XXX. Sermons Lately Preached at the Parish Church of Saint Mary Magdalen Milkstreet
AT THE PARISH CHURCH
Of Saint Mary Magdalen Milkstreet,
TO WHICH IS ANNEXED,
AT THE FUNERALL OF
Sir , [...] Knight,
Sometime Lord Mayor of the City.
By [...] , B.D.
Nolo Lectorem meum mihi esse deditum, & Correctorem nolo sibi.
15.Some preach Christ, even of envy and strife, and some also of good will.
18. — Notwithstanding every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein doe rejoyce, and will rejoyce.
Printed for [...]and are to be sold at his
shop in Saint Dunstan's Church-yard, Fleetstreet.
PUBLISHED FOR Richard Marriot
For though his compassion and mercy were coeternall with him as God, yet as man, didicit, he learnt it. He came into the world, as into a Schoole, and there learnt it by his sufferings and death, Heb. 5.8. For the way to be sensible of anothers misery, is first to feele it in our selves; it must be ours, or if it be not ours, we must make it ours, before our heart will melt; I must take my brother into my self, I must make my self as him, before I help him; I must be that Lazar that beggs of me, and then I give; I must be that wounded man by the way side, and then I powre my oyle and wine into his wounds, and take care of him; I must feele the Hell of sinne in my self, before I can snatch my Brother out of the fire. Compassion is first learnt at home, and then it walks abroad, and is eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, and heales two at once, both the miserable, and [Page 50] him that comforts him; for they were both under the same disease, one as sick as the other; I was dead, and I suffer'd, are the maine strength of our Salvation.
For though Christ could no more forget to be mercifull, then he could leave off to be the sonne of God, yet before he emptyed himself, and took upon him the forme of a servant, sicut miseriam expertus non era, ita nec miscricordiam experimento novit, saith Hilary, as he had no experience of sorrow, so had he no experimentall knowledge of mercy and compassion; his own hunger moved him to work that miracle of the loaves, for it is said in the Text, He had compassion on the multitude; his poverty made him an Crator for the poore, and he begs with them to the end of the world; He had not a hole to hide his head, and his compassion melted into tears at the sight of Jerusalem: When he became a man of sorrowes, he became also a man of compassion. And yet his experience of sorrow, in truth, added nothing to his knowledge, but rayseth up a confidence in us to approach neer unto him, who by his miserable experience is brought so neer unto us, and hath Coloss. 1. 21.reconciled us in the Body of his flesh, for he that suffer'd for us, hath compassion on us, and suffers and is tempted with us, even to the end of the world; on the Crosse with Saint Peter, on the Block with S. Paul, in the fire with the Martyrs, destitute, afflicted, tormented: would you take a view of Christ looking towards us with a melting eye?
you may see him in your own soules, take him in a groane, mark him in your sorrow, behold him walking in the clefts of a broken heart, bleeding in the gashes of a wounded spirit; or, to make him an object more sensible, you may see him every day begging in your streets; when he tells you, He was dead, he tells you as much; In as much as the children were partakers of flesh and Bloud, he also himself took part of the same, and in our flesh was a hungry, was spet upon, was whipt, was nayld to the Crosse, which were as so many parts of that discipline, which taught him to be mercifull; to be mercifull to them who were tempted by hunger, because he was hungry; to be mercifull to them who were tempted by poverty, because he was poore; to be mercifull to those who tremble at disgrace, because he was whipt; to be mercifull to them, who will not, yet will suffer for him; who refuse and yet chuse, tremble and yet venture; are afraid, and yet dye for him; because as man he found it a bitter Cup, and would have had it passe from him, who in the dayes of his flesh offer'd up prayers, and supplications with strong crying and teares for mortall men, for weak men, for sinners: pertinacissimè durant quae discimus experientiâ,
This experimentall knowledge is so rooted and fix'd in him, that it cannot be removed now, no more then his naturall knowledge; he can as soon be ignorant of our actions as our sufferings, [...]saith the Philosopher, Experience is a collection of many particulars registred in our memory; and this experience he had, and our Apostle tells us didicit, he learnt it, and the [Page 51] Prophet tells us, he was Es. 13 vir sciens infirmitatum, a man well read in sorrowes, acquainted with grief, and carryed it about with him from his Cradle to his crosse; and by his Fasting and Tentation, by his Agony; and bloudy sweat, by his precious Death and Buriall he remembers us in famine, in Tentation, in our Agony; he remembers us in the houre of death, in our grave (for he pitties even our dust) and will remember us in the day of judgement.
1.2. THE SECOND
[...]The great Heate and Contention is concerning Baptisme and the Lords Supper, and the Government and Disciplien of the Church, 'tis not, whether we should denie our selves, and abstain from all fleshly lusts, but whether we may wash or not, whether eat or not, whether Christ may be conveighed into us in Water, or in Bread? whether he hath set up a chaire of infallibilitie at Rome, or a Consistory at Geneva, whether he hath Ordained one Pope, or a Million? what digladiations? what Tragedies about these, and if every particular Fancy be not pleased, the cry is, as if Religion were breathing out its last, when as true Religion consists not principally in these; and these may seem to have been passed over to us, rather as favours and Honours, and Pledges of his Love, then strict and severe Commands. That we must wash, and eat, are Commands, but which bring no Burden, or hardship with them, the performance of them being more easie, as no whit repugnant to flesh and blood; It is no more, but wash and be clean, Eat in remembrance of the Greatest Benefit, that ever mankinde received.
All the difficulty is in the performance of the vow, we make in the one, and the due preparation of the soul for the other, which is the subduing of the lusts, and Affections, the Beatifying of the inward man, which is truely, and most properly the service of Christ, which is the Ark of our Ark, the Glory of our Glory, and the Crown of all those outward Advantages, which our Lord and Master hath been pleased to afford us; Mic. 6. 6.we may say with the Prophet Micah, wherewith shall we come before the Lord? or bow our selves before the High God? will he be pleased with the diligence of our ear, with our Washing and Eating, and answer with him at the eighth verse: He hath shewed thee oh man, [Page 38] what he doth require, to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk Humbly with thy God. Ite ad locum meum Siolo.
Goe to my palace in Silo, and there learn to disdeceive your selves by their Example, lest, if all your Religion be shut up, with theirs, in the Ark, all in outward Ceremony and Formality God may strike both us, and the Ark we trust to, recover and call back those Helps and Gracious advantages from such prodigal usurpers. For when all is for the Ark, nothing for the God it represents; when we make the Pulpit our Ark, and chain all Religion to it; when the lips of the Preacher, which should preserve knowledge, and be as a Ship (as Basil speaks, to conveigh that Truth, which is more precious, then the Gold of OphirOrat. , brings nothing but Apes and Peacocks, loathsome and ridiculous Fancies?
when the Hearers must have a Song for a Sermon and that too many times, much out of Tune, when both Hearer and Speaker act a part, as it were upon a stage, even till they have their Exit, and go out of the World; when we will have no other Laver, but that of Baptisme, no bread but that in the Eucharist; when we are such Jewish Christians, as to rely on the shell and outside, on External formalities and performances, more empty and lesse significant, lesse effectual then their Ceremonies; we have just cause to fear, that God may do unto us, as he did unto Shilo; or as he threatened the same people Amos 8. Send a Famine into the land, not a Famine of bread, but of Hearing the word (and such a famine we may have, though our loaves do multiply, though Sermons be our dayly Bread) that he may deprive us of our Sacraments, or deliver them up to Dagon, to be polluted by superstition, or to be troden under foot by prophaners (which of the two is the worst) that we may even loath, and abhor that in which we have taken so vain, so unprofitable, so pernicious delight; and condemn our selves, and our own foul ingratitude, and with sorrow and confusion of Face subscribe to this Inscription, Dominus est, It is the Lord.
1.3. The Six and Twentieth
[...]Doth God proclaime a Fast? See, the head hangs down, the look is changed; you may read a Famine in the countenance, and yet the Fast not kept: Walk humbly with him? So we will; he shall have our knee, our look; he shall see us prostrate on the ground, say some, who are as proud on the ground as when they stood up. He shall have the heart, no knee of ours, say others, as proud as they. If we can conceive an Humiliation, and draw forth its picture but in our fancy; nay if we can but say, It is good to be humbled, it is enough, though it be a lye, and we speak not what we think. We are most humble when we least expresse it, so full of contradictions is Hypocrisie, (and what a huge and gulph is there between Hypocrisie and Humility?) so reaching at Impossibilities, which may draw Pride and Humility together to be one and the same, which yet are at greater distance one from the other, then the Earth is from the Heaven. [...]