[p. 67] Ecclesiastic. 12.1
Remember now they Creato[u]r in
ye daies of thy Youth./
Wee may consider two great vertues, One for the societie of this life, Thankfullnes, and the other for the attayning of the next life, Repentance, as the two precious metalls, Siluer, and Gold, Of this Siluer, Of this Vertue, Thankfullnes there are whole mines in the Earth, bookes written by morall men, by Philosophers, and a man may grow rich in that mettall, in that vertue by digging in that mine, in the precepts of Morall men, But of this Gold, of this vertue of Repentance, there is no mine in the Earth; in the Books of Philosophers no doctrine of Repentance. This Gold is for ye most part in the washes: this Repentance for the most part in the waters of Tribulation, But God directs thee to it in this text, before thou comest to those waters. Remember now thy Creator, before those euill daies come, and then thou wilt repent, that thou didst not remember him till now. Here then the holy Ghost takes the nearest way to bring man to god by awaking his memorie, for the vnderstandinge requires long Instruction, and cleere demonstration, and ye will requires an instructed vnderstanding before, and is of it [p. 68] selfe the blindest, and boldest facultie; But if ye memory do but fasten vppon anie of those things which God hath done for vs, that’s the nearest way to him. Remember therfore, and remember now. Though the memorie bee placed in the hindermost part of the braine, deferre not thou thy remembring to the hindermost part of thy life, but doe it now, and Nunc in die, nowe whilst thou has light, and Nunc in Diebus, as it is in the text; Nowe whilst God presents the manie lights, many meanes to come to him. And in diebus Iuventutis, in the daies of thy youth, of thy strength, while thou art able to doe that wch. thou purposest to thy selfe, And as the Originall word Bimei Bechurtheica imports, In diebus Electionum tuarum, whilst thou art able to make thy choice, whilst the grace of god shines soe brightlie vpon thee, as that thou maist see thy way, and so powerfully vpon thee, as that thou maist walke in that way; Now, in this day, Now in these daies, Remember, but whome? First thy Creator. That all those things wch. thou labourest for, and delightest in were created, they were nothing, and therfore thy memorie lookes not far enough back if it stick only vppon ye Creature, and reache not to the Creator, Remember ye Creator, and Remember thy Creator, and in that first Remember, that hee made thee, and then what hee made thee, Hee made thee of nothing, but of that nothing hee made thee such a thing as cannot returne to nothing againe, but must remaine foreuer whether euer in glorie, or euer in torment, that depends vpon [p. 69] remembring thy Creator, Now, In the daies of thy youth./
Memento. First Remember; wch. word is often vsed in ye scriptures for Gen: 8.1 for considering, and taking care of; God remembred Noah and euerie Beast with him in the Arke, As the word contrary to this, Forgetting, is allso vsed in the affection contrary Esay.49.15. to that neglecting; Can a woman forgett her childe, and not haue compassion on the Sonne of her wombe? But here wee take not, Remembring so largely, but restraine it to the excercise of that one facultie, the Memorie, for that is Bernard stomachus aminæ, it receaues, and digests, and turnes into good blood, all the benefits formerly exhibited to vs in particular, and to the whole Church of God. Present that wch. belongs to the vnderstanding to that facultie, and the vnderstanding is not presently setled in it. Present anie of ye Prophecies made in the Captiuitie, and a Iewes vnderstanding will take them for a deliuerance from that bondage, and a Christians vnderstandinge will take them for a spirituall deliuerance from sinne, and death by the Messias, by Chr: Iesus. Present any of the Prophecies concerning Antichr: of the Reuelation, and a Papists vnderstanding will take them of a single, and a sondaine, and a transitory man that must last but three daies, and a halfe. And a Protestants vnderstanding will take it of a succession, and continuance of that man that haue lasted 1000. yeares at least already. Present by the name of Bishop, or Elder, out of the Acts of the Apostles or out of their Epistles, and other men will take it for ye name [p. 70] of paritie, or egualitie, and wee for a name of office, and distinction in the Hierarchy of Gods Churche. Thus it is in the vnderstanding that’s often perplexed. Consider th’other faculties, the will of man, and there by those bitter Nurces of the Romane Church euen to the imputation of the crime of heresie vpon one another in guestions concerning the will of man, and how that concurrs wth. the grace of god particularly, whether the same proportion of grace being offred by God to two men, eguallie dispos’d towards him before, must not necessarily worke eguallie in those two, and by those bitternesses amongst persons nearest vs, euen to ye drawing of swords in questions of the same kind, Particularly whether that proportion of grace, wch. doth effectually conuert a particular man, might not haue bin resisted by the peruersenes of that mans will, whether that Grace were irresistible or no, by all these, and infinite such difficulties wee may see how vntractable, and vntameable a faculty, the will of man is. But leaue the vnderstandinge, and the will, and come to the memory, come not with matter of Law, but matter of fact, let God make his wonderfull workes to bee Psal. 111.4. had in remembrance, as Dauid saies. Present ye Historie of Gods protection of his Children in the Arke, in the Wildernes, in the Captiuities, in infinite other dangers, Present this to the Memorie, and howsoeuer the vnderstanding bee beclouded, or the will peruerted, yet both Iew [p. 71] and Christian, Papist and Protestant, Refractary, and Conformitant are affected with a thankfull acknowledgement of his former mercies, and benefitts, this issue of that facultie of Memorie is alike in them all. And therfore God in giuing a Lawe, works vpon no other facultie but this, I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: Hee onlie presents to their memorie what hee had done for them, And so in delivering ye Gospell in one principall seale thereof, the participation of his bodie, and blood in the sacrament hee proceeds soe too, hee recommends it to their memorie, Doe this in Remembrance of mee. This is the facultie that God desires to worke vppon, and therfore if thy vnderstanding bee too narrow to comprehend, or reconcile all differences in all Churches (as what vnderstanding is large enough to do so?) If thy will bee too scrupulous to submitt it selfe to the Ordinances of thine owne Church (as sometimes a zeale, though not peruert, yet vndigested may worke that) yet haue recourse to thine owne memorie, for as St Bernard calls that the stomack of the soule, soe wee may be bold to call it the Gallerie of the soule, hung with so manie, and so liuely pictures of the goodnes, and mercie of thy God to thee, as that euery one of them may bee a sufficient Catechisme to instruct thee in all thy particular duties to God for those mercies, and then as a well made, and a well-plac’d Picture lookes allwaies vpon him that lookes vpon it, So shall thy God looke vpon thee, whose Memorie is thus contemplating him, and shine vpon thine vnderstanding [p. 72] and rectifie thy will too. If thy memorie cannot comprehend his mercie at large as it hath bin showne to his whole Church (as it is almost an incomprehensible thing to consider that in a few yeares God hath made vs euen, even in Number, and temporall strength to our Aduersaries of the Romane Church. If this memorie haue not receau’d, and held that great picture of our generall deliuerance from that invincible Navie (if that mercy be written in the waters, and in the sands where it was acted) and not in thy heart and memorie),
yet the Deuill goes forward wth his plott, If not Remember that artificiall Hell, our later, but greater deliuerance, that vault of Powder (in wch. though the Deuills Instruments lost their plott (they did not blow vs vp) yet the Deuill goes forward wth. his Plott, if hee can blowe that out, and bring vs to forgett that mercie, or not to hate them with a perfect hatred, who were the true root, and occasioners of it) If there be so large pictures for thy Gallerie for thy Memorie, yet euerie man hath a pocket picture about him, a bosome booke, and if hee will but turne ouer one leafe of that booke, but Remember what God hath done for him even since yesterday, hee shall finde by that litle branch a nauigable Riuer to saile into yt great and endles Sea of the mercies of God towards him from Nunc the beginning of his being. Do but remember then, but James.1.18./ Remember now saies the Text, of his owne will begate [p. 73] hee vs with the word of truth, that wee should bee his Primitiæ, the first fruits of his Creatures, that as wee consecrate all his Creatures to him, in a sober, & religious vse of them, So as the first fruits of them all, wee should principallie consecrate our selues to his seruice betimes. Now there were three payments of first fruits appointed by God to the Iewes. The first were Primitiæ Spicarum, the first fruits of their eares of corne, and this was early about Easter. The second were Primitiæ Panum, ye first fruits of their loaues after the corne was conuerted to that vse, and this though it were not so soone, yet it was early too, about whitsontide. The third were Primitiæ frugum, of all their latter fruits in generall, and this was very late in Autumne, in the fall, about September. In the two first of these three, in those that were offred early God had his part, but in the fruits hee had none, Hee had his part in the Corne, and in the loaues, but in those which came last God would haue no portion./
Offer thy selfe to God as Primitias Spicarum, whether thou gleane in this world, or
offer bind vp thy whole sheaues, whether thy increase bee by litle, and litle, or thou bee rich at once by the deuolution of a rich Inheritance, & patrimony vppon thee, Offer this to god in an acknowledgment, that this proceeds from the treasure of his goodnes and not from thine Industrie, And offer thy self againe as Primitias Panum, when thou has kneaded vp riches [p. 74] and honour, and fauour in a setled, and established fortune offer that to God too, in an acknowledgment yt hee can scatter, and moulder away that state againe how safe soeuer it seeme to be setled. Offer at Easter, whensoeuer thou hast any resurrection, any sence of raysing thy soule from the shadow of death, offer thy confession to God, that that is the sunshine of his grace, and not the strength of thy mortality. Offer at thy Pentecost, at thy whitsontide; whensoeuer the holy Ghost descends vpon thee in a fiery tongue, that thou feelest thy self melted with ye powerfull preaching of his word, offer thy confession then, that that is the proceeding of his grace and not the disposition or concurrence, or tendernesse of thy nature, For if thou deferre thy offring till september till thy fall, till thy winter, till thy death howsoeuer those may bee thy first fruits, because they be first that euer thou gau’st, yet they are not such as are acceptable to God. God hath no portion in them, if they come so late. Offer thy self, Now; nay do but offer thy selfe now; that’s Basil but an easie request, and yet ther’s no more ask’d, Viximus mundo, vivamus reliquum Nobis ipsis; thus longe wee haue seru’d the world, Let vs serue ourselues the rest of our tyme; but this is the best part of our selues, our soules. Idem Expectas vt Febris te moveat ad pœnitentiam? hadst thou rather a sicknes should bring thee to God then a sermon? hadst [p. 75] thou rather bee behoulding to a Physitian for thy saluation, then a Preacher? thy busines is to remember; stay not for thy last sicknesse, which may bee a Lethargie in wch thou maist forgett thine owne name, and his that gaue thee thy best name, the name of a Christian, Christ Iesus himselfe; Thy busines is to remember, and thy tyme is Now, Stay not till that Angell come wch shall say, and Apoc: 10.6. sweare, That tyme shall be no more.
In die Remember then, and Remember now, and Nunc in die, now whilst it is day. The Lord will heare thee, In die qua inuocaueris, Psal: 20.10 saies Dauid, In the day that thou callest vpon Psal. 137.4. him, and in guacunq[ue] die, what day soeuer thou callest vpon Psal: 101.1. him, and In guacunq[ue] die velociter exaudiet, In any day hee will heare thee guicklie, But still it is Opus Diej, It is a worke of the day to call vpon God, for in the night, in our last night, those thoughts that fall vpon vs are rather dreames, then remembrings; Vppon our Death beds wee doe rather dreame wee repent, then repent indeed. To him that trauells by night, a bush seemes a horse, and a horse a man, and a man a spirit, nothing hath the true shape to him: To him that repents by night on his Deathbed, neither his owne sinnes, nor the mercies of God haue their ture proportion, This night they will fetch away thy soule, sayes Christ to the secure man: but hee neither tells him who they bee that shall fetch it away, nor whether they shall carry [p. 76] it, hee hath no light but lightning, a sudaine flash of horror, and so translated into that fire wch. hath no light Chrisost: hom: 5 ad pop: Antioch Nunquid Deus nobis ignem istum præparauit? Non nobis sed Diabolo, & Angelis. God made not this fire for vs but for the Deuill, and his Angells; And yet who are Mat. 25.41. the vessells so broken as that there is not a sheard left to fetch water at the pitt (as the Prophett expresses an irreparable ruine) no meanes in our selues to deriue one dropp of ye blood of Christ Iesus vppon vs, no meanes to wring out one teare of true contrition from vs, wee that are vessells thus broken, as that there is not one sheard left to fetch water at any pitt, haue plung’d our selues into this darke this euerlasting fire, which was not prepared for vs: A wretched couetousnes to bee intruders vppon the Deuill, a wofull ambition to bee vsurpers vppon damnation, God did not make that fire for vs, but much lesse did he make vs for that fire; make vs to damne vs, God forbid, But yet though it were not made for vs at first, now it belongs to vs, whosoeuer beleeueth not is allreadie condemned; There that fire belongs to our Infidelities, and the Iudgement takes hold of vs. Ite maledicti, you haue not fed me, nor clothed mee, nor harbourd mee, and therfore, Goe yee accursed. There that fire takes hold of our omission of necessary duties, and good works, what’s our remedy now? why still this is the way of Gods Iustice & his proceedings [p. 77] Chrysost: Thedem: Vt sententia lata sit invalida. Thiat if he publish his Iudgment, his Iudgement is not executed. The Iudgments of the Meads & Persians were irrecouerable, but the Iudgements of God if they bee
made giuen and published they are not executed, the Niniuites had perished if the sentence of their destruction had not bin giuen, and the sentence preserued them, by bringing them to Repentance. So euen in this cloud of Ite maledictj, wee may see a daybreak to discerne beames of saving light, in this Iudgment of eternall darknes, if the contemplation of Gods Iudgements bring vs to remember him, it is but a darke, and stormy day, but yet spirituall affliction, and apprehension of Gods anger is one day wherein wee may remember God; And this is Copiosa Redimitio, the ouerflowing mercy of God, that hee affords vs many daies to remember him in, for it is not, In die, but In diebus:/
In diebus For this remembring wch. wee intend, is an inchoation, yea it is a great stepp into our conuersion, and regeneration, whereby wee are new creatures. And therfore wee may well consider as many daies in the new creation as were in the first, six daies. And then the first day was ye making of light, and our first day is the knowledge of him, who saies of himselfe, Ego sum Lux Mundj, and of whome St. John testifies, Erat Lux vera, Hee was the true light, lightening euerie man that comes into the world. This then is our first day, the light, the knowledge, ye profession [p. 78] August of the Gospell of Christ Jesus. Now God made light first, Vt operaretur in luce, saies St. Augustine, that hee might worke in the light too, in producing his other creatures, not that God needed light to worke by, but for our example. God hath shedd the beames of the light of the Gospell first vppon vs in our Baptisme, that wee might haue that light to worke by, and to produce our other creatures, that all our actions might be tried by our selues by that light, and that in euerie enterprise wee might examine our owne conscience, whether wee could not be better content, that that light went our or were eclipsed, then the light of our owne glorie, whether wee had not rather that the Gospell of Iesus Christ suffred a litle, then our owne end, and preferment. God made light first, that hee August. might make his other creatures by that light, saies Saint August: and hee made it first too, Vt cernerentur guæ fecerat, saies St Ambrose, that those creatures might see one another for frustrà essent, si non viderentur, saies that Father. It had bin to no purpose for God to haue made creatures if hee had not made light, that they might see one another and to glorifie him. God hath giuen vs this light of ye Gospell too, that the world might see our actions by this light for the noblest Creatures of Princes and the noblest actions of Princes Warr, and Peace, and Treaties, and all [p. 79] our
actions Creatures, and actions, who moue in lower spheres Frustrà sunt, they are good for nothing, they will come to nothing, they are nothing if they abide not this light, if there appeare not to the world a true zeale to ye preseruation of the Gospell, and that wee do not in any thing Erubescere Euangelium, bee asham’d of making, and declaring our loue to the Gospell to bee our principall end in all our actions. Now when God had made light, and made it to theis purposes, Hee sawe that the light was good, saies Moses. This seeing implies a Consideration, a Deliberation, a debatement. That a Religion, a forme of professing the Gospell be not taken and accepted blindlie, or implicitly; Wee must see this light, and the seeing that it is good implies the accepting of such a Religion, is simply good of it selfe, not good for ease, and conuenience, not good for honour, or profitt, not good for the present, and the state of other businesses, not good for any Collaterall, or by-respects, but simply, absolutely, positiuely, and in it selfe good. And when God saw this light to bee good too, then hee seuered light from darknes as it is in that text, Our light must be seuered from darknes soe, as that no darknes bee mingled wth the light, no dreggs, no raggs of Idolatrie, and superstition be mingled with the true religion, But God seuer’d them otherwise then soe too, hee seuer’d them, as wee say in the schoole, not, Tanguam duo Positiua, that light should haue a beeing [p. 80] here, and darknesse a beeing there, but Tanquam Positiuum, & priuatiuum, that light should haue an essentiall beeing, and darknes bee vtterlie abolished. And this seuering must hold in the profession of the Gospell too, not so seuer’d, as that here shalbee a sermon, and there a Masse, But that true Religion bee really professed, and corrupt religion vtterlie abolishd, and then, and not till then it was a day, saies Moses. And since God hath giuen vs this day, the light of the Gospell to those vses, to try our owne purposes by, in our selues, and to shew, and iustifie our actions by, to the world, since wee see this Religion to bee good, that is, preferr it aduisedly, not implicitly, but see that it is able to abide any triall that the Aduersary will put vs to, of Antiquitie, of Fathers, of Councells, Since it is so seuerd from darknes, as that no corrupt parts are mingled with it, and so seuer’d, as that there are sufficient lawes, and meanes for the abolishing of superstition vtterlie, Since God hath Leuit: 23. giuen vs this day Qui non humiliabit animam in die hac (as Moses saies of other daies of Gods institution) hee that will not throw downe himself before god in this day, in humble thankes that wee haue it, and in humble praiers that wee may still haue it, hee does not remember God in his first day, hee does not consider how great a blessing, the possession of the Gospell is./
[p. 81] To make shorter daies of the rest (for wee must passe
to through all ye six daies in a few minutes). God in the second day made the firmament, to diuide betweene the waters aboue, & the waters below, and this Firmament in Man is Terminus Cognoscibilium, The limitt of those things which God hath giuen man meanes and faculties to conceaue, and vnderstand of him, hee hath lymited our eies with a starrie firmament, wee cannot see beyond that, hee hath limited our vnderstanding with a starrie firmament too, with the knowledge of those things Quæ vbiq[ue], quæ semper, wth. those starrs whom hee hath kindled in his Church, the Fathers and Doctors haue euer from the beginning propos’d as things necessary to bee explicitly beleeu’d for the saluation of our soules. For the eternall decrees of god, and his vnreueald misteries, and the knotty, and inextriable perplexities of schooles, they are waters about the firmament. Here Paul plants, heere Apollo waters, heere god raises vp men to conuey to vs, the dew of his grace by waters vnder ye firmament by visible meanes, by sacraments, and by the word so preached, and soe explicated, as it hath bin vnanimly, and constantly from ye beginning of the Church, And therfore this second day of is præfixed, and consummated in the third, for in ye third day, Congregantur aguæ, let the waters bee gathered into one place, all ye doctrines necessary for the life to come into ye Catholique Church, And in this third day God [p. 82] came to his, Producat terra, that here vppon Earth, all hearbs, and fruites necessary for mans food should be produc’d, that here in the visible Church should bee all things necessary for the spirituall food of our soules, And therfore in this third day God repeats twice that testimony , vidit gd bonum hee saw that it was good, that there should bee a gathering of waters into one place, that no doctrine should bee taught that had not bin receau’d in the Church; And then Vidit quod bonum, hee saw it was good that there all hearbs and trees should bee produc’d that bore seed. All Doctrines that were to be seminall, to bee proseminated, and propogated, and contined to the end, should bee taught in the Church. But for such Doctrines which were but to vent the passion of vehement men, or to serue the turnes of great men for a tyme, for Collaterall doctrines Temporary interlineary, Marginall Doctrines, which belonged not to the bodie of the text, to fundamentall things necessary to saluation, for these there is no vidit quod bonum, noe testimony that they are good, Now, Si in diebus istis, if in these thy daies when God giues thee a firmament a knowledge what thou art to learne concerning him, and when God giues thee this Collection of waters, and this fruitfullnes of Earth, The knowledge where to receaue these necessary doctrines, if in these dayes thou wilt not remember god, it is an inexcusable, and an irrecouerable [p. 83] Lethargie. In the fourth Daies worke, which was ye making of the Sunne, and Moone, Let the Sunne rule the day, bee the testimonies of Gods loue to Thee in the sunneshine of temporall prosperitie, And ye Moone to shine by night, bee the refreshing of his comfortable promises in ye Gospell in the darknes of aduersitie. Remember in this thy day that hee that can make thy sunne to Amos sett at Noone, blow out the taper of properity when it burnes brightest. And hee can make thy moone to turne into blood, make all the promises of the Gospell which should comfort thee in aduersity turne to despaire and obduration./
Let the fift daies worke wch. was the Creation Omnium reptibilium et Omnium Volatilium, of all creeping things, and all flying things signifie either thy humble deuotion wherin thou saist to God Vermis ego, et non homo, I am a worme, and no man, Or let it signifie the raising of thy soule in that securitie, Pennas Columbae dedisti, that God hath giuen thee the wings of a Doue, to flie to the wildernes from temptations of this world, in a retired life, & in contemplation, Remember in this day too, that god can suffer euen thy humility to stray, and degenerate into an vncomly deiection and stupiditie, and sencelessnes of the true dignity, and true libertie of a Christian. And can suffer thy retiring of thy selfe from the world to degenerate into a contempt of [p. 84] despising of others, and an ouer-ualuing of thine owne perfection, thine owne puritie, and imaginary righteousnes. Let the last day, in which both man and Beast were made of Earth, but yet a living soule breathed into man, remember thee, that this earth that treads vpon thee must returne to that Earth that thou treadest vpon, this body that loads thee, and oppresses thee must returne to the graue, and thy spirit must returne to him that gaue it, And let the saboath remember thee too, That since God hath giuen thee a temporall saboath, placed thee in a land of peace, and an Ecclesiasticall saboath plac’d thee in a Church of peace, thou maist forfeit all in a spirituall saboth, in a conscience of peace, by remembring now thy Creator, in all, in some, in one of these daies of thy new weeke, either as god hath created a first day, by giuing thee the light of the Gospell, or a second day, by giuing thee a firmament, a knowledge of those things that concerne thy saluation, Or a third day, accesse to that place, where those doctrines, and waters of life, are gathered together, the Church, Or ye fourth day where thou has a sunne, and Moone, thankfullnes in prosperite, and comfort in aduersitie, Or a fift day in wch. thou has Reptilem humilitatem, and volatilem fiducium, an humble deiection of thy selfe before God, and yet a secure confidence in God, or as in the sixt day thou considerest [p. 85] thy Composition, that thou hast a Body that must dy though thou wouldst haue it liue, and thou hast a soule that must liue, though thou wouldst haue it die. Now all these daies are contracted into lesse roome in this text, into two; for here the originall word Bimei, Becurotheica, is either In diebus Iuventutis, in the daies of thy youth, or in Diebus Electionum, in the dayes of thy harts desire, when thou enioyest whatsoeuer thy hart can wish. First therfore if you wouldst be heard in Dauids prayer Delicta juventutis, o Lord remember not the sin of my youth, remember to come to this prayer, In diebus Iuuentutis, 29.4 Iob remembers with sorrow, how he was in the daies of his youth, when Gods prouidence was vpon his tabernacle, and it is a sad but late consideration, with what tendernesse of conscience, what scruples, what remorse wee entred into the beginnings of sin in our youth, and how indifferent things those sinnes are growne to vs, and how obdurate wee are growne in them too. It was Iobs sorrowe to consider his youth, & it was Tobias comfort; when I was young, saies hee, all my Tribe fell away; but I alone went often to Ierusalem; For it is good for a man to beare his yoke in his youth, saies Ieremie. And euen then when god had deliuered ouer his people to bee afflicted purposely, yet himselfe complaines in their behalfe That the Esay. 47.6. Persecutor laid the heauiest yoake, vppon the ancientest men; Age is vnfitt for burthens, and to reserue our waight & [p. 86] burden of our conuersion, and repentance till our age in an irregular, an incongruous, and a disproportion’d thing, Labore fracta instrumenta ad Deum ducis quorum nullus vsus? wilt thou pretend to worke in
gGo ods building, and bring no tooles, but such as are blunted and broken in the seruice of the world before? No man would present a lame horse, a disordred Clock, or a torne August. booke to the King, Caro Iumentum, Thy Body is thy beast, thy flesh is thy horse, and wilt thou present that to God when it is lam’d, and tyr’d wth. excesse of wantonnes? when thy Clock, the whole course of thy life is disorder’d with passions, and perturbations , twhen thy booke, ye history of thy life is torne; a thousand sinnes of thine owne torne out of thy memorie, wilt thou present this Clocke, this booke so defaced, and so mangled to thy God? thou pretendst to present that which indeed thou ...doest not, Temperantia in senectute, sed impotentia in Temperantia, thou pretendest to present Temperance, and Continence to God, And in age Temperance is not Temperance but only a disability of being intemperate. It is often, and well said Senex bis Puer, an old man returnes to the ignorance, and froward courses of a Child againe, but it is not, senex bis Iuvenis, that he returnes to the dayes of youth againe; to present first fruit acceptable to God is too late in this yeare. Do this then, in diebus Iuventutis, in thy best strength, and [p. 87] when thy naturall faculties are best able to concurre with Gods grace; but doe it too, In diebus Electionum, while thou maist choose, for if thou haue worne out this word in one sence, that it bee too late to remember him in the daies of thy youth, that’s sinfully, and negligently spent already, yet as long as thou art able to make a new choice, to choose a new sinne, That when thy heats of youth are not ouercome, but burnt out, Then thy midle Age chooses Ambition, and thy old age chooses Couetousnes, as long as thou art able to make this choice, thou art able to make a better then this; for God testifies the power wch. hee hath giuen thee; I call Deut: 30:19 Heauen and earth to record this day that I haue sett before thee life and death; choose life; if this choice like thee not, saies Iosua to the people, if it seeme euill in your eies to serue the Lord, choose yee this day whome yee will serue; Heere’s the Election day, bring that you would haue into ye ballance, and compare it with that which you should haue: bring that wch the world keep’s from you into the ballance, wth. that which God presents to you, and tell mee what you would choose to preferre before God; for honour, and fauour, & health and riches perchance you cannot haue them, though you chuse them, but if you haue, can you haue more of them, then they haue had to whome those very things haue bin occasion of ruine?
It is true the Markett is open till the last Bell ring, till the last bell ring, and ring out, the Church is open, and grace [p. 88] offered in the sacraments of the Church; But trust not thou to that rule, That men buy cheapest at the end of the Markett, then
a Heauen may bee had for a breath at last, when they that stand by thy bed, and heare that breath cannot tell whether it bee a sigh, or a gaspe, whether a religious breathing, and a halation after the next life, or only a naturall breathing, and exhalation of this. But find thou a spirituall good husbandry in that other rule, that the best of the markett is to bee had at the beginning, for, howsoeuer in thine age there may bee by Gods working, Dies Iuventutis, God may make thee a new Creature, and so giue thee a new youth (for as God himselfe is antiquissimus Dierum, soe with God no man is superanuated) yet when Age hathe made a man impotent for sin, those are not properly Diej Electionis, when hee forbeares sin out of impotence towards that sinne. And therfore whilst thou hast a choyce; meanes to aduance thine owne purposes, meanes to defeate other mens Creatorum purposes, by euill meanes, Remember, But whom? For wee haue don with the facultie to bee excited, the Memory; and with the Tyme, Now; and wee come to the obiect, the Creator, And there Remember first the Creator, and then ye Creature, And remember the Creator first, because the memorie can go no further then the creation. The Memorie reaches farre, but it must find something done. And what was don before the Creation? wee haue therfore no meanes to conceaue [p. 89] or apprehend any of Gods actions before that, for when men will speake of Decrees of Reprobation, Decrees of Condemnation, before a Decree of Creation, this is not the Holy Ghosts pace, they go before him, they remember God a Iudge and a Condemning Iudge before a Creator, This is to put a preface before Moses his Genesis, God will haue his Bible begin with the Creation, and wee will not be content with that In principio, but wee will seeke out an Ante Principium; To know what God did before hee did any thing, Ad extra, The In Principio of Moses, wee can remember, That God created Heauen, and Earth in the beginning; But the In Principio of St John, the beginning that he beginnes his gospell withall, the eternall beginning wee cannot remember, wee can remember Gods Fiat in Moses, but not Gods Erat in St. John, wt. God hath done for vs is the obiect of our memory, not what God did before wee, or any thing els was, for when it is said in our translation, The holy Ghost was not giuen because Christ was not glorified, though that supplement seeme necessary for the cleering of the sence, yet that word (Giuen) is not in the Text, but it is simply, Spiritus Sti non erat, The holy Ghost was not; Non erat antequam operaretur, saies St Augustine hee was not in his intendment, & purpose, hee was not manifested, nor declared to vs, till hee wrought in vs, And so wee say of God in generall, not considered in any one person, wee [p. 90] cannot remember him, but in the producing of his workes in the Creation; thy Bible begins there, and thy Creede begins there, and thou hast a good, and a perfect memory, if thou remember all that is presented to thee by those waies, & those waies go no higher then the Creation.
Remember the Creator then, because thou canst remember nothing beyond him, and remember him so too, that thou maist stick vpon nothing on this side of him, That so neither height Rom: 8. vlt: nor depth, nor any other Creature may separate thee from God, not only not separate thee finally, but not retarde thee any other wayes, but as the loue of the Creature may lead thee to the Creator; Wee see faire ships in the Riuer but all their vse were gone if that riuer led not out into the sea; Wee see men freighted with honour, and riches, but all their vse is gone, if they lead them not to the honour & glorie 1 Pet.4. vlt: of the Creator, And therfore, saies the Apostle, Let them yt suffer committ their soules to God, as to a faithfull Creator
,. Hee had gracious purposes vpon vs in our Creation, and if hee bring vs back againe to as good a state as wee had in our Creation, wee enioy the very redemption too, This is then the true contracting, and this is the true extending of this facultie of the Memorie, to remember the Creator, and stay there, because there is no prospect further. And remember ye Creator and gett soe farre, because there is no safe footing nor relyinge vpon any Creature./
[p. 91] Tuum Remember then the Creator, and thy Creator, If thou desire Basil. wisdome, Quis prudentior sapiente? where wilt thou seeke it but of him who is wisdome it selfe? If thou desire profitt, Quis vtilior Bono? who can profitt thee more then goodnesse it selfe? And if thou wouldst remember that wch. is neerest thee, Quis coniunctior Creatore? who is so neere thee, as hee that made thee, and gaue thee thy being? what purpose soeuer thy Parents, or thy Prince haue to make thee great, how had all these purposes bin frustrated if God had not made thee before? Thy very being is thy greatest degree, As in Arithmetigue how great a number soeuer a man expresse in manie figures, yet when all is done, and that we begin to reckon & name this number, the first figure of all is the greatest of all So what degrees, or titles soeuer a man haue in this world, the greatest of all is the first of all, that hee had a being by Creation, For the distance from nothing to a litle is infinitly more, then from that litle to the best degree of this life, and therfore Remember thy Creator as by beeing, that hee hath done more for thee then all the world besides, and Remember him so too with this consideration, that since thou hadst a Creator, thou wast once nothing. Hee made thee gaue thee a beeing, ther’s matter of exaltation, Hee made thee Ex nihilo, thou wast left then a worme, ther’s matter of humiliation, but hee did not make thee ad nihilum, to returne to nothing againe, there’s matter of study and consideration how to make thy immortality profitable to thee, For it is a deadly immortality, if thou beest immortall only for immortall torments. That beeing which wee haue [p. 92] from God shall not returne to nothing, nor that beeing wch. wee haue from men neither, As St. Bernard sayes of the Image of God imprinted indelebly in mans soule, Vir potest in Gehenna, non exuri. That soule that descends to hell carries the image of God thither too, and that can neuer bee burnt out in hell, So those Images, & those impressions wch wee haue receaued from Men, from Nature, from the world, the image of a Lawyer, the image of a Lord, the image of a Bishop may all burne in hell, but they cannot be burnt out, not onely not those soules, but not those offices shall returne to nothing, but our Condemnation shall bee euerlastingly aggrauated for the abvse of those offices. And therfore Remember thy Creator, who as hee made thee of nothing shall hold thee still to his glorie, though to thy Confusion, in estate capable of his heauiest Iudgments For the Court of God is not like other Courts, That after a surfett of pleasure or greatnes a man may retire, after a surfett of sinne there is no such retyring, as a dissoluing of the soule into nothing. And therefore remember that hee made thee, thou wast nothing, and then what hee made thee, thou canst bee nothing againe./
To shutt vp this Circle, and to returne to the beginning, to excite this particular facultie of the memorie, As wee remember God, so for his sake, and in him let vs remember one another, In my long absence, and farr distance [p. 93] Remember mee, as I shall doe you, in the eares of that God to whome the farthest East, and the farthest West are but as the right, and the left eare to one of vs; wee heare with both eares at once, hee heares in both places at one, Remember mee, not my abilities, For when I consider my Apostleship to you, that I was
wsent to you I am in St. Paules Quorum ego minimus, I am the least of them that haue bin sent to you. And when I consider my infirmities (I know I might iustly lay a heauier name vpon them) I know I am in his other Quorum; Quorum ego maximus, sent to saue sinners, of whome I am the cheifest; but yet remember my labours, my endeuors, at least my desires, to doe you that great seruice of making sure your saluation, And I shall your religious cheerefullnes in hearing the word, and your christian-like respect of those who bring this word vnto you, and of mee in particular, so farr aboue my meritt, And so as yo[u]r eies that stay here, and mine that must be farr off, for all that distance shall meete euery morning in looking vppon the same sunne, and meet euery night in looking vpon the same Moone, So our harts may meete morning, and euening, in that God who sees and heares alike in all distances, That you may come vp to him with your prayers in my behalfe, That I, if I may bee of any vse for his glorie, and your edification in this place, may bee restored in this place to you againe, and [p. 94] I may come vp to him with my praiers in yo[u]r behalfe, That what Paul soeuer shall plant here, or what Apollo soeuer shall water here, himselfe wilbe pleased to giue ye increase. And that if I neuer meet you till by seuerall waies wee haue mett in the gates of death, yet within the gates of heauen I may meete you all, and there say to my Sauiour and your Sauiour, that which hee said to his Father, and our Father, Of those whom thou gauest mee I haue not lost one, Remember mee thus, you that stay in this kingdome of peace where no sword is drawne but the sword of Iustice, as I shall remember you in those kingdomes where ambition on one side and a necessarie defence against eminent persecution on the other side hath drawne many swords allready, And Christ Iesus remember vs all in his kingdome, To wch. though wee must saile through a sea, yet it is the sea of his blood in wch neuer soule suffred shipwrack; Though wee must bee blowne with strong windes, with vehement sighs, and grones for our sinnes, yet it is the spirit of God yt blowes all that wind in vs, and shall blow away all contrary windes of diffidence in his mercie, It is that Kingdome where wee shall all bee souldiers, but of one Army, the Lord of Hoasts; And all Children in one Quire, the God of harmony, and consent; where all Clients shall retaine but one Aduocate of the Aduocate of vs all Iesus Christ; and yet euery Client receaue a Sentence on his side, not only in [p. 95] verdict of not guiltie, a Non imputation of his sinnes, but a Venite Benedictj, a real participation of an immortal Crowne of Glorie, where there shalbee no difference in affections, nor in voice. But wee shall all agree as fully, and as perfectly in our Haliluiah, and our Gloria in excelsis, as God the Father, and God the Sonne, and God the Holy Ghost agreed in their Faciemus hominem, wee shall praise the whole Trinitie, as vnanimly as ye Trinity concurr’d in making vs. To end, it is the Kingdome where wee shall end, and yet beginne but then, where wee shall haue continuall rest, and yet neuer grow lazie; where wee shall haue more strength, and no Enemies; where wee shall liue and neuer die; where wee shall meete and neuer part, but here wee must./