Imágenes de páginas

So did these Pharisees: they would not fast without a smeared face; not give an alms without a trumpet; not pray without witnesses. Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites; they did açt a religiouis part; they did but play devotion. They were nothing beside u le stage: all for sight; nothing for substance. Would God this vi.ce of hypocrisy had either died with them, or had only hereditaily descended to their successors! Satan will not let us be thus har upy. I see no man's heart, but I dare boldly say the world is full of hy. pocrisy. By their fruits you shall know them, saith our Saviour: by their fruits; not by the blossoms of good purposes, nor the leaves of good profession, but by the fruits of their actions. Not to speak, how our mint and cummin hath encroached upon Fudgment and justice; search yourselves, ye Citizens: now, you draw near to God with your lips, with your ears; where is your b eart? Here your devout attention seems to cry, The Lord is God : how many are there of you, that have any God at home? how v jany that have a false God? God at Church; Mammon in your shops? I speak not of all: God forbid! This famous City hath, in the darkest, in the wantonnest times, afforded (and so doth) mapy, that have done God honour, honesty to the Gospel: but how many are there of you, that, under smooth faces, have foul consriences! Fair words, false measures, forsworn valuations, adulterate wares, griping usuries have filled many of your coffers, and feste red your souls: you know this; and yet, like Solomon's courtesan, you wipe your mouths, and it was not you. Your alms are: written in Churchwindows; your defraudings in the sand. All is good, saye that which appears not. How many are there every where, that shame religion by professing it! whose beastly lilie makes God's truth * suspected: for as, howsoever the Samaritail, not the Jew, relieved the distressed traveller, yet the Jew's religion was true, not the Sa. maritan's; so in others, truth of causes must not be judged by acts of persons : yet, as he said, “ It inust needs be good that Nero persecutes;" so, who is not ready to say, “ It cannot be good that such a miscreant professes ?” Woe to thee, Hypocrite ! thou canst not touch, not name goodriess, but thou defilest it. God will plague thee for acting so high a part. See what thou art, and hate thyself; or, if not that, yet see how God hates thee : be, that made the heart, says thou art no better than a handsome tomb; the house of death. Behold here a green turf, or smooth marble, or engraven brass, and a commending epitaph ; all sightly : but what is within ? an unsavoury, rotten carcase. Though thou wert wrapped in gold, and perfumed with never so loud prayers, holy semblances, honest protestations; yet thou art but noisome carrion to God. Of all earthly things, God cannot abide thee: and if thou wouldest see how much lower yet his detestation reacheth, know, that when he would describe the torments of hell, he calls them, as their worst title, but the Portion of Hypocrites. Wherefore, Cleanse your hands, ye simers ; and purge your hearts, ye double-minded ; James iv. S. Saluxo1: for, unless your righteousness

acts of pe; so in other; yet if the same

kompression gets us be rich, butch, that theirs. Whence the as

exceed the hypocritical righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

My speech must end in their Covetousness and Ambition: a pair of heinous vices. I join them together; for they are not only brethren, but twins ; yet so as the elder here also serves the younger. It is Ambition, that blows the fire of Coyetousness. Oppression gets wealth ; that wealth may procure honour. Why do men labour to be rich, but that they may be great ?

Their Covetousness was such, that their throat,' an open sepulchre, swallowed up whole houses of widows. Whence their goods are called by our Saviour, Luke xi. 41, TÀ ÉVÓVTA, not to oute; as if they were already in their bowels. And, which was worst of all, while their lips seemed to pray, they were but chewing of that morsel.

Their Ambition such, that they womanishly brawled and shouldered for the best seat ; the highest pew; mporonhoiav xech mporoAchedpías. Matth. xxiii. 6. A title, a wall, a chair, a cap, a knee, these were goodly cares for them that professed gravity, humility, mortification. Let me boldly say, Jerusalem never yielded so very Pharisees as Rome. These old disciples of Sammai and Hils lel were not Pharisees in comparison of our Jesuits.

From Judgment, you see, I am descended to Practice; wherein it is no less easily made good, that these are more kindly Pharisees, than the ancient. A poor widow's cottage filled the paunch of an old Pharisee: how many fair patrimonies of deyout young gentlemen Druryed * by them, (pardon the word, it is their own; the thing I know and can wituess) have gone down the throat of these Loyolists, let their own Quodlibet and Catechism report. What speak I of secular inheritances? these eyes have seen no mean houses of devotion and charity swallowed up by them. As for their ambitious insinuations, not only all their own religious enviously cry down, but the whole world sees and rings of. What oar of State can stir, without their rowing? What kingdom either stands or falls, without their intermeddling? What noble family complains not of their prowling and stealth ? And all this with a face of sad piety and stern mortification. Yea, what other is their great Master, but the king of Pharisees? who, under a pretence of simple piety, challenges withoạt shame to have devoured the whole Christian world, the natural inheritances of secular princes, by the foisted name of Peter's Patrimony ; and now, in most infarnous and shameless ambition, calls great Emperors to his stirrup, yea to his footstool t. But what wander we so far from home? Ve nobis miseris, saith St. Jerome, ad quos Phariseorum vitia trasierunt ! " Woe to us, wretched men, to whom the Pharisees' vices are derived !” The great Doctor of the Gentiles long ago said, All seek their own, and not the things of God; and is the world mended with age? Would God we did not find it a sure rule ; that, as it is in this little world, the older it grows, the more diseased, the more covetous ! We are all too much the true sons of our great grandmother; and have each of us an Eve's sweet tooth in our heads. We would be more than we are ; and every man would be either tis, or ở *: either the man, or somebody. oreanser me would be more than we are, and eve

* A word, which the Seminaries report, in their Quodlibet, usual amongst them, to signify beguiled and wiped of their inheritance; from the example of M. Henry Drury, of Lawshull, in Suffolk, so defeated by the Jesuits. As at Winnoxberg, in Flanders, near Dunkirk ; where a rich legacy, given by a charitable lady for the building of a hospital, was cunningly turned to the maintenance of Jesuits.

† Sacr. cerem. 1. i. de Cons. Benedict, et Coron. Pontif. Postea Imperator, si presans.est, stapham equi Papalis tenet, et dein ducit equum per frenum ali. quantulum. And afterward : Dum Imperator hæc officia præstat, debet Papa modeste recusare : tandem cum aliquibus bonis verbis recipiendo permitlit, aliquantulum progredi, &c. That is, “While the emperor doth these services to The Pope, of holding his stirrup, and leading his horse by the bridle, the Pope ought modesily to refuse : but at last with some good words, he suffers him to go on a while ; and then at last stays bimself, &c."

If a number of your consciences were ripped, () ye that would be Christian Gentlemen, Lawyers, Citizens, what do we think would be found in your maws ? Here, the devoured patrimony of poor orphans; there, the commons of whole townships : here, the impropriate goods of the Church; there, piles of usury: here, bribes and unlawful fees; there, the raw and indigested gobbets of simony : yea, would God I might not say, but I must say it with fear, with sorrow, even of our sacred and divine profession, that which our Saviour of his twelve, Ye are clean, but not all! The multitude of our unregarded -charges, and souls dying and starved for want of spiritual provision while they give us bodily, would condemn my silence for too partial. In all conditions of men, for particulars are subject to envy and exception, the daughters of the horseleech had never such a fruitful generation: they cry still, Give, Give ; not Give alone, that is, the bread of Sufficiency; but Give, Give, that is, more than enough. But what is more than enough? What is but enough? What is not too little for the insatiable gulf of human desires ? Every man would engross the whole world to himself: and, with that ambitious conqueror, fears it will be too little. And how few Agurs † are there, that pray against too much! From hence it is, that ye, Courtiers, grate upon poor trades with hard monopolies. Hence ye, Merchants, load them with deep and un' reasonable prices, and make them pay dear for days. Hence ye, Great Men, wring the poor sponges of the commonalty into your private purses; for the maintenance of pride and excess. Hence ye, Cormorant Corn-mongers, hatch up a dearth in the time of plenty. God sends grain, but many times the Devil sends garners.

The earth hath been no niggard in yielding; but you have been lavish in transporting, and close in concealing. Never talk of our extreme frosts: we see God's hand, and kiss the rod; but if your hearts, your charity were not more frozen, than ever the earth was, mean housekeepers should not need to beg, nor the meanest to starve for want of bread. Hence, lastly, our loud oppressions of all sorts cry to heaven, and are answered with threats ;-yea, with variety of vengeances. Take this with thee yet, O thou Worldling, which hast the greedy worm under thy tongue with Isaiah's dogs, and never hast enough: thou shalt meet with two things, as unsatiable as thyself; the Grave, and Hell: and thou, whom all the world could not satisfy, there be two things whereof thou shalt have enough; Enough mould in the grave, enough fire in hell.

* Tis méyas. Acts visi, 9, aŭtos ó. + Give me not poverty nor riches, Prov. XXX. 8.

I love not to end with a judgment; and, as it were, to let my sun set in a cloud. We are all Christians : we should know the world, what it is; how yain, how transitory, how worthless. We know where there are better things, which we profess ourselves made for, and aspiring to. Let us use the world like itself; and leave this importunate wooing of it to Heathens and Infidels, that knew no other heaven, no other God. Or, if you like that counsel better, “ Be covetous :" “ Be ambitious.” Covet spiritual gifts. i Cor. xiv. 1. Never think you have grace enough: desire more; seek for more: this alone is worth your affections, worth your cares. Be still poor in this, that you may be rich; be rich, that you may be full; be full, that you may be glorious. Be Ambitious, of favour, of honour, of a kingdom; of God's favour, of the honour of saints, of the kingdom of glory. Whither, He, that hath bought it for us, and redeemed us to it, in his good time, safely and happily bring us! To that Blessed Saviour of ours, together with the Father, and his Good Spirit: the God of all the World, our Father, Redeemer, and Comforter, be given all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever. Amen.








[ocr errors]

yet are clongue,onfulness

1 Desire not to make any apology for the edition of this my Sermon. It is motive enough, that herein I affect a more public and more enduring good. Spiritual niceness is the next degree to unfaithfulness. This point cannot be too much urged, either by the tongue, or press. Religion and our souls depend upon it; yet are our thoughts too much beside it. The Church of Rome so fires herself, in her adoration, upon the Cross of Christ, as if she forgat his glory: many of us so conceive of him glorious, that we neglect the meditation of his Cross, the way to his glory and ours. If we would proceed. right, we must pass from his Golgotha to the Mount of Olives, and from thence to heaven; and there seek and settle our rest. According to my weak ability, I have led this way in my speech; beseeching my readers to follow me with their hearts, that we may overtake him, which is entered into the true sanctuury, even the highest heavens, 10 appear now in the sight of God for us.

JOHN xix. 30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished;

and bowing the head, he gave up the Ghost.

The bitter and yet victorious Passion of the Son of God, right honourable and beloved Christians, as it was the strangest thing that ever befel the earth, so is both of most sovereign use, and looks for the most frequent and careful meditation. It is one

« AnteriorContinuar »