more now that he might sacrifice ? | like a night-bird, he never came to him but What can we plead to have learned of with owls and bats. Then he began to be Christ, if not his first lesson, obedience ? a profitable disciple, when he durst oppose The same proclamation that Gideon made the Pharisees in their condemnation of to Israel, he makes still to us : “ As ye see Christ, though indefinitely: but most, when me do, so do ye." Whatsoever, therefore, in the night of his death the light of his God enjoins us, either immediately by him. | faith brought him openly to take down the self, or mediately by his deputies, if we will sacred corpse before all the gazing multibe Christians, we must so observe, as tl; ose tude, and to embalm it. When we confess that know themselves bound to tread in his God's name, with the Psalmist, before steps, that said, “In the volume of thy kings; when kings, defenders of the faith, book it is written of me, I desired to do profess their religion in public and everlastthy will, O God;" Psal. xl. 6. “I willing monuments to all nations, to all times, have obedience (saith God), and not sacri- this is glorious to God, and in God to them. fice;" but where sacrifice is obedience, beIt is no matter how close evils be, nor how will have obedience in sacrificing: therefore public good is. Christ went up to the feast.
This is enough for the chronography: The second motive was the manifesta- the topography follows. I will not here tion of his glory. if we be the light of the stand to show you the ignorance of the world, which are so much snuff, what is he vulgar translation, in joining probatica and that is the Father of lights? It was not for piscina together, against their own fair Va. hini to be set under the bushel of Nazareth, lican copy, with other ancient : nor spend but upon the table of Jerusalem : thither, time to discuss whether árope or guain be and then, was the confluence of all the here understood for the substantive of spoo tribes. Many a time had Christ passed by Carixń: it is most likely to be that sheepthis man before, when the streets were gate spoken of in Ezra : nor to show how empty (for there he lay many years) yet ill piscina in the Latin answers the Greek heals him not till now. He, that sometimes xoa wpeBhdece. ours turn it a pool, better than modestly steals a miracle with a vide 'ne cui any Latin word can express it: nor to show direris,“ see thou tell no man," that no you, as I might, how many public pools man might know it, at other times does were in Jerusalem : nor to discuss the use wonders upon the scaffold of the world of this pool, whether it were for washing that no man might be ignorant, and bids the beasts to be sacrificed, or to wash the proclaim it on the house-tops. It was fit entrails of the sacrifice, whence I remember the world should be thus publicly con. Jerome fetches the virtue of the water, and vinced, and either won by belief, or lost by in his time thought he discerned some inexcusableness. Good, the more common redness, as if the blood spilt four hundred it is, the better : “I will praise thee" (saith years before could still retain its first tincDavid) in ecclesia magna, “in the great ture in a liquid substance: besides, that it .congregation.” Glory is not got in corners: would be a strange swimming pool that were no man, say the envious kinsmen of Christ, brewed with blood, and this was xoh upeßálpa. keeps close and would be famous ; no, nor This conceit arises from the error of the that would have God celebrated. The best construction, in mismatching xoa upeßudge with opportunities must be taken in glorifying a pobutixý. Neither will I argue whether it him. He, that would be crucified at the should be Bethsida, or Bethzida, or Beth. feast, that bis death and resurrection miglit sheda, or Bethesda. If either you or my. be more famous, will, at the feast, do mi- self knew not how to be rid of time, we racles, that his divine power might be ap. might easily wear out as many hours in this proved openly. Christ is flos campi, non pool, as this poor impotent man did years. horti, “ the flower of the field, and not of But it is edification that we affect, and not the garden," saith Bernard. God cannot curiosity. This pool had five porches. ghide to have his graces smothered in us. Neither will I run here with St. Austin into allegories, that this pool was the people of gogue." Are we more othodox, and shall the Jews, aquæ multe populus multus; and not we be as charitable? I am ashamed to these five porches, the Law in the five think of rich noblemen and merchants, that books of Moses; nor stand to consute Adri- die and give nothing to our five porches of comius, which, out of Josephus, would per-| Bethesda. What shall we say ? have they suade us, that these five porches were built made their mammon their God, instead of by Solomon, and that this was stagnum So- making friends with their mammon to God? lomonis for the use of the temple. The Even when they die, will they not, like following words show the use of the porches: Ambrose's good usurers, part with that for the receipt of " impotent, sick, blind, which they cannot hold, that they may get halt, withered, that waited for the moving that which they cannot lose? Can they of the water." It should seem it was walled begin their will, In Dei nomine, Amen, and about to keep it from cattle, and these five give nothing to God? Is he only a witness, vaulted entrances were made by some bene- and not a legatee? Can we bequeath our factors for the more convenience of attend. souls to Christ in heaven, and give nothing ance. Here was the mercy of God seconded to his limbs on earth? And if they will not by the charity of men : if God will give give, yet will they not lend to God? " He cure, they will give harbour. Surely it is that gives to the poor," fæneratur Deo, a good matter to put our hands to God's, “ lends to God.” Will they put out to any and to further good works with conveni. but God? and then, when instead of giving ency of enjoying them.
security, he receives with one hand, and Jerusalem was grown a city of blood, to pays with another, receives our bequest and the persecution of the prophets, to a wilful gives us glory! O damnable niggardness of despite of what belonged to her peace, to vain men, that shames the gospel, and loses a profanation of God's temple, to a mere heaven! Let me show you a Bethesda that formality in God's services : and yet here wants porches. What truer house of effusion were public works of charity in the midst than the church of God, which sheds forth of her streets. We may not always judge waters of comfort, yea, of life! Behold of the truth of piety by charitable actions : some of the porches of this Bethesda, so far Judas disbursed the money for Christ; there from building, that they are pulled down. was no traitor but he. The poor traveller It is a wonder if the demolished stones of that was robbed and wounded betwixt Jeru. God's house have not built some of yours, salem and Jericho, was passed over, first and if some of you have not your rich suits by the Priest, then by the Levite, at last yuarded with souls. There were wont to the Samaritan came and relieved him: his be reckoned three wonders of England, religion was naught, yet his act was good ; ecclesia, fæmina, lana, “ the churches, the the Priest's and Levite's religion good, their women, the wool." Fæmina may pass still, uncharity ill. Novatus himself was a mar. | who may justly challenge wonder for their tyr, yet a schismatic. Faith is the soul, vanity, if not their person. As for lana, if and good works are the breatlı, saith St. it be wonderful alone, I am sure it is ill. James : but as you see in a pair of bellows, joined with ecclesia: the church is fleeced, there is a forced breath without life, so in and hath nothing left but a bare pelt upon those that are puffed up with the wind of her back. And as for ecclesia, either men ostentation, there may be charitable works have said with the Babylonians, “ Down without faith. The church of Rome, unto her with it, down with it, even to the ground;" four famous orders of Jacobins, Franciscans, or else, in respect of the maintenance with Augustines, and Carmelites, hath added Judas, ut quid perditio hæc? “why was 1 fifth of Jesuits; and, like another Jeru. this waste?" How many remorseful souls salem, for those five leprous and lazarly have sent back, with Jacob's sons, their orders, hath built five porches, that if the money in their sack's mouth! How many water of any state be stirred, they may put great testators have, in their last will, rein for a share. How many cells and con. turned the anathematized peculium of imvents hath she raised for these miserable propriations to the church, choosing rather cripples ! and now she thinks, though she to impair their heir, than to burden their exalt herself above all that is called God, souls? Dum times ne pro te patrimonium though she dispense with and against God, tuum perdas, ipse pro patrimonio tuo peris, though she fall down before every block saith Cyprian; “ While thou fearest to lose and wafer, though she kill kings, and equi- thy patrimony for thy own good, thou vocate with magistrates, she is the only city perishest with thy patrimony." Ye great of God. Digna est, nam strurit synagogam, men, spend not all your time in building “ She is worthy, for she liath built a syna- castles in the air, or houses on the sand;
but set your hands and purses to the build other of the tentigo of lust, another of the ing of the porches of Bethesda. It is a vertigo of inconstancy, another of the choshame for a rich Christian to be like a king squinancy of curses and blasphemies; Christmas box, that receives all, and no one of the boulimy of gluttony, another of thing can be got out till it be broken in the pleuritical stitches of envy; one of the pieces : or like unto a drowned man's hand, contracting cramp of covetousness, another that holds whatsoever it gets. “ To do of the atrophy of unproficiency: one is hidegood, and to distribute, forget not; for with bound with pride, another is consumed with such sacrifices God is well pleased." emulation, another rotten with corrupt de.
This was the place: what was the use of sires; and we are so much the sicker, if we it? All sorts of patients were at the bank feel not these distempers. O that we could of Bethesda: where should cripples be but wait at the Bethesda of God, attend dili. at the spital? The sick, blind, lame, wi- gently upon his ordinances : we could no thered, all that did either morbo laborare, more fail of cure, than now we can hope or vitio corporis, “ complain of sickness or for cure. We wait hard, and endure much impotency,” were there. In natural course, for the body. Quantis laboribus agitur ut one receipt heals not all diseases, no, nor longiore tempore laboretur! multi cruciatus one agent; one is an oculist, another a suscipiuntur certi, ut pauci dics adjiciantur bone-setter, another a chirurgeon ; but all incerti, “ What toil do we take that we diseases are alike to the supernatural power may toil yet longer! we endure many cer. of God.
tain pains for the addition of a few uncer. Hippocrates, though the prince of phy- tain days," saith Austin. Why will we not sicians, yet swears by Esculapius, he will do thus for the soul? Without waiting, it never meddle with cutting for the stone. will not be. The cripple (Acts iii. 4) was There is no disease that art will not meddle bidden Bai for sig spães, " look up to us :" he with; there are many that it cannot cure. looked up; it was cold comfort that he heard: The poor hæmorrhoissa was eighteen years “ Silver and gold have I none;" but the in the physician's hands, and had purged next clause made amends for all, Surge et away both her body and her substance. ambula, “ Rise and walk;" and this was, Yea, some it kills instead of healing: whence because ituxiy spordox@v, “ he attended ex. one Hebrew word signifies both physicians pecting," ver. 5. Would we be cured, it is and dead men. But behold, here all sick- not for us to snatch at Bethesda, as a dog nesses cured by one hand, and by one wa- at Nilus ; nor to draw water and away, as ter! O all ve that are spiritually sick and Rebecca; nor to set us a while upon the diseased, come to the pool of Bethesda, the banks, as the Israelites by the rivers of blood of Christ! Do ye complain of the Babylon : but we must dwell in God's blindness of your ignorance? here ye shall house, wait at Bethesda. But what shall receive clearness of sight : of the distem- I say to your courtiers, but even as St. per of passions ? here ease: of the super. Paul to his Corinthians, “ Ye are full, ye fluity of your sinful humours ? here evacua- are rich, ye are strong without us?" Many tion : of the impotency of your obedience? of you come to this place, not as to Bethel here integrity: of the dead witheredness of the house of God, or Bethesda the house good affections ? here life and vigour. What. of effusion, but as to Bethaven, the house soever your infirmity be, come to the pool of vanity. If ye have not lost your old of Bethesda, and be healed.
wont, there are more words spoken in the All these may be cured; yet shall be cured outer closet by the hearers, than in the at leisure: all must wait, all must hope in chapel by the preacher; as if it were closet waiting. Methinks I see how enviously | quasi close set, in an Exchange, like com. these cripples look one upon another, each munication of news. What do ye think of thioking other a let, each watching to pre- sermons? As matters of formality, as very vent other, each hoping to be next; like superfluities, as your own idle compliments, emulous courtiers, that gape and vie for the which either ye hear not, or believe not: next preferment, and think it a pain to hope, What do ye think of yourselves? Have and a torment to be prevented. But Beth- ye only a postern to go to heaven by youresda must be waited on: he is worthy of selves, wherethrough ye can go, besides his crutches that will not wait God's leisure the foolishness of preaching? Or do ye sing for his cure: there is no virtue, no success, that old Pelagian note, Quid nunc mihi opus without patien:e. Waiting is a familiarest Deo? “ What need have I of God?" lesson with courtiers, and here we have all What should I say to this but increpa do. need of it: one is sick of an overflowing of mine? As for our household sermons, our the gall, another of a tumour of pride, an. | auditors are like the fruit of a tree in an
uuseasonable year, or like a wood new felled, we have passed, on the top of the hill shall that hath some few spires left for standers appear to us that sight which shall once some poles distance ; or like tythe sheaves make us glorious, and in the meantime in a field when the corn is gone, vs, dúo, happy. Fesīs, &c. as he said. It is true, ye have All three Evangelists accord in the ter. more sermons, and more excellent than all minus a quo, that it was immediately after the courts under heaven put together ; but those words, “ There be some of them that as Austin said well, Quid mihi proderit bona stand here, which shall not taste of death res non utenti bene? " What am I the better till they have seen the Son of man come for a good thing, if I use it not well ?" Let in his kingdom.” Wherein, methinks, the me tell you, all these forcible means, not act comments upon the words. Peter, well used, will set you the further off from James, and John, were these some; they heaven. If the chapel were the Bethesda tasted not of death, till they saw this heaof promotion, what thronging would there venly image of the royalty of Christ gloribe into it? yea, if it were but some mask-fied. But the terminus quo disagrees a little. house, wherein a glorious, though momen. | Matthew and Mark say, after six; Luke, tary show were to be presented, neither post fere octo, which, as they are easily white staves nor halberts could keep you reconciled by the usual distinction of inout: behold here, ye are offered the ho. clusive and exclusive, necessary for all nour to be, by this seed of regeneration, computations; and Luke's about eight, so the sons of God. The kingdom of heaven, methinks, seems to intimate God's seventh the crown of glory, the sceptre of majesty, day, the Sabbath : why should there be else in one word, eternal life is here offered, so precise mention of six days after, and and performed to you: O let us not so far about eight, but to imply that day which forget ourselves, as in the ordinances of was betwixt the sixth and eighth ? God's God to contemn our own happiness! but day was fittest for so divine a work; and let us know the time of our visitation, let well might that day, which imported God's us wait reverently and intentively upon rest and man's glory, be used for the clear this Bethesda of God, that when the angel representation of the rest and glory of God shall descend and move the water, our souls and man. But in this conjecture, for aught may be cured, and, through all degrees of I know, I go alone; I dare not be too regrace, may be carried to the full height of solute: certainly it was the seventh, whetheir glory!
ther it were that seventh, the seventh after the promise of the glory of his kingdom
exhibited; and this perhaps not without CONTEMPLATION XII. — THE FIRST PART OF a mystery: “God teacheth both by words
THE MEDITATIONS UPON THE TRANSFIGU and acts (saith Hilary), that after six ages RATION OF CHRIST.
of the world should be Christ's glorious ap
pearance, and our transfiguration with him." A Sermon preached at Havering Bower,
But I know what our Saviour's farewell before King James.
was, ουχ υμών γνώναι, «it is not for us to There is not in all divinity a higher spe- know ;" but if we may not know, we may culation than this of Christ transfigured: conjecture; yet not above that we ought, suffer me therefore to lead you up by the saith St. Paul; we may not super sapere, hand into mount Tabor, for nearer to hea- | as Tertullian's phrase is. ven ye cannot come while ye are upon For the place, tradition hath taken it still earth, that you may see him glorious upon for Tabor. I list not to cross it without earth, the region of his shame and abase- warrant; this was a high hill indeed: thirty ment, who is now glorious in heaven, the | furlongs higli, saith Josephus ; mira rotunthrone of his majesty. He that would not ditate sublimis, saith Hierom; and so steep, have his transfiguration spoken of till he that some of our English travellers, that were raised, would have it spoken of all have desired to climb it of late, have been the world over, now that he is raised and glad to give it up in the midway, and to ascended, that by this inomentary glory we measure the rest with their eyes. Doubt. may judge of the eternal. The circum- less this hill was a symbol of heaven, being stances shall be to us as the skirts of the near it, as in situation, so in resemblance. hill, which we will climb up lightly: the Heaven is expressed usually by the name time, place, attendants, company; the time, of God's hill: and nature, or this appella after six days the place, a high hill apart; tion, taught the heathens to figure it by their the attendants, Peter, James, John; the Olympus. All divine affairs, of any mag. company, Moses and Elias • which when | nificence, were done on hills : on the hill of
Sinai was the law delivered ; on the hill of works with prayers in his mouth. When Moriah was Isaac to be sacrificed; whence he was to enter into that great work of his Abraham's posie is, In monte providebitur. humiliation in his passion, he went into the On the hill of Rephidim stood Moses with garden to pray : when he is to enter into the rod of God in his stretched hand, and this great work of his exaltation in his transfigured him crucified upon the hill, whom figuring, he went up into the mountain to Joshua figured victorious in the valley ; on pray; he was taken up from his knees to the hills of Ebal and Gerizim were the both. O noble example of piety and devoblessings and curses; on Carmel was Elijah's tion to us! He was God that prayed: the sacrifice; the phrontisteria, schools, or uni- God that he prayed to, he might have comversities of the prophets were still Ramath manded; yet he prayed, that we men might and Gibeah, excelsa, "high places." Who learn of him to pray to him. What should knows not that on the hill of Sion stood we men dare to do without prayers, when the temple? “I have looked up to the he that was God would do nothing without hills," saith the Psalmist; and idolatry, in them? The very heathen poet could say, imitation, had its hill altars. On the A Jove principium: and which of those Mount of Olives was Christ wont to send | verse-mongers ever durst write a ballad, up his prayers, and sent up himself: and without imploring of some deity? which of here, Luke saith, he went up to a high hill the heathens durst attempt any great enter. to pray; not for that God makes differ-prise, insalutato numine,“ without invoca. ence of places, to whose immensity heavention and sacrifice ?" Saul himself would itself is a valley : it was a heathenish con. | play the priest, and offer a burnt-offering to ceit of those Aramites, that God is Deus the Lord, rather than the Philistines should montium, “the God of the mountains :" fight with him unsupplicated; as thinking but because we are commonly more dis- any devotion better than none; and thinkposed to good by either the freedom of our ing it more safe to sacrifice without a priest, scope to heaven, or the awfulness or soli than to fight without prayers. “ Ungirt, tary silence of places, which (as one saith) unblessed,” was the old word; as not ready strikes a kind of adoration into us; or by till they were girded, so not till they had our local removal from this attractive body prayed. And how dare we rush into the of the earth: howsoever, when the body affairs of God or the state ? how dare we sees itself above the ear:h, the eye of the thrust ourselves into actions, either perilous mind is more easily raised to her heaven. | or important, without ever listing up our It is good to take all advantage of place, eyes and hearts unto the God of heaven? setting aside superstition, to further our de except we would say, as the devilish malice votion ; Aaron and Hur were in the moun. of Surius slanders that zealous Luther, Nec tain with Moses, and held up his hands ; propter Deum hæc res coepta, est nec propter Aaron, say some allegorists, is mountainous; Deum finietur, fc. “ This business was Hur, fiery : heavenly meditation and the neither begun for God, nor shall be ended fire of charity, must lift up our prayers to for him.” How can God bless us, if we im. God. As Satan carried up Christ to a high plore him not? how can we prosper if he hill, to tempt him, so he carries up himself, bless us not? How can we hope ever to to be freed from temptation and distraction: | be transfigured from a lump of corrupt flesh, if ever we would be transfigured in our dis. if we do not ascend and pray? As the positions, we must leave the earth below, Samaritan woman said weakly, we may seand abandon all worldly thoughts, venite, riously. The well of mercies is deep: if ascendamus, fc. “ O come, let us climb up | thou hast nothing to draw with, never look to the hill, where God sees," or is seen to taste of the waters of life. I fear the (saith devout Bernard); “ ( all ye cares, worst of men, Turks, and the worst Turks, distractions, thoughtfulness, labours, pains, the Moors, shall rise up in judgment against servitudes, stay me here with this ass, my many Christians, with whom it is a just ex. body, till I with the boy, that is, my reason ception against any witness by their law, and understanding, shall worship and re. that he hath not prayed six times in each turn," saith the same father, wittily alluding natural day. Before the day-break they to the journey of Abraham for his sacrifice. I pray for day; when it is day, they give God
Wherefore then did Christ climb up this thanks for day; at noon they thank God high hill ? not to look about him, but, saith for half the day past; after that they pray St. Luke, apresukurias, “to pray ;' not for for a good sun-set; after that they thank prospect, but for devotion, that his thoughts God for the day past; and, lastly, pray for might climb up yet nearer to heaven. Be- a good night after their day. And we Chris. hold how Christ entered upon all his great tians suffer so many suns and moons to rise