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without complaint; who, with the same hands which they have since their last meal embrued in blood, can freely carve to themselves large morsels at the next sitting. Believest thou that such a man's heart laughs with his face? Will not he dare to be a hypocrite, that durst be a villain ? These glow-worms, when a night of sorrow encompasses them, make a lightsome and fiery show of joy; when, if thou press them, thou findest nothing but a cold and crude moisture. Knowest thou not, that there are those which count it no shame to sin, yet count it a shame to be checked with remorse, especially so as others' eyes may descry; to whom repentance seems base-mindedness, unworthy of him that professes wisdom and valour? Such a man can grieve, when none sees it; but himself can laugh, when others see it, himself feels not. Assure thyself, that man's heart bleedeth when his face counterfeits a smile : he wears out many waking hours, when thou thinkest he resteth; yea, as his thoughts afford him not sleep, so his very sleep affords him not rest; but, while his senses are tied up his sin is loose; representing itself to him in the ugliest shape, and frightening him with horrible and hellish dreams. And if, perhaps, custom hath bred a carelessness in him, as we see that usual whipping makes the child not care for the rod; yet an unwonted extremity of the blow shall fetch blood of the soul; and make the back that is most hardened, sensible of smart; and the further the blow is fetched, through intermission of remorse, the harder it must needs alight. Therefore, I may confidently tell the careless sinner, as that bold tragedian said to his great Pompey: “ The time shall come, wherein thou shalt fetch deep sighs; and therefore shalt sorrow desperately, because thou sorrowedst not sooner.” The fire of the conscience may lie, for a time, smothered with a pile of green wood, that it cannot be discerned ; whose moisture when once it hath mastered, it sends up so much greater flame, by how much it had greater resistance. Hope not then, to stop the mouth of thy conscience from exclaiming, while thy sin continues : that endeavour is both vain and hurtful. So I have seen them, that have stopped the nostril for bleeding, in hope to stay the issue; when the blood, hindered in his former course, hath broken out of the mouth, or found way down into the stomach. The conscience is not pacifiable, while sin is within to vex it; no more than an angry swelling can cease throbbing and aching, while the thorn or the corrupted matter lies rotting underneath. Time, that remedies all other evils of the mind, increaseth this ; which, like to bodily diseases, proves worse with continuance, and grows upon us with our age.
SECTION V. The Remedy of an unquiet Conscience. . THERE can be, therefore, no peace, without reconciliation : thou canst not be friends with thyself, till with God; for thy conscience, which is thy best friend while thou sinnest not, like an honest servant, takes his master's part against thee when thou hast sinned ; and will not look straight upon thee, till thou upon God; not daring to be so kind to thee, as to be unfaithful to his Maker.
There can be no reconciliation without remission. God can neither forget the injury of sin, nor dissemble hatred. It is for men and those of hollow hearts, to make pretences contrary to their affections; soothings, and smiles, and embracements, where we mean not love, are from weakness; either for that we fear our insufficiency of present revenge, or hope for a fitter opportunity afterwards; or for that we desire to make our further advantage of him to whom we mean evil. These courses are not incident into an almighty Power; who, having the command of all vengeance, can smite where he list, without all doubtings or delays.
There can be no remission without satisfaction. Neither dealeth God with us as we men with some desperate debtors; whom, after long dilations of payments and many days broken, we altogether let go for disability, or at least dismiss them upon an easy composition. All sins are debts: all God's debts must be discharged. It is a bold word, but a true, God would not be just if any of his debts should pass unsatisfied. The conceit of the profane vulgar makes him a God all of mercies; and, thereupon, hopes for pardon, without payment. Fond and ignorant presumption, to disjoin mercy and justice in him, to whom they are both essential; to make mercy exceed justice in him, in whom both are infinite! Darest thou hope God can be so kind to thee, as to be unjust to himself ? God will be just: go thou on to presume, and perish.
There can be no satisfaction by any recompense of ours. An infinite justice is offended ; an infinite punishment is deserved by every sin; and every man's sins are as near to infinite as number can make them. Our best endeavour is worse than finite, imperfect and faulty: if it could be perfect, we owe it all in present: what we are bound to do in present, cannot make amends for what we have not done in time past; which while we offer to God as good payment, we do, with the profane traveller, think to please him with empty date-shells, in lieu of preservation. Where shall we then find a payment of infinite value, but in him, wbich is only and all infinite ? the dignity of whose person, being infinite, gave such worth to his satisfaction, that what he suffered in short time, was proportionable to what we should have suffered beyond all times. He did all, suffered all, paid all : he did it for us ; we, in him.
Where shall I begin to wonder at thee, O thou divine and eternal Peace-Maker, the Saviour of men, the Anointed of God, Mediator between God and man; in whom there is nothing which doth not exceed, not only the conceit, but the very wonder of angels; who saw thee in thy humiliation with silence, and adore thee in thy glory with perpetual praises and rejoicings? Thou wast for ever of thyself as God, of the Father as the Son; the Eternal Son of an Eternal Father; not later in being, not less in dignity, not other in substance; begotten, without diminution of him that begot thee, while he communicated that wholly to thee which he retained wholly in himself, because both were infinite, without inequality of nature, without division of essence : when, being in this estate, thine infinite love and mercy to desperate mankind caused thee, O Saviour, to empty thyself of thy glory, that thou mightst put on our shame and misery. Wherefore, not ceasing to be God as thou wert, thou beganst to be what thou wert not, man; to the end that thou mightst be a perfect mediator betwixt God and man, which wert both in one person ; God, that thou mightst satisfy; man, that thou mightst suffer : that, since man had sinned, and God was offended, thou, which wert God and man, mightst satisfy God for man. None but thyself, which art the Eternal Word, can express the depth of this mystery, that God should be clothed with flesh, come down to men, and become man, that man might be exalted into the highest heavens, and that our nature might be taken into the fellowship of the Deity: that he, to whom all powers in heaven bowed, and thought it their honour to be serviceable, should come down to be a servant to his slaves, a ransom for his enemies; together with our nature taking up our very infirmities, our shame, our torments, and bearing our sins without sin : that thou, whom the heavens were too strait to contain, shouldst lay thyself in an obscure cratch; thou, which wert attended of angels, shouldst be derided of men, rejected of thine own, persecuted by tyrants, tempted with devils, betrayed of thy servant, crucified among thieves, and, which was worse than all these, in thine own apprehension, for the time, as forsaken of thy Father: that thou, whom our sins had pierced, shouldst, for our sins, both sweat drops of blood in the garden, and pour out streams of blood upon the cross.
Oh, the invaluable purchase of our peace! O ransom enough for more worlds! Thou, which wert in the counsel of thy Father, the Lamb slain from the beginning of time, camest now, in fulness of time, to be slain by man for man; being at once the sacrifice offered, the priest that did offer, and the God to whom it was offered. How