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about him, three so glittering persons before “ Satan, thou savourest not the things him, made him doubt now, as he did after, that are of God," spoken to Satan in ob. when he was carried by the angel through jurgation : carnally presuming, “ though the iron gate, whether it were a pleasing all men, yet not I." if he had not predream, or a real act. All slept, and now sumed of his strength to stand, he had not all waked; only Peter slept waking, and fallen. And as one yawning makes many I know not whether more erred in his open mouths, so did his vain resolution speech, or in his sleep. It was a shame draw on company; “ Likewise said the for a man to sleep in Tabor, but it is a other disciples." For his weak denial, ye more shame for a man to dream with his | all know his simple negation, lined with an eyes open. Thus did Peter, “ Master, it oath, faced with an imprecation. And is good for us to be here; let us make us here, that no man may need to doubt of three tabernacles." I could well say with an error, the Spirit of God saith, “ He Optatus, on this or any other occasion, knew not what he said ;" not only a dannon, Ipsius sancti Petri beatitudo veniam tribuat, as Mark, “ what he should say," but, ó ns. dubito dicere peccasse tantam sanctitaten, ys, saith Luke, " what he did speak :" “ Let blessed Peter pardon me, I fear to whereof St. Mark gives the reason, ræv ixsay so great holiness offended." Yet, since polos, “they were amazedly affrighted." our adversaries are so over-partial to this | Amazedness may abate an error of speech, worthy saint, in whom they have as little it cannot take it away. Besides astonishas they boast much, that they can be con- ment, here was a fervour of spirit, a love tent his praise should blemish the dignity to Christ's glory, and a delight in it; a fire, of all the rest, yea, that God himself is in but misplaced in the top of the chimney, danger to be a loser by the advancement of not on the hearth; præmatura devotio, as so dear a servant; give me leave to lay my Ambrose speaks, “a devotion, but rash finger a little upon this blot. God would and heedy." And, if it had not been so, never have recorded that which it should yet it is not in the power of a good intenbe uncharitable for us to observe. It was tion to make a speech good. In this the the injurious kindness of Marcion, in honour | matter failed; for what should such saints of Peter, to leave out the story of Malchus, do in earthly tabernacles, in tabernacles of as Epiphanius notes. It shall be our blame, his making? And if he could be content to if we do not so note, that we benefit our. | live there without a tent (for he would have selves even by his imperfections. St. Mark's but three made), why did he not much gospel is said to be Peter's; O blessed a more conceive so of those heavenly guests? postle, can it be any wrong to say of thee, And if he spoke this to retain them, how that which thou hast written of thyself, not weak was it to think their absence would for insultation, not for exprobration: God be for want of house.room? or how could forbid but that men may be ashamed to that at once be which Moses and Elias had give that to him which he hath denied to told him, and that which he wished ? for, himself. Let me, therefore, not doubt to how should Christ both depart at Jerusay (with reverence to so great a saint), that salem, and stay in the mount? or if he as he spake most, so he is noted to have would have their abode there, to avoid the erred most. Not to meddle with his sink- sufferings at Jerusalem, how did he yet ing, striking, judaizing, one while we find again sing over that song for which he had him carnally insinuating, another while car. heard before, “ Come behind me, Satan?" nally presuming; one while weakly denying, Or if it had been fit for Christ to have staid another while rashly misconstruing; car. | there, how weakly doth he, which Chrysos. nally insinuating, “ Master, favour thyself." tom observes, equalize the servant with the Which, though some parasites of Rome Master; the saints with God? In a word, would fain smooth up, that he, in this, the best and the worst that can be said showed his love to Christ, as before his here of Peter is, that which the Psalmist faith, out of St. Jerome and St. Austin'; saith of Moses, effutiit labüis," he spake unyet it must needs be granted, which Bernard advisedly with his lips ;" Psal. cvi. 33. saith, diligebat spiritum carnaliter, she loved Yet if any earthly place or condition might the spirit in a carnal fashion." Let them have given warrant to Peter's motion, this choose whether they will admit Christ to was it. Here was a hill, the emblem of have chid unjustly, or Peter worthy of heaven; here were two saints, the epitome chiding : except, perhaps, with Hilary, they of heaven; here was Christ, the God of will stop where they should not; vade post heaven: and if Peter might not say so of me, “follow me," spoken to Peter in ap- this, how shall we say of any other place, probation; Satana, non sapis quæ Dei sunt, Bonum est esse híc? " It is good to be here?" Will ye say of the country, Bonum | all heads bare, and all knees bent to him, est esse híce there is melancholy, dulness, that finds himself out of the reach of eart, privacy, toil. Will ye say of the court, bo- on the pitch of admiration, says, Bonum et num est esse hic? there dwells ambition, esse hic.” Alas ! how little thinks he of that secret undermining, attendance, serving of which that good man said to his Eugenius, humours and times. Will ye say of the city, Non est quod blandiatur celsitudo, ubi solutie Bonum est esse hic? there you find continual tudo major, “ What care we for the fawo. tumult, usury, cozenage in bargains, excess, ing of that greatness, which is attended wib and disorder. Get you to the wilderness, more care ?" King Henry VII.'s emblem is and say, It is good to be here; even there all his buildings, in the windows, was stil evils will find us out. In nemore habitat a crown in a bush of thorns: I know not lupus, saith Bernard, “in the wood dwells with what historical allusion; but sure, I the wolf :" weariness and sorrow dwell think, to imply, that great places are n everywhere. The rich man wallows amongst free from great cares. Saul knew what he his heaps, and when he is in his counting-did, when he hid himself among the stuff. house, beset with piles of bags, he can say, No man knoweth the weight of a sceptre, Bonum est esse hic: he worships these mol but he that swayeth it. As for subordioate ten images; his gold is his god, his heaven greatness, it hath so much less worth as it is his chest; not thinking of that which hath more dependence. How many sleep Tertullian notes, aurum ipsum quibusdam less nights, and restless days, and busy shifts, gentibus ad vincula servire, “that some doth their ambition cost them that affect countries make their very fetters of gold;" | eminence ! Certainly, no men are so wortey yea, so doth he, whilst he admires it, of pity, as they whose height thinks ail making himself the slave to his servant, other worthy of contempt. High places are damnatus ad metalla, “condemned to the slippery; and as it is easy to fall, so the mines," as the old Roman punishment was. ruin is deep, and the recovery difficuit. Coacta servitus miserabilior, affectata mi. Altiorem locum sortitus es, non tutiorem, subserior, “ forced bondage is more worthy limiorem, sed non securiorem, saith Bernard, of pity, affected bondage is more miser. “ Thou hast got an higher place, but not able." And if God's hand touch him never a safer; a loftier, but not more secure." so little, can his gold bribe a disease, can | Aulæ culmen lubricum, “The slippery ridge his bags keep his head from aching, or the of the court," was the old title of honour. gout from his joints? or doth his loath-David's curse was, Fiat via eorum tercora ing stomach make a difference betwixt an | et lubricum, “Let their way be made dará earthen and silver dish? O vain desires, and slippery." What difference is there be. and impotent contentments of men, who twixt his curse and the happiness of the place happiness in that which doth not only ambitious, but this, that the way of the oae not save them from evils, but help to make is dark and slippery, the way of the other them miserable! Behold, their wealth feeds lightsome and slippery: that dark, that they them with famine, recreates them with toil, may fall; this light, that they may see and cheers them with cares, blesses them with be seen to fall ? Please yourselves then, torments, and yet they say, Bonum est esse ye great ones, and let others please you in híc. How are their sleeps broken with cares! | the admiration of your height; but if your how are their hearts broken with losses ! | goodness do not answer your greatness, Either riches have wings, which, in the Sera querela est quoniam elevans allisisti me, clipping or pulling, fly away, and take them “ It is a late complaint, thou hast lift the to heaven; or else their souls have wings, up to cast me down." Your ambition hath stulte hac nocte, “thou fool, this night,” | but set you up a scaffold, that your misery and fly from their riches to hell. Non might be more notorious. And yet these dominus, sed colonus, saith Seneca, “not | clients of honour say, Bonum est esse hic. the lord, but the farmer:" so that here are The pampered glutton, when he seerb both perishing riches, and a perishing soul. his table spread with full bowls, with costs Uncertainty of riches (as St. Paul to his dishes, and curious sauces, the dainties of
Timothy) and certainty of misery: and yet all three elements, says, Bonum est esse k these vain men say, Bonum est esse hic. And yet eating hath a satiety, and satiers
The man of honour, that I may use Ber- a weariness: his heart is never more empot nard's phrase, that hath Ahasuerus' procla. of contentment, than when his stomach is mation made before him, which knows he fullest of delicates. When he is empty, be is not only pis niyas, “a certain great man," is not well till he be filled; when he is ful, as Simon affected, but • súrós, “the man he is not well till he have got a stomach which Demosthenes was proud of, that sees | Et momentanea blandinenta gule stercori
fine condemnat, saith Jerome; “ And con- parasite, yet, could it make you heartily demns all the momentary pleasures of his merry? Ye delicatest courtiers, tell me if maw to the dunghiill.” And when he sits pleasure itself hath not an unpleasant teat his feasts of marrow and fat things (as diousness hanging upon it, and more sting the prophet speaks), his table, according than honey? And whereas all happiness, to the Psalmist's imprecation, is made his even here below, is in the vision of God; snare: a true snare every way. His soul | how is our spiritual eye bindered, as the is caught in it with excess ; his estate with | body is, from its object, by darkness, by penury; his body with diseases. Neither false light, by aversion! Darkness, he that doth he more plainly tear his meat in pieces doch sin is in darkness ; false light, while with his teeth, than he doth himself: and we measure eternal things by temporary; et this vain man says, Bonum est esse hic. aversion, while, as weak eyes hate the light,
The petulant wanton thinks it the only we turn our eyes from the true and immu. happiness, that he may have his full scope table good, to the fickle and uncertain. We to filthy dalliance. Little would he so do, are not on the hill, but the valley, where we if he could see his strumpet as she is : her have tabernacles, not of our own making, eyes the eyes of a cockatrice, her hair snakes, but of clay; and such as wherein we are her painted face the visor of a fury, her witnesses of Christ, not transfigured in heart snares, her hands bands, and her end glory, but blemished with dishonour, diswormwood; consumption of the flesh, de- honoured with oaths and blasphemies, restruction of the soul, and the flames of lust crucified with our sins; witnesses of God's ending in the flames of hell. Since, there-saints, not shining in Tabor, but mourning fore, neither pleasures, nor honour, nor in darkness, and, instead of that heaven. wealth, can yield any true contentment to ly brightness, clothed with sackcloth and their best favourites, let us not be so un- ashes. Then and there we shall have "tawise as to speak of this vale of misery, as bernacles not made with hands, eternal in Peter did of the hill of Tabor, Bonum est the heavens," where we shall see how sweet esse hic.
the Lord is: we shall see the triumphs of And if the best of earth cannot do it, Christ; we shall hear and sing the halleluwhy will ye seek it in the worst? how dare jahs of saints : “Quæ nunc nos angit vesania any of you great ones seek to purchase vitiorum sitire absinthium," fc. saith that contentment with oppression, sacrilege, devout father. O how hath our corruption bribery, outfacing innocence and truth with | bewitched us, to thirst for this wormwood, power, damning your own souls for but the to affect the shipwrecks of this world, to humouring of a few miserable days ? “Filii dote upon the misery of this fading life! hominum, quousque gravi corde ? ad quid and not rather to fly up to the felicity of diligitis vanitatem et quæritis mendacium?" saints, to the society of angels, to that “Õ ye sons of men, how long," &c. But blessed contemplation wherein we shall see that which moved Peter's desire (though God in himself, God in us, ourselves in with imperfection) shows what will perfect him! There shall be no sorrow, no pain, our desire and felicity: for if a glimpse of no complaint, no fear, no death. There is this heavenly glory did so ravish this wor.no malice to rise against us, no misery to afthy disciple, that he thought it happiness Aict us, no hunger, thirst, weariness, temptenough to stand by and gaze upon it, how ation to disquiet us. There, O there, one shall we be affected with the contemplation, day is better than a thousand ! there is rest yea fruition, of the divine presence! Here from our labours, peace from our enemies, was but Tabor, there is heaven ; here were freedom from our sins! How many clouds but two saints, there many millions of saints of discontentment darken the sunshine of and angels; here was Christ transfigured, our joy while we are here below! Væ nobis there he sits at the right hand of Majesty ; qui vivimus plangere quæ pertulimus, dolere here he was a representation, there a gift quæ sentimus, timere quæ expectamus' Comand possession of blessedness. O that we plaint of evils past, sense of present, fear could now forget the world, and fixing our of future, have shared our lives amongst eyes upon this better Tabor, say, Bonum them. Then shall we be semper læti, sem. est esse hic. Alas! this life of ours, if it per satiati, “always joyful, always satis. were not short, yet it is miserable; and if fied," with the vision of that God, “in it were not miserable, yet it is short. Tell whose presence there is fulness of joy, and me, ye that have the greatest command on at whose right hand are pleasures for ever. earth, whether this vile world hath ever more.” Shall we see that heathen Cleomafforded you any sincere contentation.- brotus abandoning his life, and casting him. The world is your servant: if it were your self down from the rock, upon an uncertain
noise of immortality; and shall not wel It was so in Sinai, it was so in Sion, it saw Christians abandon the wicked superfluities so in Olivet; it shall never be but so. The of life, the pleasures of sin, for that life natural day and night do not more duly inwhich we know more certainly than this ? terchange, than this light and cloud. Above What stick we at, my beloved? Is there a we shall have the light without the cloud, heaven, or is there none ? have we a Sa- | a clear vision and fruition of God, without viour there, or have we none? We know all dim and sad interpositions ; below we there is a heaven, as sure as that there is an cannot be free from these mists and clouds earth below us; we know we have a Sa. of sorrow and misapprehension. viour there, as sure as there are men that But this was a bright cloud. There is dif. we converse with upon earth ; we know ference betwixt the cloud in Tabor, and that there is happiness, as sure as we know there in Sinai : this was clear, that darksome; is misery and mutability upon earth. O our there is darkness in the law, there is light miserable sottishness and infidelity, if we in the grace of the gospel: Moses was there do not contemn the best offers of the world, | spoken to in darkness, here he was spoken and lifting up our eyes and hearts to heaven, with in light. In that dark cloud there was say, Bonum est esse hic!
| terror, in this there was comfort: though it « Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly." | were a cloud then, yet it was bright; and To Him that hath purchased and prepared though it were bright, yet it was a cloud: this glory for us, together with the Father with much light there was some shade. God and blessed Spirit, one incomprehensible would not speak to them concerning Christ God, be all praise for ever! Amen. out of darkness; neither yet would be mani.
fest himself to them in an absolute bright
ness: all his appearances have this mixture. CONTEMPLATION XIV. --THE PROSECUTION What need I other instance, than in these OF THE TRANSFIGURATION,
two saints ? Moses spake oft to God, mouth
to mouth; yet not so immediately, but that Before, the disciples' eyes were dazzled there was ever somewhat drawn, as a curwith glory: now, the brightness of that glory tain, betwixt God and him; either fire in is shaded with a cloud. Frail and feeble Horeb, or smoke in Sinai; so as his face is eyes of mortality cannot look upon a hea- not more vailed from the people, than God's venly lustre. That cloud imports both ma- from him. Elias shall be spoken to by God, jesty and obscuration. Majesty; for it was but in the rock, and under a mantle. In che testimony of God's presence of old : the vain shall we hope for any revelation from cloud covered the mountain, the tabernacle, God, but in a cloud. Worldly hearts are in the oracle. He that makes the clouds his utter darkness; they see not so much as the chariot, was in a cloud carried up into hea. | least glimpse of these divine beams, not a ven. Where have we mention of any di- beam of that inaccessible light: the best of vine representation but a cloud is one part his saints see him here but in a cloud, or in of it? what comes nearer to heaven, either a glass. Happy are we, if God has honoured in place or resemblance? Obscuration ; for us with these divine representations of him. as it showed there was a majesty, and that self; once in his light, we shall see light. divine, so it showed them, that the view of I can easily think with what amazedness that majesty was not for bodily eyes. Like these three disciples stood compassed in that as when some great prince walks under a bright cloud, expecting some miraculous canopy, that vail shows there is a great per event of so heavenly a vision, when sudson under it, but withal restrains the eye denly they might hear a voice sounding out from a free sight of his person; and if the of that cloud, saying, “ This is my beloved cloud were clear, yet it shaded them. Why Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him." then was this cloud interposed betwixt that They need not be told whose that voice glorious vision and them, but for a check of was: the place, the matter evinced it; no their bold eyes ?
angel in heaven could or durst have said so. Had they too long gazed upon this re- How gladly doth Peter afterwards recount splendent spectacle, as their eyes had been it! for he received from God the Father blinded, so their hearts had perhaps grown honour and glory, when there came such a to an over-bold familiarity with that heaven. voice to him from the excellent glory, “ This ly object : how seasonably doth the cloud is my beloved Son, in whom I am well intercept it! The wise God knows our need pleased; hear him." of these vicissitudes and allays. If we have. It was only the ear that was here taught, a light, we must have a cloud; if a light to not the eye: as of Horeb, so of Sinai, so of cheer us, we must have a cloud to humble us. Tabor, might God say, Ye saw no shape, nor image, in that day that the Lord spake the voice of his Maker? yet this word was unto you. He that knows our proneness but plausible and hortatory. () God, how to idolatry, avoids those occasions which we shall flesh and blood be other than swalmight take to abuse our own fancies. lowed up with the horror of thy dreadful
Twice hath God spoken these words to sentence of death? The lion shall roar, who his own Son from heaven; once in his bap- shall not be afraid! How shall those, that tism, and now again in his transfiguration : have slighted the sweet voice of thine invi. here not without some oppositive compari- tations, call to the rocks to hide them from son; not Moses, not Elias, but this. Moses the terror of thy judgments ! and Elias were servants, this a Son: Moses The God of mercies pities our infirmi. and Elias were sons, but of grace and choice; ties: I do not hear our Saviour say, Ye lay this is that Son, the Son by nature. Other sleeping one while upon the earth; now ye sons are beloved as of favour and free elec- lie astonished: ye could neither wake to tion; this is the Beloved, as in the unity of see, nor stand to hear; now lie still and his essence. Others are so beloved, that he tremble : but he graciously touches and is pleased with themselves; this so beloved, comforts them, “ Arise, fear not.” That that in him and for him, he is pleased with voice, which shall once raise them up out mankind. As the relation betwixt the Far of the earth, might well raise them up from ther and the Son is infinite, so is the love: it; that hand, which by the least touch rewe measure the intenseness of love by the stored sight, limbs, life, might well restore extension: the love that rests in the person the spirits of the dismayed. O Saviour, affected alone, is but strait; true love de- let that sovereign hand of thine touch us, scends, like Aaron's ointment, from the when we lie in the trances of our griefs, in head to the skirts, to children, friends, allies. the bed of our securities, in the grave of our O incomprehensibly large love of God the sins, and we shall arise. Father to the Son, that, for his sake, he is “ They looking up saw no man, save pleased with the world! O perfect and Jesus alone,” and that, doubtless, in his happy complacence! Out of Christ, there | wonted form ; all was now gone - Moses, is nothing but enmity betwixt God and the Elias, the cloud, the voice, the glory. Tasoul; in him there can be nothing but peace: bor itself cannot be long blessed with that when the beams are met in one centre, they divine light, and those shining guests; hea. do not only heat, but burn. Our weak loveven will not allow to earth any long con. is diffused to many; God hath some, the tinuance of glory; only above is constant world more, and therein wives, children, happiness to be looked for and enjoyed, friends; but this infinite love of God hath where we shall ever see our Saviour in his all the beams of it united in one only ob- unchangeable brightness, where the light ject, the Son of his love; neither doth he shall never be either clouded or varied. love any thing, but in the participation of Moses and Elias are gone; only Christ is his love, in the derivation from it. O God, left: the glory of the law and the prophets let me be found in Christ, and how canst was but temporary, yea, momentary, that thou but be pleased with me?
only Christ may remain to us entire and This one voice proclaims Christ at once conspicuous: they came but to give testi. the Son of God, the Reconciler of the mony to Christ; when that is done, they world, the Doctor and Lawgiver of his are vanished. Church. As the Son of God he is essen. Neither could these raised disciples find tially interested in his love: as he is the Re- any miss of Moses and Elias, when they conciler of the world in whom God is well had Christ still with them. Had Jesus been pleased, he doth most justly challenge our gone, and left either Moses or Elias, or love and adherence: as he is the Doctor | both, in the mount with his disciples, that and Lawgiver, he doth justly challenge our presence, though glorious, could not have audience, our obedience. Even so, Lord, comforted them ; now that they are gone, teach us to hear and obey thee as our and he is left, they cannot be capable of Teacher; to love thee, and believe in thee | discomfort. O Saviour, it matters not who as our Reconciler: and as the eternal Son is away, while thou art with us : thou art of thy Father, to adore thee.
God all-sufficient; what can we want, when The light caused wonder in the disci- we want not thee? Thy presence shall ples, but the voice astonishment; they are make Tabor itself a heaven; yea, hell itself all fallen down upon their faces. Who can cannot make us miserable with the fruition blame a mortal man to be thus affected with of thee.