OESJD XI.8; on Luke 23.34

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The Text
Father forgiue them
for they knowe not
what they doe/ Luke

The word of God is either the Coeternall and Coessentiall Sonne, o[u]r Savio[u]r which tooke fleshe (verbum caro factum est) Or it is the Spirritt of the Mouth, by wch wee Live, and not by bread onlye,: And soe in a large acceptac[i]on eu[er]y truthe, is the word of God, for truthe is vniforme and irrepugnant, and indivincible, as god. Omne verum est omni vero consentiens more strictlye, the word of God is that wch God hath vttered, either in wryting, as twise to in the Tables to Moyses, or by ministry of Angels, or Prophets, in wordes, or by the vnborne, in action, As in Iohn Baptists exultac[i]on wth in his mother, or by newe borne, from the mouthes of Babes and Sucklings, or by thinges vnreasonable, as in Balaams Asse, or insensible, as the whole booke of such Creatures, the Heavens declare the glory of God, &c, But nothing is more p[ro]perlye then ye word of God to vs, then that wch God himselfe speaks, in those Organs and Instrums, wch himselfe hath assumed for his cheifest worke, o.[u]r redemption for in Creation, God spake, but in redemption, he did, and more, he suffered and of that kinde are these words, God in his chosen manhood saithe, Father forgiue them for they knowe not what to doe/

These wordes shall bee fitlyest considered, like a goodly pallace, if wee rest a litle, as in an outward cou[r]te, vpon Considerac[i]on of prayer in generall, and then drawe neere the viewe of the pallace, in a second Cou[r]te, Considering this speciall Prayer in generall, as the face of the whole pallace, Thirdly wee will passe through the cheifest roomes of the Pallace it selfe,
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and then insist vpon fower stepps, First of whom he beggs (Father) Secondlye what he asks (forgiue them) Thirdlye that he prayeth vpo[n] reason (for) Fourthlye what the reason is (they know not) and lastly, into the backsyde of all, wee will cast the obiections, as whye only Luke remembers this prayer wch (as it seemes by the punishmt continuing vpon the Iewes to this daye) was not obtayned at gods hands

Soe therefore Prayer is o[u]r first Entrye, for where it is said Aske and yt shall be given, It is allsoe said knocke and it shall bee opened; shewing that by Prayer our entrance is: And not the entrye onlye, but the whole howre, my howre is the howre of pray[e]r Of all the Conduitts and Conveyances of Gods grace to vs, none hath bine soe litle subiect to Cavillac[i]ons as this of prayer, The Sacraments haue fallen into the hands of Flatterers, & Robbers, Some haue attributed to much to them Some detracted Some haue paynted them, Some haue wth drawne their naturall Complextio[n] It hath beene disputed whether they be! how many they bee! wt they bee, and what they doe! The preaching of the word hath bine made a Servant of Ambition, and a Shopp of manye mens newe fangled wares, Allmost every meanes betweene God and man suffers some Adulteratings and disguises, but Prayer least And ytt hath more wayes and addresses; It maye be mentall, for wee may thinke Prayer. It may be vocall for wee may speake prayer. It maye be Actuall for wee maye doe Prayer, for deedes haue voyce, the vices of Sodom did crye, and the Almes of Thoby, Reuel: 1: and if it were proper for St Iohn in the 1: of the Reuel: to turne backe to see a voyce, it is more likelye God will looke downe to heare a worke. Soe then to doe the office of yo[u]r vocation sincerlye is to pray how much the Favorits of Princes and great Personages labo[u]r that they may be thought to have bine in pr[i]vate conference wth ye Prince. And though they be forc’d to waite vpon his p[u]rposes, and talke of what he will, how fayne they would be thought to haue solicited their owne or their dependants buysines, wth the Prince of Princes this everye man maye doe trulye, And the sooner the more begger he is, For no. man is heard here but in forma Pauperis, where we maye talke long, wellcomelye, of o[u]r owne affayres and be ev[e]r sure to speede: you cannot whisper soe lowe alone in yo[u]r Chamber, but hee heares you, nor singe soe loud in the Congregation but he distinguishes you. Hee grudges not to bee Chidden, and disputed wth, by Iob, the Arrowes of thAllmightye are in mee, and the venom thereof hath drunke vpp my Spirritt Is my strength the Strength of Stones or is my flesh, flesh of Brasse! &c,: nor to be directed and cou[n]sayled by Ionas, who was angrye and said did not I saye when I was in my countrye yu wouldest deale thus? and when the Lord saide dost thou well to bee angrye! Hee repyled, I doe well to be angrye to the death. Nor all most to be threattened and neglected by Moyses, doe this or blott my name out of thy booke, It is an hono[u]r to be able to saye to Servaunts, doe this, But to say to God Domine fac hoc, and pr[e]vayle, is more, and yet more easye God is replenishinglye every where, but more Contractedly and workingly in ye Temple,
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Since then eu[er]y rectifyed man, is the temple of the holye Ghoste, when he prayes, it is the holye Ghost it selfe that prayes. and what can be denyed where the Asker giues, He playes wth vs as Childre[n], shewes vs pleasing thinges, that wee maye crye for them, and haue them before wee call he Answeares, and when wee speake he heares,

Soe Esay. 65. 24| Phisitians obserue Some Symptiues, soe Esay 65: 24: violent, that they must neglect the disease for a tyme, and labo[u]r to cure the Accident, as burning Feavers in Dissenteryes, Soe in ye sinfull consumption of the Soule, a Stupiddety and indisposition to prayer must first be cured for ye lust and haue not, because ye aske not, Iames 4:2: The Adulterous mother of the three great Bretheren, Iames 4: 2: Gratian; Lombard, and Com.est.or being warned by her Confessors, to Sorrowe for her fact, said shee could not because her fault had soe much profited the Church, at least said he, be sorry, that thou canst not be sorrye, Soe whatsoever thou be yt cannot readylye praye, at least praye that thou mayest praye, for as in bodilye, Soe in Spiritual diseases, it is a desperate state to be speechles, It were vn mannerlynes to hould you longer in the Entrye, One turne in the in[n]er cou[r]te of this Spetiall prayer in gen[er]all, and soe enter the Pallace/

This is not a prayer for his owne ease, as that in his agony seemes It hath none of those infirmityes wch curious Sismatiques, fynd in that noe suspicion of Ignorance, as there (if it be possible,) noe tergiuersation nor abandoning the noble worke wch he had begunn as there (lett this cupp passe) It is not an exemplar, or forme, for vs to imitate preciselye (otherwise then in the doctrine) as that prayer. Mat: 6: wch wee call the Lords prayer, not because he said it, for he could never saie forgiue vs o[u]r tresspasses, but because he comaunded vs to saie it. for though by Math, whoe sayth. After this manner pray, wee seeme not bound to the wordes, yet Luke Saith when you pray saie our father etc. But this is a Prayer of God to God, not as the Talmuded Iewes faine God to praye to himselfe, Sit voluntas mea vt misericordia mea Superet iram meam, But, as when forraine mercha[n]dice is imported, the Prince maye permitt, or inhibit his Subiects, to buye it, our blessed Savio[u]r arriving in this world, frayted wth Salvac[i]on, a thinge wch this world had never power to haue wthout him (except in that shorte tyme, betweene mans Creac[i]on, and his fall), He by this prayer begges, yt even to these despisers of it, it maye be Comunitable and yt th..ere ignorance of the valewe of it, maye not deprive them of it: Teaching that by example here, wch he gaue in precept before. Math: 5: 44: praye Math: 5: 44: for them which persecute you, that you maye bee the children of yo[u]r Fath[e]r which is in heauen,. Therefore doing soe nowe, he might well saye Fath[e]rforgiue them/ which is the first roome of this glorious Pallace. And in this Contemplac[i]on, O my vnworthye Soule, thou art pr[e]sentlye in the pr[e]sence, noe passing of Guardes, nor vshers, noe examinac[i]on of thy degree or habit. The Prince is not a sleepe, nor private, nor wearie of giving, nor referres to others He putts thee not to pr[e]vayle by Angells nor Archangells, But least any thinge might hinder
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thee from Coming into his pr[e]sence, his pr[e]esence comes into thee, and least matie: should dazell thee, thou art to speake but to thy Father: of wch word (Abba) the roote is to will from wch roote, the Fruite allsoe, must bee willingnes and propersnes to Graunt, God is ye Fath[e]r of Christ by that misticall and eternall vnexpressible generat[i]on wch never begann nor ended, of wch incomprehensible mysterye, Moyses and the au[n]tient Prophetts, speake soe litle, and soe indirectlye, that till the dawninge of the daye of Christ, after Esdras tyme, those places seeme not to be intended of the Trynitye Naye a good while after Christ, they were but tenderlye applyed to that sence; And at this daye the most of the wrighters, in the reformed churchs, considering that wee need not such farr fetch’d, and such forced helps, and wth all waighing, how well the Iewes of these tymes, are provided wth other expositions of those places, are verye sparing in vsing them; but content themselves modestlye herein, wth ye  Testimonies of the newe Testamt. Trulye this misterye is rather the obiecte of Faithe, then Reason. And it is enough that wee beleeve Christ to haue ever beene the Sonne of God, by such generation, and o[u]r selues his Sonnes by Adoption; Soe that God is Father to all, but yet soe Iohn 10: that though Christ saie. Iohn 10: My Father is greater then all, Hee Adds, I, and my father are all one, to shewe his Eternall interest, Iohn 12: And Io:12: hee seemes to put a difference, I goe to my Father; and yo[u]r father, my God and your God. The Romaine Stories haue, that when Cladius sawe it conduce to his end to gett the Tribuinshipp of wch he was incapable because a Patritian, he suffered himselfe to be adopted: but against this Adoption, two exceptions were found, one that he was Adopted by a man of lower rancke, A Plebeian, which was vnnaturall, And by a yonger man then himselfe, wch tooke away the representac[i]on of a Father. But our Adoption is Regular, for first wee are made the Sonnes of the most highe, and this allsoe by the Auncient of dayes, where was noe one word by wch he coulde soe noblye haue mainetaynd his dignetye, kept his Stacion, Iustifyed his Cause, and wth all expressed his Humillitye, and Charitye as this, Father,; They crucified him for saying himselfe to be the Sonne of God, and in the mydst of Torment he both p[ro]fessed the same still, and letts them See that they haue noe other waye of forgivenes, but that he is the Sonne of that Father, For noe man cometh to the Father but by the Sonne/

And at this voyce, (father) O most blessed Saviour thy Father, (wch is soe fully thyne, that for thy sake he is o[u]rs too, wch is Soe wholye thyne that he is thy selfe, wch is all mercye yett will not spare thee, All Iustice yett will not destroye vs) and yt glorious Armye of Angells, wch he therto by theire owne integretye, maynetayned their first and puer Condition, and by this worke of thyne, nowe, neare the, Consu[m]matum est, attend confirmation and infallibillitye of ever remayning soe, And that faithfull companye of dep[ar]ted Saincts, to whom thy merritt must open a mere inwarde
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and familler roome in thy Fathers Kingdome, stand all attentiue to heare what thou will aske of this Father. And what shall they heare? what dost thou aske! forgiue them forgiue them! must murderers be forgiven! must the offended aske it! And must a Fath[e]r graunt it! And must he be Sollicited and remembred by ye name of Father, to doe it! was not thy passion enough, but thou must haue compassion! and is thy mercye soe violent, as thou wilt haue a fellowe feeling of their ruin[n]ent afflictious, before they haue anye Feeling! The Angells might expect a pr[e]sent employmt for theire distruction: The Saincts might be out of Feare, that they shoulde be assumed or mingled in their fellowshipp. But thou wilt haue the[m] pardoned, and yett dost not out of thyne owne fullnes pardon them, as thou diddest the Theife vpon the Crosse, because he did already confesse thee, but thou tellest them that they may be forgiven, but at thy request, and if they acknowledge their Advocate to be the Sonne of God Father forgiue them. I that cannot revenge thy quarrrel, cannot forgiue them, I that could not be saved but by their offence cannot forgiue them, And must a Father, allmightye, and well pleased in thee, forgiue them? Thou art more Charitable towards them, then by thy direction wee maye be to o[u]r Selves; wee must praye for o[u]r selves limitedlye, forgiue vs, and we forgiue, but thou wilt haue their forgivenes illimited, and vnconditioned, thou seemest not soe much as to pr[e]sume a repentance, wch is soe essentiall, and necessarie in all Transgressions, as whereby mans falt the Actions of God are diverted from his appointed ends, God himselfe is content to repent the doeing of them, as he repented first the making of man, and then the making of a kinge. But God will haue them wthin ye Armes of his generall pardon; and wee are all delivered from o[u]r Debts, for God hath given his word for vs, his Coessentiall word, for vs all. And though (as in other prodigall debts, the interest exceed ye principall) o[u]r actuall Sinne exceede or originall, yet god by giving his word for vs, hath Acquitted all/

But the Affections of o[u]r Savio[u]r are not inordinate, nor irreguler; he hath (For) for his Prayer, forgive them for &c: And where he hath not this for, as in his prayer in his Agonye, he quickly interrupts the violence of his request, wth a But; Father lett this Cupp passe; but not my will, In that forme of Prayer which him selfe taught vs, he hath appoynted, for, on Gods parte, wch is eu[er] the same vnchangable. for thine is the kingdome, Therefore Supplications belong to thee; The Power, Thou openest thy hand & fillest everye lyving thinge, The Glorye, for thy name is glorifyed in thy Grants. but because on our part the occasions are variable, he hath left ours to our religious discretion for when it is said Iam: Iam: 4: 4: you lust and haue not, because you aske not, it followeth pr[e]sentlye, ye aske and misse, because ye aske amisse. It is not a fitt, for every pr[i]vate man, to aske much meanes, for he would doe much good. I must not pray, Lord, put into my hands the strength of Christian kings,
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for out of my zeale I will employ thy benefitts vnto thy adva[n]tage, thy Souldiers against thine Enemyes, and be a Bancke against the deluge wherewth thy Enemyes the Turke, threatens to overflowe thy people. I must not pray, Lord, fill my harte wth knowledge and vnderstanding, for I would Compose the Scismes in thy Church, and reduce thy garment, to the first Continuall and seamesels Integritye, and redresse the deafnes and oppression of Iudges, and officers,. But he gave vs convenient Scanting for our foes, who prayed Giue mee enough, for I maye else despayre, Giue me not to muche, for soe I maye pr[e]sume; of Schoole men some affirme Prayer to be an Act of our will, for we would haue that wch wee Aske. Others of o[u]r vnderstanding, for by it wee ascend to God, and better our knowledge, wch is the p[ro]per aliment and foode of o[u]r vnderstanding Soe it is a perplext case. But all agree that it is an acte of our reason, and therefore must be reasonable for onlye reasonable thinges can praye, for the Beasts and Ravens Psalme 147: 9: are not said to praye for foode, but to crye. Two thinges are required to make a Prayer .1. pius affectus, wch was not in the Divills request, Mat: 8: 31: Iob: 1: 2 Math: 8: 31: let us goe into the Swyne. Nor Iob. 1. 2 stretche out thy hand, and touch all he hath, and stretch out thy hand & touch his Bones, and therefore these were not Prayers. And it must be, reru[m] decentiu[m]. for o[u]r gou[er]nemt in that poynte, this maye informe vs. that wch is absolutelye good, as remission of Sinnes, we may absolutelye begg, and soe to escape thinges absolutelye ill, as Sinne. But meane and indifferent thinges, quallified by the Circu[m]stances wee must aske Conditionallye and referringlye to the givers will. for 2: Cor: 8 2: Cor: 8: when Paule begd et umilum carnis, to be taken fro[m] him it was not grau[n]ted, but he had this Answere, my grace is sufficient for thee

Let vs nowe, not in Curiositye, but for Instruction co[n]sider the Reason. They knowe not what they doe. First of Ignoraunce excuse, and then, if they were Ignorant

Hast thou, O God, fild all thy Scriptures both of thy Recorders, and Notaryes, wch haue penned the historye of thy loue, to thy people; and of thy Secretaryes, thy Prophets, and admitted to the knowledge of thy purposes, and instructed in thy Cabinett! hast thou fill’d, these wth prayses and p[er]swasions of Wisedome, and knowledge, and must these persecutors be pardoned for their Esay 27: 11: ignorance? Hast thou bidd Esay to Saie 27:11: It is a people of noe vnderstandinge, therefore he that made them shall not haue compassion Osea 4: 6: on them And Osea. 4.6: my people are distroyed for want of knowledge; and nowe dost thou saye forgiue them, because they knowe not? Shall ignorance, wch is often the cause of Synne, often a Sinne it selfe, often the punishmt of Synne, and eu[er] an infirmitye and disease co[n]tracted by the first great Sinne, advantage them? whoe can vnderstande his psal: 19: 12: Faults, sayth the man according to thy harte Psalme, 19: 12: Lord clense mee from my secrett Sinnes: He durst not make his Ignorau[n]ce the reason of his prayer, but prayd against it. But thy mercye is as the Sea: both before it was the Sea, for it overspreads the whole world, and since it was called into Limmitts, for it is not the lesse infinite for that. And as by the Sea the most remote and distant nations
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enioye one another, by Traffique and Comerce, East, and West becoming neighbours, Soe by mercye the most different thinges are vnited and reconciled. Sinners haue Heaven, Trayto[u]rs are in the Princes bosome And ignorant Persons are in the Princ Springe of Wisedome, being forgiuen, not onlye, though they be Ignorant, but because they are Ignorant. But all ignorance is not excusable, nor any lesse excusable, then, not to knowe what ignorance is not to be excus’d Therefore there is an Ignoraunce wch they call, Nescientia[m], A not knowing of thinges not ap[er]tayning to vs, This wee had, though Adam had stood. And the Angells haue it, for they knowe not the Latter daye, and therefore for this wee are not chargeable. They call the other privac[i]on, wch, if it p[ro]ceed meerelye from our owne sluggishnes, in not searching the meanes made for o[u]r instructions, is ever inexcusable. If from God, whoe for his owne Iust ends hath cast Cloudes over thes lights, wch should guide vs, it is often excusable, for 1 Tim, 1. 13. Paule saith, I was a blasphemer and a Persecutor, 1: Tim: 1: 13: and an oppressor, but was receiued vnto mercye, for I did it ignorantlye through vnbeleife. Soe thoughe wee are all bound to beleiue, and therefore faults done by vnbeleife cannot escape the name and nature of Sinne, yet since beleef is the im[m]ediate guifte of god, faults done by vnbeleife, wthout malicious Concurrences, and Circumstances, obtayne mercye, and Pardon from that aboundant fountaine of Grace, Christ Iesus. And therefore it was a iust reason forgiue them, for they knowe not, if they knowe not, wch is euident, both by this speech from truthe it selfe, and by 1: Cor: 2: 8: had they 1: Cor: 2: 8: knowne it they would not haue crucified the Lord of Glorye. And Act: 3: 17: I knowe that throughe Ignorance ye did it. And thoughe Act: 3: 17: after soe many powerfull miracles, this ignoraunce were vincible. God hauing revealed enoughe to concert them; yet their seemes to be enough, on their parts, to make it a perplext case, and to excuse, though not a malicious persecuting, yet a not consentinge, to his doctrine, for they had a Lawe whoe soever shall make himselfe the Sonne of God lett him dye, And they spoke out of theire Lawes, when they said wee haue noe other kinge but Cæsar, There were therefore some emonge them reasonablye, and Zealouslye Ignorant, and for those, the Sonne, ever wellcome, and well heard, beg’d, of his Father, ever accesecible, and exorable, a Pardon, ever readye and naturall/

Wee haue passed through all those Roomes wch are vnlock’d, and opened att first; and nowe maye that poynt, why this prayer is remembred onlye by one Evangelist?, and whye by Luke be modestlye enquired. For wee are all admitted and wellcomed into the acquaintance of the Scriptures, vpon such condicions as travaylers are into other Cou[n]tryes, if wee come as Praysers and admirers of their Comodityes, and gou[er]nemt, not as Spyes into ye misteryes of their State, nor Searchers, nor Callummiators of theire
[catchword(s): weaknesses/]

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weaknesses for though the Scriptures like a stronge rectefy’d state, be not endanger’d by such a curious mallice of anye, yett he which brings that, deseru’s noe admittance. When those great Comissioners, wch are called the Septuagiue, sent from Hierusalem, to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greeke, had perfeted their worke, it was and is an Argument of divine assistaunce, that writtinge Severallye they differed not. The same maye prove, even to weake and faithlesse men, that the holy Ghost superintended the 4 Evangelists, because they differ not: As they wch have written theire Harmonyes make it evident; but to vs, Faith teacheth the other waye, and wee conclude not, because they agree. the Holye Ghost directed, for Heathen Wryters and malefactors in examinacons doe Soe; But because the Holy Ghost directed wee know they agree and differ not; for as an honest man, ever of the same thoughts, differs not from him selfe, though he doe not ever saye the same thinges, yf he saye not contraryes, Soe the 4: Evangilests, obserue the vneformetye, and samenes of theire Guyde, though all did not say all the same thinges; since none Contradicts any. and as, when my Soule, wch enables all my lym[m]s to their functions, disposes my leggs too, my whole bodye is trulye said to goe, because none Stayes behinde, Soe when the Holy Spirritt wch had made himselfe a Com[m]on Soule to their 4: Soules directed one of them to saye any thing, all are well vnderstood to haue said it. And therefore when to that Math: 27: 9 place in Math: 27: 9: where, that Evangelist cites the Prophet Ieremye, for wordes spoken by Zachary, many medicines are applyed by the Fathers; as that many Copies haue noe name, That Ieremye might be binominous, and hath both names, (a thing freque[n]t in the Bible) that it might be the erro[u]r of a Transcriber; that there was extant an Apocryphe booke of Ieremye, in wch these wordes were, and sometymes things of such bookes were toucht as Iames, and Iambres, by Paul, St Augustine incists vpon, and teacheth rather this; that yt is more wonderfull that all the Prophets spoke by one Spirritt, and soe agreed, then if any one of them had spoken all those thinges. And therefore he adds Singula sunt omnium, et omnia sunt singulorum all saye what anye of them saye, And in this Sence most congruouslye is that of Hierom applyable, that the 4: Evangelists are Quadriga Diuina, that as the 4: Charriott Wheeles though they looke to the 4: Corners of the world, yet they move to one end and one waye, Soe the Evangelists have both one Scope and one waye/

Yet not soe pr[e]cislye but that they differ in wordes, for as their generall intention, com[m]on to them all begatt that co[n]sent, soe a pr[i]vate reason, peculier to each of them, for the writinge of their Historyes at yt tyme, made those diversityes wch seeme to bee. For Math: after he had preached to the Iewes, and was
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to be transplanted into another vyneyard, the Gentills lest them that written in their owne tounge for permanencye, wch hee had before preached vnto them transitorilye by word, Marke, when the Gospell fructifyed in the West, and the Church enlargd herselfe, and grewe a greate bodye, and therefore required more food, out of Peters Dirtats, and by his approbac[i]on publisht his Evangile not an Epitome of matth, as St Hierome (I knowe whye) imagines, St hierome but a iust and intyer historye of o[u]r B: Saviour. And as mathewes reason was, to supplye a want in the Easterne Church, Marks, in the Westerne, soe on thother syde, Luke was to cutt of an excesse and Superfluetye; for then many had vndertaken this storye, and dangerously mingled, and incerted vncertainties, and obnoxious improbabletyes, and he was more curious, and more perticuler, the[n] the rest, both because he was more learned, and because he was soe individuable a Companion of the most learned StPaule and did soe much write Paules wordes, that Eusebius therevpon mistakes the wordes. 2: Timo: 2: 8: Christ is raysed accordinge to my Gospell. 2: Tim: 2: 8: to proue, that Paule was Autho[u]r of this Gospell attributed to Luke. Iohn the minion of Christ vpon earthe, and Surviuo[u]r of ye Apostles, (whose bookes rather seeme fallen from from heaven, and written wth the hand wch engrau’d the Stone tables then a mans worke) because the Heresyes of Ebion and Cherinthus were rooted, whoe, vppon this true ground, then evident and freshe, that Christ had spoke many thinges wch none of the other 3: Evangilists had recorded, vttered many thinges as his, wch he nev[e]r Spake, Iohn I saye more dilligentlye then the rest handled his devynity., and his Sermons, thinges speciallye brought into question by them. Soe therefore all write one thinge, yett all haue some thinges p[ar]ticuler. And luke most, for he writt last of three, and largelyest, for himselfe, Act: 1: 1: Act: 1: 1: Saith, I haue made the former treatise of all that Iesus began to doe, and teach, vntill the daye that he was taken vpp, wch speeche, least the wordes in the last of Iohn, if all were writte[n] wchIesus did the wourld could not conteyne the bookes, should condemne Ambrose, and Chrysostome interpret well, out of ye words themselves, Scripsit de omnibus, non omnia He writt of all, but not all, for it must haue the same Limitations, wchPaule giues his words, whoe said Act: 10: In one verse, I haue kept nothing backe, but haue Act: 10: shewed you all the counsell of God, and in another I kept back nothing that was profitable. It is another peculier singularitie of Lukes, that he addresseth his historye to one man Theophilus, for it is but weakely: surmised, that he chose that name for all lovers of god, because the interpr[e]tac[i]on of the word suffers it, since he Adds most noble Theophilus. But the worke doth not the lesse belong to ye whole Church, for that, noe more then his masters Epistles doe, though they
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bee directed to p[ar]ticulers, It is allsoe a Singularitye in him, to write, vpon that reason, because divers haue written; In humaine knowledge to abridge, or sucke, and then suppresse other Authors, is not ever honest, nor profitable. Wee see after the vast ent[e]rprise of Iustinian, who distilld all the Lawe into one vessell, and made one Booke of 2000, suppressing all the rest. Alciat wishes he had let them alone, and thinkes the Docto[u]rs of o[u]r Tyme, would better haue drawne vsefull thinges from those volumes, then his Trebanian & Dorothe did. And Aristotle, after by the i[m]mence liberallitye of Alexander, he had ingrosed all Authors, is said to haue defac’d all, that hee might bee insteed of all. And therefore since they cannot rise against him, he imputes to them errors, wch they held not; vouched onelye such obiections for them, as he is able to answere, And p[ro]pounds all good thinges in his owne name, wch he ought to them. but in this Historye of Lukes, it is otherwise, He had more Authoritye to suppresse them, nor doth he repr[e]hend or Calumniate them, but wrytes the truth simplye, and leaves it to out weare falsehood. And soe it hath: Moses Rodd hath devoured the Coniurers .Rods: & Lukes Storye still retaines the matie of the maker, and thers are not, Other singularityes in Luke, of forme for matter I om[m]itt, and end wth one like this in o[u]r Text as in the appr[e]hending of o[u]r Bles’d Saviour, all the Evangelists record that Peter Cutt of Malchus Eare, but onelye Luke remembers the healing of it againe (I thinke) because that Act of Curinge was most pr[e]sent and obuious to his Considerac[i]on, whoe was a Phisitian; Soe he was therefore most apt to remember this prayer of Christ, wch is the Phisicke and Balsamum of our Soule, and must be applyed to vs all, (for wee doe all crucifye him and wee knowe not what wee doe) and therfore St Ierome gaue a right Character of him, in his Epistle to Paulin[us]  fuit medicus, et pariter omnia verba illius, animee langue.ntis sunt medicine. As he was a Physition, soe all his words were Phisicke, for a languishing Soule/

Now lett vs dispatche the last considerac[i]on, of ye effecte of this prayer. Did Christ intend the forgiuenes of the Iewes; whose vtter Ruin God (that is himselfe) had foredecreed? And wch he foresawe, and bewayld even then hanging on the Crosse! for those Devynes wch reverentlye forbeare, to interpret the words, Lord, Lord, whye hast thou for saken mee, of a Suffering Hell in his Soule, or a Iohn 16: : departing of the Father from him (for Io: 16: it is, I am not alone, for the father is with mee) offer noe exposition of those wordes more convenient then that the foresight of the Iewes im[m]inent Calamityes, expressed and drewe those wordes from him. In their afflictions, were all kindes and all degrees of miserye. Soe that as one writter of Romaine Storyes saies elegantlye. He that considers ye acts of Roome, considers not the acts of one people, but of mankinde, It maye truelye saye of ye Iewes afflictions, he that knowes them, is ignorant of Nothing, that this world can threaten; for to yt wch ye pr[e]sent authoritye of the Romaines inflicted vpon them, o[u]r Schooles haue added vpon their posterities; that they are as Slaves to
[fol. 65r]
Christians, and their goods subiect to Spoyle, if the lawes of the Princes, where they liue, did not, out of Indulgencye, defend them, did he then aske and was not heard! God forbidd: A man is heard, when that is given, wch his will desired, And o[u]r will is ever vnderstood to be a will rectyfy’d and Concurrent wth God. This is voluntas, a discourse, & examined will. That wch is vpon the first Sight of the obiect, is, volleitas, a willingnes, wch wee resist not, onlye because wee thought not of ytt, And such a willingnes had Christ, when suddainelye he wished the Cupp might passe, but quicklye conformd his will to his Fathers, but in this prayer his will was pr[e]sent. Therefore fullfilld, breiflye then, in this prayer. he comended not all the Iewes (for he knew the cheife to Sinne knowinglye) and soe out of the reache of his reason (for they knowe not) nor any, except they repent after, for it is not ignorance, but repentance, wch derives to vs ye benefitt of Gods pardon. for he that Sinnes of ignorance, may be p[ar]doned if he repent: But he that Sinnes against his conscience, & is thereby impenitible, cannott be pardoned. And this is all wch I will saye of these wordes, Father forgiue them, for they knowe not what they doe

O Eternall god, looke downe from thy throne, to thy Footestole, from thy blessed company of Aungells, and Saints, to vs, by our owne faults made more wretched, and contemptible then the wormes which shall eate us, or the dust which wee were or shalbee/

O Lord vnder the waight of thy iustice, wee cannot stand nor adde any other title to thy mercye, but the name of Father, . that wee haue forfayted: That name, of Sonnes of God, thou gauest to us all at once in Adam; and he gaue it awaye from vs all by his Sinne And thou hast giuen yt againe, to euerye one of vs in our regeneration, by Baptisme, and wee haue lost it againe by our tra[n]sgressions. And yet thou wert not wearye of being mercifull, but diddest choose one of vs, to be a fitt, and worthy Ransome for vs all And by the death of thy christ, our Iesus, gauest vs againe ye title and priviledges of thy sonnes, But with condicions, which thoughe easye wee haue broke, and with a yoake, which though light, & sweete wee haue cast of. How shall wee then dare call thee father or to beg that thou wilt make one more Tryall of vs! These hearts are accustomed to rebellions, and hepelesse. But O god create in us new harts, Harts capable of the Loue and feare due to a father. And then wee shall dare to saie Father, and to saye father forgiue vs, forgiue vs o father, and all wch are ingagd, & accountable to thee for vs, forgiue ovsr parents, and those which vndertooke for vs in Bapsisme, forguie the Civill Magistrate, and the minister, forgiue them yir neglegences, and vs our Stubbornenes. And giue vs the grace that wee may euer Sincerelye saie both this prayer, of example and cou[n]sell, forgiue our Enemyes, and that other of Precept, Our Father which art in heauen &. finis


PublisherThe Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne
General Editor: Peter McCullough
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Availability: This XML document is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License.


Transcription of sermons 1-15 by Emma Rhatigan.

Transcription of sermon 16 by Mary Morrissey

Transcription proofread by Peter McCullough (sermon 10), Mary Morrissey (16), Phil West (2, 6, 12), Hugh Adlington (5, 9, 11, 13), and Sebastiaan Verweij (1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 16).

Manuscript description by Mary Morrissey.

Transcription coded by Sebastiaan Verweij.


Institution: Bodleian Library, Oxford
Shelfmark: MS Eng. th. c. 71
OESJD siglum: M


Item no: 1
Locus: ff. 53r-59v
Title: The Text Remember nowe thy Creator in the dayes of thy youthe 12:1: Ecclesiastes
Incipit: Wee may consider Two greate
Explicit: meete and never parte, but here wee must
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. IV.10; P&S Vol. II.11

Item no: 2
Locus: ff. 60r-65r
Title: The Text Father forgiue them for they knowe not what they doe, Luke 23:34:/
Incipit: The word of God is either
Explicit: Father which art in heauen &c.
Final Rubric: finis
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. VI.8; P&S Vol. V.12

Item no: 3
Locus: ff. 67r-72v
Title: The Text The Father iudgeth noe man But hath committed all Judgment to the Sonne John 5:22:
Incipit: When our Sauiour Christ forbidds
Explicit: to you when for your sakes, he committed all Judgmt to the Sonne/
Final Rubric: Finis of the First Sermo[n] prached at Lincolnes Inn in ye forenoo[n]e by Doc: Dunn on Sunday 30:Ja:1619
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. IV.11; P&S Vol. II.15

Item no: 4
Locus: ff. 72v-76v
Title: The Text Iuidge noe man John 8.15
Incipit: The Riuers of paradice did not all
Explicit: yet, The Sonne iudgeth noe man
Final Rubric: Finis of the second Sermon preached at lincolnes In the afternoone by Doc: Dunn on Sunday 30:Jan:1619
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. IV.12; P&S Vol. II.16

Item no: 5
Locus: ff. 78r-84v
Title: The Text Blessed are the people that bee soe yea blessed are the people whose God is the Lorde Psale 144:15:
Incipit: The first parte of this Text hath re:
Explicit: of his incorruptible blood. In wch glorious Sonne of God &c.
Final Rubric: Finis of Doctor Dunns sermo[n] preach'd at Wit-hall before the kinge the thirtyeth of Aprill 1620
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. II.5; P&S Vol. III.9

Item no: 6
Locus: ff. 86v-93v
Title: The Text Whosoeuer shall fall on this Stone shalbe broken, But on whom Soeuer it shall fall it will grinde him to powder Math: 21:44
Incipit: Allmightie God made us for
Explicit: manifest vnto vs To whome wth blessed Spirritt &c
Final Rubric: Finis of a Sermon of docter Donne preach'd at ye Cockpit
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. VI.1; P&S Vol. II.8

Item no: 7
Locus: ff. 95r-101v
Title: The Text Lorde all my desire is before thee and my Groninge is not hid from thee Psal:38:9:
Incipit: The wole Psalme
Explicit: but ordained by the Church
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. IV.8; P&S Vol. II.6

Item no: 8
Locus: ff. 103r-109r
Title: The Text Whoe now reioyce in my sufrings for you and fill vp that wch is behinde of the Afflictions of Christ in my fleshe for his bodyes sake which is the Church Colos:1:24
Incipit: Wee are to enter into the
Explicit: and Christ Jesus a Crowne of Everlasting glorye to vs all
Final Rubric: Amen
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. IV.2; P&S Vol. III.16

Item no: 9
Locus: ff. 110r-115r
Title: The Text Woe vnto you that desire the daye of the
Incipit: For the presenting of the woes and Iudgmts of God
Explicit: To which glorious sonne of God &c
Final Rubric: Finis of Doc: Donns Sermon at white hall before the kinge the 30: of March 1619
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. II.2; P&S II.18

Item no: 10
Locus: ff. 116r-122r
Title: The Text I loue them that loue mee & they that seek me earlye shall finde mee Pro:8:17:
Incipit: As the Prophetts and other secretaryes of the holye
Explicit: incoruptible bloode
Final Rubric: In whom &c/
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. I.4; P&S Vol. I.5

Item no: 11
Locus: ff. 123r-129r
Title: The Text And without Contruersye greate is the Mistery of Godlynes God was manifest in the Fleshe: Iustifyed in the Spirit: Seene of Angles: peached vnto ye Gentils: Beleeued on in the worlde: receyued vp into Glorye 1:Timo:3:16:
Incipit: This is no Text for an hour glasse: If god woud
Explicit: blood: To which glorious Sonne of God &c
Final Rubric: Finis of Doc: Donns Sermon at Whithall before the kinge ye 16: February 1620
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. II.6; P&S Vol. III.10

Item no: 12
Locus: ff. 130r-137v
Title: The Text Hee that beleeuth not shalbe damned Mar:16:16
Incipit: The first words that are recorded in the
Explicit: God shall himselfe in an everlasting presence & Fruition./ Amen./
Final Rubric: Finis of A Sermon of Do: Duns lincolns I
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. VI.9; P&S Vol. V.13

Item no: 13
Locus: ff. 139r-145r
Title: The Text The last Enemye that shall be distroyed is Deathe 1:Cor:15:26:
Incipit: This is a Text of the Resurrection, and tis not
Explicit: Consummacion both in Bodye and Soule in his everlasting glorye Amen
Final Rubric: Finis of D: Dunn before the kinge on Frydaye before lent 1620
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. II.8; P&S Vol. IV.1

Item no: 14
Locus: ff. 146r-149v
Title: The Text And the Lord says It is not good for the man should be alone I will make him a helpe meete for him Gene:2:18:
Incipit: In the Creation of the world when God had
Explicit: therefore this be enough, For ye explicacion, and applycacion of these words
Final Rubric: Finis of a Sermon preach'd by D:Donn at S Francis Nethersoles marriage
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. VII.1; P&S Vol. II.17

Item no: 15
Locus: ff. 150r-155v
Title: The Text And I will marrye thee vnto mee for euer Hos:2:19:
Incipit: The word wch is the Kinge vpon wch
Explicit: his incorruptible bloude to whom &c
Final Rubric: Finis of a Sermon preach'd at St Clements danes by D:Dunn at Mr Washingto[n]s marriage
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. VII.2; P&S Vol. III.11

Item no: 16
Locus: ff. 156r-171r
Title: The Text For God who Commaunded light to shine out of darknes, hath shined in our hartes to giue the light of ye knowledge of the glory of God in ye face of Je: Christ 2:Cor:1:6:
Incipit: The First Booke of ye Bible begins wth the
Explicit: of God in the face of Jesus Christ
Final Rubric: Finis of Doc:Donns Sermo[n] at ye Spitle on Easte Mu[n]day 1622:
Bibliography: OESJD Vol. VIII.2; P&S Vol. IV.3


Material: Paper, folio, i + 177 leaves (1 stub, f. 59b). 313 X 210 mm.
Foliation: Foliation in pencil consecutively. The final sermon is individually paginated in ink, not by the main scribe.
Collation: The volume is too tightly bound to provide collation.
Condition: The volume is in excellent condition.


The hand which transcribed the sermons in this manuscript is almost certainly that of a professional scribe. This is a very neat, very consistent hand. The letters are small (minims are approx. 2mm high, capitals and letters with ascenders only approx. 3-4 mm high); this allows the scribe to fit approx. 50 lines of text within the writing block. The scribe uses a predominantly secretary script, with some italic features. The scribe also uses a kind of non-cursive print-hand, with some italic forms but less pronounced in its use of that script that write the passages in italic. The distinction between this and the italic scripts can be harder to discern. Punctuation is sparse, consisting mostly of commas and full-stops, with virgules sometimes marking the end of a paragraph. Virgules are not easily distinguished from commas, especially mid-paragraph. On the whole, what may be rather short virgules have been transcribed as commas. A capital often indicates the beginning of a new sentence in the absence of a full-stop, or following a comma. The Merton scribe occasionally writes square brackets. Since these are also used for editorial interventions in the text, in transcription they are replaced with parentheses (see for instance ff. 150v, 151r). Abbreviation is typical for a hand of this time. The scribe commonly employs word-final superscript 'r' with an abbreviation mark. These letters have mostly been expanded ('ur', 'er'), except where no vowel could have been implied (although the same superscript 'r' was still used by the scribe): especially in 'nor' and 'for'. Catchwords are used throughout, and these have only been indicated when the catchword is different from the word following on the next page, in terms of spelling, punctuation, or capitalisation.

The rubricator may be distinguished from the main scribe. It is clear that marginal notes were added in pencil first, and then re-done in red ink. In some cases, the pencil is still visible, and in a couple of instances, the pencil has not been inked over (see esp. f. 163v, marginal note 'Nicephor’. In one case, in the margin of f. 169r, the rubricated marginal note reads ‘Nariani’. This is presumably a mistake for ‘Nazianzen’ (or a shortened form thereof). The underlying pencil mark is not visible, but it is difficult to believe that a scribe who had written ‘Nazianzen’ so many times in this manuscript would not have recognised the word when rubricating the marginal notes. This may indicate that the rubricator did his work on the text after the scribe had completed his work. This might explain some of the inconsistencies in the rubrication throughout the manuscript.

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