[fol. 1r] Pro: 8th: ver. 17
I Loue them that Loue mee: And
they that seeke mee earely
shall find mee.
As the Prophetts and other Secretaries of the Holie Ghoŝt, in opening the Bookes of Scripture doe, for the most part, retaine, and expresse in their wryting, some impressions, and some ayre of their former Professions, (Those that had byn bred in Court, and Citties, those that had byn Shepheards, and Heards-men, those that had byn Fishers; and soe of the rest) ever inserting into their wrytinges; some Phrases, some Metaphors, some allusions taken from that Profession, wch they exercised before; Soe that Soule, that hath byn transported vppon any particular worldly pleasures when it is entirely turned vppon God, and the contemplations of his All sufficiencye, and aboundan
nce doth find in God, [fol. 1v] fitt subiects, and iust occasions to exercise the same affections piously and Religiously wch had before soe sensually transported and possest it. A covetous person, who is now truly converted to God, he will exercise a spirituall covetousnes still, he will desire to haue him all, he will haue good securitie, the Seale and assurance of the Holy Ghost, and he will haue his Securitie often renewed by new testimonies and encreases of those Graces in him, he will haue wittnesses enough, he will haue the testimony of all the world; by his good Life and Conversation; he will gayne everie waie at Gods hand: he will haue wages of God, for he wilbe his Steward, he will haue a Portion from God, for he wilbe his Sonne: he will haue a Revertion, he wilbe Sure that his name is in the Booke of Life, he will haue Pawnes the Seale of the Sacraments: nay he will haue a present possession; all that God hath promised, all that Christ hath purchased; all that the [fol. 2r] Holy Ghost hath the Stewardshippe and dispensation of, he will haue all in pr[e]sent, by the appropriation, and investure of an actuall and an applying faith, A couteous person converted, wilbe spirituall couteous still. Soe will a voluptuous man who is turned to God, find plenty, and delitiousnes enough in him, to feed his Soule as with Marrow, and wth fatnes (as Dauid expresses it) and soe an angrie, and passionate man will finde Zeale enough in the house of God to eate him vp: All affections wch are com[m]on to all men, and those too, which in particular, particular men haue bin addicted vnto, shall not onely be iustly emploied vppon God, but alsoe securely imployed, because we cannot exceed nor goe too farr in employing them. According to this rule, StPaule who had byn soe vehement Collos. i a persecutor, had ever his thoughts exercised vpon that, and therefore after his conversion he fullfills the rest of the Sufferings of Christ in [fol. 2v] in his flesh, he suffers most: he makes most mention of his sufferinges of any the Apostles: And according to this rule too, Solomon whose disposition was Amorous, and excessive in the Love of woemen, when he turned to God, he departed not vtterly from his old phrase and Language; but having put a new and spirituall tincture, and forme and habite into all his thoughts and words he conveyes all his loving approaches, and applications to God, and all Gods gratious answeres to his amorous Soule, into Songs, and Epithalamions s, and Meditations vpon Contracts and marriages, betweene God and his Church, and God, and his Soule, as we see soe evidently in all his other wrytinges, and particularly in my Text I Loue them &c. In wch wordes is expressed all that belongeth to Love; All wchis to desire, and to enioy. For to Desire without fruition is a Rage; and to Enioy without Desire is a Stupiditie. In the first (alone) [catchword(s): we thinck] [fol. 3r] we thinke of nothing but that which we then would haue, and in the second (alone) we are not for it, when we haue it. In the first we are without it, In the Second we were as good we were without it; for we haue noe pleasure in it. Nothing then can giue vs satisfaction, but where theis two Concurre, Amare, et fruj: In sensuall Love it is soe; Quid erat quodAugust. me delectabat, nisi amare, et amarj? I tooke noe ioy in this world, but in Loving and being beloued, in sensuall Love it is soe, but in sensuall Love, when we are come soe far, there is noe satisfaction in that; the same Father confesses more of himselfe, then any Comission any oath would haue putt him too; Amatus sum, et perueni occulte ad fruendum, I had all I desired, and I had it with that advantage of having it secretly; but what got I by all that? Vt cæderer virgis ardentibus ferreis, zeli suspitionu[m] vt rixarum. Nothing but to be scourged with burning yron Rodds, [fol. 3v] Rodds of Jealousie and Suspition, and of Quarrells. But in the Love and Enioying of this Text, there is noe Roome for Jealousie, nor Suspition, nor Quarrellsome Complayning. In this Text then, Deuisio you may be pleased to consider theis two thinges Quid amare, quid fruj, what the affection of this Love is, what is the blessednes of this Enioying But in the first of theis, we must first consider the Persons, who are the Louers in this Text; for there are persons that are jncreadible , though they say they love, because they are accustomed to falsehood, And there are persons which are unrequiteable though they be believed to loue, because they love not where, and as they should. When we haue found the Persons in the second Consideration we shall looke vpon the affection it selfe what is the Love in this Text; and then after that, vpon the Band & Vnion and Condition of this Love, that it is mutuall, I loue them that Loue me: And hauing past theis three branches [fol. 4r] of the first part, we shall in the second (wch is Enioying) consider first, That this Enioying is expressed in the word finding. And then that this finding requires two Conditions: a Seeking, and an earely Seeking (And they that seeke me earely, shall find mee) The Person that professes Love in this place, is Wisedome it self as appeares at the beginning of the Chapr Soe that Sapere et amare, to be wise, and to Love (which perchaunce never mett before, nor since) are mett in this Text. But whether this wisedome soe frequently mentioned in this Booke of Prouerbs bee Sapientia creata, or increata, whether the Vertue Wisedome, or the Roote of Wisedome Christ Jesus hath byn diversly debated. The occasion grew in the great Counsell of Nice where the Catholique Fathers vnderstood the Wisedome to be intended of Christ himselfe; And then the Arrian heretiques prest some places of this Boke; where such things seemed to them to be spoken of Wisedome, as could not be appliable to any [fol. 4v] but to a Creature; And that therefore if Christ were this Wisedome, Christ must necessarily be a Creature, and not God; Wee will not dispute those things over nowe, they are cleerely enough, and largely enough laid downe in that Councell; But since there is nothing said of Wisedome, in all this Booke, wch hath not byn by good expositors applyed to Christ, b much more may wee presume the Louer in this Text (though pr[e]sented in the name of Wisedome) to be Christ himselfe, And soe we doe to show the constancie and durablenes of this Love; the Louer is a He (that is Christ) to shew the vehemencie and earnestnes of it, the Louer is a She (that is Wisedome,) and it is often expressed in this Chapr. She crieth, she uttereth her voice: yea, in one place of the Bible, (and onely in that one place, I think) where Moses would expresse an extraordinary, and vehement, and passionate indignation in God against his People, when as it is in that Text Nomb: 11.his wrath was kindled, there, and onely [fol. 5r] there doth Moses attribute even to God himself the feminine Sex, and speakes to God in the originall Language, as if he should haue called him Deum iratum an angrie She-God. All that is good then, either in the Love of Man or woman is this Louer; for he is exprest in both sexes of Man & woman; and all that can be ill in the Loue of either Sex, is purged awaie: for the Man is noe other Man, then Christ Jesus, and the woman, noe other woman then Wisedome herselfe: even the vncreated Wisedome of God himself./
Now all this is but one person the person that professes Love, who is the other, who is the beloued of Christ is not soe easilie discerned. In the Loue betweene persons in this world, and of this world, we are often deceived wth outward signes: we often miscall and misjudge civill respects and mutuall Curtesies, and a delight in one anothers Conversation, and such other indifferent things as onely Malignitie, and Curiositie and selfe
loue guiltines makes to be misinterpritable; we often call these Loue, but neither amongst our selves, much less betweene Christ and our soules are theis outward appearances [fol. 5v] alwaies signes of Loue. This Person then, this beloved Soule, is not every one to whom Christ sends a Louing message or writes to; for his Letters (his Scriptures) are directed to all; Not every one that he wishes well to, and sweares that he doth soe, for soe he doth to all: As I Liue (saith the Lord) I would not the Death of a Sinner. Not every, one that he sends Jewells and Presents to: for they are often snares to corrupt, as well as arguments of Loue: Not though he admitt them to his Table and Supper, for even there the devill entred into Judas with a Sop: Not though he receives them with a Kisse, for even with that familiaritie Judas betrayed him: Not though he betroth himselfe, as he did to the Jewes, Sponsabo te mihi in æternum, Not though he makes Jointures in pacto salis, in a Covenant of Salt, an everlasting Covenant. Not though he haue Communicated his name to them wch is an act of marriage for to how many hath he said, Ego dixj dij estis, and yet they haue byn Reprobates? Not all theis outward things amounte so far as to make vs discerne who is this beloved Person: for himself saies of the Israelites, to whom [fol. 6r] he had made all theise demonstrations of Loue, yet after, for their abhominations divorced himself from them. Jer. 12.7. I haue forsaken my house, I haue lefte mine heritage: I haue giuen the deerely beloued of my Soule into the hands of her Enimies. To contract this: the Person beloved of Christ, is onely that Soule that Loues Christ: but that belonges to the third branch of this f first parte; wch is the mutuall Love: first having found the Persons: we are to consider the affection it selfe, the Loue of this Text./
Amor It is an observation of Origens, that though theis three wordes Amor, Dilectio, and, Charitas, Loue, and Affection, and Goodwill, be all of one signification in the Scriptures: yet (saies he) wheresoever there is danger of representing to the fancie a lascivious and carnall Loue, the Scripture, forbeares the word Love and vses either affection or Goodwill: And where there is noe such danger, the Scripture comes directly to this word Love: of wchOrigens examples are, That when Isaac bent his affection vpon Rebecca, and Jacob vpon Rachell, in both places it is Dilexit, and when it is [catchword(s): saide] [fol. 6v] Cant. 5. 8. in the Canticles, I charge you daughters of Jerusalem to tell my welbeloued, It is not to Tell Him that shee was in Loue, but to tell him quod vulneratæ charitatis sum, that I am wounded wth an affection, and good-will towardes him. But in this Booke of Prouerbs, in all the passages betweene Christ, and the beloved Soale, there is evermore a free vse of this word Amor, Loue, because it is even in the first appr[e]hension, a pure, chast, and undefiled Loue Eloquia Dominj casta (saies Dauid) all the words of the Lord, and all their words that Love the Lord, all discourses, all that is spoken to, or from the Soule, is all full of Chaste Loue, and of the Love of Chastitie. Nowe though this Loue of Christ to our Soule be too large to shutt vp or comprehend in any definition, yet if wee contente our selves wth the definition of the Schooles Amare est velle alicuj quod bonum est, Love, is nothinge but a desire, that they whome wee Love should be happy wee may easily discerne the advantage and profitt which we haue by this Love, when he that wishes vs that good by Loving vs is author of all good himselfe, and may give vs as much as pleaseth him, without impayring his owne infinite Treasure; He Love vs as his antient Inheritance: as the first amongst Creatures in the Creation of the worlde which [fol. 7r] Hee created for vs. He Loves vs more as his Purchase, whome hee hath bought with his blood: for even Man takes most pleasure in things of his owne getting: But he loves vs most for our Improvements when by his ploughing vp of our hearts, and the dewe of grace, and the seed of his word, we come to give a greater Rente in the fruites of Sanctification then before: And since he Loves vs thus, and that in him, this Love is a Velle bonum, a desire that his Beloved should be happie; what Soul amongst vs can doubt, that when God hath such an aboundant and infinite Treasure, as the Merritts, and passion of Christ Jesus; sufficient to save millions of worlds, and yet many millions in the world (all the Heathen) excluded from any Interest therein; when God hath a Kingdome soe large, as nothing limitts it, and yet hee hath banished many naturall subiects thereof, (even those Legions of Angels, which were created in it, and are fallen from it) what Soule amongst vs shall doubt, that he hath thus much, and Loves thus much, will deny her a Portion in the blood of Christ, or a Roome in the Kingdome of Heaven: Nor Soule can doubt it, except it hath byn a wittnes to it selfe, and be so still, that it Loues not Christ Jesus: for that is a [fol. 7v] Condition necessary: and it is the third branch to which we are come orderly). That this Loue be mutuall: I Loue them, that Loue me./
Mutuus. Yf any Man Loues not our Lord Jesus, let him be accursed: Now the first part of this Curse is vppon the Indisposition of Loue; He that Loues not at all, is first accursed: That stupid Inconsideration wch passes on drowsily, and negligently vpon Gods Creatures: That sullen Indifferencie in ones disposition, to Loue one thing more then another, not to value, not to choose, not to prefer that stonish that inhumanitie not to be affected, not to be intendered: which hath made obiects and subiects of affections, that wchSaintPaul places in the bottoms and Lees and dreggs of all the syns of the Jewes, to be without naturall affections, Rom. 11.10. This distemper, this ill Complexion, this ill nature of the Soule is vnder that firste part of this If anie man Loue
me not for he that Loues not knowes not God, for God is Loue.
But this Cursse determines not vpon that, neither is it principally directed vpon that not Louing, for as we say in the Schools, Amor est primus actus voluntatis, the first thing that the Will of Man doth is to affect, to Choose, to Loue something. And it is scarce possible to find any mans will so ydle, soe barren, [fol. 8r] as that it hath produced no Act at all; and therefore the first
Act Act being Love, scarce any man can be found that doth not Loue something. But the Cursse extends, yea, is principally extended vpon him, that Loues not Christ Jesus: though he Loue the Creature, (and orderly enough) yea, though he love God, (as a great and incomprehensible Power) yet, if he Loue not Christ Jesus; if he acknowledge not, that all that passes, betweene God and him is in, and for Christ Jesus, Lett him be accursed for all his Love./
Now there are but two, that can be Loved, God, and the Creature, and of the Creatures that must necessarily be best loved, which is neerest vs, which we vnderstand best, and reflect most vpon; and that is Ourselves: for, for the Love of other Creatures, it is but a Secondary Love; and if we love God, we love them for his sake; yf we love our selves, we loue them for our sakes. Now, to Love ones-self is onely allowable, onely proper to God himself, for his Loue, is a desire, that all honor and praise and glory should be attributed to one selfe, and it can be onely proper to God, to desire that. To Loue our selves then, is the [fol. 8v] greatest Treason, that we can com[m]itt against God, and all Loue in the Creature determines in our selves; for though sometimes we may say, we love them better then our selves; though we give soe good, (that is indeed soe ill) testimony that we doe soe, that we neglect, our selves, both our Religion, and our discretion for their sakes whom we pretend to Loue, yet all this is but a secondary Love, and with relation still to our selves, and our Contentment: for, is this Loue, which we beare to other Creatures wthin that definition of Love Velle bonum amato, to wish that wch we love happie? doth any Ambitious Man Love honor, or office, therefore because he thinkes that Title or that Place should receave a digintye by his hauing it, or his excellencie, by his executing it? doth any Covetous man Love a House or a Horse therefore, because he thinkes, that House or Horse should be happie in such a Maister, or such a Rider? doth any Licentious man covet or solicit a woman therefore, because he thinkes it a happines therefore to haue such a servant? No, it is not onely himselfe that is wthin the definition Vult bonum sibi, he wishes well (as he mistakes it) [fol. 9r] to himself, and he is content that the slaverie and dishonor and Ruyne of others, should contribute to make vp his imaginary happines./
O dementiam nescientem amare homines humaniter, Aug. what a perverse Madnes is it, to Loue a Creature, and not, as a Creature, with all the aduincts, and circumstaunces and qualitie of a Creature, of which the principall is, that that Loue, raise vs to the contemplation of the Creator, for if it doth soe, we may Love our selves, as we are the Images of God, and soe we may Love other men as they are the Images of vs, and our nature, yea, as they are members of the same body: for Omnes homines, vna humanitas. And soe we Love other Creatures, as we all meete in or Creator in whom Princes and Subiects, Angells, & Men, Men and Worms are fellow Servants.
Aug. Si malè amaueris tunc odistj: yf thou hast Loued thy self, or any body else principally, and so that when thou dost any act of Love, thou canst not saie to thine owne Conscience, I doe this, for Gods sake, and for his glory: if thou haue loued soe, thou hast hated thy self, and him whom thou hast Loved; and God, whom thou shouldst Love Sj benè oderis, (saith the same Father) yf thou haue hated thine owne internall Temptations, and the outward [fol. 9v] Solicitations of others, Amasti, thou hast expressed an Act of Love; of Love, to thy God, and to his Image, thy self and to thine image, that man, whom thy vertue hath declined, and kept from his, and thy God.
And as this affection Love, doth belonge to God principally, that is, rather then any affections els; for the feare of God is the beginning of wisedome, but the Love of God is the Confirmation, that is the Marriage and vnion of thy Soule, and thy Savior./
But can we Love God, when we will? do not we find, that in the Love of some other things? of some Courses of Life? of some waies in our actions? Yea, and of some particular persons, that we would fayne love them, and cannot? when we cannot obiect any thing against it? when we can multiply arguments why we should love them, yet we cannot? But it is not soe, towardes God, Every man may Love him that will: But can every man haue his will? this desire? Certenly we cannot begyn this Love except God Love vs first we cannot love him. But God doth love vs all so well, from the beginning, as that every man may see the fault was in the perversenes of his owne will, that he did not love God [fol. 10r] better. Yf we looke for the roote of this Love it is the Father: for though the death of Christ, be towardes vs as a Roote, as a Cause of our Love, and of the acceptablenes of it, yet Meritum Christj, est effectu[m] Amoris Dei erga nos, The death of Christ was but an effect of the Love of God towards vs; Soe God Loued the world that he gaue his Son, Yf he had not Loved vs first, wee had never had his Sonne; heere is the Roote then, the Love of the Father, and the Tree, the Merritt of the Son: except there be Fruites too, Loue in vs to them againe, both Roote and Tree will wither, towardes vs, howsoever they grew in God. I haue Loued the’ with an euerlasting Loue (saieth God) Jer. 31. 3. therefore, with Mercie haue I drawne thee: Yf therefore we doe not perceive that wee are drawne to Love againe by this Love, it is not an everlasting Love, that shines vpon vs.
All the Sun-shine, all the glory of this Life, though all theis be testimonies of Gods love towards vs, yet all they bring but a Winters day, a short day, and a Cold daie, and a dark day: for except wee love too, God doth not Loue with an [catchword(s): Everlasting love] [fol. 10v] Everlasting Love, God will not suffer his Love to be idle, and since it profitts him nothing, yf it proffit vs nothing neither, hee will withdrawe it. Amor Dej vt Lumen ignis, vt Splendor Solis, vt odor Lucis, non præbentj proficit, sed vtentj; the Sun hath noe benefitt by his owne Light, nor the fire by his heate, nor a perfume by the sweetnes, but onely they whoe make their vse, and enioy this heate and fragrancie; and this brings too, our other part to passe from Loving to Enioyeing./
2. part. Tulerunt Dominu[m] meum, They haue taken awaie my Lord, and I knowe not where they haue laid him was one strayne of Marie Magdalens lamentation, when she found not her Sauior in the Monument: It is a lamentable Case to be fayne to crye soe Tulerunt, other men haue taken Christ, away by a dark, and corrupt Education, which was the state of our Fathers to the Romaine Captivitie: *
abijicierunt But when the *abierunt dominum which is soe often complained of by God in the Prophetts, is pronounced against them: when thou hast had Christ offred thee by the motions of his Grace, and Sealed to the by his Sacramentes, and yet wilt cast him so far [fol. 11r] from thee, that thou knowest not where to finde him: when thou hast poured him out, at thine eies, in prophaine and counterfeite teares, wch should be the Soules Re-baptization, for thy syns: when thou hast blowne him awaie, in corrupt and ill intended sighes, which should be gemitus columba, the voice of the Turtle, to sound thy peace and reconciliation with thy God; Yea when thou hast spitt him out of thy mouth in execrable and blasphemous oathes: when thou hast not only cast him soe far, as that thou knowest not where to finde him, but hast made so ordinary, and so indifferent a thing of Syn, as thou knowest not, when thou didst loose him: No, no, dost not remember that ever thou hadst him; no, no, dost not know that an there is any such man as Dominus tuus, a Jesus, that is thy Lord, the Tulerunt is dangerous, when others hide Christ from thee, their abijcierunt is dangerous when thou thy self dost chase him away./
To loose Christ may befall the most righteous Man that is, but then he knowes where he left him, he knowes at what time he lost his way, and where to seeke it againe; even Christs imagined father and his true mother Joseph and Marie lost him att Jerusalem ; [fol. 11v] they lost him, and knew it not, they lost him, and went a dayes journey without him, and thought him to be in the company, but as soone, as they deprehended their Error, they sought and found him, when his mother told him, his father and she had sought him wth a heavie heart. Alas we may loose him at Jerusalem, even in his owne house, even at this present whiles wee pretend to doe him service, we may lose him by suffering our thoughts to looke backe with pleasure vpon the synns, which we haue comitted; or forward with greediness
wth vpon some syn, that is now in our purpose and prosecution: we may loose him att Jerusalem, how much more, if our dwelling be a Rome of Superstition and Idolatrie, or if it be a Babilon in confusion and mingling God and the world together, or if it be a Sodome, a wanton, and intemperate mis-vse of Gods benefitts to vs? Wee may thinck him in the Companie, when hee is not: we may mis mistake his house; wee may take a Conventicle for a Church, we may mistake his apparrell, that is, the outwarde forme, of his worship: wee may mistake [fol. 12r] the Person, (that is), associate ourselves to such, as are no Members of his body: But if wee doe not returne to our diligence to seeke him, and seeke him with heavie hearts, though we begyn with a Tulerunt, (other men, other Temptations tooke him awaie) yet we end in an Abijcierunt, we our selves cast him away, since we haue byn told him, and haue not sought him; And let no man be afraid to seeke, or find, for feare of the losse of good company. Religion, is noe sullen thing, it is not a mellancholly: there is not so sociable a thing as the Love of Christ Jesus. It was the first word, which he who first found Christ of all the Apostles, (StAndrew) is noted to haue said Inuenimus Messiam: And it is the firste act hee is noted to haue don, after hee had found him, but to seeke his brother Peeter, Et duxit ad Jesum, soe com[m]unicable Jo. 1:34 a thinge is the Love of Jesus, when wee haue found him.
But where are we lykeliest to find him? It is said by Moses, of the words and precepts of God, They are not hidd from thee,Deu. 10 neither are far off; Not in heaven that thou shouldst say Who shall goe vpp to [catchword(s): heaven] [fol. 12v] to heaven for vs, to bring them downe? Nor beyond the Sea, that thou shouldst goe over the Sea for them: but the word is very neere thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart, and so neere is Christ Jesus, or thou shalt never find him; Thou must not so think him in heaven, as that thou canst not have immediate accesse to him without intercession of others. Nor so beyond Sea, as to seeke him in a forraigne Church, either where the Church is but an Antiquaries Cabinett full of rags and fragments of Antiquitie, but nothing fitt for that vse, for which it was made at firste: Or where it is so new a built house with bare walls, that it is yet unfurnished of such Ceremonies, as should make it comely and reverend. Christ is at home with thee, and there is the nearest waie to find him./
It is true that Christ in the beginning of this Chapr. shadowed vnder the name of Wisedome, when he discovers where hee may be found, speakes in the person of humaine Wisedome as well as divine, doth not Wisedome crye, and vnderstanding vtter her voice? Where those two words, Wisedome, and Understanding signifie Sapientiam, [fol. 13r] et Prudentiam; that Wisedome whose obiect is God, and that whch concernes our Conversation, in this world, for Christ hath not taken soe narrowe a dwelling, as that he may be found but one waie in one profession: for in all professions, in all Stations, in all vocations when all our actions in our severall courses are directed principally vpon his glory ~ Christ is emynent and easye to be found. To that purpose in that place Christ in the person of Wisedome offers himselfe to be found in the tops of high places, and in the Gates of Citties, to shew that this Christ, and this Wisedome (wch must save our Soules) is not confynde to Cloisters, and Monasteries, and Speculative men only but is also evidently and eminently to be found in the Courts of Religion, in the tops of high places) and in the Courts of Justice (in the Gates of the Cittie) Both theis kindes of Courts may haue more diversion from him, then other places, but in theis places, he is alsoe gloriously and conspicuously to be found. For wheresoever he is, he Cries aloude (as the Text saies there) and he utters his voice./ [fol. 13v] Temptations to Syn, are all but whisperings, and we are afrayd, that a husband, that a father that a Competitor, that a rivall that a pretender at least the Maiestrate may heare of it./
Temptations to Synn, are all but whisperings, private Conventicles and clandestine worshipping of God, in a forbidden manner, in corners are all but whisperings. It is not the voice of Christ, except thou heare him Crie aloude, and vtter his voice, so as thou maist confidently doe whatsoever he com[m]ands thee in the eye of all the world, he is every where to be found; he calls vpon thee everie where. But yet there belongs a dilligence on thy part Querere Thou must seeke him: Esaias is bold, (saith StPaule) and saies I was found of them that sought mee not: when that the Prophett derives the Love of God to the Gentiles who could seeke God no where but in the Booke of Creatures, and were destitute of all other Lights to seeke him by, and yet God was found by them afterward by the preaching of the Ghospell, Esa. 65.1. Esaes is bold (saieth the Apostle) that is,
It [fol. 14r] It was a great degree of Confidence Rom. 10.20 in Esaias to say, That God was found of them that sought him not, It was a boldnes and a Confidence, wch noe particular man may haue, that Christ wilbe found, excepte hee be Sought; hee gives vs Light to seeke him by, but hee is not to be found till wee haue sought him. It is true that in that Commandement of his Primum quærite regnum Dej, The Primum is not to prevent God, to seeke it, before hee shewes it, that is impossible without the Light of Grace, we dwell in darknesse, and in the shadowe of death, but the Primum is, That we should seeke him, before wee seeke any thinge els, That when the Sun of Grace is risen to vs, the first thing that we doe be to seeke Christ Jesus Quærite me et vivetis, Amos. 5.4 Why we are alive before, els wee could not seeke him; but is promised of another Life, of an eternall life, yf wee seeke him and seeke him earely, which is our last consideration./
The word here used for Earelie, signifies properlie Aurorum the Morning, and is usually transferred in Scriptures [fol. 14v] to any Beginning. So in particular Evill shall come upon thee, and thou shalt not knoweEsa. 47. (
Shakrah Shakrah) the Morning, the Beginning of it; And therefore this Text is elegantly translated by one, Amorantes ad me, They that haue their Breake of Day; towards mee. They that send forth their first Morning beames towards mee, their first thoughts they shalbe sure to find mee; StJerome expresses this earely dilligence required in vs well in his Translation, quj mane vigilauerint, They that wake betimes in the Morning shall find mee. But the Chalde Paraphrase better, qui mane consurgant They that rise betimes in the Morning shall find mee; for wch of vs doe not know that wee wak’d longe agoe that wee sawe day, and had heretofore some motions to find Christ Jesus ~ But though wee were awake wee haue kept our bed still, wee haue contynued still in our former synns, soe that there is more to be don[n] then wakinge, & wee Cant. 3. see the Spowse her selfe saies, In my Bed [fol. 15r] by night I sought him whome my Soule Loueth but I found him not, Christ may be sought in the bed and missed: other thoughts may exclude him: he may be sought there and found, we may haue good meditations there; and Christ may be neerer vs, when we are asleepe in our Beds, then when we are awake: but howsoever the Bed is not his ordinarie Station: he may be, and he saies, he wilbe at the making of the Bed of the Sick, but not at the marring of the Bed of the wanton, and licentious: To make haste, The circumstance only required heare is, that he be sought earely; and to invyte the to it, consider how earely he sought thee. It is a great Mercie, that hee staies soe longe by thee. It was more to seek the soe earely, doest thou not feele that hee seekes thee now, in offering his Loue and desiring thine? Canst thou not remember that hee sought thee yesterday, that is, that some Temptations be-sett thee then, and he sought the out by his grace, and preserved thee? And hath he not sought thee so, soe earely as from the beginning of thy life? Nay doest thou not remember [fol. 15v] That after thou hadst committed that Synn, he sought thee by imprinting some remorse, some apprehension of his judgments? Gre: and soe Miro modo et diuino modo, et quando te’ oderat dirigebat, by a miraculous and powerfull working of his Spirit, he threatned thee, when he comforted thee, he loued *chid thee, when he *chid thee, he sought thee when he drove thee from him: he hath sought thee amongst the infinite nombers of false and fashionall Christians, that he brings thee out from the hipocrite to serve him in earnest, and in holynes and in righteousnes; he sought thee be= before that amongst the heard of the Nations and Gentiles, who had no Church, to bring thee into his Inclosures & Pastures, his invisible Church, and to feed thee with his word and Sacraments: he sought thee before that, in the Catalogue of all his Creatures, where hee might haue left thee a Stone, or Plant, or a Beast, and then hee gave thee an immortall Soule, capable of all his future Blessings: yea, before this, hee sought thee, when thou wast no wheare, Nothing: [fol. 16r] hee brought thee then (the greatest stepp of all,) from being Nothing to be a Creature: how earely did hee seeke thee, when hee sought thee in Adams confused Loynes, and out of that leavened & sower Loaffe, in which wee were all kneaded vp, out of that Massa damnata, that refus’d and condempned Lumpe of doung, hee sought, and severed out that Grayne wch thou shouldest be: yea, millions of millions of generations before all this, he sought thee in his owne eternall decree, and in that first Scripture of his, wch is as old as himself, in that Booke of Life, hee wroate thy name, in the blood of that Lambe which was slayne for thee, not onely from the begin[n]ing of this world, but from the wryting of that eternall decree of thy Salvation./.
Thus earely had hee sought thee in the Church among hipocrites; out of the Church amongst the heathen. In his Creatures amongst Creatures of an ignoble Nature, and in the first vacancye [fol. 16v] when thou wast nothing, he sought thee so earely as in Adam, so earely, as in the Booke of Life, and when wilt thou thinke it a fitt tyme to seeke him?/
Pro. 28 There is an earelynes, which will not serve thy turne, when afflictions, and anguish shall come vpon thee. They shall seek me early and shall not find me; earely in respect of the punishment, at the beginning of that; but this is late, in respect of thy fault, or of thine age, when thou art growne old, in the custome of Syn. for thus we may misvse this Earely, and make it serve to all ill vses: If we will say, we will leave Covetousness earely, that is, as soone as we are rich enough: Incontinence, earely that is as soone as we are old & sick: Ambition earely, that is, as soone as wee haue overthrowne and crushed our Enemies irrevocably: for thus we shall by this habit carry on this earely, to our Late and last houres, and say [fol. 17r] we will Repent earely, that is, as soone as the Bell begins to knoll for vs.
Esa.46.6. It is good for a Man that he beare his yoake in his youth, that he seeke Christ earely: for even God himself, when he had given over his People to be afflicted by the Chaldeans, yet complaines of them, That they laid heavy loades vpon old men, though this yoake of this Amorous seeking of Christ be a Light yoake, yet it is too heavy for an old man, that hath never vsed himselfe in all his Life to beare it: even this spirituall Loue will not suite well with an old man, if he never began before, if he never loved Christ in his youth, even this Love wilbe an unweildy thing in his age./
Yet if we haue omitted our firste earely (our youth,) yet there is one earely left for vs: this mynutt seeke Christ, earely now, now as soone as his Spirit begins to shine in your heartes. Now as soone as you begin your day of Regeneration, seeke him the first minutt [fol. 17v] of this day; for you know not whether this day shall haue two mynutts of noe, that is, whether his Spirit that discends vpon you now, will tarry and rest vpon you, or noe, as it did upon Christ at his Baptisme.
Therefore shall everie one that is godly, Ose’ 32.6 make his prayer vnto thee (Ô God) in a time when thou maist be found: we acknowledge this to be that time, and we come to thee, now earely, with the Confession of thy servante Augustine Sero te amauj, pulchritudo tam antiqua, tam noua; O glorious beauty, infinitely, reverend, infinitely fresh and yo[u]ng, we come late to thy Love; if we consider the past daies of our Lives, but earely, if thou beest pleased to reckon with vs, from theis houre of the shyning of thy Grace vpon vs: And therefore (ô God) as thou hast brought vs safely to the beginning of this daie, as thou hast not given vs over to a finall perishing in the workes of Night, and Darkenes, [fol. 18r] as thou hast brought vs to the begin[n]ing of this day of Grace, so defend vs in the same with thy mightie power, and grante that this daie, this daie of thy visitation, we fall into no Synn neither runne in to any kind of daunger, noe such danger as may separate vs from thee, or frustrate vs of our hopes in that eternall kingdome with thy Son, and our Sauiour Christ Jesus hath, purchased for vs, with the inestimable price of his vncorruptible blood. In whom &c./