صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

sorrow and tears. All nations, all succession of times, shall bear a part with us in this lamentation. And, if we could but as heartily have prayed for him before, as we have heartily wept for him since, perhaps we had not had this cause of mourning.

From sorrow, let us descend to PAINS, (which is no small cause of crying and tears,) as I fear some of us must. The word, howsoever it is here translated, is óvos, labour. I must confess, labour and pain are near one another; whence we say, that he, which labours, takes pains; and, contrarily, that a woman is in labour or travail, when she is in the pain of childbirth. Tears cannot be wiped away, while toil remains. That the Israelites may leave crying, they must be delivered from the brick-kilns of Egypt.

Indeed, God had in our creation allotted us labour, without pain; but, when once sin came into the soul, pain seized upon the bones, and the mind was possessed with a weariness and irksome loathing of what it must do'; and, ever since, sorrow and labour have been inseparable attendants upon the life of man: insomuch as God, when he would describe to us the happy estate of the dead, does it in those terms, They shall rest from their labours.

Look into the field: there you shall see toiling at the plough and scythe. Look into the waters: there you see tugging at the oars and cables. Look into the city: there you see plodding in the streets, sweating in the shops. Look into the studies: there you see fixing of eyes, tossing of books, scratching the head, paleness, infirmity. Look into the Court: there you see tedious attendance, emulatory officiousness. All things are full of labour, and labour is full of sorrow. If we do nothing, idleness is wearisome: if any thing, work is wearisome: in one or both of these, the best of life is consumed.

III. Who now can be in love with a life, that hath nothing in it but crying and tears in the entrance; death, in the conclusion; labour and pain, in the continuance; and sorrow, in all these? What galley-slave but we, would be in love with our chain? what prisoner would delight in his dungeon? How hath our infidelity besotted us, if we do not long after that happy estate of our immortality, wherein all our tears shall be wiped away; and we at once FREE from labour, sorrow, and death. Now, as it is vain to hope for this till then; so, then not to hope for it, is paganish and brutish. He, that hath taxed us with these penances, hath undertaken to release us: God shall wipe away all tears.

While we stay here, he keeps all our tears in a bottle; so precious is the water that is distilled from penitent eyes: and, because he will be sure not to fail, he notes how many drops there be, in his register; Psalm lvi. 8. It was a precious ointment, wherewith the woman in the Pharisee's house, it is thought Mary Magdalen, anointed the feet of Christ; Luke vii. 37: but her tears, wherewith she washed them, were more worth than her spikenard. But, that which is here precious, is there unseasonable: then, he shall wipe away those, which here he would save.

As death, so passions are the companions of infirmity; whereupon some, that have been too nice, have called those, which were incident unto Christ, Propassions; not considering, that he, which was capable of death, might be as well of passions. These troublesome affections of grief, fear, and such like, do not fall into glori fied souls. It is true, that they have love, desire, joy in their greatest perfection: yea, they could not have perfection without them: but, like as God loves, and hates, and rejoices truly, but in a manner of his own, abstracted from all infirmity and passion; so do his glorified Saints, in imitation of him.

There, therefore, as we cannot die, so we cannot grieve, we cannot be afflicted. Here one says, My belly, my belly, with the prophet; another, Mine head, mine head, with the Shunamite's son; another, My son, my son, as David; another, My father, my father, with Elisha. One cries out of his sins, with David; another of his hunger, with Esau; another of an ill wife, with Job; another of treacherous friends, with the Psalmist: one, of a sore in body, with Hezekiah; another of a troubled soul, with our Saviour in the den: every one hath some complaint or other, to make his cheeks wet, and his heart heavy. Stay but a while, and there shall be none of these. There shall be no crying, no complaining, in the streets of the New Jerusalem: no axe, no hammer, shall be heard within this Heavenly Temple.


Why are we not content to weep here awhile, on condition that we may weep no more? Why are we not ambitious of this blessed ease? Certainly, we do not smart enough with our evils, that we are not desirous of rest. These tears are not yet dry, yet they are ready to be overtaken by others, for our particular afflictions. Miseries, as the Psalmist compares them, are like waves, which break one upon another, and toss us with a perpetual vexation; and we, vain men, shall we not wish to be in heaven? Are we sick, and grieve to think of remedy? Are we still dying, and are we loth to think of life? O this miserable unbelief, that, though we see a glorious heaven above us, yet we are unwilling to go to it: we see a wearisome world about us, and yet are loth to think of leaving it.

This gracious Master of ours, whose dissolution is ours, while he was here amongst us, his Princely crown could not keep his head from pain; his golden rod could not drive away his fevers: now is he freed from all his aches, agues, stitches, convulsions, cold sweats; now he triumphs in glory, amongst the angels and saints; now he walks in white robes, and attends on the glorious Bridegroom of the Church: and do we think he would be content now, for all the kingdoms of the world, to be as he was? We, that profess it was our joy and honour to follow him, whithersoever he had gone; in his disports, in his wars, in his travels; why are we not now ambitious of following him to his better crown; yea, of reigning together with him, (for heaven admits of this equality,) in that glory wherein he reigns with his Saviour and ours? Why do we not now heartily, with him that was ravished into the third heaven,

say, Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo; not barely to be dissolved: a malecontent may do so; but, therefore to be dissolved, that we may be with Christ; possessed of his everlasting glory, where we shall not only not weep, but rejoice and sing Hallelujahs for ever; not only not die, but enjoy a blessed and heavenly life? Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

IV. Now if any man shall ask the disciples' question, Master, when shall these things be? the celestial voice tells him, it must be upon a CHANGE; For the first things are passed. It shall be in part, so soon as ever our first things, our life, the condition of our mortality, are passed over: it shall be fully, when the first things of the world are passed; passed, not by abolition, but by immutation, as that Father said well," not the frame of the world, but the corruption of that frame must pass."

The Spirit of God is not curious: he calls those things first, which were only former; not in respect of the state which is, but that which shall be: for those things, which were first of all, were like their Maker; good, not capable of destruction. Our sins tainted the whole creation, and brought shame upon all the frame of heaven and earth. That, which we did, shail be disanulled; that, which God did, shall stand for ever: and this dissolution shall be our glory. Other dissolutions strike tears into our eyes; as this day is witness. It is our sorrow, that the first things are passed: our offices, our pensions, our hopes, our favours, and, which we esteemed most, our services are gone. Let this last dissolution comfort us against the present. Who can grieve to see a family dissolved, that considers the world must be dissolved? This little world of ours, first, whereof this day gives an image; for as our service, so our life must away: and then that great one, whose dissolution is represented in these. The difference is, that, whereas this dissolution brings tears to some eyes, that wipes them away from all for all our tears, and sorrow, and toil, and crying, and death, are for our sins: take away corruption, and misery goes away with it; and, till then, it will never be removed. No man puts new wine into old vessels; much less will God put the new wine of glory into the old vessels of corruption.

They are our sins, which, as, in particular, they have robbed us of our Prince, changed our seasons, swept away thousands with varieties of death; so, in general, they have deformed the face of heaven and earth, and made all the creation sigh and groan, and still make us incapable of the perfection of our blessedness; for, while the first things continue, there must needs be tears, and sorrow, and death. Let us therefore look upon heaven and earth as goodly creatures; but, as blemished, as transitory, as those which we shall once see more glorious. Let us look upon ourselves with adignation, which have thus distained them; and as those, which, after some terin of their cottage expired, are assured they shall have a marble palace built for them, do long after the time prefixed them, and think the days and months pass slowly away, till then; so let us earnestly desire the day of the dissolution of this

great house of the world, that we may have our consummation in the new heaven. For, so soon as ever the old is past, Behold, saith God, I will make all things new. Yea, the passage of the one is the renewing of the other: as the snake is renewed, not by putting on any new coat, but by leaving his slough behind him: the gold is purified, by leaving his dross in the fire. Therefore he adds, not, I will, but, I do make all new: and because this is a great work, behold a great agent; He, that sat upon the throne, said, Behold I make all new.

A throne signifies majesty; and sitting, permanence or perpetuity. God says, Heaven is my throne, in the psalm: but, as Solomon's throne of ivory and gold was the best piece of his house; so God's throne is the most glorious heaven, the heaven of heavens; for you see, that, though heaven and earth pass away, yet God's throne remained still, and he sitting on it: neither sin nor dissolution may reach to the Imperial Heaven, the seat of God.

Here is a state worthy of the King of Kings: all the thrones of earthly monarchs, are but pieces of his footstool. And, as his throne is majestical and permanent, so is his residence in it; He sat in the Throne. St. Stephen saw him standing, as it were ready for his defence and protection: St. John sees him sitting, as our Creed also runs, in regard of his unalterable glory. How brittle the thrones of earthly princes are, and how they do rather stand than sit in them, and how slippery they stand too, we feel this day, and lament. O Lord, establish the throne of thy servant our king, and let his seed endure for ever. Let his throne be as the sun before thee for evermore; and as the moon, a faithful witness in heaven. But, howsoever it be with our.earthly gods, of His kingdom there is no end. Here is a Master for Kings; whose glory it is to rise up from their thrones, and throw down their crowns at his feet, and to worship before his footstool. Be wise, therefore, O ye kings; be learned, ye rulers of the earth: serve this Lord in fear, and rejoice in him with trembling.

Yea, behold here, since we have the honour to serve him whom kings serve, a Royal Master for us. It was one of our sins, I fear, that we made our Master, our God; I mean, that we made flesh our arm; and placed that confidence in him, for our earthly stay, which we should have fixed in heaven. Our too much hope hath left us comfortless: Oh, that we could now make God our Master, and trust him so much the more, as we have less in earth to trust to. There is no service to the King of Heaven; for both his throne is everlasting and unchangeable, and his promotions certain and honourable: he, that sits on the Throne hath said it, To him that overcomes will I give to sit with me in my throne; even as I overcame, and sit with my Father in his throne. Behold, ye ambitious spirits, how ye may truly rise to more than ever the sons of Zebedee desired to aspire to. Serving is the way to reigning. Serve him, that sits upon the Throne, and ye shall sit yourselves upon the Throne with him.

V. This is the Agent; the ACT is fit for him; I make all things

new. Even the very Turks in their Alcoran, can subscribe to that of Tertullian, Qui potuit facere, potest et reficere. I fear to wrong the Holy Majesty with my rude comparison. It is not so much to God, to make a world; as for us, to speak: He spake the word, and it was done. There is no change, which is not from him. He makes new princes, new years, new governments; and will make new heavens, new earth, new inhabitants: how easy then is it for him, to make new provisions for us! If we be left destitute, yet where is our faith? Shall God make us new bodies, when they are gone to dust? shall he make new heavens and new earth; and shall not He, whose the earth is and the fulness thereof, provide some new means and courses of life for us, while we are upon earth? Is the maintenance of one poor worm more than the renewing of heaven and earth? shall he be able to raise us when we are not, and shall he not sustain us while we are?

Away with these weak diffidences; and, if we be Christians, trust God with his own: Wait thou on the Lord, and keep his ways, and he shall exalt thee; Psalm xxxvii. 34. He will make all things new. And shall all things be made new, and our hearts be old? Shall nothing but our souls be out of the fashion? Surely, Beloved, none but new hearts are for the new heavens: except we be born anew, we enter not into life. All other things shall, in the very instant, receive their renovation: only our hearts must be made new beforehand, or else they shall never be renewed to their glory.

St. Peter, when he had told us of looking for new heavens and new earth, infers this use upon it; Wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless; 2 Peter iii. 14. Behoid, the new heavens require pure and spotless inhabitants. As ever therefore we look to have our part in this blessed renovation, let us cast off all our evil and corrupt affections, put off the old man with his works, and now, with the new year, put on the new; labour for a new heart, begin a new life.

VI. That, which St. John says here, that God will say and do in our entrance to GLORIFICATION, Behold I make all things new; St. Paul saith he hath done it already, in our regeneration, Old things are passed away, all things are become nee; 2 Cor. v. 17, out of Isaiah xliii. 18, 19. What means this, but that our regeneration must make way for our glorification; and that our glory must but perfect our regeneration? And God supposes this is done, when there are means to do it. Why do we then still, in spite of the Gospel, retain our old corruptions; and think to go to the weddingfeast in our old clothes? if some of us do not rather, as the Vulgate reads that; Judg. x. 6, Addere nova veteribus, add new sins to our old; new oaths, new fashions of pride, new complements of drunkenness, new devices of filthiness, new tricks of Machiavelism: these are our novelties, which fetch down from God new judgments upon us, to the tingling of the ears of all hearers, and for which Topheth was prepared of old. If God have no better news for us, we shall never enjoy the new heaven with him. For God's sake

« السابقةمتابعة »