Imatges de pàgina
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natural modesty, or their temper and constitution, and civil relations, common fame, or necessary interest. Few women swear and do the debaucheries of drunkards; and they are guarded from adulterous complications by spies and shame, by fear and jealousy, by the concernment of families, and reputation of their kindred, and therefore they are to account with God beyond this civil and necessary innocence, for humility and patience, for religious fancies and tender consciences, for tending the sick and dressing the poor, for governing their house and nursing their children; and so it is in every state of life. When a prince or prelate, a noble and a rich person, hath reckoned all his immunities and degrees of innocence from those evils that are incident to inferior persons, or the worse sort of their own order, they do "the work of the Lord," and their own too, very" deceitfully," unless they account correspondences of piety to all their powers and possibilities: they are to reckon and consider concerning what oppressions they have relieved, what causes and what fatherless they have defended, how the work of God and of religion, of justice and charity, hath thrived in their hands. If they have made peace, and encouraged religion by their example and by their laws, by rewards and collateral encouragements, if they have been zealous for God and for religion, if they have employed ten talents to the improvement of God's bank, then they have done God's work faithfully; if they account otherwise, and account only by ciphers and negatives, they can expect only the rewards of innocent slaves; they shall escape the 'furca' and the wheel, the torments of lustful persons, and the crown of flames, that is reserved for the ambitious; or they shall be not gnawn with the vipers of the envious, or the shame of the ungrateful; but they can never upon this account hope for the crowns of martyrs, or the honourable rewards of saints, the coronets of virgins, and chaplets of doctors and confessors: and though murderers and lustful persons, the proud and the covetous, the heretic and schismatic, are to expect flames and scorpions, pains and smart ( pœnam sensus,' the schools call it); yet the lazy and the imperfect, the harmless sleeper and the idle worker, shall have 'pœnam damni,' the loss of all his hopes, and the dishonours of the loss; and in the sum of affairs it will be no great difference whether we have loss or pain, because there can be no

greater pain imaginable than to lose the sight of God to eternal ages.

5. Hither are to be reduced as deceitful workers, those that promise to God, but mean not to pay what they once intended; people that are confident in the day of ease, and fail in the danger; they that pray passionately for a grace, and if it be not obtained at that price go no farther, and never contend in action for what they seem to contend in prayer; such as delight in forms and outsides, and regard not the substance and design of every institution; that think it a great sin to taste bread before the receiving the holy sacrament, and yet come to communicate with an ambitious and revengeful soul; that make a conscience of eating flesh, but not of drunkenness; that keep old customs and old sins together; that pretend one duty to excuse another; religion against charity, or piety to parents against duty to God, private promises against public duty, the keeping of an oath against breaking of a commandment, honour against modesty, reputation against piety, the love of the world in civil instances to countenance enmity against God; these are the deceitful workers of God's work; they make a schism in the duties of religion, and a war in heaven worse than that between Michael and the dragon; for they divide the Spirit of God, and distinguish his commandments into parties and factions; by seeking an excuse, sometimes they destroy the integrity and perfect constitution of duty, or they do something whereby the effect and usefulness of the duty is hindered: concerning all which this only can be said, they who serve God with a lame sacrifice and an imperfect duty defective in its constituent parts, can never enjoy God; because he can never be divided: and though it be better to enter into heaven with one foot, and one eye, than that both should be cast into hell, because heaven can make recompense for this loss; yet nothing can repair his loss who for being lame in his duty shall enter into hell, where nothing is perfect, but the measures and duration of torment, and they both are next to infinite.

SERMON XIII.

PART II.

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2. THE next inquiry, is into the intention of our duty: and here it will not be amiss to change the word fraudulenter,' or dolose,' into that which some of the Latin copies do use, " Maledictus, qui facit opus Dei negligenter:" "Cursed is he, that doth the work of the Lord negligently, or remissly and it implies, that as our duty must be whole, so it must be fervent; for a languishing body may have all its parts, and yet be useless to many purposes of nature: and you may reckon all the joints of a dead man, but the heart is cold, and the joints are stiff and fit for nothing but for the little people that creep in graves: and so are very many men; if you sum up the accounts of their religion, they can reckon days and months of religion, various offices, charity and prayers, reading and meditation, faith and knowledge, catechism and sacraments, duty to God, and duty to princes, paying debts and provision for children, confessions and tears, discipline in families, and love of good people; and, it may be, you shall not reprove their numbers, or find any lines unfilled in their tables of accounts; but when you have handled all this and considered, you will find at last you have taken a dead man by the hand, there is not a finger wanting, but they are stiff as icicles, and without flexure as the legs of elephants: such are they whom St. Bernard describes, "Whose spiritual joy is allayed with tediousness, whose compunction for sins is short and seldom, whose thoughts are animal and their designs secular, whose religion is lukewarm; their obedience is without devotion, their discourse without profit, their prayer without intention of heart, their reading without instruction, their meditation is. without spiritual advantages, and is not the commencement and strengthening of holy purposes; and they are such whom modesty will not restrain, nor reason bridle, nor discipline correct, nor the fear of death and hell can keep from yielding to the imperiousness of a foolish lust, that dishonours a man's understanding, and makes his reason, in which he most glories, to be weaker than the discourse of a girl,

and the dreams of the night. In every action of religion God expects such a warmth and a holy fire to go along, that it may be able to enkindle the wood upon the altar, and consume the sacrifice; but God hates an indifferent spirit. Earnestness and vivacity, quickness and delight, perfect choice of the service, and a delight in the prosecution, is all that the spirit of a man can yield towards his religion: the outward work is the effect of the body; but if a man does it heartily and with all his mind, then religion hath wings and moves upon wheels of fire; and therefore, when our blessed Saviour made those capitulars and canons of religion, to love God,' and to love our neighbour;' besides, that the material part of the duty, love,' is founded in the spirit, as its natural seat, he also gives three words to involve the spirit in the action, and but one for the body: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" and, lastly, "with all thy strength;" this brings in the body too; because it hath some strength; and some significations of its own; but heart and soul and mind mean all the same thing in a stronger and more earnest expression; that is, that we do it hugely, as much as we can, with a clear choice, with a resolute understanding, with strong affections, with great diligence: "Enerves animos odisse virtus solet," "Virtue hates weak and ineffective minds," and tame easy prosecutions; Loripedes, people whose arm is all flesh, 'whose foot is all leather,' and an unsupporting skin; they creep like snakes, and pursue the noblest mysteries of religion, as Naaman did the mysteries of Rimmon, only in a compliment, or for secular regards; but without the mind, and therefore without zeal : "I would thou wert either hot or cold," said the Spirit of God to the Angel or Bishop of Laodicea. In feasts or sacrifices the ancients did use 'apponere frigidam,' or 'calidam;' sometimes they drank hot drink, sometimes they poured cold upon their graves or in their wines, but no services of tables or altars were ever with lukewarm. God hates it worse than stark cold; which expression is the more considerable, because in natural and superinduced progressions, from extreme to extreme, we must necessarily pass through the midst; and therefore, it is certain, a lukewarm religion is better than none at all, as being the doing some parts of

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the work designed, and nearer to perfection than the utmost distance could be; and yet that God hates it more, must mean, that there is some appendant evil in this state which is not in the other, and that accidentally it is much worse: and so it is, if we rightly understand it; that is, if we consider it, not as a being in, or passing through the middle way, but as a state and a period of religion. If it be in motion, a lukewarm religion is pleasing to God; for God hates it not for its imperfection, and its natural measures of proceeding; but if it stands still and rests there, it is a state against the designs, and against the perfection of God: and it hath in it these evils:

1. It is a state of the greatest imprudence in the world; for it makes a man to spend his labour for that which profits not, and to deny his appetite for an unsatisfying interest; he puts his monies in a napkin, and he that does so, puts them into a broken bag; he loses the principal for not increasing the interest. He that dwells in a state of life that is unacceptable, loses the money of his alms, and the rewards of his charity, his hours of prayer, and his parts of justice, he confesses his sins and is not pardoned, he is patient but hath no hope, and he that is gone so far out of his country, and stands in the middle way, hath gone so far out of his way; he had better have stayed under a dry' roof, in the house of banishment, than to have left his Gyarus, the island of his sorrow, and to dwell upon the Adriatic: so is he that begins a state of religion, and does not finish it; he abides in the highway, and though he be nearer the place, yet is as far from the rest of his country as ever; and therefore, all that beginning of labour was in the prejudice of his rest, but nothing to the advantages of his hopes. He that hath never begun, hath lost no labour; Jactura præteritorum,' 'the loss of all that he hath done,' is the first evil of the negligent and lukewarm Christian; according to the saying of Solomon: "He that is remiss or idle in his labour, is the brother of him that scattereth his goods"."

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2. The second appendant evil is, that lukewarmness is the occasion of greater evil;—because the remiss easy Christian shuts the gate against the heavenly breathings of God's Holy Spirit; he thinks every breath, that is fanned by the

a Prov. xviii. 9.

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