[fol. 1r] Prou: 8: 17: I loue them that loue mee and
they that seeke mee earlie shall finde mee.
As the Prophetts and other Secretaries of ye holie Ghost in penning the bookes of scriptures, doe for the most part reteine and express in their wrytings, some ymp[re]ssions and some ayre of their Form[er] p[ro]fessions; Those that had bien bred in courts and Citties, Those that had bien Shepeheards and heardsmen, Those that had bien Fishers, and so of the rest, ever incrting into their wrytings, some phrases, some metaphors, some allusions, taken From that p[ro]fession wch they had exercyzed before. So that soule that hath bien transported vppon anie p[ar]ticular worldlie pleasure, when yt is intirelie turnd vppon god, & the contemplac[i]on of his all sufficiencie and aboundance, dooth Find in god Fitt subiect and iust occasion to exercize ye same affection pyouslie and religiouslie, wch had before so sinfullie transported and possest yt.
A Couetous person, whoe is now trulie conu[er]ted to god, hee will exercize a spirituall Couetousnes still; hee will desire to haue him all; hee will haue good securitie, the seale & assurance of the holie ghost, and hee will haue his securitie often renewed by new testimonies and increases of those graces in him; hee will haue wittnesses enough: hee will haue ye testimonie of all the worlde by his good life and conu[er]sac[i]on; hee will gaine eu[er]ie waie at gods hand; hee will haue wages of god, for hee wilbee his servant; hee will haue a portion from god, for hee wilbee his sonne; hee will haue a reversion, hee wilbee sure that his name ys in the booke of life; hee will haue pawnes, ye seales of the sacramentes; Naie, hee will haue a p[re]sent possessio[n]: all that god hath p[ro]mised, all that Christ hath purchased; and all that the holie ghost hath stewardshipp and dispensac[i]on of; hee will haue in p[re]sent, by the approprac[i]on and investiture of an actuall and applying Faith: A Covetous p[er]son conuerted wilbee spirituallie couetous styll.
So will a voluptuous man whoe ys turnd to godd Find plentie and deliciousnes enough in him to Feed his soule as wth marrowe and wth Fattnes; as David exp[re]sses yt: And so [fol. 1v] an angrie and passionate man will Find zeale enough in the howse of god to eate him vpp:
All affections wch are com[m]on to all men, and those to wch in p[ar]ticular, p[ar]ticular men haue bien addicted to, shall not onlie bee iustlie imployed vppon god, but also securelie imployed, because wee cannot exceed nor goe to Farr in ymploying them vppon him. According to this rule Sct: Paule whoe had bien so vehement a persecutor had euer his thoughts exercizedColos: 1: vppon that: And thervppon after his conu[er]sion hee Fullfills the rest of the sufferings of Christ in his Flesh: hee suffers most: hee makes moste mention of his sufferings of anie of the Apostles.
And according to this rule too. Solomon, whose disposic[i]on was amorous and excessiue in the loue of weomen, when hee turnd to god, hee departed not vtterlie From his olde phrase and language, butt having putt a new and a spirituall tincture and forme and habitt into all his thoughts and wordes hee conveis all his loving approaches and applicac[i]ons to god, and all gods gracious answers to his amarous soule into song and epithalamiones, and meditac[i]ons vppon contracts and mariages betweene god and his Church, and god and his soule, as you see so euidentlie in all his other wrytings, and p[ar]ticularlie in this text; I love them &c.
In wch wordes ys exp[re]ssed all that belongs to loue: all wch, ys to desire and to inioye: for to desire wthout Fruition ys a rage, and to inioye wthoute desire ys a stupiditie.
In the First alone wee think of nothing butt that wch wee then woolde haue: and in the second alone wee care not for yt when wee haue yt: In the First, wee are wthout yt; In the second wee are as good bee wthoute yt, For wee haue no pleasure in yt: Nothing then cann giue vs sattisfacc[i]on butt where those twoe concurr Amare and Frui.
In sensuall loue yt is so: Quid erat quod me delectabat nisi amare et amari? I tooke no ioye in this worlde, but August: in loving and in being beloued: In sensuall loue yt is so: butt in sensuall loue when wee are come so Farr, there ys no satisfacc[i]on in that. The same Father confesseth more of [fol. 2r] himselfe then anie Comission, anie oath woulde haue putt him to. Amatus sum et perueni occulte ad fruendu[m]: I had all I desired, and I had yt wth that aduantage of hauing yt secrettlie: butt what gott I by all that, Ut cæderer virgis ardentibus ferreis, zeli suspicionis et vixarum: Nothing but to be squourged wth burning Iron rods, Rods of iealouzie, and of suspic[i]on and of quarrells. Butt in the loue and inioying of this text, there ys no roome for iealozie nor suspition nor quarrelous complayning.
In this text then you maie bee pleased to consider theis twoe Divisio. things, quid amare, quid frui. What the affection of this loue ys, what ys the blessednes of this Eniogenie: But in the First of theis wee must First consider the p[er]sons whoe are the louers in this text. For there are p[er]sons that are incredible, though they saie they loue, because they are accustomed to Falsehood; And there are p[er]sons wch are unrequitable, though they bee beleeued to loue, because they loue not where and as they sholde.
When wee haue Found the p[er]sons in a second considerac[i]on, wee shall looke vppon the affection yt self; what ys the loue in this text: And then after that vppon ye bond and vnion and condic[i]on of this loue: That yt is mutuall; I loue them that loue mee: And hauing passed those three branches of the First part, wee shall in the second wch ys enioying consider First that this enioying ys exp[re]ssed in the worde Finding and then that this Finding requyers twoe condic[i]ons a feeling and an earlie seeking: And they that seeke mee earlie shall finde mee.
The person that p[ro]fesses loue, in this place, ys wisedome hir self as appeeres at the begining of the chapter, so that sapere et amare, to bee wise and to loue, wch p[er]chaunce neuer mett before nor since, are mett in this text. But whether this wisedome so Frequentlie mentioned in this booke of p[ro]verbs bee sapientia creata or increata, whether yt bee the virtue wisedome or ye roote of wisedome Christ Iesus, hath bien diverselie debated. [fol. 2v]The occasion grewe in that great Councill at Neice where ye Catholique Fathers understood this wisedome to bee intended of Christ himself, and then the Arrian heretiques pressed some places of this booke where such things seemd to them to bee spoken of wisedome as coolde not bee appliable to anie butt to a Creature: and that therfore yf Christe were this wisedome, Christ must necessarilie bee a creature and not god.
Wee will not dispute those things ouer againe now: They are cleerlie enough and largely enough sett downe in that Councill: Butt since there ys nothing said of wisedome in all this booke, wch hath not bien by good exposic[i]ons applyed to Christ. Much more maie wee p[re]sume the louer in this text (though p[re]sented in the name of wisedome) to bee Christ himselfe, and so wee doe.
To shewe the constancie and durablenes of this loue, the louer ys a hee, that is Christe; To shewe ye vehemencie and earnestnes of yt, ye louer ys a shee, that ys wisedome: shee uttereth hir voice; yea in one place of the byble (and onlie in that one place I thinck) where Moses woolde express an extraordinarie and vehement and passionate indignac[i]on in god against his people, whenas yt is in that text, his wrath was kindled, and greiuouslie kindled; There and onlie there,Numbrs 11:15 dooth Moses attribute euen to god himselfe the Feminine sex, & speakes to god in ye originall language, as yf hee shoold haue called him Deam Iratam: an angrie shee god: All that is good then either in the loue of man or woman is in this louer, For hee is exp[re]ssed in boathe sexes of man and woman; And all that Can bee yll in ye loue of either sex ys purged awaie, For ye man ys no other man then Christ Iesus, and ye woman no other woman then wisedome hirself euen the vncreated wisedome of god him self.
Now all this ys butt one p[er]son, The p[er]son that p[ro]fesses loue: whoe ys ye other, whoe ys the beloued of Christ ys not so easilie discernd: In the loue betweene p[er]sons in this worlde and of this worlde wee are often deceaued wth outward signes, wee often miscall and misiudge ciuill respects and mutuall courtesies, and a delight in one anothers conu[er]sac[i]on, and such other indifferent things as onlie malignity, and curiositie and selfe guiltines makes to bee misinterp[re]table. Wee often call this loue: But neither amongst our selves, much less betweene Christ and our soules are theis outward apparances allwaies signes of loue.
[fol. 3r] This person then, this beloued soule ys not eu[er]rie one to whome Christ sends a loving message or writes to, For his lett[er] s his scriptures are directed to all.
Not eu[er]rie one that hee wishes well to, and sweares that hee does so, For so hee dooth to all: (As I liue saith the Lord, I woold not the death of a sinner; Not eu[er]rie one that hee sends iewells and preasents to, For they are often snares to corrupt as well as arguments of loue. Not though hee admitt them to his table and supper, For euen there the deuill entred into Iudas wth a sopp. Not though hee receiue them to a kiss, for euen wth that Familiaritie Iudas betraied him: Not though Ose: 2:14hee betroath him self as hee did to ye Iewes, sponsabo te mihi in aeternu[m]. Not though hee make ioynetures, In pacto salis, in a Covenant of salt, an ev[er]lasting couenant. Not though hee haue com[m]unicated his name to them wch ys an act of mariage, For to how manie hath hee said: Ego dixi dij &c and yet they haue bien reprobates. Nott all theis outward things amount so Farr as to make vs discerne whoe ys this beloued person, For, himself saies of the Isralites (to whome hee had made all theis demonstrac[i]ons of loue, yett after, For their abhominac[i]ons divorced himself From them, I haue Forsaken mine house I haue left mine heritage, I haue given the deerlie beloved of my soule into the hands of hir enemies: To conclude this person beloued of Christ ys onlie that soule that loues Christ; butt that belonges to the third branch of this first part, wch ys the mutuall loue: Butt First hauing found the person wee are to consider the affecc[i]on yt self, ye love of this text.
yt is an observac[i]on of Origens that though theis three wordes Amor, dilectio, and Charitas, loue, affecc[i]on and good will, bee all of one significac[i]on in ye scriptures yett saies hee, where soeu[er] there is daunger of rep[re]senting to ye Fantasie a lasciuious and carnall loue, ye scriptures Forbeare ye word loue, and vses either affection or good [fol. 3v] will; And where there is no such daunger, ye scripture comes directlie to this word loue: OF wch Origens examples are; That when Isaack bent his affections to Rebecca, and Iacob vpon Rachell, in boath places yt is dilexit, and not amauit: And when yt is said in the Canticles, I charge you daughters of Ierusalem to tell my welbeloued, yt is not to tell him that shee was in loue, butt tell him quod vulneratus charitate sum; That I am wounded wth an affecc[i]on and good-will towards him. Butt in this booke of p[ro]uerbs in all ye passages betweene Christ and the beloved soule there is eu[er]more a Free use of this word Amor: loue because yt is even in the First app[re]hension a pure, a chaste, and an vndefyled loue: Eloquia domina casta saies Dauid: All ye wordes of the lord, and all their wordes that loue ye lord, all that ys spoken to or From ye lord, ys all full of chaste loue and of the loue of chastety.
Now though this loue of Christ to our soule bee to large to shutt vpp or comp[re]hend in anie definic[i]on, yett yf wee content our selues wth the difinition of the schooles; Amare est, velle alicui quod bonum est: Loue ys nothing butt a desire that they whome wee loue shoold be happie. Wee maie easilie discerne thadvantage and p[ro]ffitt wch wee haue by this loue, when hee that wishes vs this good by louing vs ys author of all good himself, and maie giue vs as much as pleases him wthout ympairing his owne infinite treasure: Hee loues vs as his auncient inheritance, as the First amongst his Creatures in ye creation of the world, wch hee created For vs; Hee loues vs more as his purchase, whome hee hath bought wth his blood, For euen man takes most plesure in things of his owne getting: Butt hee loues vs moste For our improouement, when by the ploughing vpp of our hartes and ye dewe of his grace, and ye seed of his worde, wee come to giue a greater rent in the [fol. 4r] Fruite of sanctificac[i]on then before. And since hee loues vs thus and that in him this loue is a velle bonum, a desire that his beeloued shoolde bee happie, what soule amongst vs shall doubt that when god hath such an aboundant and infinite threasure, as the meritt and passion of Christ Iesus sufficient to saue millions of worlds, and yett manie millions in this worlde, (all ye heathen) excluded From anie interest therin; When god hath a kingdome so large as that nothing lymitts yt, and yett hee hath banished manie naturall subiects therof even those legions of Angells wch were created in yt, and are Fallen From yt, what soule amongst vs shall doubt, but that hee that hath thus much and loues thus much, will not deny hir a portion in the blood of Christ or a roome in ye kingdome of heauen? No soule can doubt yt, except yt haue bien a wittnes to yt self and bee so still, that yt loue not Christ Iesus; For thats a condic[i]on necessarie, and that ys ye third braunch, to wch wee Mutuus are come orderlie: That this loue be mutuall, I loue them. &c
yf anie man loue not our lord Iesus lett him bee accursed saies the Apostle. Now the First part of this curse ys vpon the indisposition to loue, hee that loues not at all ys First accursed. That stuped inconsiderac[i]on wch passes on drowselie and negligentlie vpon good Creatures, that sullen indifferencie in ones disposic[i]on to loue one thing nor more then an other, not to value not to choose, not to p[re]fferr, that stonines, that inhumanitie, not to bee affected not to bee entendred, wch god hath made obiects and subiects of affections. That wch Sct: Paule Rom:1:30: places in ye bottome, and lees and dreggs of all ye sinns of the Iewes, to bee wthout naturall affections: This distemper this yll complexion this yll nature of ye soule ys und[er] ye first part of this curse, yf anie man loue not; For hee yt loues not knowes not god, For god ys loue.
[fol. 4v] Butt this curse determines not vpon that, neither ys it p[ri]ncipallie directed vpon that, not louing. For as wee saie in the schooles, Amor est primus actus voluntatis, the First thing that the will of man does, is to affect, to choose, to loue something, and yt is scarce possible to Find anie mans will so ydle, so baren, as that yt hath p[ro]duced no act at all, and therfore the First act being loue, scarce anie man can bee Found that dooth not loue something: Butt the curse extends, yea is p[ri]ncipallie intended vppon him that loues not Christ Iesus; though hee loue ye Creature, and orderlie enough yea though hee loue god as a great and incomp[re]hensible power, yett yf hee loue not Christ Iesus, yf hee acknowledge not yt all that passes betweene god and him, is in and for Christ Iesus, lett him bee accursed For all his loue.
Now there are but twoe that can bee loued, God and ye Creature and of ye Creatures, that must necessarilie bee best loued, wch is neerest vs, wch wee understand best and reflect most vpon and thats our self: For, For the loue of other Creatures, yt ys butt a secondarie loue; and yf wee loue god, wee loue them For his sake; yf wee loue our selues, wee loue them For oure sakes. Now to loue our selues, ys onlie allowable, onlie p[ro]per to god himself, For this loue ys a desire, that all honor and praize, and glorie should bee attributed to ones self, and yt can bee onlie p[ro]per to god to desire that. To loue our self then ys the greatest treason wee can com[m]itt against god; & all loue of the creature determines in the loue of our self, For though sometymes, wee maie say that wee loue them better then our selues, and though wee giue so good (that is indeed so yll testimonie) that wee doe so, that wee neglect our selues boath our religion and our discretion, For their sakes whome wee p[re]tend to loue, yett all this ys butt a secondarie loue, and wth relac[i]on still to our selues, and our owne contentment; for ys this loue wch wee beare to other Creatures wthin that defi [fol. 5r] nition of loue, velle bonum amato, to wish that wch wee loue happie? Dooth anie ambitious man loue honor or office therfore, because hee thincks that tytle or that place shoold receaue a dignity by his hauing yt, or an excellencie by his executing yt? Dooth anie covetous man loue a house or horse therfore, because hee thincks that house or horse shoold bee happie in such a maister, or such a Rider? dooth anie lycentious man covet or solicite a woman therfore because hee thincks yt a happines to hir to haue such a servant? No, yt is onlie himself that is wthin ye definition: Vult bonum sibi, hee wishes well (as hee mistakes yt) to himself, and hee is content that ye slavery and dishonor and ruyne of others, shoolde contribute to make vpp his ymaginarie happines.
August: O dementiam, nescientem amare homines humaniter: What a perverse madnes ys it to loue a creature, and not as a creature, wthall the adiuncts and circumstances and qualities of a creature, of wch the p[ri]ncipall ys, that, that loue rayse as to ye contemplac[i]on of the Creator; For yf yt doe soe, wee maie loue our selues as wee are the ymages of god; And so wee maie loue other men as they are the ymages of vs, and our nature, yea as they are members of the same bodie; For Omnes homines, una humanitas; And so wee loue other Creatures, as wee all meete in our Creator, in whome Princes & subiects Angells and men, men and wormes are fellowe servants
Aug: Si male amaueris tunc odisti: yf thou haue loued thy self or anie bodie else p[ri]ncipallie, or so, that when thou dooest anie act of loue, thou canst not saie to thine owne conscyence, I doe this For gods sake, and for his glory, yf thou hast not loued so thou hast hated thy self and him whome thou hast loued, and god whome thou shooldest loue: Si bene oderis, sayes the same father, yf thou haue [fol. 5v] hated thine owne internall tentac[i]ons, and the outward solicitac[i]ons of others. Amasti, thou hast exp[re]ssed an act of loue, of loue to thy god, and to his ymage; thy self, and to thine ymage, that man whome thy virtue hath declyned, and kept From offending his and thy god.
And as this affection loue, dooth belong to god p[ri]ncipally that ys, rather then anie affection else, For, ye feare of god ys the beginning of wisedome, butt the loue of god ys ye consumac[i]on, that ys, the mariage and vnyon of thy soule and thy sauiour.
Butt can wee loue god when wee will? Doe wee not find that in ye loue of some other things, of some courses of life, of some waies in our acc[i]ons, yea, and of some perticular persons, that wee woulde Faine loue them and cannot, when wee can obiect nothing against yt, when wee can multiply arguments why wee shoolde loue them, yett wee cannot? Butt yt is not so towards god: eu[er]ie man maie loue him that will. But can eu[er]rie man haue this will? this desire? certainlie wee cannot begin this loue except god loue vs First, wee cannot loue him. Butt god dooth loue vs all so well From ye begining as that eu[er]rie man maie see, ye fault was in ye peruersenes of his owne will, that hee did not loue god better. Yf wee looke For ye roote of this loue, yt is in ye Father, For though ye death of Christ bee towards vs, as a roote, as a cause of our loue, and of the acceptablenes of yt, Aug: yett, Meritum Christi est effectum amoris dei erganos: The death of Christ was butt an effect of the loue of god towards vs. So god loued ye worlde that hee gaue his sonne: yf hee had not loued vs First [fol. 6r] wee had neuer had his sonne: Heere ys the roote then, the loue of the Father, and the tree, the meritt of the sonne. Except there bee Fruit to, loue in vs to them againe, boath roote and tree will wither towards vs howsoeu[er] they grewe in god. I haue loued thee in eu[er]lasting Jer:31:3: loue, (saides god) therefore wth mercie have I drawen thee: If therfore wee doe not perceaue that wee are drawen to loue againe by this loue, yt is not an eu[er]lasting loue that shines vpon us.
All the sun shine all the glorie of this lyfe, though all theis bee testimonies of gods loue to vs, yett all they bring butt a winters daie, a short daie and a colde daye and a darke daie: For except wee loue too, god dooth not loue wth an euerlasting loue. God will not suffer his loue to bee ydle, and since yt p[ro]fitts him nothing, yf yt p[ro]fitts vs nothing, neither hee will wthdrawe yt. Amor dei, vt lumen ignis, vt splendor solis, vt odor lucis, non prebenti proficit, sed vtenti. The sonne hath no benefitt by his owne light nor ye Fyer by his heat, nor a perfume by the sweetnes, but only they whoe make their use, and inioy this heat, & Fragrancie. And this brings vs to our other part, to pass From loving to inioying.
2 Pars: Tulerunt Dominum meum: They haue taken awaie my lord, and I knowe not where they haue laid him, was one straine of Marie Magdalins lamentac[i]on when shee Found not hir Sauiour in ye monument. yt is a lamentable case to bee faine to cry so tulerunt other men haue taken Christ awaie, by a dark and a corrupt educac[i]on wch was the state of our Fathers to ye Roman Captiuitie. But when yeabiecerunt Dominum wch ys so often complayned of by god in the [fol. 6v] Prophets, is p[ro]nounced against thee, when thou hath had Christ offered to thee by the moc[i]ons of his grace, & sealed to thee by his sacraments, and yett will cast him so Farr From thee that thou knowest not where to Find him: when thou hast powrd him out at thine eyes in p[ro]phane and counterfeit teares, wch shoold bee thy soules rebaptizac[i]on For thy sinns and when thou hast blowen him awaie in corrupt and yll intended sighes, wch shoold bee Gemitus Columbae, the voice of the turtle to sound thy peace and reconciliac[i]on wth thy god, yea when thou hast spitt him out of thy mouth in execrable and blasphemous oathes, when thou hast not only cast him so Farr, as that thou knowest not where to find him, butt hast made so ordinarie and so indifferent a thing of sinne as thou knowest not when thou didst loose him; no nor dooest not remember that euer thou hadst him; No nor dooest not knowe whether there bee anie such man as Dominus tuus; a Iesus, that ys thy lord, the tulerunt is dangerous, when others had Christ From thee; But the abiecerunt is desperate when thou thy self doest cast him awaie.
To loose Christ maie befall the most righteous man that ys: butt when hee knowes where hee lest him, hee knowes at what sinne hee lost his waie and where to seeke yt againe. Euen Christs ymagined Father and his true moth[er] Ioseph and Marie lost him at Ierusalem, they lost him and knew yt not, they lost him and went adaies iorney wthout him, and thought him to bee in ye companie: but as soone as they dep[re]hended their error, they sought, and they found him, when, as his mother tolde him, his Father and shee had sought him wth a heavie hart. Alas wee maie loose [fol. 7r] him at Ierusalem, even in his owne howse, even at this p[re]sent whilste wee p[re]tend to doe him service, wee maie loose him by suffering our thoughts to looke back wth plesure vppon ye sinns wch wee haue com[mi]tted, or Forward with greedines vpon some sinne that ys now in our purpoze and p[ro]secution. Wee maie loose him at Ierusalem; how much more yf our dwelling bee a Rome of superstition and Idolatrie, or yf yt bee a Babilon in confusion and mingling God and ye worlde together, or yf yt bee a Sodome, a wanton and intemperate misuse of gods benefitts to vs, wee maie thinck him in ye Companie, when hee ys not, wee maie mistake his howse, wee may take a conventicle For a Church; wee maie mistake his apparell, that is the outward Forme of his worship: Wee maie mistake the person, that is associate oure selues to such as are no members of his bodie: Butt yf wee doe not returne to our diligence to seeke him, (&) seeke him wth heavie harts, though wee be gone wth a Tulerunt, other men, other tentac[i]ons tooke him awaie yett wee end in an abiecerunt, wee our selues cast him awaie, since wee haue bien tould where to Find him and haue not sought him. And lett no man bee affraid to seeke or find him For feare of the loss of good Companie: Religion ys no sullen thing, yt is not a melanchollie; there ys not so sociable a thing as ye loue of Christ Iesus: yt was the First worde wch hee whoe First Found Christ of all the Appostles, Sct: Andrewe ys noted to haue said Inuenimus Messia[m]. And yt is the First act that hee is noted to haue done, after hee had Found him; to seeke his brother Peet[er][fol. 7v] Jo:1.3.4. Et duxit ad Iesum, so com[mu]nicable a thing ys the loue of Iesus when wee haue Found him.
Butt where are wee likeliest to Find him? yt is said by Moses, of the wordes and p[re]cepts of god. They are Deut:30:ii: not hid From thee, neither are Farr of: Not heaue[n] that thou shooldest saie, whoe shall goe vpp to heaven For vs to bring them downe; nor beyond ye Sea, that thou shooldst goe ouer the Sea For them, butt the worde is verie neere thee, even in thy mouth and in thy hart; and so neere thee, is Christ Iesus, or thou shalt neu[er] find him Thou must not seeke him in heauen, as thinking thou thou canst not haue ymediate access to him wthout intercession of others; nor so beyond Sea: as to seeke him in a Forraine Church; either where ye Church ys butt an Antiquaries Cabinett, Full of raggs and Fragments of Antiquitie, butt nothing Fit For that vse For wch yt was made at First; or where yt is so new a built house wth bare walls that yt is yett vnfurnished of such Ceremonies as shoolde make yt comelie and reu[er]end. Christ is at home wth thee: hee is at home wthin thee, and there ys the neerest waie to find him.
Itt is true, that Christ in ye begining of this Chapter shadowed vnder the name of wisedome, when hee discouers where hee maie bee Found, speakes in the person of humane wisedome; as well as diuyne. Dooth not wisedome cry and vnderstanding utt[er] hir voice? where those twoe wordes wisedome and und[er]standing, signify sapientiam and prudentia[m]. That wisedome whose obiect ys god, and that which concernes our conu[er]sac[i]on in this worlde. For Christ [fol. 8r] hath not taken so narrowe a dwelling as that hee maie bee Found butt one waie in one p[ro]fession; For in all p[ro]fessions, in all stations, in all vocac[i]ons when all our acc[i]ons in our seu[er]all courses are directed p[ri]ncipallie vpon his glorie. Christ is eminent and maie easilie bee found. To that purpoze in that place Christ in the person of wisedome offers himself to bee found in ye topps of high places and in the gates of Citties, to shewe that this Christ and this wisedome, wch must saue our soules is not confyned to cloisters and monasteries, and speculatiue men onlie, butt is also evidently and eminently to bee found in ye Courts of religious princes; In the toppe of high places, and in ye Courts of Iustice, in ye gates of the Cittie. Boath theis kindes of Courtes maie haue more diuersions From him then other places; butt in theis places, hee is also gloriouslie & conspicuouslie to bee found; For whersoeu[er] hee is, hee Cryes aloud, as the text saies there, and hee vtters his voice. Tentacons to sinn are all but whisperings, and wee are afraid, that a housband, that a Father, that a Competitor that a Rivall, a p[ro]truder at least the Magistrate maie heare of yt, private conventicles and Clandestine worshiping of god in a forbiden mann[er] in corners, are all but whisperings: yt is not the voice of Christ except thou heare him cry aloud and vtter his voice so, as thou maiest confidently doe whatsoeuer hee com[m]aunds thee in ye eye of all the worlde; Hee is euerie where to bee found, hee calls vpon thee euerie where, but yett there belongs a dilligence on thy part, thou must seeke him.
[fol. 8v] Querere. Esaias is bolde (saies Sct: Paule) and saies, I was Found of them that sought mee not, when that Prophett deriues the loue of god to ye gentiles, whoe coolde seeke god no where butt in the booke of Creatures, and were destitute of all other lightes to seeke him by, and Ro:10:20: yett god was found of them: Esaias, ys bold, (saies the Apostle.) that is, yt was a great degree of confidence in Esaias to saie, that god was found of them that sought him not; yt was a boldnes and a confidence wch no perticular man maie haue, that Christ wilbee Found, except hee bee sought: Hee giues vs light to seeke him by, butt hee is not found till wee haue sought him. yt is true that in that com[m]aundement of his, Primum querite Regnum dei; the Primum ys not to p[re]vent god, to seek yt before hee shewes yt, thats ympossible: wthoute ye light of grace, wee dwell in Darknes and in ye shadowe of Death: Butt yePrimu[m] is that wee shoold seeke yt before wee seeke anie thing elce; that when ye sunne of grace ys ryzen to vs, ye First thing that wee doe, bee to seeke Christ Iesus. Querite me et viuetis; why? wee were aliue Amos.5:4: before, elce wee coold not seeke him, but yt is a p[ro]mise of an other lyfe, of an eternall life: yf wee seeke him, and seeke him earlie; wch is our last considerac[i]o:
The worde heere vsed For earlie signifies p[ro]pperlie Auroram, the morning, and ys vsuallie transferd in scriptures to anie begining. So in p[ar]ticula[r] Euill shall come vppon thee and thou shalt not Esay.47.11. knowe shakrah: the morning the begining of yt: And therfore this text is elegantlie translated by one [fol. 9r] Aucorantes ad me. They that haue their breake of daie towards mee, they that send Forth their First morning beames towards mee; their First thoughts, they shalbee sure to find mee; Sct. Ierome exp[re]sses this early dilligence requird in vs well in his translac[i]on: Qui mane vigilauerint, they that wake betymes in the morning shall find mee, butt the Chaldee paraphrase better, Qui mane consurgunt, they that ryse betymes in the morning shall find mee; For wch of vs dooth not knowe that wee waked long agoe, that wee sawe daie, and had heertofore some motions to Find Christ Iesus: Butt though wee were awake, wee haue kept our bed still, wee haue continewed styll in our former sinns; so that there is more to bee done then waking; wee see the spouse hir Cant:3:1 selfe saies, in my bed by night I sought him whome my soule loued, butt I found him not: Christ maie bee sought in the bed and missed, other thoughts maie exclude him. Hee maie bee sought there and Found, wee haue good meditac[i]ons there; and Christ maie bee nearer vs when wee are asleepe in our bedds then when wee are awake: Butt howsoeuer, the bedd ys not his ordinarie station: Hee maie bee, and hee saies hee wilbee, at the making of the bed of sick, but not at the marring of ye bed of ye wanton and lycentious.
To make haste, the circumstance onlie requird heere ys that hee bee sought earlie; and to invite thee to yt, consider how earlie hee sought thee. It is a great m[er]cie yt hee staies so long For thee, yt was more to seeke thee so earlie. Doest thou not feele that hee seekes thee now in offering his loue, and desiring thine? Canst not [fol. 9v] thou remember that hee sought thee yesterdaie, that is, that some tentac[i]ons beseigde thee then, and hee sought thee out by his grace and p[re]serued thee? And hath hee not sought thee so so earlie, as From the begining of thy life? Naie doest thou not remember, that after thou hadest com[m]itted that sinne, hee sought thee by imp[ri]nting some Grego: remorse, some app[re]hension of his iudgements; and so Miro et diuino modo, et quando te oderat diligebat, by a miraculous and powerfull working of his spiritt hee threatened thee, when hee comforted thee, hee loued thee when hee chid thee, hee sought thee when hee droue thee From him; hee sought thee among:st the infinite nombers of False and Fashionall Christians, that hee bring thee out form ye hipocrytes, to serue him in earnest and in holines and in righteousnes. Hee sought thee before that, amongst the heard of the nations and gentiles whoe had no Church to bring thee into his inclosures & pastures, his visible Church, and to feed thee wth his worde and sacraments. Hee sought thee before that in the Catalogue of all his creatures, where hee might haue left thee a stone, or a plant, or a beast, and then hee gaue thee an immortall soule, capable of all his future blessings; Yea before this, hee sought thee when thou wast no where, no thing; Hee brought thee then the greatest stepp of all, From being nothing to be a Creature; How earlie did hee seeke thee when [fol. 10r] hee sought thee in Adams confuzed loynes, and out of that leavened and sower loafe, in wch wee were all kneaded vpp; out of that massa damnata, that refuze and condemned lumpe of Doe; Hee sought and seuerd out that graine wch thou shooldest bee. Yea millions of millions of generac[i]ons, before all this hee sought thee in his eternall decree: And in that First scripture of his, wch is as olde as him self, in that booke of life hee wrote thy name, in the blood of that lamb wch was slaine for thee, not onlie From ye begining of this worlde, but from ye wryting of that eternall decree of thy saluac[i]on. Thus hipocrites, out of the Church amongst the heathen, in his creatures amongst Creatures of an ignoble nature; and in the First vacuitie, when thou wast nothing, Hee sought thee so earlie as in Adam, so early as in ye booke of lyfe, and when wilt thou thinck yt a fitt tyme to seeke him?
Prou:1:28: There is an earlines wch will not serue thy turne; when afflictions and anguish shall come vpon thee; they shall seeke mee earlie and shall not Find mee; earlie in respe:ct of the punishment, at ye begining of that, but this ys late in respect of thy Fault or of thine age, when thou art growen oulde in the custome of sinne; For thus wee maie misvse this earlie, and make yt serue to all yll vses. Yf wee wil saie wee leaue Covetousnes earlie, that ys, as soone as wee are ritch enough; in continencie earlie, that is as soone as wee are olde or sick: ambition earlie; that is as soone as wee haue ou[er]throwne and crushed our enimies irrecou[er]ablie; for thus, wee [fol. 10v] shall, by this habitt, carrie on this earlie to our late and last hower, and saie wee will repent earlie, that is as soone as the bell beginns to toll For us.
Itt is good For a man that hee beare his yoake in his youth; that hee seeke Christ earlie; For even god himself when hee had given ouer his people to bee afflicted Esay.46:6: by the Chaldeans, yet complaines of them that they laie heavie loades vpon olde men. Though this yoake of this amarous seeking of Christ bee a light yoake, yett ytt is to heavie For an old man, that hath neu[er] vsed himself in all his life to beare yt. Even this spirituall loue, will not suite well wth an old man, yf hee neu[er] begin before, yf hee neu[er] loued Christ in his youth; even this loue wilbee an vnweildie thing in his age.
Yett yf, wee haue omitted our First earlie, our youth, there is yett one earlie left For vs, this minute, seeke Christ earlie now, now, as soone as his spiritt begins to shine vppon yo[ur] hartes. Now as soone as you begin your daie of regenerac[i]on; seeke him ye First minute of this daie, For you know not whether this daie shall haue twoe minutes or no; that is, wheth[er] his spiritt that discends vppon you now, will tarrie and rest vppon you or no, as yt did vppon Christ at his baptisme.
Ps:32.6. Therfore shall euerie one that is godlie make his praier vnto thee O God in atyme when thou maiest bee Found. Wee acknowledge this to bee that tyme: & wee come to thee now earlie wth the confession of thy servant Augustine: Sero te amaui pulchritudo, tam antiqua, tam noua. O glorious bewty infinitelie reu[er]end, infinitelie Fresh & young [fol. 11r] wee come late to thy loue, yf wee consider ye past daies of our liues, butt earlie yf thou beest pleased to reckon wth vs From this hower of the shyning of thy grace vpon vs. And therfore O god, as thou hast broug:ht vs safelie to the begining of this daie, as thou hast not given vs ouer to a frynall perishing in ye works of night and darknes. As thou hast brought vs to the begining of this daie of grace, so defend vs in the same wth thy mightie power; and graunt that this daie, this daie of thy visitac[i]on, wee fall into no sinne, neither runn into anie kind of dang[er] no such sinne, no such Daunger, as maie seperate vs From thee, or Frustrate vs of our hopes, in that eternall kingdome, wch thy sonne our saviour Christ Iesus hath purchased For us, wth the inestimable price, of his incorruptible blood: In whome &c