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THE DECEIT OF APPEARANCE;
PREACHED BEFORE HIS MAJESTY, AT HIS COURT OF THEOBALDS, ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1622.
IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF ATTENDANCE.
JOHN vii. 24.
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
As in the civil body, so in the natural; the head, as it is the highest, so the chief part. According to the place is the dignity. Of the head, the highest region is chiefest, serving only for the use of intellectual powers; whereas the lower part of it is only employed for bodily nutrition. Now, as the reasonable part of the soul is Vertex anime, being contradistinguished to the sensitive; so, if ye distinguish the reasonable into Judgment and Deliberation, Naturale Judicatorium dicetur esse certer, saith Aquinas; "Judg ment is the top of our soul;" and therefore calls for the top of our care. If the highest wheel go right, the inferior hardly err.
Hear then the golden rule of the Author, of the Judge of our judgment; Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. The negative part is first, Judge not; then, Judge: where the mind is free and clear, it is good to begin with the positive document of right, which is the rule to itself and the wrong; but where the heart is forestalled with mis-opinion, ablative directions are first needful to unteach error, ere we can learn truth. Judge not, therefore, according to the appearance. Karo, is, as the Vulgate rightly, secundum faciem, "according to the face;" because the face only appears, the rest is hid. Every thing, not man only, hath both a face and a heart: a face, which is pervious to every eye; a heart, to which no eye can pierce but the wise. This face, as of man, so of things, is a false rule of judgment; Frons, oculi, &c. "The forehead, eyes, countenance tell many a lie." Judge not, therefore, according to appearance: it is no measuring by a crooked line.
There is nothing more uncertain than appearance. Some things appear, that are not; and some things are, that appear not: and that, besides natural occurrences, in morally both good and evil. Some things appear good, that are not; and therefore mislead the heart, both to an unjust prosecution, and to a false applause: some
things appear evil, that are not; and therefore mislead us to an injurious censure, and undeserved abomination. Again, some things are good, that appear not; and therefore lose both our allowance and pursuit: some things are evil, that appear not; and therefore insinuate themselves in our acquaintance and love, to our cost. Many a snake lies hid under the strawberry leaves, and stings us ere we be aware. Vitia virtutes mentiuntur, saith Gregory, "Vice too oft makes a mask of the skin of virtue," and looks lovely: virtue as often comes forth, like a martyr in the Inquisition, with a San-benit upon her back, and a cap painted with deviis upon her head, to make her ugly to the beholders; Judge not, therefore, according to the appearance.
The appearance or face, is of things, as of men. We see it, at once, with one cast of the eye; yet there are angles, and hills, and dales, which, upon more earnest view, the eye sees cause to dwell in so it is with this appearance or face of things, which, however it seems wholly to appear to us at the first glance; yet, upon further search, will descry much matter of our enquiry: for every thing from the skin inclusively to the heart, is the face; every thing besides true being, is appearance.
All the false pia, that use to beguile the judgment of man, hide themselves under this appearance. These reduce themselves to three heads, PRESUMPTIONS, FALSE FORMS, EVENTS.
PRESUMPTIONS must be distinguished: for, whereas there are three degrees of them, first, levia probabilia, light probabilities; then, fair probabilities; and, thirdly, strong probabilities, which are called, judicia juris: the two first are allowed by very Inquisitors; but, as sufficient to cause suspicion, to take information, to attach the suspected; not enough, whereon to ground the libel or the torture, much less a final judgment: thus Eli sees Hannah's lips go; therefore she is drunk: the Pharisees see Christ sit with sinners; he is a friend to their sins.
FALSE FORMS are presented either to the eye or the ear. In the Former, besides supernatural delusions, there is a deceit of the sight; whether through the indisposition of the organ, or the distance of the object, or the mis-disposition of the medium: so as, if we should judge according to appearance, the sun should double itself by the first, through the crossness of the eye; it should diminish itself by the second, and seem as big as a large sieve, or no large cart-wheel at the most; it should dance in the rising, and move irregularly, by the third. To the Ear, are mis-reports and false suggestions; whether concerning the person, or the cause: in the former, the calumniating tongue of the detractor, is the juggler, that makes any man's honesty or worth appear such as his malice listeth: in the latter, the smooth tongue of the subtle rhetorician is the impostor, which makes causes appear to the unsettled judgment, such as his wit or favour pleaseth.
EVENTS; which are ofttimes as much against the intention and above the remedy of the agent, as beside the nature of the act. There is sometimes a good event of evil: as Jason's adversary
cured him in stabbing him; the Israelites thrive by oppression; the field of the Church yields most when it is manured with blood. There is sometimes an ill event of good: Abimelech gives David the shew-bread and the sword; he, and his family, dies for it. Sapientis est præstare culpam: It is enough for a wise man to wield the act; the issue he cannot: wisdom makes demonstrative syllogisms, à priori, from the causes; folly, paralogisms, à posteriori, from the success. Careat successibus opto, quisquis ab eventu, &c. was of old the word of the heathen poet.
If, therefore, either upon Sight Probabilities, or False Forms, or Subsequent Events, we pass our verdict; we do, what is here for bidden, Judge according to appearance.
Had the charge been only Judge not, and gone no further, it had been very useful; and no other, than our Saviour gave in the Mount. We are all on our way. Every man makes himself a Justice Itinerant, and passeth sentence of all that comes before him; yea, beyond all commission, of all above him; and that, many times, not without gross misconstruction, as in the case of our late directions. Our very Judges are at our bar. Secrets of Court, of Council, of State escape us not; yea, not those of the most reserved Cabinet of Heaven. Quis te constituit Judicem? Who made thee a Judge? as the Israelite, unjustly, to Moses. These are saucy usurpers of forbidden Chairs; and therefore it is just with God, that, according to the Psalmist, such judges should be cast down in stony places; yea, as it is in the original, how, that they should be left in the hands of the rock, allidantur petræ, that they should be dashed against the rocks, that will be sailing without card or compass, in the vast ocean of God's counsels, or his Anointed's. But now here our Saviour seals our commission; sets us upon the Bench; allows us the act, but takes order for the manner: we may judge, we may not judge according to the appearance: we may be judges, whether spiral or dinaçaì; the one to condemn, the other to absolve: we may not be κριταὶ διαλογισμῶν πονηρῶν, judges of evil thoughts; and we shall be evil-thoughted judges, if we shall judge according to appearance. Not only fortune and love, but even justice also, is wont to be painted blindfold; to import, that it may not regard faces. God says to every judge, as he did to Samuel concerning Eliab, Look not on his countenance, nor the height of his stature. Is an outrageous rape committed? Is blood shed? Look not whether it be a courtier's or a peasant's; whether by a courtier or a peasant: either of them cries equally loud to heaven, Justice cannot be too Lyncean to the being of things; nor too blind to the appearance.
The best things appear not; the worst appear most. God, the angels, souls both glorified and encaged in our bosoms, grace, supernatural truths; these are most-what the objects of our faith, and faith is the evidence of things not seen: like as in bodily objects, the more pure and simple ought is, as air and ethereal fire, the more it flieth the sight; the more gross and compacted, as water and
earth, the more it fills the eye: Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.
It is a useful and excellent rule, for the avoiding of error in our judgment of all matters, whether NATURAL, CIVIL, or DIVINE.
I. NATURAL. What is the appearance of a person, but the colour, shape, stature? The colour is ofttimes bought or borrowed; the shape, forced by art; the stature, raised (to contradict Christ) What a cubit high; Judge not, therefore, according to appearance. are the collusions of jugglers and mountebanks, the weepings and motions of images, the noises of miraculous cures and dispossessions, but appearances? Fit aliquando in ecclesiá maxima deceptio populi in miraculis fictis à sacerdotibus; "There is much cozenage of the poor people by cogged miracles," saith Cardinal Lyranus. These holy frauds could not gull men, if they did not judge according to appearance. Should appearance be the rule, our harvest had been rich: there was not more shew of plenty in our fields, than now of scarcity in our streets. This dearth, to say truth, is not in the grain; but in the heart. If the hearts of men were not more blasted with covetousness and cruel self-love, than their grain with distemper of air, this needed not. The barns and granaries are full; the markets empty. Authority knows how to remedy this evil; how to prevent a dearth in abundance: that men may not affamish, whom God hath fed; and that, when God hath given us the staff of bread, it may not be either hid or broken; shortly, that our store may not be judged by the appearance.
II. CIVIL. Wisemen, and statesmen especially, may not always look the same way they would Like skilful seamen, they sometimes laver; and, as the wind may stand, fetch compasses of lawful policies to their wished point. That of Tiberius was fearful; of whom Xiphiline ὧν ἔλεγεν ἐδὲν ἐβέλειο; That he sailed ever against the wind of his words. But sometimes a good Constantius or Anastatius will wisely pretend what he intends not: as our Saviour made as if he went further, when he meant to turn into Emmaus. The hearts of kings are as deep waters: we may not think to drain them in the hollow of our hand. Secret things to them of whom God hath said, Dixi dii estis; things revealed, to us and our children. Even we mean ones would be loth to have always our hearts read in our faces; Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.
III. DIVINE. In these our speech must dwell.
1. If we should judge according to the appearance, WE SHOULD THINK BASELY OF THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD. Who, that had seen him sprawling and wringing in the cratch, flitting to Egypt, chopping of chips at Nazareth, famishing in the desert, transported by Satan, attended by fishermen, persecuted by his kindred, betrayed by one servant, abjured by another, forsaken of all, apprehended, arraigned, condemned, buffetted, spat upon, scourged to blood, sceptred with the reed, crowned with thorns, nailed to the Cross, hanging naked betwixt two thieves, scorned of the beholders,
sealed up in a borrowed grave, could say other than, He hath no form nor beauty; when we shall see him, there is nothing, that we should desire him? Who, that should have seen his skin all dewed with pearls of bloody sweat, his back bleeding, his face blubbered and besmeared, his forehead harrowed, his hands and feet pierced, his side gushing out, his head bowed down in death, and should withal have heard his dying lips say, My God, my God, why hasi thou forsaken me? would not have said, He is despised and rejected of men, yea, in appearance, of God himself? Yet, even this while, to the cutting of the sinews of those stiff-necked Jews, the Angels owned him for their Lord, the Sages adored him, the Star designed him, the Prophets foreshewed him, the Devils confessed him, his Miracles evinced him, the Earth shook, the Rocks rent, the Dead looked out, the Sun looked in astonished at the sufferings of the God of Nature. Even while he was despised of men, he commanded the Devils to their chains: while base men shot out their tongues at him, Principalities and Powers bowed their knees to him: while he hanged despicably upon the tree of shame, the Powers of Hell were dragged captive after the triumphant chariot of his Cross. The appearance was not so contemptible, as the truth of his estate glorious: Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.
2. Should appearance be the rule, HOW SCORNFULLY WOULD THE CARNAL EYE OVERLOOK THE POOR ORDINANCES OF GOD? would it find here, but foolishness of preaching, homeliness of saWhat craments, an inky letter, a priest's lips, a savorless message, a morsel of bread, a mouthful of wine, a handful of water, a slander-beaten Cross, a crucified Saviour, a militant Church, a despised profession? When yet, this foolishness of preaching is the Power of God to Salvation; these mute letters, the lively Oracies of God; these vile lips, the cabinets of heaven to preserve knowledge; this unplausible message, Magnalia Dei; this water, the Water of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God, agirov μèv dwp; this bread, the Manna of Angels; this wine, Heavenly Nectar; this Church, the King's Daugliter, all glorious within; this dying Sacrifice, the Lord of Life; this Cross, the Banner of Victory; this Profession, Heaven upon Earth: Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.
3. Should appearance be the rule, WOE WERE GOD'S CHILDREN, HAPPY WERE HIS ENEMIES. Who, that had seen Cain standing masterly over the bleeding carcase of Abel, Joseph in his bonds, his Mistress in her dress, Moses in the flags, Pharaoh in the palace, David sculking in the wilderness, Saul commanding in the Court, Elijah fainting under his juniper tree, Jezebel painting in her closet, Micaiah in the prison, Zidkijah in the presence, Jeremiah in the dungeon, Zedekiah in the throne, Daniel trembling among the lions, the Median Princes feasting in their bowers, John's head bleeding in the platter, Herod smiling at the revels, Christ at the bar, Pilate on the bench, the Disciples scourged, the Scribes and Elders insulting; would not have said, O happy Cain, Potiphar's Wife, Pharaoh, Saul, Jezebel, Zidkijah, Zedekiah, Median Princes,