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Title: Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions - Together with Death's Duel
Author: Donne, John, 1572-1631
Language: English
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_The University of Michigan Press_

First edition as an


Published in the United States of America by the University of Michigan
and simultaneously in Toronto, Canada, by Ambassador Books, Ltd.

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DEVOTIONS                      1

DEATH'S DUEL                 161


(_Taken from the life by Izaak Walton_).

Master John Donne was born in London, in the year 1573, of good and
virtuous parents: and, though his own learning and other multiplied
merits may justly appear sufficient to dignify both himself and his
posterity, yet the reader may be pleased to know that his father was
masculinely and lineally descended from a very ancient family in Wales,
where many of his name now live, that deserve and have great reputation
in that country.

By his mother he was descended of the family of the famous and learned
Sir Thomas More, sometime Lord Chancellor of England: as also, from that
worthy and laborious Judge Rastall, who left posterity the vast Statutes
of the Law of this nation most exactly abridged.

He had his first breeding in his father's house, where a private tutor
had the care of him, until the tenth year of his age; and, in his
eleventh year, was sent to the University of Oxford, having at that time
a good command both of the French and Latin tongue. This, and some other
of his remarkable abilities, made one then give this censure of him:
That this age had brought forth another Picus Mirandula; of whom story
says, that he was rather born than made wise by study.

There he remained for some years in Hart Hall, having, for the
advancement of his studies, tutors of several sciences to attend and
instruct him, till time made him capable, and his learning expressed in
public exercises, declared him worthy, to receive his first degree in
the schools, which he forbore by advice from his friends, who, being for
their religion of the Romish persuasion, were conscionably averse to
some parts of the oath that is always tendered at those times, and not
to be refused by those that expect the titulary honour of their studies.

About the fourteenth year of his age he was transplanted from Oxford to
Cambridge, where, that he might receive nourishment from both soils, he
staid till his seventeenth year; all which time he was a most laborious
student, often changing his studies, but endeavouring to take no degree,
for the reasons formerly mentioned.

About the seventeenth year of his age he was removed to London, and then
admitted into Lincoln's Inn, with an intent to study the law, where he
gave great testimonies of his wit, his learning, and of his improvement
in that profession; which never served him for other use than an
ornament and self-satisfaction.

His father died before his admission into this society; and, being a
merchant, left him his portion in money. (It was £3,000.) His mother,
and those to whose care he was committed, were watchful to improve his
knowledge, and to that end appointed him tutors both in the mathematics,
and in all the other liberal sciences, to attend him. But, with these
arts, they were advised to instil into him particular principles of the
Romish Church; of which those tutors professed, though secretly,
themselves to be members.

They had almost obliged him to their faith; having for their advantage,
besides many opportunities, the example of his dear and pious parents,
which was a most powerful persuasion, and did work much upon him, as he
professeth in his preface to his "Pseudo-Martyr," a book of which the
reader shall have some account in what follows.

He was now entered into the eighteenth year of his age; and at that time
had betrothed himself to no religion that might give him any other
denomination than a Christian. And reason and piety had both persuaded
him that there could be no such sin as schism, if an adherence to some
visible Church were not necessary.

About the nineteenth year of his age, he, being then unresolved what
religion to adhere to, and considering how much it concerned his soul to
choose the most orthodox, did therefore,--though his youth and health
promised him a long life--to rectify all scruples that might concern
that, presently lay aside all study of the law, and of all other
sciences that might give him a denomination; and began seriously to
survey and consider the body of Divinity, as it was then controverted
betwixt the Reformed and the Roman Church. And, as God's blessed
Spirit did then awaken him to the search, and in that industry
did never forsake him--they be his own words (in his preface to
"Pseudo-Martyr")--so he calls the same Holy Spirit to witness this
protestation; that in that disquisition and search he proceeded with
humility and diffidence in himself; and by that which he took to be the
safest way; namely, frequent prayers, and an indifferent affection to
both parties; and, indeed, Truth had too much light about her to be hid
from so sharp an inquirer; and he had too much ingenuity not to
acknowledge he had found her.

Being to undertake this search, he believed the Cardinal Bellarmine to
be the best defender of the Roman cause, and therefore betook himself to
the examination of his reasons. The cause was weighty, and wilful delays
had been inexcusable both towards God and his own conscience: he
therefore proceeded in this search with all moderate haste, and about
the twentieth year of his age did show the then Dean of
Gloucester--whose name my memory hath now lost--all the Cardinal's works
marked with many weighty observations under his own hand; which works
were bequeathed by him, at his death, as a legacy to a most dear friend.

About a year following he resolved to travel: and the Earl of Essex
going first to Cales, and after the Island voyages, the first anno 1596,
the second 1597, he took the advantage of those opportunities, waited
upon his Lordship, and was an eye-witness of those happy and unhappy

But he returned not back into England till he had staid some years,
first in Italy and then in Spain, where he made many useful observations
of those countries, their laws and manner of government, and returned
perfect in their languages.

The time that he spent in Spain was, at his first going into Italy,
designed for travelling to the Holy Land, and for viewing Jerusalem and
the Sepulchre of our Saviour. But at his being in the furthest parts of
Italy, the disappointment of company, or of a safe convoy, or the
uncertainty of returns of money into those remote parts, denied him
that happiness, which he did often occasionally mention with a

Not long after his return into England, that exemplary pattern of
gravity and wisdom, the Lord Ellesmere, then Keeper of the Great Seal,
the Lord Chancellor of England, taking notice of his learning,
languages, and other abilities, and much affecting his person and
behaviour, took him to be his chief secretary; supposing and intending
it to be an introduction to some more weighty employment in the State;
for which, his Lordship did often protest, he thought him very fit.

Nor did his Lordship, in this time of Master Donne's attendance upon
him, account him to be so much his servant as to forget he was his
friend; and, to testify it, did always use him with much courtesy,
appointing him a place at his own table, to which he esteemed his
company and discourse to be a great ornament.

He continued that employment for the space of five years, being daily
useful, and not mercenary to his friend. During which time he--I dare
not say unhappily--fell into such a liking, as,--with her
approbation,--increased into a love, with a young gentlewoman that lived
in that family, who was niece to the Lady Ellesmere, and daughter to Sir
George More, then Chancellor of the Garter and Lieutenant of the Tower.

Sir George had some intimation of it, and, knowing prevention to be a
great part of wisdom, did therefore remove her with much haste from that
to his own house at Lothesley, in the County of Surrey; but too late, by
reason of some faithful promises which were so interchangeably passed,
as never to be violated by either party.

These promises were only known to themselves; and the friends of both
parties used much diligence, and many arguments, to kill or cool their
affections to each other; but in vain, for love is a flattering mischief
that hath denied aged and wise men a foresight of those evils that too
often prove to be the children of that blind father; a passion that
carries us to commit errors with as much ease as whirlwinds move
feathers, and begets in us an unwearied industry to the attainment of
what we desire. And such an industry did, notwithstanding much
watchfulness against it, bring them secretly together,--I forbear to
tell the manner how,--and at last to a marriage too, without the
allowance of those friends whose approbation always was, and ever will
be necessary, to make even a virtuous love become lawful.

And that the knowledge of their marriage might not fall, like an
unexpected tempest, on those that were unwilling to have it so; and that
pre-apprehensions might make it the less enormous when it was known, it
was purposely whispered into the ears of many that it was so, yet by
none that could affirm it. But, to put a period to the jealousies of Sir
George--doubt often begetting more restless thoughts than the certain
knowledge of what we fear--the news was, in favour to Mr. Donne, and
with his allowance, made known to Sir George, by his honourable friend
and neighbour Henry, Earl of Northumberland; but it was to Sir George so
immeasurably unwelcome, and so transported him that, as though his
passion of anger and inconsideration might exceed theirs of love and
error, he presently engaged his sister, the Lady Ellesmere, to join with
him to procure her lord to discharge Mr. Donne of the place he held
under his Lordship. This request was followed with violence; and though
Sir George were remembered that errors might be over punished, and
desired therefore to forbear till second considerations might clear some
scruples, yet he became restless until his suit was granted and the
punishment executed. And though the Lord Chancellor did not, at Mr.
Donne's dismission, give him such a commendation as the great Emperor
Charles the Fifth did of his Secretary Eraso, when he parted with him to
his son and successor, Philip the Second, saying, "That in his Eraso, he
gave to him a greater gift than all his estate, and all the kingdoms
which he then resigned to him;" yet the Lord Chancellor said, "He parted
with a friend, and such a Secretary as was fitter to serve a king than a

Immediately after his dismission from his service, he sent a sad letter
to his wife to acquaint her with it; and after the subscription of his
name, writ,

    "John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done;"

and God knows it proved too true; for this bitter physic of Mr. Donne's
dismission, was not enough to purge out all Sir George's choler, for he
was not satisfied till Mr. Donne and his sometime compupil in Cambridge,
that married him, namely, Samuel Brooke, who was after Doctor in
Divinity and Master of Trinity College--and his brother Mr. Christopher
Brooke, sometime Mr. Donne's chamber-fellow in Lincoln's Inn, who gave
Mr. Donne his wife, and witnessed the marriage, were all committed to
three several prisons.

Mr. Donne was first enlarged, who neither gave rest to his body or
brain, nor to any friend in whom he might hope to have an interest,
until he had procured an enlargement for his two imprisoned friends.

He was now at liberty, but his days were still cloudy; and, being past
these troubles, others did still multiply upon him; for his wife was--to
her extreme sorrow--detained from him; and though, with Jacob, he
endured not a hard service for her, yet he lost a good one, and was
forced to make good his title, and to get possession of her by a long
and restless suit in law, which proved troublesome and sadly chargeable
to him, whose youth, and travel, and needless bounty, had brought his
estate into a narrow compass.

It is observed, and most truly, that silence and submission are charming
qualities, and work most upon passionate men; and it proved so with Sir
George; for these, and a general report of Mr. Donne's merits, together
with his winning behaviour,--which, when it would entice, had a strange
kind of elegant irresistible art;--these, and time, had so
dispassionated Sir George, that, as the world had approved his
daughter's choice, so he also could not but see a more than ordinary
merit in his new son; and this at last melted him into so much
remorse--for love and anger are so like agues as to have hot and cold
fits; and love in parents, though it may be quenched, yet is easily
rekindled, and expires not till death denies mankind a natural
heat--that he laboured his son's restoration to his place; using to that
end both his own and his sister's power to her lord; but with no
success; for his answer was, "That though he was unfeignedly sorry for
what he had done, yet it was inconsistent with his place and credit, to
discharge and readmit servants at the request of passionate

Sir George's endeavour for Mr. Donne's readmission was by all means to
be kept secret:--for men do more naturally reluct for errors than submit
to put on those blemishes that attend their visible acknowledgment. But,
however, it was not long before Sir George appeared to be so far
reconciled as to wish their happiness, and not to deny them his paternal
blessing, but yet refused to contribute any means that might conduce to
their livelihood.

Mr. Donne's estate was the greatest part spent in many and chargeable
travels, books, and dear-bought experience: he out of all employment
that might yield a support for himself and wife, who had been curiously
and plentifully educated; both their natures generous, and accustomed to
confer, and not to receive, courtesies, these and other considerations,
but chiefly that his wife was to bear a part in his sufferings,
surrounded him with many sad thoughts, and some apparent apprehensions
of want.

But his sorrows were lessened and his wants prevented by the seasonable
courtesy of their noble kinsman, Sir Francis Wolly, of Pirford in
Surrey, who intreated them to a cohabitation with him; where they
remained with much freedom to themselves, and equal content to Him, for
some years; and as their charge increased--she had yearly a child--so
did his love and bounty.

Mr. Donne and his wife continued with Sir Francis Wolly till his death:
a little before which time Sir Francis was so happy as to make a perfect
reconciliation between Sir George and his forsaken son and daughter; Sir
George conditioning, by bond, to pay to Mr. Donne 800_l._ at a certain
day, as a portion with his wife, or 20_l._ quarterly for their
maintenance, as the interest for it, till the said portion was paid.

Most of those years that he lived with Sir Francis he studied the Civil
and Canon Laws; in which he acquired such a perfection, as was judged to
hold proportion with many, who had made that study the employment of
their whole life.

Sir Francis being dead, and that happy family dissolved, Mr. Donne took
for himself a house in Mitcham--near to Croydon in Surrey--a place noted
for good air and choice company: there his wife and children remained;
and for himself he took lodgings in London, near to Whitehall, whither
his friends and occasions drew him very often, and where he was as often
visited by many of the nobility and others of this nation, who used him
in their counsels of greatest consideration, and with some rewards for
his better subsistence.

Nor did our own nobility only value and favour him, but his acquaintance
and friendship was sought for by most Ambassadors of foreign nations,
and by many other strangers whose learning or business occasioned their
stay in this nation.

Thus it continued with him for about two years, all which time his
family remained constantly at Mitcham; and to which place he often
retired himself, and destined some days to a constant study of some
points of controversy betwixt the English and Roman Church, and
especially those of Supremacy and Allegiance: and to that place and such
studies he could willingly have wedded himself during his life; but the
earnest persuasion of friends became at last to be so powerful, as to
cause the removal of himself and family to London, where Sir Robert
Drewry, a gentleman of a very noble estate, and a more liberal mind,
assigned him and his wife an useful apartment in his own large house in
Drury Lane, and not only rent free, but was also a cherisher of his
studies, and such a friend as sympathized with him and his, in all their
joy and sorrows.

At this time of Mr. Donne's and his wife's living in Sir Robert's house,
the Lord Hay was, by King James, sent upon a glorious embassy to the
then French King, Henry the Fourth; and Sir Robert put on a sudden
resolution to accompany him to the French Court, and to be present at
his audience there. And Sir Robert put on a sudden resolution to solicit
Mr. Donne to be his companion in that journey. And this desire was
suddenly made known to his wife, who was then with child, and otherwise
under so dangerous a habit of body as to her health, that she professed
an unwillingness to allow him any absence from her; saying, "Her
divining soul boded her some ill in his absence;" and therefore desired
him not to leave her. This made Mr. Donne lay aside all thoughts of the
journey, and really to resolve against it. But Sir Robert became
restless in his persuasions for it, and Mr. Donne was so generous as to
think he had sold his liberty when he received so many charitable
kindnesses from him, and told his wife so; who did therefore, with an
unwilling willingness, give a faint consent to the journey, which was
proposed to be but for two months; for about that time they determined
their return. Within a few days after this resolve, the Ambassador, Sir
Robert, and Mr. Donne, left London; and were the twelfth day got all
safe to Paris. Two days after their arrival there, Mr. Donne was left
alone in that room in which Sir Robert, and he, and some other friends
had dined together. To this place Sir Robert returned within half an
hour; and as he left, so he found, Mr. Donne alone; but in such an
ecstasy, and so altered as to his looks, as amazed Sir Robert to behold
him; insomuch that he earnestly desired Mr. Donne to declare what had
befallen him in the short time of his absence. To which Mr. Donne was
not able to make a present answer; but, after a long and perplexed
pause, did at last say, "I have seen a dreadful vision since I saw you:
I have seen my dear wife pass twice by me through this room, with her
hair hanging about her shoulders, and a dead child in her arms: this I
have seen since I saw you." To which Sir Robert replied, "Sure, sir, you
have slept since I saw you; and this is the result of some melancholy
dream, which I desire you to forget, for you are now awake." To which
Mr. Donne's reply was: "I cannot be surer that I now live than that I
have not slept since I saw you: and am as sure that at her second
appearing she stopped and looked me in the face, and vanished." Rest and
sleep had not altered Mr. Donne's opinion the next day: for he then
affirmed this vision with a more deliberate, and so confirmed a
confidence, that he inclined Sir Robert to a faint belief that the
vision was true. It is truly said that desire and doubt have no rest;
and it proved so with Sir Robert; for he immediately sent a servant to
Drewry House, with a charge to hasten back and bring him word whether
Mrs. Donne were alive; and, if alive, in what condition she was as to
her health. The twelfth day the messenger returned with this
account:--That he found and left Mrs. Donne very sad and sick in her
bed; and that, after a long and dangerous labour, she had been delivered
of a dead child. And, upon examination, the abortion proved to be the
same day, and about the very hour, that Mr. Donne affirmed he saw her
pass by him in his chamber.

This is a relation that will beget some wonder, and it well may; for
most of our world are at present possessed with an opinion that visions
and miracles are ceased. And, though it is most certain that two lutes,
being both strung and tuned to an equal pitch, and then one played upon,
the other that is not touched, being laid upon a table at a fit
distance, will--like an echo to a trumpet--warble a faint audible
harmony in answer to the same tune; yet many will not believe there is
any such thing as a sympathy of souls; and I am well pleased that every
reader do enjoy his own opinion. But if the unbelieving will not allow
the believing reader of this story, a liberty to believe that it may be
true, then I wish him to consider many wise men have believed that the
ghost of Julius Cæsar did appear to Brutus, and that both St. Austin,
and Monica his mother, had visions in order to his conversion. And
though these and many others--too many to name--have but the authority
of human story, yet the incredible reader may find in the sacred story
(1 Sam. xxviii. 14) that Samuel did appear to Saul even after his
death--whether really or not, I undertake not to determine. And Bildad,
in the Book of Job, says these words (iv. 13-16): "A spirit passed
before my face; the hair of my head stood up; fear and trembling came
upon me, and made all my bones to shake." Upon which words I will make
no comment, but leave them to be considered by the incredulous reader;
to whom I will also commend this following consideration: That there be
many pious and learned men that believe our merciful God hath assigned
to every man a particular guardian angel to be his constant monitor,
and to attend him in all his dangers, both of body and soul. And the
opinion that every man hath his particular angel may gain some authority
by the relation of St. Peter's miraculous deliverance out of prison
(Acts xii. 7-10; 13-15), not by many, but by one angel. And this belief
may yet gain more credit by the reader's considering, that when Peter
after his enlargement knocked at the door of Mary the mother of John,
and Rhode, the maidservant, being surprised with joy that Peter was
there, did not let him in, but ran in haste and told the disciples, who
were then and there met together, that Peter was at the door; and they,
not believing it, said she was mad: yet, when she again affirmed it,
though they then believed it not, yet they concluded, and said, "It is
his angel."

More observations of this nature, and inferences from them, might be
made to gain the relation a firmer belief; but I forbear, lest I, that
intended to be but a relator, may be thought to be an engaged person for
the proving what was related to me; and yet I think myself bound to
declare that, though it was not told me by Mr. Donne himself, it was
told me--now long since--by a person of honour, and of such intimacy
with him, that he knew more of the secrets of his soul than any person
then living: and I think he told me the truth; for it was told with such
circumstances, and such asseveration, that--to say nothing of my own
thoughts--I verily believe he that told it me did himself believe it to
be true.

I return from my account of the vision, to tell the reader, that both
before Mr. Donne's going into France, at his being there, and after his
return, many of the nobility and others that were powerful at court,
were watchful and solicitous to the King for some secular employment for
him. The King had formerly both known and put a value upon his company,
and had also given him some hopes of a state-employment; being always
much pleased when Mr. Donne attended him, especially at his meals, where
there were usually many deep discourses of general learning, and very
often friendly disputes, or debates of religion, betwixt his Majesty and
those divines, whose places required their attendance on him at those
times: particularly the Dean of the Chapel, who then was Bishop
Montague--the publisher of the learned and eloquent Works of his
Majesty--and the most Reverend Doctor Andrews the late learned Bishop of
Winchester, who was then the King's Almoner.

About this time there grew many disputes, that concerned the Oath of
Supremacy and Allegiance, in which the King had appeared, and engaged
himself by his public writings now extant: and his Majesty discoursing
with Mr. Donne, concerning many of the reasons which are usually urged
against the taking of those Oaths, apprehended such a validity and
clearness in his stating the questions, and his answers to them, that
his Majesty commanded him to bestow some time in drawing the arguments
into a method, and then to write his answers to them; and, having done
that, not to send, but be his own messenger, and bring them to him. To
this he presently and diligently applied himself, and within six weeks
brought them to him under his own handwriting, as they be now printed;
the book bearing the name of "Pseudo-Martyr," printed anno 1610.

When the King had read and considered that book, he persuaded Mr. Donne
to enter into the Ministry; to which, at that time, he was, and
appeared, very unwilling, apprehending it--such was his mistaken
modesty--to be too weighty for his abilities.

Such strifes St. Austin had, when St. Ambrose endeavoured his conversion
to Christianity; with which he confesseth he acquainted his friend
Alipius. Our learned author--a man fit to write after no mean copy--did
the like. And declaring his intentions to his dear friend Dr. King, then
Bishop of London, a man famous in his generation, and no stranger to Mr.
Donne's abilities--for he had been Chaplain to the Lord Chancellor, at
the time of Mr. Donne's being his Lordship's Secretary--that reverend
man did receive the news with much gladness; and, after some expressions
of joy, and a persuasion to be constant in his pious purpose, he
proceeded with all convenient speed to ordain him first Deacon, and then
Priest not long after.

Presently after he entered into his holy profession, the King sent for
him, and made him his Chaplain in Ordinary, and promised to take a
particular care for his preferment.

And, though his long familiarity with scholars and persons of greatest
quality was such, as might have given some men boldness enough to have
preached to any eminent auditory; yet his modesty in this employment was
such, that he could not be persuaded to it, but went usually accompanied
with some one friend to preach privately in some village, not far from
London; his first sermon being preached at Paddington. This he did, till
his Majesty sent and appointed him a day to preach to him at Whitehall;
and, though much were expected from him, both by his Majesty and others,
yet he was so happy--which few are--as to satisfy and exceed their
expectations: preaching the Word so, as shewed his own heart was
possessed with those very thoughts and joys that he laboured to distil
into others: a preacher in earnest; weeping sometimes for his auditory,
sometimes with them; always preaching to himself like an angel from a
cloud, but in none; carrying some, as St. Paul was, to Heaven in holy
raptures, and enticing others by a sacred art and courtship to amend
their lives: here picturing a vice so as to make it ugly to those that
practised it; and a virtue so as to make it beloved, even by those that
loved it not; and all this with a most particular grace and an
unexpressible addition of comeliness.

That summer, in the very same month in which he entered into sacred
Orders, and was made the King's Chaplain, his Majesty then going his
progress, was entreated to receive an entertainment in the University of
Cambridge: and Mr. Donne attending his Majesty at that time, his Majesty
was pleased to recommend him to the University, to be made Doctor in
Divinity; Doctor Harsnett, after Archbishop of York, was then
Vice-Chancellor, who, knowing him to be the author of that learned book
the "Pseudo-Martyr," required no other proof of his abilities, but
proposed it to the University, who presently assented, and expressed a
gladness that they had such an occasion to entitle him to be theirs.

His abilities and industry in his profession were so eminent, and he so
known and so beloved by persons of quality, that within the first year
of his entering into sacred Orders, he had fourteen advowsons of several
benefices presented to him: but they were in the country, and he could
not leave his beloved London, to which place he had a natural
inclination, having received both his birth and education in it, and
there contracted a friendship with many, whose conversation multiplied
the joys of his life; but an employment that might affix him to that
place would be welcome, for he needed it.

Immediately after his return from Cambridge his wife died, leaving him a
man of a narrow, unsettled estate, and--having buried five--the careful
father of seven children then living, to whom he gave a voluntary
assurance never to bring them under the subjection of a step-mother;
which promise he kept most faithfully, burying with his tears all his
earthly joys in his most dear and deserving wife's grave, and betook
himself to a most retired and solitary life.

In this retiredness, which was often from the sight of his dearest
friends, he became crucified to the world, and all those vanities, those
imaginary pleasures, that are daily acted on that restless stage, and
they were as perfectly crucified to him.

His first motion from his house was to preach where his beloved wife lay
buried--in St. Clement's Church, near Temple Bar, London; and his text
was a part of the Prophet Jeremy's Lamentation: "Lo, I am the man that
have seen affliction."

In this time of sadness he was importuned by the grave Benchers of
Lincoln's Inn--who were once the companions and friends of his youth--to
accept of their Lecture, which, by reason of Dr. Gataker's removal from
thence, was then void; of which he accepted, being most glad to renew
his intermitted friendship with those whom he so much loved, and where
he had been a Saul,--though not to persecute Christianity, or to deride
it, yet in his irregular youth to neglect the visible practice of
it,--there to become a Paul, and preach salvation to his beloved

About which time the Emperor of Germany died, and the Palsgrave, who had
lately married the Lady Elizabeth, the King's only daughter, was elected
and crowned King of Bohemia, the unhappy beginning of many miseries in
that nation.

King James, whose motto--_Beati pacifici_--did truly speak the very
thoughts of his heart, endeavoured first to prevent, and after to
compose, the discords of that discomposed State; and, amongst other his
endeavours, did then send the Lord Hay, Earl of Doncaster, his
Ambassador to those unsettled Princes; and, by a special command from
his Majesty, Dr. Donne was appointed to assist and attend that
employment to the Princes of the Union, for which the Earl was most
glad, who had always put a great value on him, and taken a great
pleasure in his conversation and discourse: and his friends at Lincoln's
Inn were as glad; for they feared that his immoderate study, and sadness
for his wife's death, would, as Jacob said, "make his days few," and,
respecting his bodily health, "evil" too: and of this there were many
visible signs.

About fourteen months after his departure out of England, he returned to
his friends of Lincoln's Inn, with his sorrows moderated, and his health
improved; and there betook himself to his constant course of preaching.

About a year after his return out of Germany, Dr. Carey was made Bishop
of Exeter, and by his removal, the Deanery of St. Paul's being vacant,
the King sent to Dr. Donne, and appointed him to attend him at dinner
the next day. When his Majesty was sat down, before he had eat any meat,
he said after his pleasant manner, "Dr. Donne, I have invited you to
dinner; and, though you sit not down with me, yet I will carve to you of
a dish that I know you love well; for, knowing you love London, I do
therefore make you Dean of St. Paul's; and, when I have dined, then do
you take your beloved dish home to your study, say grace there to
yourself, and much good may it do you."

Immediately after he came to his Deanery, he employed workmen to repair
and beautify the Chapel; suffering as holy David once vowed, "his eyes
and temples to take no rest till he had first beautified the house of

The next quarter following when his father-in-law, Sir George
More,--whom time had made a lover and admirer of him--came to pay to him
the conditioned sum of twenty pounds, he refused to receive it; and
said--as good Jacob did, when he heard his beloved son Joseph was
alive--"'It is enough;' you have been kind to me and mine: I know your
present condition is such as not to abound, and I hope mine is, or will
be such as not to need it: I will therefore receive no more from you
upon that contract," and in testimony of it freely gave him up his bond.

Immediately after his admission into his Deanery the Vicarage of St.
Dunstan in the West, London, fell to him by the death of Dr. White, the
advowson of it having been given to him long before by his honourable
friend Richard Earl of Dorset, then the patron, and confirmed by his
brother the late deceased Edward, both of them men of much honour.

By these, and another ecclesiastical endowment which fell to him about
the same time, given to him formerly by the Earl of Kent, he was enabled
to become charitable to the poor, and kind to his friends, and to make
such provision for his children, that they were not left scandalous as
relating to their or his profession and quality.

The next Parliament, which was within that present year, he was chosen
Prolocutor to the Convocation, and about that time was appointed by his
Majesty, his most gracious master, to preach very many occasional
sermons, as at St. Paul's Cross, and other places. All which employments
he performed to the admiration of the representative body of the whole
Clergy of this nation.

He was once, and but once, clouded with the King's displeasure, and it
was about this time; which was occasioned by some malicious whisperer,
who had told his Majesty that Dr. Donne had put on the general humour of
the pulpits, and was become busy in insinuating a fear of the King's
inclining to popery, and a dislike of his government; and particularly
for the King's then turning the evening lectures into catechising, and
expounding the Prayer of our Lord, and of the Belief, and Commandments.
His Majesty was the more inclinable to believe this, for that a person
of nobility and great note, betwixt whom and Dr. Donne there had been a
great friendship, was at this very time discarded the court--I shall
forbear his name, unless I had a fairer occasion--and justly committed
to prison; which begot many rumours in the common people, who in this
nation think they are not wise unless they be busy about what they
understand not, and especially about religion.

The King received this news with so much discontent and restlessness
that he would not suffer the sun to set and leave him under this doubt;
but sent for Dr. Donne, and required his answer to the accusation; which
was so clear and satisfactory that the King said, "he was right glad he
rested no longer under the suspicion." When the King had said this, Dr.
Donne kneeled down, and thanked his Majesty, and protested his answer
was faithful, and free from all collusion, and therefore "desired that
he might not rise till, as in like cases, he always had from God, so he
might have from his Majesty, some assurance that he stood clear and fair
in his opinion." At which the King raised him from his knees with his
own hands, and "protested he believed him; and that he knew he was an
honest man, and doubted not but that he loved him truly." And, having
thus dismissed him, he called some Lords of his Council into his
chamber, and said with much earnestness, "My Doctor is an honest man;
and, my Lords, I was never better satisfied with an answer than he hath
now made me; and I always rejoice when I think that by my means he
became a Divine."

He was made Dean in the fiftieth year of his age, and in his
fifty-fourth year a dangerous sickness seized him, which inclined him to
a consumption; but God, as Job thankfully acknowledged, preserved his
spirit, and kept his intellectuals as clear and perfect as when that
sickness first seized his body; but it continued long, and threatened
him with death, which he dreaded not.

Within a few days his distempers abated; and as his strength increased
so did his thankfulness to Almighty God, testified in his most excellent
"Book of Devotions," which he published at his recovery; in which the
reader may see the most secret thoughts that then possessed his soul,
paraphrased and made public: a book that may not unfitly be called a
Sacred Picture of Spiritual Ecstasies, occasioned and applicable to the
emergencies of that sickness; which book, being a composition of
meditations, disquisitions, and prayers, he writ on his sick-bed; herein
imitating the holy Patriarchs, who were wont to build their altars in
that place where they had received their blessings.

This sickness brought him so near to the gates of death, and he saw the
grave so ready to devour him, that he would often say his recovery was
supernatural: but that God that then restored his health continued it to
him till the fifty-ninth year of his life: and then, in August 1630,
being with his eldest daughter, Mrs. Harvey, at Abury Hatch, in Essex,
he there fell into a fever, which, with the help of his constant
infirmity--vapours from the spleen--hastened him into so visible a
consumption that his beholders might say, as St. Paul of himself, "He
dies daily;" and he might say with Job, "My welfare passeth away as a
cloud, the days of my affliction have taken hold of me, and weary nights
are appointed for me."

Reader, this sickness continued long, not only weakening, but wearying
him so much, that my desire is he may now take some rest; and that
before I speak of his death thou wilt not think it an impertinent
digression to look back with me upon some observations of his life,
which, whilst a gentle slumber gives rest to his spirits, may, I hope,
not unfitly, exercise thy consideration.

His marriage was the remarkable error of his life; an error which,
though he had a wit able and very apt to maintain paradoxes, yet he was
very far from justifying it: and though his wife's competent years, and
other reasons, might be justly urged to moderate severe censures, yet he
would occasionally condemn himself for it: and doubtless it had been
attended with an heavy repentance, if God had not blessed them with so
mutual and cordial affections, as in the midst of their sufferings made
their bread of sorrow taste more pleasantly than the banquets of dull
and low-spirited people.

The recreations of his youth were poetry, in which he was so happy as if
nature and all her varieties had been made only to exercise his sharp
wit and high fancy; and in those pieces which were facetiously composed
and carelessly scattered,--most of them being written before the
twentieth year of his age--it may appear by his choice metaphors that
both nature and all the arts joined to assist him with their utmost

It is a truth, that in his penitential years, viewing some of those
pieces that had been loosely--God knows, too loosely--scattered in his
youth, he wished they had been abortive, or so short-lived that his own
eyes had witnessed their funerals; but, though he was no friend to them,
he was not so fallen out with heavenly poetry, as to forsake that; no,
not in his declining age; witnessed then by many divine sonnets, and
other high, holy, and harmonious composures. Yea, even on his former
sick-bed he wrote this heavenly hymn, expressing the great joy that then
possessed his soul, in the assurance of God's favour to him when he
composed it:--

    "AN HYMN


    "Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
      Which was my sin, though it were done before?
    Wilt Thou forgive that sin through which I run,
      And do run still, though still I do deplore?
    When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                                  For I have more.

    "Wilt Thou forgive that sin, which I have won
      Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
    Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
      A year or two:--but wallow'd in a score?
    When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                                  For I have more.

    "I have a sin of fear, that when I've spun
      My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
    But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
      Shall shine as He shines now, and heretofore;
    And having done that, Thou hast done,
                                  I fear no more."

I have the rather mentioned this hymn, for that he caused it to be set
to a most grave and solemn tune, and to be often sung to the organ by
the choiristers of St. Paul's Church, in his own hearing; especially at
the Evening Service; and at his return from his customary devotions in
that place, did occasionally say to a friend, "the words of this hymn
have restored to me the same thoughts of joy that possessed my soul in
my sickness, when I composed it. And, O the power of church-music! that
harmony added to this hymn has raised the affections of my heart, and
quickened my graces of zeal and gratitude; and I observe that I always
return from paying this public duty of prayer and praise to God, with an
unexpressible tranquillity of mind, and a willingness to leave the

After this manner did the disciples of our Saviour, and the best of
Christians in those ages of the Church nearest to His time, offer their
praises to Almighty God. And the reader of St. Augustine's life may
there find, that towards his dissolution he wept abundantly, that the
enemies of Christianity had broke in upon them, and profaned and ruined
their sanctuaries, and because their public hymns and lauds were lost
out of their Churches. And after this manner have many devout souls
lifted up their hands and offered acceptable sacrifices unto Almighty
God, where Dr. Donne offered his, and now lies buried.

But now [1656], Oh Lord! how is that place become desolate!

Before I proceed further, I think fit to inform the reader, that not
long before his death he caused to be drawn a figure of the Body of
Christ extended upon an anchor, like those which painters draw, when
they would present us with the picture of Christ crucified on the cross:
his varying no otherwise than to affix Him not to a cross, but to an
anchor--the emblem of Hope;--this he caused to be drawn in little, and
then many of those figures thus drawn to be engraven very small in
Heliotropium stones, and set in gold; and of these he sent to many of
his dearest friends, to be used as seals, or rings, and kept as
memorials of him, and of his affection to them.

His dear friends and benefactors, Sir Henry Goodier and Sir Robert
Drewry, could not be of that number; nor could the Lady Magdalen
Herbert, the mother of George Herbert, for they had put off mortality,
and taken possession of the grave before him; but Sir Henry Wotton, and
Dr. Hall, the then--late deceased--Bishop of Norwich, were; and so were
Dr. Duppa, Bishop of Salisbury, and Dr. Henry King, Bishop of
Chichester--lately deceased--men, in whom there was such a commixture of
general learning, of natural eloquence, and Christian humility, that
they deserve a commemoration by a pen equal to their own, which none
have exceeded.

And in this enumeration of his friends, though many must be omitted, yet
that man of primitive piety, Mr. George Herbert, may not; I mean that
George Herbert, who was the author of "The Temple, or Sacred Poems and
Ejaculations." A book, in which by declaring his own spiritual
conflicts, he hath comforted and raised many a dejected and discomposed
soul, and charmed them into sweet and quiet thoughts; a book, by the
frequent reading whereof, and the assistance of that Spirit that seemed
to inspire the author, the reader may attain habits of peace and piety,
and all the gifts of the Holy Ghost and Heaven: and may, by still
reading, still keep those sacred fires burning upon the altar of so pure
a heart, as shall free it from the anxieties of this world, and keep it
fixed upon things that are above. Betwixt this George Herbert and Dr.
Donne, there was a long and dear friendship, made up by such a sympathy
of inclinations that they coveted and joyed to be in each other's
company; and this happy friendship was still maintained by many sacred
endearments; of which that which followeth may be some testimony.




    "_A Sheaf of Snakes used
    heretofore to be my Seal,
    which is the Crest of our
    poor family._"


    "Qui prius assuetus serpentum falce tabellas
      Signare, hæc nostræ symbola parva domus,
    Adscitus domui Domini----

    "Adopted in God's family, and so
    My old coat lost, into new Arms I go.
    The Cross, my Seal in Baptism, spread below,
    Does by that form into an Anchor grow.
    Crosses grow Anchors, bear as thou shouldst do
    Thy Cross, and that Cross grows an Anchor too.
    But He that makes our Crosses Anchors thus,
    Is Christ, who there is crucified for us.
    Yet with this I may my first Serpents hold;--
    God gives new blessings, and yet leaves the old--
    The Serpent, may, as wise, my pattern be;
    My poison, as he feeds on dust, that's me.
    And, as he rounds the earth to murder, sure
    He is my death; but on the Cross, my cure,
    Crucify nature then; and then implore
    All grace from Him, crucified there before.
    When all is Cross, and that Cross Anchor grown
    This Seal's a Catechism, not a Seal alone.
    Under that little Seal great gifts I send,
    Both works and pray'rs, pawns and fruits of a friend.
    O! may that Saint that rides on our Great Seal,
    To you that bear his name, large bounty deal.

    "John Donne."



    "Quod Crux nequibat fixa clavique additi,--
    Tenere Christum scilicet ne ascenderet,
    Tuive Christum--

    "Although the Cross could not here Christ detain,
    When nail'd unto't, but He ascends again;
    Nor yet thy eloquence here keep Him still,
    But only whilst thou speak'st--this Anchor will:
    Nor canst thou be content, unless thou to
    This certain Anchor add a Seal; and so
    The water and the earth both unto thee
    Do owe the symbol of their certainty.
    Let the world reel, we and all ours stand sure,
    This holy cable's from all storms secure.

    "George Herbert."

I return to tell the reader, that, besides these verses to his dear Mr.
Herbert, and that Hymn that I mentioned to be sung in the choir of St.
Paul's Church, he did also shorten and beguile many sad hours by
composing other sacred ditties; and he writ an Hymn on his death-bed,
which bears this title:--


    "_March 23, 1630._

    "Since I am coming to that holy room,
      Where, with Thy Choir of Saints, for evermore
    I shall be made Thy music, as I come
      I tune my instrument here at the door,
      And, what I must do then, think here before.

    "Since my Physicians by their loves are grown
      Cosmographers; and I their map, who lie
    Flat on this bed----

    "So, in His purple wrapt, receive my Lord!
      By these His thorns, give me His other Crown
    And, as to other souls I preach'd Thy word,
      Be this my text, my sermon to mine own,
      'That He may raise; therefore the Lord throws down.'"

If these fall under the censure of a soul, whose too much mixture with
earth makes it unfit to judge of these high raptures and illuminations,
let him know, that many holy and devout men have thought the soul of
Prudentius to be most refined, when, not many days before his death, "he
charged it to present his God each morning and evening with a new and
spiritual song;" justified by the example of King David and the good
King Hezekiah, who, upon the renovation of his years paid his thankful
vows to Almighty God in a royal hymn, which he concludes in these words:
"The Lord was ready to save; therefore I will sing my songs to the
stringed instruments all the days of my life in the Temple of my God."

The latter part of his life may be said to be a continued study; for as
he usually preached once a week, if not oftener, so after his sermon he
never gave his eyes rest, till he had chosen out a new text, and that
night cast his sermon into a form, and his text into divisions; and the
next day betook himself to consult the Fathers, and so commit his
meditations to his memory, which was excellent. But upon Saturday he
usually gave himself and his mind a rest from the weary burthen of his
week's meditations, and usually spent that day in visitation of friends,
or some other diversions of his thoughts; and would say, "that he gave
both his body and mind that refreshment, that he might be enabled to do
the work of the day following, not faintly, but with courage and

Nor was his age only so industrious, but in the most unsettled days of
his youth, his bed was not able to detain him beyond the hour of four in
a morning; and it was no common business that drew him out of his
chamber till past ten; all which time was employed in study; though he
took great liberty after it. And if this seem strange, it may gain a
belief by the visible fruits of his labours; some of which remain as
testimonies of what is here written: for he left the resultance of 1400
authors, most of them abridged and analysed with his own hand: he left
also six score of his sermons, all written with his own hand, also an
exact and laborious Treatise concerning self-murder, called Biathanatos;
wherein all the laws violated by that act are diligently surveyed, and
judiciously censured: a Treatise written in his younger days, which
alone might declare him then not only perfect in the Civil and Canon
Law, but in many other such studies and arguments, as enter not into the
consideration of many that labour to be thought great clerks, and
pretend to know all things.

Nor were these only found in his study, but all businesses that passed
of any public consequence, either in this or any of our
neighbour-nations, he abbreviated either in Latin, or in the language of
that nation, and kept them by him for useful memorials. So he did the
copies of divers Letters and Cases of Conscience that had concerned his
friends, with his observations and solutions of them; and divers other
businesses of importance, all particularly and methodically digested by

He did prepare to leave the world before life left him; making his Will
when no faculty of his soul was damped or made defective by pain or
sickness, or he surprised by a sudden apprehension of death: but it was
made with mature deliberation, expressing himself an impartial father,
by making his children's portions equal; and a lover of his friends,
whom he remembered with legacies fitly and discreetly chosen and
bequeathed. I cannot forbear a nomination of some of them; for methinks
they be persons that seem to challenge a recordation in this place; as
namely, to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Grimes, he gave that striking
clock, which he had long worn in his pocket; to his dear friend and
executor, Dr. King--late Bishop of Chichester--that Model of Gold of the
Synod of Dort, with which the States presented him at his last being at
the Hague; and the two pictures of Padre Paolo and Fulgentio, men of his
acquaintance when he travelled Italy, and of great note in that nation
for their remarkable learning.--To his ancient friend Dr. Brook--that
married him--Master of Trinity College in Cambridge, he gave the picture
of the Blessed Virgin and Joseph.--To Dr. Winniff who succeeded him in
the Deanery--he gave a picture called the Skeleton.--To the succeeding
Dean, who was not then known, he gave many necessaries of worth, and
useful for his house; and also several pictures and ornaments for the
Chapel, with a desire that they might be registered, and remain as a
legacy to his successors.--To the Earls of Dorset and Carlisle he gave
several pictures; and so he did to many other friends; legacies, given
rather to express his affection, than to make any addition to their
estates: but unto the poor he was full of charity, and unto many others,
who, by his constant and long continued bounty, might entitle themselves
to be his alms-people: for all these he made provision, and so largely,
as, having then six children living, might to some appear more than
proportionable to his estate. I forbear to mention any more, lest the
reader may think I trespass upon his patience: but I will beg his
favour, to present him with the beginning and end of his Will.

     "In the name of the blessed and glorious Trinity. Amen. I John
     Donne, by the mercy of Christ Jesus, and by the calling of the
     Church of England, Priest, being at this time in good health and
     perfect understanding--praised be God therefore--do hereby make my
     last Will and Testament in manner and form following:--

     "First, I give my gracious God an entire sacrifice of body and
     soul, with my most humble thanks for that assurance which His
     Blessed Spirit imprints in me now of the Salvation of the one, and
     the Resurrection of the other; and for that constant and cheerful
     resolution, which the same Spirit hath established in me, to live
     and die in the religion now professed in the Church of England. In
     expectation of that Resurrection, I desire my body may be
     buried--in the most private manner that may be--in that place of
     St. Paul's Church, London, that the now Residentiaries have at my
     request designed for that purpose, &c.--And this my last Will and
     Testament, made in the fear of God,--whose mercy I humbly beg, and
     constantly rely upon in Jesus Christ--and in perfect love and
     charity with all the world--whose pardon I ask, from the lowest of
     my servants, to the highest of my superiors--written all with my
     own hand, and my name subscribed to every page, of which there are
     five in number.

     "Sealed December 13, 1630."

Nor was this blessed sacrifice of charity expressed only at his death,
but in his life also, by a cheerful and frequent visitation of any
friend whose mind was dejected, or his fortune necessitous; he was
inquisitive after the wants of prisoners, and redeemed many from prison,
that lay for their fees or small debts: he was a continual giver to poor
scholars, both of this and foreign nations. Besides what he gave with
his own hand, he usually sent a servant, or a discreet and trusty
friend, to distribute his charity to all the prisons in London, at all
the festival times of the year, especially at the Birth and Resurrection
of our Saviour. He gave an hundred pounds at one time to an old friend,
whom he had known live plentifully, and by a too liberal heart and
carelessness became decayed in his estate; and when the receiving of it
was denied, by the gentleman's saying, "He wanted not;"--for the reader
may note, that as there be some spirits so generous as to labour to
conceal and endure a sad poverty, rather than expose themselves to those
blushes that attend the confession of it; so there be others, to whom
nature and grace have afforded such sweet and compassionate souls, as to
pity and prevent the distresses of mankind;--which I have mentioned
because of Dr. Donne's reply, whose answer was, "I know you want not
what will sustain nature; for a little will do that; but my desire is,
that you, who in the days of your plenty have cheered and raised the
hearts of so many of your dejected friends, would now receive this from
me, and use it as a cordial for the cheering of your own:" and upon
these terms it was received. He was an happy reconciler of many
differences in the families of his friends and kindred,--which he never
undertook faintly; for such undertakings have usually faint effects--and
they had such a faith in his judgment and impartiality, that he never
advised them to any thing in vain. He was, even to her death, a most
dutiful son to his mother, careful to provide for her supportation, of
which she had been destitute, but that God raised him up to prevent her
necessities; who having sucked in the religion of the Roman Church with
the mother's milk, spent her estate in foreign countries, to enjoy a
liberty in it, and died in his house but three months before him.

And to the end it may appear how just a steward he was of his Lord and
Master's revenue, I have thought fit to let the reader know, that after
his entrance into his Deanery, as he numbered his years, he, at the foot
of a private account, to which God and His Angels were only witnesses
with him,--computed first his revenue, then what was given to the poor,
and other pious uses; and lastly, what rested for him and his; and
having done that, he then blessed each year's poor remainder with a
thankful prayer; which, for that they discover a more than common
devotion, the reader shall partake some of them in his own words:--

So all is that remains this year [1624-5]--

"Deo Opt. Max. benigno largitori, á me, at ab iis quibus hæc à me
reservantur, gloria et gratia in æternum. Amen."


To God all Good, all Great, the benevolent Bestower, by me and by them,
for whom, by me, these sums are laid up, be glory and grace ascribed for
ever. Amen.

So that this year, [1626,] God hath blessed me and mine with--

"Multiplicatæ sunt super nos misericordiæ tuæ, Domine."


Thy mercies, Oh Lord! are multiplied upon us.

"Da, Domine, ut quæ ex immensâ bonitate tuâ nobis elargiri dignatus sis,
in quorumcunque manus devenerint, in tuam semper cedant gloriam. Amen."


Grant, Oh Lord! that what out of Thine infinite bounty Thou hast
vouchsafed to lavish upon us, into whosoever hands it may devolve, may
always be improved to thy glory. Amen.

"In fine horum sex annorum manet [1627-8-9]--

"Quid habeo quod non accepi a Domino? Largitur etiam ut quæ largitus est
sua iterum fiant, bono eorum usu; ut quemadmodum nec officiis hujus
mundi, nec loci in quo me posuit dignitati, nec servis, nec egenis, in
toto hujus anni curriculo mihi conscius sum me defuisse; ita et liberi,
quibus quæ supersunt, supersunt, grato animo ea accipiant, et beneficum
authorem recognoscant. Amen."


At the end of these six years remains--

What have I, which I have not received from the Lord? He bestows, also,
to the intent that what He hath bestowed may revert to Him by the proper
use of it: that, as I have not consciously been wanting to myself during
the whole course of the past year, either in discharging my secular
duties, in retaining the dignity of my station, or in my conduct towards
my servants and the poor--so my children for whom remains whatever is
remaining, may receive it with gratitude, and acknowledge the beneficent
Giver. Amen.

     *     *     *     *     *

But I return from my long digression.

We left the Author sick in Essex, where he was forced to spend much of
that winter, by reason of his disability to remove from that place; and
having never, for almost twenty years, omitted his personal attendance
on his Majesty in that month, in which he was to attend and preach to
him; nor having ever been left out of the roll and number of Lent
Preachers, and there being then--in January, 1630--a report brought to
London, or raised there, that Dr. Donne was dead; that report gave him
occasion to write the following letter to a dear friend:--


     "This advantage you and my other friends have by my frequent
     fevers, that I am so much the oftener at the gates of Heaven; and
     this advantage by the solitude and close imprisonment that they
     reduce me to after, that I am so much the oftener at my prayers, in
     which I shall never leave out your happiness; and I doubt not,
     among His other blessings, God will add some one to you for my
     prayers. A man would almost be content to die--if there were no
     other benefit in death--to hear of so much sorrow, and so much good
     testimony from good men, as I--God be blessed for it--did upon the
     report of my death; yet I perceive it went not through all; for one
     writ to me, that some--and he said of my friends--conceived I was
     not so ill as I pretended, but withdrew myself to live at ease,
     discharged of preaching. It is an unfriendly, and, God knows, an
     ill-grounded interpretation; for I have always been sorrier when I
     could not preach, than any could be they could not hear me. It hath
     been my desire, and God may be pleased to grant it, that I might
     die in the pulpit; if not that, yet that I might take my death in
     the pulpit; that is, die the sooner by occasion of those labours.
     Sir, I hope to see you presently after Candlemas; about which time
     will fall my Lent Sermon at Court, except my Lord Chamberlain
     believe me to be dead, and so leave me out of the roll: but as long
     as I live, and am not speechless, I would not willingly, decline
     that service. I have better leisure to write, than you to read; yet
     I would not willingly oppress you with too much letter. God so
     bless you and your son, as I wish to

    "Your poor friend and Servant
      "In Christ Jesus,
          "J. Donne."

Before that month ended, he was appointed to preach upon his old
constant day, the first Friday in Lent: he had notice of it, and had in
his sickness so prepared for that employment, that as he had long
thirsted for it, so he resolved his weakness should not hinder his
journey; he came therefore to London some few days before his appointed
day of preaching. At his coming thither, many of his friends--who with
sorrow saw his sickness had left him but so much flesh as did only cover
his bones--doubted his strength to perform that task, and did therefore
dissuade him from undertaking it, assuring him, however, it was like to
shorten his life: but he passionately denied their requests, saying "he
would not doubt that that God, who in so many weaknesses had assisted
him with an unexpected strength, would now withdraw it in his last
employment; professing an holy ambition to perform that sacred work."
And when, to the amazement of some beholders, he appeared in the pulpit,
many of them thought he presented himself not to preach mortification by
a living voice, but mortality by a decayed body, and a dying face. And
doubtless many did secretly ask that question in Ezekiel (chap. xxxvii.
3), "Do these bones live? or, can that soul organise that tongue, to
speak so long time as the sand in that glass will move towards its
centre, and measure out an hour of this dying man's unspent life?
Doubtless it cannot." And yet, after some faint pauses in his zealous
prayer, his strong desires enabled his weak body to discharge his memory
of his preconceived meditations, which were of dying; the text being,
"To God the Lord belong the issues from death." Many that then saw his
tears, and heard his faint and hollow voice, professing they thought the
text prophetically chosen, and that Dr. Donne had preached his own
Funeral Sermon.

Being full of joy that God had enabled him to perform this desired duty,
he hastened to his house; out of which he never moved, till, like St.
Stephen, "he was carried by devout men to his grave."

The next day after his sermon, his strength being much wasted, and his
spirits so spent as indisposed him to business or to talk, a friend that
had often been a witness of his free and facetious discourse asked him,
"Why are you sad?" To whom he replied with a countenance so full of
cheerful gravity, as gave testimony of an inward tranquillity of mind,
and of a soul willing to take a farewell of this world, and said:--

     "I am not sad; but most of the night past I have entertained myself
     with many thoughts of several friends that have left me here, and
     are gone to that place from which they shall not return; and that
     within a few days I also shall go hence, and be no more seen. And
     my preparation for this change is become my nightly meditation upon
     my bed, which my infirmities have now made restless to me. But at
     this present time, I was in a serious contemplation of the
     providence and goodness of God to me; to me, who am less than the
     least of His mercies: and looking back upon my life past, I now
     plainly see it was His hand that prevented me from all temporal
     employment; and that it was His will I should never settle nor
     thrive till I entered into the Ministry; in which I have now lived
     almost twenty years--I hope to His glory,--and by which, I most
     humbly thank Him, I have been enabled to requite most of those
     friends which shewed me kindness when my fortune was very low, as
     God knows it was: and--as it hath occasioned the expression of my
     gratitude--I thank God most of them have stood in need of my
     requital. I have lived to be useful and comfortable to my good
     Father-in-law, Sir George More, whose patience God hath been
     pleased to exercise with many temporal crosses; I have maintained
     my own mother, whom it hath pleased God, after a plentiful fortune
     in her younger days, to bring to great decay in her very old age. I
     have quieted the consciences of many, that have groaned under the
     burden of a wounded spirit, whose prayers I hope are available for
     me. I cannot plead innocency of life, especially of my youth; but I
     am to be judged by a merciful God, who is not willing to see what I
     have done amiss. And though of myself I have nothing to present to
     Him but sins and misery, yet I know He looks not upon me now as I
     am of myself, but as I am in my Saviour, and hath given me, even at
     this present time, some testimonies by His Holy Spirit, that I am
     of the number of His Elect: I am therefore full of inexpressible
     joy, and shall die in peace."

I must here look so far back, as to tell the reader that at his first
return out of Essex, to preach his last sermon, his old friend and
physician, Dr. Fox--a man of great worth--came to him to consult his
health; and that after a sight of him, and some queries concerning his
distempers he told him, "That by cordials, and drinking milk twenty days
together, there was a probability of his restoration to health"; but he
passionately denied to drink it. Nevertheless, Dr. Fox, who loved him
most entirely, wearied him with solicitations, till he yielded to take
it for ten days; at the end of which time he told Dr. Fox, "He had drunk
it more to satisfy him, than to recover his health; and that he would
not drink it ten days longer, upon the best moral assurance of having
twenty years added to his life; for he loved it not; and was so far from
fearing Death, which to others is the King of Terrors, that he longed
for the day of his dissolution."

It is observed, that a desire of glory or commendation is rooted in the
very nature of man; and that those of the severest and most mortified
lives, though they may become so humble as to banish self-flattery, and
such weeds as naturally grow there; yet they have not been able to kill
this desire of glory, but that like our radical heat, it will both live
and die with us; and many think it should do so; and we want not sacred
examples to justify the desire of having our memory to outlive our
lives; which I mention, because Dr. Donne, by the persuasion of Dr. Fox,
easily yielded at this very time to have a monument made for him; but
Dr. Fox undertook not to persuade him how, or what monument it should
be; that was left to Dr. Donne himself.

A monument being resolved upon, Dr. Donne sent for a carver to make for
him in wood the figure of an urn, giving him directions for the compass
and height of it; and to bring with it a board, of the just height of
his body. "These being got, then without delay a choice painter was got
to be in readiness to draw his picture, which was taken as
followeth.--Several charcoal fires being first made in his large study,
he brought with him into that place his winding-sheet in his hand, and
having put off all his clothes, had this sheet put on him, and so tied
with knots at his head and feet, and his hands so placed as dead bodies
are usually fitted, to be shrouded and put into their coffin, or grave.
Upon this urn he thus stood, with his eyes shut, and with so much of the
sheet turned aside as might shew his lean, pale, and death-like face,
which was purposely turned towards the East, from whence he expected the
second coming of his and our Saviour Jesus." In this posture he was
drawn at his just height; and when the picture was fully finished, he
caused it to be set by his bedside, where it continued and became his
hourly object till his death, and was then given to his dearest friend
and executor Dr. Henry King, then chief Residentiary of St. Paul's, who
caused him to be thus carved in one entire piece of white marble, as it
now stands in that Church; and by Dr. Donne's own appointment, these
words were to be affixed to it as an epitaph:--



And now, having brought him through the many labyrinths and perplexities
of a various life, even to the gates of death and the grave; my desire
is, he may rest, till I have told my reader that I have seen many
pictures of him, in several habits, and at several ages, and in several
postures: and I now mention this because I have seen one picture of him,
drawn by a curious hand, at his age of eighteen, with his sword, and
what other adornments might then suit with the present fashions of youth
and the giddy gaieties of that age; and his motto then was--

    "How much shall I be changed
    Before I am changed!"

And if that young, and his now dying picture were at this time set
together, every beholder might say, "Lord! how much is Dr. Donne already
changed, before he is changed!" And the view of them might give my
reader occasion to ask himself with some amazement, "Lord! how much may
I also, that am now in health, be changed before I am changed; before
this vile, this changeable body shall put off mortality!" and therefore
to prepare for it.--But this is not writ so much for my reader's
memento, as to tell him, that Dr. Donne would often in his private
discourses, and often publicly in his sermons, mention the many changes
both of his body and mind, especially of his mind from a vertiginous
giddiness; and would as often say, "His great and most blessed change
was from a temporal to a spiritual employment"; in which he was so
happy, that he accounted the former part of his life to be lost; and the
beginning of it to be, from his first entering into Sacred Orders, and
serving his most merciful God at His altar.

Upon Monday, after the drawing this picture, he took his last leave of
his beloved study; and, being sensible of his hourly decay, retired
himself to his bedchamber; and that week sent at several times for many
of his most considerable friends, with whom he took a solemn and
deliberate farewell, commending to their considerations some sentences
useful for the regulation of their lives; and then dismissed them, as
good Jacob did his sons, with a spiritual benediction. The Sunday
following, he appointed his servants, that if there were any business
yet undone, that concerned him or themselves, it should be prepared
against Saturday next; for after that day he would not mix his thoughts
with any thing that concerned this world; nor ever did; but, as Job, so
he "waited for the appointed day of his dissolution."

And now he was so happy as to have nothing to do but to die, to do which
he stood in need of no longer time; for he had studied it long, and to
so happy a perfection, that in a former sickness he called God to
witness (in his "Book of Devotions," written then), "He was that minute
ready to deliver his soul into his Hands, if that minute God would
determine his dissolution." In that sickness he begged of God the
constancy to be preserved in that estate for ever; and his patient
expectation to have his immortal soul disrobed from her garment of
mortality, makes me confident that he now had a modest assurance that
his prayers were then heard, and his petition granted. He lay fifteen
days earnestly expecting his hourly change; and in the last hour of his
last day, as his body melted away, and vapoured into spirit, his soul
having, I verily believe, some revelation of the beatifical vision, he
said, "I were miserable if I might not die"; and after those words,
closed many periods of his faint breath by saying often, "Thy kingdom
come, Thy will be done." His speech, which had long been his ready and
faithful servant, left him not till the last minute of his life, and
then forsook him, not to serve another master--for who speaks like
him,--but died before him; for that it was then become useless to him,
that now conversed with God on earth as Angels are said to do in heaven,
only by thoughts and looks. Being speechless, and seeing heaven by that
illumination by which he saw it, he did, as St. Stephen, "look
stedfastly into it, till he saw the Son of Man standing at the right
hand of God His Father"; and being satisfied with this blessed sight, as
his soul ascended, and his last breath departed from him, he closed his
own eyes, and then disposed his hands and body into such a posture, as
required not the least alteration by those that came to shroud him.

Thus variable, thus virtuous was the life; thus excellent, thus
exemplary was the death of this memorable man.

He was buried in that place of St. Paul's Church, which he had appointed
for that use some years before his death; and by which he passed daily
to pay his public devotions to Almighty God--who was then served twice a
day by a public form of prayer and praises in that place; but he was
not buried privately, though he desired it; for, beside an unnumbered
number of others, many persons of nobility, and of eminence for
learning, who did love and honour him in his life, did show it at his
death, by a voluntary and sad attendance of his body to the grave, where
nothing was so remarkable as a public sorrow.

To which place of his burial some mournful friends repaired, and, as
Alexander the Great did to the grave of the famous Achilles, so they
strewed his with an abundance of curious and costly flowers; which
course they--who were never yet known--continued morning and evening for
many days, not ceasing till the stones that were taken up in that Church
to give his body admission into the cold earth--now his bed of
rest--were again by the mason's art so levelled and firmed as they had
been formerly, and his place of burial undistinguishable to common view.

The next day after his burial some unknown friend, some one of the many
lovers and admirers of his virtue and learning, writ this epitaph with a
coal on the wall over his grave:--

    "Reader! I am to let thee know,
    Donne's body only lies below;
    For, could the grave his soul comprise,
    Earth would be richer than the skies!"

Nor was this all the honour done to his reverend ashes; for, as there be
some persons that will not receive a reward for that for which God
accounts Himself a debtor; persons that dare trust God with their
charity, and without a witness; so there was by some grateful unknown
friend, that thought Dr. Donne's memory ought to be perpetuated, an
hundred marks sent to his faithful friends and executors (Dr. King and
Dr. Montford), towards the making of his monument. It was not for many
years known by whom; but, after the death of Dr. Fox, it was known that
it was he that sent it; and he lived to see as lively a representation
of his dead friend as marble can express: a statue indeed so like Dr.
Donne, that--as his friend Sir Henry Wotton hath expressed himself--"It
seems to breathe faintly, and posterity shall look upon it as a kind of
artificial miracle."

He was of stature moderately tall; of a straight and
equally-proportioned body, to which all his words and actions gave an
unexpressible addition of comeliness.

The melancholy and pleasant humour were in him so contempered, that each
gave advantage to the other, and made his company one of the delights of

His fancy was unimitably high, equalled only by his great wit; both
being made useful by a commanding judgment.

His aspect was cheerful, and such as gave a silent testimony of a clear
knowing soul, and of a conscience at peace with itself.

His melting eye showed that he had a soft heart, full of noble
compassion; of too brave a soul to offer injuries, and too much a
Christian not to pardon them in others.

He did much contemplate--especially after he entered into his sacred
calling--the mercies of Almighty God, the immortality of the soul, and
the joys of heaven: and would often say in a kind of sacred
ecstacy--"Blessed be God that He is God, only and divinely like

He was by nature highly passionate, but more apt to reluct at the
excesses of it. A great lover of the offices of humanity, and of so
merciful a spirit that he never beheld the miseries of mankind without
pity and relief.

He was earnest and unwearied in the search of knowledge, with which his
vigorous soul is now satisfied, and employed in a continual praise of
that God that first breathed it into his active body: that body which
once was a temple of the Holy Ghost, and is now become a small quantity
of Christian dust:--

But I shall see it re-animated.


    Emergent Occasions and seuerall
    steps in my Sicknes.

Digested into

     1. MEDITATIONS _upon our Humane Condition_.

     2. EXPOSTULATIONS, _and Debatements with God_.

     3. PRAYERS, _upon the severall occasions, to him_.

     *     *     *     *     *

By IOHN DONNE, _Deane of S. Pauls_, London.

     *     *     *     *     *


Printed by _A. M._ for THOMAS IONES. 1624.




I have had three births; one, natural, when I came into the world; one,
supernatural, when I entered into the ministry; and now, a preternatural
birth, in returning to life, from this sickness. In my second birth,
your Highness' royal father vouchsafed me his hand, not only to sustain
me in it, but to lead me to it. In this last birth, I myself am born a
father: this child of mine, this book, comes into the world, from me,
and with me. And therefore, I presume (as I did the father, to the
Father) to present the son to the Son; this image of my humiliation, to
the lively image of his Majesty, your Highness. It might be enough, that
God hath seen my devotions: but examples of good kings are commandments;
and Hezekiah writ the meditations of his sickness, after his sickness.
Besides, as I have lived to see (not as a witness only, but as a
partaker), the happiness of a part of your royal father's time, so shall
I live (in my way) to see the happiness of the times of your Highness
too, if this child of mine, inanimated by your gracious acceptation, may
so long preserve alive the memory of

Your Highness humblest and devotedest,



_The Stations of the Sickness_


1. The first alteration, the first grudging of the sickness       7

2. The strength and the function of the senses, and other
   faculties, change and fail                                    12

3. The patient takes his bed                                     17

4. The physician is sent for                                     23

5. The physician comes                                           30

6. The physician is afraid                                       35

7. The physician desires to have others joined with him          43

8. The king sends his own physician                              50

9. Upon their consultation, they prescribe                       56

10. They find the disease to steal on insensibly, and endeavor
    to meet with it so                                           63

11. They use cordials, to keep the venom and the malignity
    of the disease from the heart                                69

12. They apply pigeons, to draw the vapours from the head        77

13. The sickness declares the infection and malignity thereof
    by spots                                                     83

14. The Physicians observe these accidents to have fallen
    upon the critical days                                       88

15. I sleep not day or night                                     96

16. From the bells of the church adjoining, I am daily
    remembered of my burial in the funerals of others           102

17. Now, this bell tolling softly for another, says to me,
    Thou must die                                               107

18. The bell rings out, and tells me in him, that I am dead     114

19. At last the physicians, after a long and stormy voyage,
    see land: They have so good signs of the concoction of
    the disease, as that they may safely proceed to purge       122

20. Upon these indications of digested matter, they proceed
    to purge                                                    131

21. God prospers their practice, and he, by them, calls
    Lazarus out of his tomb, me out of my bed                   138

22. The physicians consider the root and occasion, the
    embers, and coals, and fuel of the disease, and seek
    to purge or correct that                                    145

23. They warn me of the fearful danger of relapsing             152




_The first Alteration, the first Grudging, of the Sickness._


Variable, and therefore miserable condition of man! this minute I was
well, and am ill, this minute. I am surprised with a sudden change, and
alteration to worse, and can impute it to no cause, nor call it by any
name. We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats, and drink, and
air, and exercises, and we hew and we polish every stone that goes to
that building; and so our health is a long and a regular work: but in a
minute a cannon batters all, overthrows all, demolishes all; a sickness
unprevented for all our diligence, unsuspected for all our curiosity;
nay, undeserved, if we consider only disorder, summons us, seizes us,
possesses us, destroys us in an instant. O miserable condition of man!
which was not imprinted by God, who, as he is immortal himself, had put
a coal, a beam of immortality into us, which we might have blown into a
flame, but blew it out by our first sin; we beggared ourselves by
hearkening after false riches, and infatuated ourselves by hearkening
after false knowledge. So that now, we do not only die, but die upon the
rack, die by the torment of sickness; nor that only, but are
pre-afflicted, super-afflicted with these jealousies and suspicions and
apprehensions of sickness, before we can call it a sickness: we are not
sure we are ill; one hand asks the other by the pulse, and our eye asks
our own urine how we do. O multiplied misery! we die, and cannot enjoy
death, because we die in this torment of sickness; we are tormented with
sickness, and cannot stay till the torment come, but pre-apprehensions
and presages prophesy those torments which induce that death before
either come; and our dissolution is conceived in these first changes,
quickened in the sickness itself, and born in death, which bears date
from these first changes. Is this the honour which man hath by being a
little world, that he hath these earthquakes in himself, sudden
shakings; these lightnings, sudden flashes; these thunders, sudden
noises; these eclipses, sudden offuscations and darkening of his senses;
these blazing stars, sudden fiery exhalations; these rivers of blood,
sudden red waters? Is he a world to himself only therefore, that he hath
enough in himself, not only to destroy and execute himself, but to
presage that execution upon himself; to assist the sickness, to antedate
the sickness, to make the sickness the more irremediable by sad
apprehensions, and, as if he would make a fire the more vehement by
sprinkling water upon the coals, so to wrap a hot fever in cold
melancholy, lest the fever alone should not destroy fast enough without
this contribution, nor perfect the work (which is destruction) except we
joined an artificial sickness of our own melancholy, to our natural, our
unnatural fever. O perplexed discomposition, O riddling distemper, O
miserable condition of man!


If I were but mere dust and ashes I might speak unto the Lord, for the
Lord's hand made me of this dust, and the Lord's hand shall re-collect
these ashes; the Lord's hand was the wheel upon which this vessel of
clay was framed, and the Lord's hand is the urn in which these ashes
shall be preserved. I am the dust and the ashes of the temple of the
Holy Ghost, and what marble is so precious? But I am more than dust and
ashes: I am my best part, I am my soul. And being so, the breath of God,
I may breathe back these pious expostulations to my God: My God, my God,
why is not my soul as sensible as my body? Why hath not my soul these
apprehensions, these presages, these changes, these antidates, these
jealousies, these suspicions of a sin, as well as my body of a sickness?
Why is there not always a pulse in my soul to beat at the approach of a
temptation to sin? Why are there not always waters in mine eyes, to
testify my spiritual sickness? I stand in the way of temptations,
naturally, necessarily; all men do so; for there is a snake in every
path, temptations in every vocation; but I go, I run, I fly into the
ways of temptation which I might shun; nay, I break into houses where
the plague is; I press into places of temptation, and tempt the devil
himself, and solicit and importune them who had rather be left
unsolicited by me. I fall sick of sin, and am bedded and bedrid, buried
and putrified in the practice of sin, and all this while have no
presage, no pulse, no sense of my sickness. O height, O depth of misery,
where the first symptom of the sickness is hell, and where I never see
the fever of lust, of envy, of ambition, by any other light than the
darkness and horror of hell itself, and where the first messenger that
speaks to me doth not say, "Thou mayest die," no, nor "Thou must die,"
but "Thou art dead;" and where the first notice that my soul hath of her
sickness is irrecoverableness, irremediableness: but, O my God, Job did
not charge thee foolishly in his temporal afflictions, nor may I in my
spiritual. Thou hast imprinted a pulse in our soul, but we do not
examine it; a voice in our conscience, but we do not hearken unto it. We
talk it out, we jest it out, we drink it out, we sleep it out; and when
we wake, we do not say with Jacob, _Surely the Lord is in this place,
and I knew it not_: but though we might know it, we do not, we will not.
But will God pretend to make a watch, and leave out the spring? to make
so many various wheels in the faculties of the soul, and in the organs
of the body, and leave out grace, that should move them? or will God
make a spring, and not wind it up? Infuse his first grace, and not
second it with more, without which we can no more use his first grace
when we have it, than we could dispose ourselves by nature to have it?
But alas, that is not our case; we are all prodigal sons, and not
disinherited; we have received our portion, and mispent it, not been
denied it. We are God's tenants here, and yet here, he, our landlord,
pays us rents; not yearly, nor quarterly, but hourly, and quarterly;
every minute he renews his mercy, but we _will not understand, lest that
we should be converted, and he should heal us_.[1]


O eternal and most gracious God, who, considered in thyself, art a
circle, first and last, and altogether; but, considered in thy working
upon us, art a direct line, and leadest us from our beginning, through
all our ways, to our end, enable me by thy grace to look forward to mine
end, and to look backward too, to the considerations of thy mercies
afforded me from the beginning; that so by that practice of considering
thy mercy, in my beginning in this world, when thou plantedst me in the
Christian church, and thy mercy in the beginning in the other world,
when thou writest me in the book of life, in my election, I may come to
a holy consideration of thy mercy in the beginning of all my actions
here: that in all the beginnings, in all the accesses and approaches, of
spiritual sicknesses of sin, I may hear and hearken to that voice, _O
thou man of God, there is death in the pot_,[2] and so refrain from that
which I was so hungerly, so greedily flying to. _A faithful ambassador
is health_,[3] says thy wise servant Solomon. Thy voice received in the
beginning of a sickness, of a sin, is true health. If I can see that
light betimes, and hear that voice early, _Then shall my light break
forth as the morning, and my health shall spring forth speedily_.[4]
Deliver me therefore, O my God, from these vain imaginations; that it is
an over-curious thing, a dangerous thing, to come to that tenderness,
that rawness, that scrupulousness, to fear every concupiscence, every
offer of sin, that this suspicious and jealous diligence will turn to an
inordinate dejection of spirit, and a diffidence in thy care and
providence; but keep me still established, both in a constant
assurance, that thou wilt speak to me at the beginning of every such
sickness, at the approach of every such sin; and that, if I take
knowledge of that voice then, and fly to thee, thou wilt preserve me
from falling, or raise me again, when by natural infirmity I am fallen.
Do this, O Lord, for his sake, who knows our natural infirmities, for he
had them, and knows the weight of our sins, for he paid a dear price for
them, thy Son, our Saviour, Christ Jesus. Amen.


_The Strength and the function of the senses, and other faculties,
change and fail._


The heavens are not the less constant, because they move continually,
because they move continually one and the same way. The earth is not the
more constant, because it lies still continually, because continually it
changes and melts in all the parts thereof. Man, who is the noblest part
of the earth, melts so away, as if he were a statue, not of earth, but
of snow. We see his own envy melts him, he grows lean with that; he will
say, another's beauty melts him; but he feels that a fever doth not melt
him like snow, but pour him out like lead, like iron, like brass melted
in a furnace; it doth not only melt him, but calcine him, reduce him to
atoms, and to ashes; not to water, but to lime. And how quickly? Sooner
than thou canst receive an answer, sooner than thou canst conceive the
question; earth is the centre of my body, heaven is the centre of my
soul; these two are the natural places of these two; but those go not
to these two in an equal pace: my body falls down without pushing; my
soul does not go up without pulling; ascension is my soul's pace and
measure, but precipitation my body's. And even angels, whose home is
heaven, and who are winged too, yet had a ladder to go to heaven by
steps. The sun which goes so many miles in a minute, the stars of the
firmament which go so very many more, go not so fast as my body to the
earth. In the same instant that I feel the first attempt of the disease,
I feel the victory; in the twinkling of an eye I can scarce see;
instantly the taste is insipid and fatuous; instantly the appetite is
dull and desireless; instantly the knees are sinking and strengthless;
and in an instant, sleep, which is the picture, the copy of death, is
taken away, that the original, death itself, may succeed, and that so I
might have death to the life. It was part of Adam's punishment, _In the
sweat of thy brows thou shalt eat thy bread_: it is multiplied to me, I
have earned bread in the sweat of my brows, in the labour of my calling,
and I have it; and I sweat again and again, from the brow to the sole of
the foot, but I eat no bread, I taste no sustenance: miserable
distribution of mankind, where one half lacks meat, and the other


David professes himself a dead dog to his king Saul,[5] and so doth
Mephibosheth to his king David,[6] and yet David speaks to Saul, and
Mephibosheth to David. No man is so little, in respect of the greatest
man, as the greatest in respect of God; for here, in that, we have not
so much as a measure to try it by; proportion is no measure for
infinity. He that hath no more of this world but a grave; he that hath
his grave but lent him till a better man or another man must be buried
in the same grave; he that hath no grave but a dunghill, he that hath no
more earth but that which he carries, but that which he is, he that hath
not that earth which he is, but even in that is another's slave, hath as
much proportion to God, as if all David's worthies, and all the world's
monarchs, and all imagination's giants, were kneaded and incorporated
into one, and as though that one were the survivor of all the sons of
men, to whom God had given the world. And therefore how little soever I
be, as _God calls things that are not, as though they were_, I, who am
as though I were not, may call upon God, and say, My God, my God, why
comes thine anger so fast upon me? Why dost thou melt me, scatter me,
pour me like water upon the ground so instantly? Thou stayedst for the
first world, in Noah's time, one hundred and twenty years; thou stayedst
for a rebellious generation in the wilderness forty years, wilt thou
stay no minute for me? Wilt thou make thy process and thy decree, thy
citation and thy judgment, but one act? Thy summons, thy battle, thy
victory, thy triumph, all but one act; and lead me captive, nay, deliver
me captive to death, as soon as thou declarest me to be enemy, and so
cut me off even with the drawing of thy sword out of the scabbard, and
for that question, How long was he sick? leave no other answer, but that
the hand of death pressed upon him from the first minute? My God, my
God, thou wast not wont to come in whirlwinds, but in soft and gentle
air. Thy first breath breathed a soul into me, and shall thy breath blow
it out? Thy breath in the congregation, thy word in the church, breathes
communion and consolation here, and consummation hereafter; shall thy
breath in this chamber breathe dissolution and destruction, divorce and
separation? Surely it is not thou, it is not thy hand. The devouring
sword, the consuming fire, the winds from the wilderness, the diseases
of the body, all that afflicted Job, were from the hands of Satan; it is
not thou. It is thou, thou my God, who hast led me so continually with
thy hand, from the hand of my nurse, as that I know thou wilt not
correct me, but with thine own hand. My parents would not give me over
to a servant's correction, nor my God to Satan's. I am _fallen into the
hands of God_ with David, and with David I see that his mercies are
great.[7] For by that mercy, I consider in my present state, not the
haste and the despatch of the disease, in dissolving this body, so much
as the much more haste and despatch, which my God shall use, in
re-collecting and re-uniting this dust again at the resurrection. Then I
shall hear his angels proclaim the _Surgite mortui_, Rise, ye dead.
Though I be dead, I shall hear the voice; the sounding of the voice and
the working of the voice shall be all one; and all shall rise there in a
less minute than any one dies here.


O most gracious God, who pursuest and perfectest thine own purposes, and
dost not only remember me, by the first accesses of this sickness, that
I must die, but inform me, by this further proceeding therein, that I
may die now; who hast not only waked me with the first, but called me
up, by casting me further down, and clothed me with thyself, by
stripping me of my self, and by dulling my bodily senses to the meats
and eases of this world, hast whet and sharpened my spiritual senses to
the apprehension of thee; by what steps and degrees soever it shall
please thee to go, in the dissolution of this body, hasten, O Lord, that
pace, and multiply, O my God, those degrees, in the exaltation of my
soul toward thee now, and to thee then. My taste is not gone away, but
gone up to sit at David's table, _to taste, and see, that the Lord is
good_.[8] My stomach is not gone, but gone up, so far upwards toward the
_supper of the Lamb_, with thy saints in heaven, as to the table, to the
communion of thy saints here in earth. My knees are weak, but weak
therefore that I should easily fall to and fix myself long upon my
devotions to thee. _A sound heart is the life of the flesh_;[9] and a
heart visited by thee, and directed to thee, by that visitation is a
sound heart. _There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine
anger._[10] Interpret thine own work, and call this sickness correction,
and not anger, and there is soundness in my flesh. _There is no rest in
my bones, because of my sin_;[11] transfer my sins, with which thou art
so displeased, upon him with whom thou art so well pleased, Christ
Jesus, and there will be rest in my bones. And, O my God, who madest
thyself a light in a bush, in the midst of these brambles and thorns of
a sharp sickness, appear unto me so that I may see thee, and know thee
to be my God, applying thyself to me, even in these sharp and thorny
passages. Do this, O Lord, for his sake, who was not the less the King
of heaven for thy suffering him to be crowned with thorns in this world.


[1] Matt. xiii. 15.

[2] 2 Kings, iv. 40.

[3] Prov. xiii. 17.

[4] Isaiah, lviii. 8.

[5] 1 Sam. xxiv. 15.

[6] 2 Sam. ix. 8.

[7] 2 Sam. xxiv. 14.

[8] Psalm xxxiv. 8.

[9] Prov. xiv. 30.

[10] Psalm xxxviii. 3.

[11] Psalm xxxviii. 3.


_The patient takes his bed._


We attribute but one privilege and advantage to man's body above other
moving creatures, that he is not, as others, grovelling, but of an
erect, of an upright, form naturally built and disposed to the
contemplation of heaven. Indeed it is a thankful form, and recompenses
that soul, which gives it, with carrying that soul so many feet higher
towards heaven. Other creatures look to the earth; and even that is no
unfit object, no unfit contemplation for man, for thither he must come;
but because man is not to stay there, as other creatures are, man in his
natural form is carried to the contemplation of that place which is his
home, heaven. This is man's prerogative; but what state hath he in this
dignity? A fever can fillip him down, a fever can depose him; a fever
can bring that head, which yesterday carried a crown of gold five feet
towards a crown of glory, as low as his own foot to-day. When God came
to breathe into man the breath of life, he found him flat upon the
ground; when he comes to withdraw that breath from him again, he
prepares him to it by laying him flat upon his bed. Scarce any prison so
close that affords not the prisoner two or three steps. The anchorites
that barked themselves up in hollow trees and immured themselves in
hollow walls, that perverse man that barrelled himself in a tub, all
could stand or sit, and enjoy some change of posture. A sick bed is a
grave, and all that the patient says there is but a varying of his own
epitaph. Every night's bed is a type of the grave; at night we tell our
servants at what hour we will rise, here we cannot tell ourselves at
what day, what week, what month. Here the head lies as low as the foot;
the head of the people as low as they whom those feet trod upon; and
that hand that signed pardons is too weak to beg his own, if he might
have it for lifting up that hand. Strange fetters to the feet, strange
manacles to the hands, when the feet and hands are bound so much the
faster, by how much the cords are slacker; so much the less able to do
their offices, by how much more the sinews and ligaments are the looser.
In the grave I may speak through the stones, in the voice of my friends,
and in the accents of those words which their love may afford my memory;
here I am mine own ghost, and rather affright my beholders than instruct
them; they conceive the worst of me now, and yet fear worse; they give
me for dead now, and yet wonder how I do when they wake at midnight, and
ask how I do to-morrow. Miserable, and (though common to all) inhuman
posture, where I must practise my lying in the grave by lying still, and
not practise my resurrection by rising any more.


My God and my Jesus, my Lord and my Christ, my strength and my
salvation, I hear thee, and I hearken to thee, when thou rebukest thy
disciples, for rebuking them who brought children to thee; _Suffer
little children to come to me_, sayest thou.[12] Is there a verier child
than I am now? I cannot say, with thy servant Jeremy, _Lord, I am a
child, and cannot speak_; but, O Lord, I am a sucking child, and cannot
eat; a creeping child, and cannot go; how shall I come to thee? Whither
shall I come to thee? To this bed? I have this weak and childish
frowardness too, I cannot sit up, and yet am loth to go to bed. Shall I
find thee in bed? Oh, have I always done so? The bed is not ordinarily
thy scene, thy climate: Lord, dost thou not accuse me, dost thou not
reproach to me my former sins, when thou layest me upon this bed? Is not
this to hang a man at his own door, to lay him sick in his own bed of
wantonness? When thou chidest us by thy prophet for lying in _beds of
ivory_[13], is not thine anger vented; not till thou changest our beds
of ivory into beds of ebony? David swears unto thee, _that he will not
go up into his bed, till he had built thee a house_.[14] To go up into
the bed denotes strength, and promises ease; but when thou sayest, _that
thou wilt cast Jezebel into a bed_, thou makest thine own comment upon
that; thou callest the bed tribulation, great tribulation.[15] How shall
they come to thee whom thou hast nailed to their bed? Thou art in the
congregation, and I in a solitude: when the centurion's servant lay sick
at home,[16] his master was fain to come to Christ; the sick man could
not. Their friend lay sick of the palsy, and the four charitable men
were fain to bring him to Christ; he could not come.[17] Peter's wife's
mother lay sick of a fever, and Christ came to her; she could not come
to him.[18] My friends may carry me home to thee, in their prayers in
the congregation; thou must come home to me in the visitation of thy
Spirit, and in the seal of thy sacrament. But when I am cast into this
bed my slack sinews are iron fetters, and those thin sheets iron doors
upon me; and, _Lord, I have loved the habitation of thine house, and the
place where thine honour dwelleth_.[19] I lie here and say, _Blessed are
they that dwell in thy house_;[20] but I cannot say, _I will come into
thy house_; I may say, _In thy fear will I worship towards thy holy
temple_;[21] but I cannot say in thy holy temple. And, _Lord, the zeal
of thy house eats me up_,[22] as fast as my fever; it is not a
recusancy, for I would come, but it is an excommunication, I must not.
But, Lord, thou art Lord of hosts, and lovest action; why callest thou
me from my calling? _In the grave no man shall praise thee_; in the door
of the grave, this sick bed, no man shall hear me praise thee. Thou hast
not opened my lips that my mouth might show thee thy praise, but that my
mouth might show forth thy praise. But thine apostle's fear takes hold
of me, _that when I have preached to others, I myself should be a
castaway_;[23] and therefore am I cast down, that I might not be cast
away. Thou couldst take me by the head, as thou didst Habbakuk, and
carry me so; by a chariot, as thou didst Elijah,[24] and carry me so;
but thou carriest me thine own private way, the way by which thou
carriedst thy Son, who first lay upon the earth and prayed, and then had
his exaltation, as himself calls his crucifying; and first descended
into hell, and then had his ascension. There is another station (indeed
neither are stations but prostrations) lower than this bed; to-morrow I
may be laid one story lower, upon the floor, the face of the earth; and
next day another story, in the grave, the womb of the earth. As yet God
suspends me between heaven and earth, as a meteor; and I am not in
heaven because an earthly body clogs me, and I am not in the earth
because a heavenly soul sustains me. And it is thine own law, O God,
that _if a man be smitten so by another, as that he keep his bed, though
he die not, he that hurt him must take care of his healing, and
recompense him_[25]. Thy hand strikes me into this bed; and therefore,
if I rise again, thou wilt be my recompense all the days of my life, in
making the memory of this sickness beneficial to me; and if my body fall
yet lower, thou wilt take my soul out of this bath, and present it to
thy Father, washed again, and again, and again, in thine own tears, in
thine own sweat, in thine own blood.


O most mighty and most merciful God, who, though thou have taken me off
of my feet, hast not taken me off of my foundation, which is thyself;
who, though thou have removed me from that upright form in which I could
stand and see thy throne, the heavens, yet hast not removed from me that
light by which I can lie and see thyself; who, though thou have weakened
my bodily knees, that they cannot bow to thee, hast yet left me the
knees of my heart; which are bowed unto thee evermore; as thou hast made
this bed thine altar, make me thy sacrifice; and as thou makest thy Son
Christ Jesus the priest, so make me his deacon, to minister to him in a
cheerful surrender of my body and soul to thy pleasure, by his hands. I
come unto thee, O God, my God, I come unto thee, so as I can come, I
come to thee, by embracing thy coming to me, I come in the confidence,
and in the application of thy servant David's promise, _that thou wilt
make all my bed in my sickness_;[26] all my bed; that which way soever I
turn, I may turn to thee; and as I feel thy hand upon all my body, so I
may find it upon all my bed, and see all my corrections, and all my
refreshings to flow from one and the same, and all from thy hand. As
thou hast made these feathers thorns, in the sharpness of this sickness,
so, Lord, make these thorns feathers again, feathers of thy dove, in the
peace of conscience, and in a holy recourse to thine ark, to the
instruments of true comfort, in thy institutions and in the ordinances
of thy church. Forget my bed, O Lord, as it hath been a bed of sloth,
and worse than sloth; take me not, O Lord, at this advantage, to terrify
my soul with saying, Now I have met thee there where thou hast so often
departed from me; but having burnt up that bed by these vehement heats,
and washed that bed in these abundant sweats, make my bed again, O Lord,
and enable me, according to thy command, _to commune with mine own heart
upon my bed, and be still_[27]; to provide a bed for all my former sins
whilst I lie upon this bed, and a grave for my sins before I come to my
grave; and when I have deposited them in the wounds of thy Son, to rest
in that assurance, that my conscience is discharged from further
anxiety, and my soul from further danger, and my memory from further
calumny. Do this, O Lord, for his sake, who did and suffered so much,
that thou mightest, as well in thy justice as in thy mercy, do it for
me, thy Son, our Saviour, Christ Jesus.


[12] Matt. xix. 13.

[13] Amos, vi. 4.

[14] Psalm cxxxii. 3.

[15] Rev. ii. 22.

[16] Matt. viii. 6.

[17] Matt. viii. 4.

[18] Matt. viii. 14.

[19] Psalm xxvi. 8.

[20] Psalm lxxxiv. 4.

[21] Psalm v. 7.

[22] Psalm lxix. 9.

[23] 1 Cor. ix. 27.

[24] 2 Kings, ii. 11.

[25] Exodus, xxi. 18.

[26] Psalm xli. 3.

[27] Psalm iv. 4.


_The physician is sent for._


It is too little to call man a little world; except God, man is a
diminutive to nothing. Man consists of more pieces, more parts, than the
world; than the world doth, nay, than the world is. And if those pieces
were extended, and stretched out in man as they are in the world, man
would be the giant, and the world the dwarf; the world but the map, and
the man the world. If all the veins in our bodies were extended to
rivers, and all the sinews to veins of mines, and all the muscles that
lie upon one another, to hills, and all the bones to quarries of stones,
and all the other pieces to the proportion of those which correspond to
them in the world, the air would be too little for this orb of man to
move in, the firmament would be but enough for this star; for, as the
whole world hath nothing, to which something in man doth not answer, so
hath man many pieces of which the whole world hath no representation.
Enlarge this meditation upon this great world, man, so far as to
consider the immensity of the creatures this world produces; our
creatures are our thoughts, creatures that are born giants; that reach
from east to west, from earth to heaven; that do not only bestride all
the sea and land, but span the sun and firmament at once; my thoughts
reach all, comprehend all. Inexplicable mystery; I their creator am in a
close prison, in a sick bed, any where, and any one of my creatures, my
thoughts, is with the sun, and beyond the sun, overtakes the sun, and
overgoes the sun in one pace, one step, everywhere. And then, as the
other world produces serpents and vipers, malignant and venomous
creatures, and worms and caterpillars, that endeavour to devour that
world which produces them, and monsters compiled and complicated of
divers parents and kinds; so this world, ourselves, produces all these
in us, in producing diseases, and sicknesses of all those sorts:
venomous and infectious diseases, feeding and consuming diseases, and
manifold and entangled diseases made up of many several ones. And can
the other world name so many venomous, so many consuming, so many
monstrous creatures, as we can diseases of all these kinds? O miserable
abundance, O beggarly riches! how much do we lack of having remedies for
every disease, when as yet we have not names for them? But we have a
Hercules against these giants, these monsters; that is, the physician;
he musters up all the forces of the other world to succour this, all
nature to relieve man. We have the physician, but we are not the
physician. Here we shrink in our proportion, sink in our dignity, in
respect of very mean creatures, who are physicians to themselves. The
hart that is pursued and wounded, they say, knows an herb, which being
eaten throws off the arrow: a strange kind of vomit. The dog that
pursues it, though he be subject to sickness, even proverbially, knows
his grass that recovers him. And it may be true, that the drugger is as
near to man as to other creatures; it may be that obvious and present
simples, easy to be had, would cure him; but the apothecary is not so
near him, nor the physician so near him, as they two are to other
creatures; man hath not that innate instinct, to apply those natural
medicines to his present danger, as those inferior creatures have; he is
not his own apothecary, his own physician, as they are. Call back
therefore thy meditation again, and bring it down: what's become of
man's great extent and proportion, when himself shrinks himself and
consumes himself to a handful of dust; what's become of his soaring
thoughts, his compassing thoughts, when himself brings himself to the
ignorance, to the thoughtlessness, of the grave? His diseases are his
own, but the physician is not; he hath them at home, but he must send
for the physician.


I have not the righteousness of Job, but I have the desire of Job: _I
would speak to the Almighty, and I would reason with God_.[28] My God,
my God, how soon wouldst thou have me go to the physician, and how far
wouldst thou have me go with the physician? I know thou hast made the
matter, and the man, and the art; and I go not from thee when I go to
the physician. Thou didst not make clothes before there was a shame of
the nakedness of the body, but thou didst make physic before there was
any grudging of any sickness; for thou didst imprint a medicinal virtue
in many simples, even from the beginning; didst thou mean that we should
be sick when thou didst so? when thou madest them? No more than thou
didst mean, that we should sin, when thou madest us: thou foresawest
both, but causedst neither. Thou, Lord, promisest here trees, _whose
fruit shall be for meat, and their leaves for medicine_.[29] It is the
voice of thy Son, _Wilt thou be made whole?_[30] that draws from the
patient a confession that he was ill, and could not make himself well.
And it is thine own voice, _Is there no physician?_[31] that inclines
us, disposes us, to accept thine ordinance. And it is the voice of the
wise man, both for the matter, physic itself, _The Lord hath created
medicines out of the earth, and he that is wise shall not abhor
them_,[32] and for the art, and the person, the physician cutteth off a
long disease. In all these voices thou sendest us to those helps which
thou hast afforded us in that. But wilt not thou avow that voice too,
_He that hath sinned against his Maker, let him fall into the hands of
the physician_;[33] and wilt not thou afford me an understanding of
those words? Thou, who sendest us for a blessing to the physician, dost
not make it a curse to us to go when thou sendest. Is not the curse
rather in this, that only he falls into the hands of the physician, that
casts himself wholly, entirely upon the physician, confides in him,
relies upon him, attends all from him, and neglects that spiritual
physic which thou also hast instituted in thy church. So to fall into
the hands of the physician is a sin, and a punishment of former sins;
so, as Asa fell, who in his disease _sought not to the Lord, but to the
physician_.[34] Reveal therefore to me thy method, O Lord, and see
whether I have followed it; that thou mayest have glory, if I have, and
I pardon, if I have not, and help that I may. Thy method is, _In time of
thy sickness, be not negligent_: wherein wilt thou have my diligence
expressed? _Pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole._[35] O
Lord, I do; I pray, and pray thy servant David's prayer, _Have mercy
upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are
vexed_:[36] I know that even my weakness is a reason, a motive, to
induce thy mercy, and my sickness an occasion of thy sending health.
When art thou so ready, when is it so seasonable to thee, to
commiserate, as in misery? But is prayer for health in season, as soon
as I am sick? Thy method goes further: _Leave off from sin, and order
thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness_.[37] Have
I, O Lord, done so? O Lord, I have; by thy grace, I am come to a holy
detestation of my former sin. Is there any more? In thy method there is
more: _Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour, and make a fat
offering, as not being_.[38] And, Lord, by thy grace, I have done that,
sacrificed a little of that little which thou lentest me, to them for
whom thou lentest it: and now in thy method, and by thy steps, I am come
to that, _Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created
him; let him not go from thee, for thou hast need of him_.[39] I send
for the physician, but I will hear him enter with those words of Peter,
_Jesus Christ maketh thee whole_;[40] I long for his presence, but I
look _that the power of the Lord should be present to heal me_.[41]


O most mighty and most merciful God, who art so the God of health and
strength, as that without thee all health is but the fuel, and all
strength but the bellows of sin; behold me under the vehemence of two
diseases, and under the necessity of two physicians, authorized by thee,
the bodily, and the spiritual physician. I come to both as to thine
ordinance, and bless and glorify thy name that, in both cases, thou hast
afforded help to man by the ministry of man. Even in the new Jerusalem,
in heaven itself, it hath pleased thee to discover a tree, which is _a
tree of life there, but the leaves thereof are for the healing of the
nations_.[42] Life itself is with thee there, for thou art life; and all
kinds of health, wrought upon us here by thine instruments, descend from
thence. _Thou wouldst have healed Babylon, but she is not healed._[43]
Take from me, O Lord, her perverseness, her wilfulness, her
refractoriness, and hear thy Spirit saying in my soul: Heal me, O Lord,
for I would be healed. _Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound;
then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jareb, yet could not
he heal you, nor cure you of your wound._[44] Keep me back, O Lord, from
them who misprofess arts of healing the soul, or of the body, by means
not imprinted by thee in the church for the soul, or not in nature for
the body. There is no spiritual health to be had by superstition, nor
bodily by witchcraft; thou, Lord, and only thou, art Lord of both. Thou
in thyself art Lord of both, and thou in thy Son art the physician, the
applier of both. _With his stripes we are healed_,[45] says the prophet
there; there, before he was scourged, we were healed with his stripes;
how much more shall I be healed now, now when that which he hath already
suffered actually is actually and effectually applied to me? Is there
any thing incurable, upon which that balm drops? Any vein so empty as
that that blood cannot fill it? Thou promisest to heal the earth;[46]
but it is when the inhabitants of the earth _pray that thou wouldst heal
it_. Thou promisest to heal their waters, but _their miry places and
standing waters_, thou sayest there, _thou wilt not heal_.[47] My
returning to any sin, if I should return to the ability of sinning over
all my sins again, thou wouldst not pardon. Heal this earth, O my God,
by repentant tears, and heal these waters, these tears, from all
bitterness, from all diffidence, from all dejection, by establishing my
irremovable assurance in thee. _Thy Son went about healing all manner of
sickness._[48] (No disease incurable, none difficult; he healed them in
passing). _Virtue went out of him, and he healed all_,[49] all the
multitude (no person incurable), he healed them _every whit_[50] (as
himself speaks), he left no relics of the disease; and will this
universal physician pass by this hospital, and not visit me? not heal
me? not heal me wholly? Lord, I look not that thou shouldst say by thy
messenger to me, as to Hezekiah, _Behold, I will heal thee, and on the
third day thou shalt go up to the house of the Lord_.[51] I look not
that thou shouldst say to me, as to Moses in Miriam's behalf, when Moses
would have had her healed presently, _If her father had but spit in her
face, should she not have been ashamed seven days? Let her be shut up
seven days, and then return_;[52] but if thou be pleased to multiply
seven days (and seven is infinite) by the number of my sins (and that is
more infinite), if this day must remove me till days shall be no more,
seal to me my spiritual health, in affording me the seals of thy church;
and for my temporal health, prosper thine ordinance, in their hands who
shall assist in this sickness, in that manner, and in that measure, as
may most glorify thee, and most edify those who observe the issues of
thy servants, to their own spiritual benefit.


[28] Job, xiii. 3.

[29] Ezek. xlvii. 12.

[30] John, v. 6.

[31] Jer. viii. 22.

[32] Ecclus. xxxviii. 4.

[33] Ecclus. xxxviii. 15.

[34] 1 Chron. xvi. 12.

[35] Ecclus. xxxviii. 9.

[36] Psalm vi. 2.

[37] Ecclus. xxxviii. 10.

[38] Ecclus. xxxviii. 11.

[39] Ecclus. xxxviii. 12.

[40] Acts, ix. 34.

[41] Luke, v. 17.

[42] Rev. xxii. 2.

[43] Jer. li. 9.

[44] Hosea, v. 13.

[45] Isaiah, liii. 5.

[46] 2 Chron. vii. 14.

[47] Ezek. xlvii. 11.

[48] Matt. iv. 23.

[49] Luke, vi. 19.

[50] John, vii. 23.

[51] 2 Kings, xx. 5.

[52] Num. xii. 14.


_The physician comes_


As sickness is the greatest misery, so the greatest misery of sickness
is solitude; when the infectiousness of the disease deters them who
should assist from coming; even the physician dares scarce come.
Solitude is a torment which is not threatened in hell itself. Mere
vacuity, the first agent, God, the first instrument of God, nature, will
not admit; nothing can be utterly empty, but so near a degree towards
vacuity as solitude, to be but one, they love not. When I am dead, and
my body might infect, they have a remedy, they may bury me; but when I
am but sick, and might infect, they have no remedy but their absence,
and my solitude. It is an excuse to them that are great, and pretend,
and yet are loath to come; it is an inhibition to those who would truly
come, because they may be made instruments, and pestiducts, to the
infection of others, by their coming. And it is an outlawry, an
excommunication upon the patient, and separates him from all offices,
not only of civility but of working charity. A long sickness will weary
friends at last, but a pestilential sickness averts them from the
beginning. God himself would admit a figure of society, as there is a
plurality of persons in God, though there be but one God; and all his
external actions testify a love of society, and communion. In heaven
there are orders of angels, and armies of martyrs, and in that house
many mansions; in earth, families, cities, churches, colleges, all
plural things; and lest either of these should not be company enough
alone, there is an association of both, a communion of saints which
makes the militant and triumphant church one parish; so that Christ was
not out of his diocess when he was upon the earth, nor out of his temple
when he was in our flesh. God, who saw that all that he made was good,
came not so near seeing a defect in any of his works, as when he saw
that it was not good for man to be alone, therefore he made him a
helper; and one that should help him so as to increase the number, and
give him her own, and more society. Angels, who do not propagate nor
multiply, were made at first in an abundant number, and so were stars;
but for the things of this world, their blessing was, Increase; for I
think, I need not ask leave to think, that there is no phoenix;
nothing singular, nothing alone. Men that inhere upon nature only, are
so far from thinking that there is any thing singular in this world, as
that they will scarce think that this world itself is singular, but that
every planet, and every star, is another world like this; they find
reason to conceive not only a plurality in every species in the world,
but a plurality of worlds; so that the abhorrers of solitude are not
solitary, for God, and Nature, and Reason concur against it. Now a man
may counterfeit the plague in a vow, and mistake a disease for religion,
by such a retiring and recluding of himself from all men as to do good
to no man, to converse with no man. God hath two testaments, two wills;
but this is a schedule, and not of his, a codicil, and not of his, not
in the body of his testaments, but interlined and postscribed by others,
that the way to the communion of saints should be by such a solitude as
excludes all doing of good here. That is a disease of the mind, as the
height of an infectious disease of the body is solitude, to be left
alone: for this makes an infectious bed equal, nay, worse than a grave,
that though in both I be equally alone, in my bed I know it, and feel
it, and shall not in my grave: and this too, that in my bed my soul is
still in an infectious body, and shall not in my grave be so.


O God, my God, thy Son took it not ill at Martha's hands, that when he
said unto her, _Thy brother Lazarus shall rise again_,[53] she
expostulated it so far with him as to reply, _I know that he shall rise
again in the resurrection, at the last day_; for she was miserable by
wanting him then. Take it not ill, O my God, from me, that though thou
have ordained it for a blessing, and for a dignity to thy people, _that
they should dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations_[54]
(because they should be above them), and that _they should dwell in
safety alone_[55] (free from the infestation of enemies), yet I take thy
leave to remember thee, that thou hast said too, _Two are better than
one_; and, _Woe be unto him that is alone when he falleth_;[56] and so
when he is fallen, and laid in the bed of sickness too. _Righteousness
is immortal_;[57] I know thy wisdom hath said so; but no man, though
covered with the righteousness of thy Son, is immortal so as not to die;
for he who was righteousness itself did die. I know that the Son of
Righteousness, thy Son, refused not, nay affected, solitariness,
loneness,[58] many, many times; but at all times he was able to command
_more than twelve legions of angels_[59] to his service; and when he did
not so, he was far from being alone: for, _I am not alone_, says he,
_but I, and the Father that sent me_.[60] I cannot fear but that I
shall always be with thee and him; but whether this disease may not
alien and remove my friends, so that _they stand aloof from my sore, and
my kinsmen stand afar off_,[61] I cannot tell. I cannot fear but that
thou wilt reckon with me from this minute, in which, by thy grace, I see
thee; whether this understanding, and this will, and this memory may not
decay, to the discouragement and the ill interpretation of them that see
that heavy change in me, I cannot tell. It was for thy blessed, thy
powerful Son alone, _to tread the wine-press alone, and none of the
people with him_.[62] I am not able to pass this agony alone, not alone
without thee; thou art thy spirit, not alone without thine; spiritual
and temporal physicians are thine, not alone without mine; those whom
the bands of blood or friendship have made mine, are mine; and if thou,
or thine, or mine, abandon me, I am alone, and woe unto me if I be
alone. Elias himself fainted under that apprehension, _Lo, I am left
alone_;[63] and Martha murmured at that, said to Christ, _Lord, dost not
thou care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?_[64] Neither could
Jeremiah enter into his lamentations from a higher ground than to say,
_How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people_.[65] O my God,
it is the leper that thou hast condemned to live alone;[66] have I such
a leprosy in my soul that I must die alone; alone without thee? Shall
this come to such a leprosy in my body that I must die alone; alone
without them that should assist, that should comfort me? But comes not
this expostulation too near a murmuring? Must I be concluded with that,
that Moses _was commanded to come near the Lord alone_;[67] that
solitariness, and dereliction, and abandoning of others, disposes us
best for God, who accompanies us most alone? May I not remember, and
apply too, that though God came not to Jacob till he found him alone,
yet when he found him alone, he wrestled with him, and lamed him;[68]
that when, in the dereliction and forsaking of friends and physicians, a
man is left alone to God, God may so wrestle with this Jacob, with this
conscience, as to put it out of joint, and so appear to him as that he
dares not look upon him face to face, when as by way of reflection, in
the consolation of his temporal or spiritual servants, and ordinances he
durst, if they were there? But a _faithful friend is the physic of life,
and they that fear the Lord shall find him_.[69] Therefore hath the Lord
afforded me both in one person, that physician who is my faithful


O eternal and most gracious God, who calledst down fire from heaven upon
the sinful cities but once, and openedst the earth to swallow the
murmurers but once, and threwest down the tower of Siloam upon sinners
but once; but for thy works of mercy repeatedst them often, and still
workest by thine own patterns, as thou broughtest man into this world,
by giving him a helper fit for him here; so, whether it be thy will to
continue me long thus, or to dismiss me by death, be pleased to afford
me the helps fit for both conditions, either for my weak stay here, or
my final transmigration from hence. And if thou mayst receive glory by
that way (and by all ways thou mayst receive glory), glorify thyself in
preserving this body from such infections as might withhold those who
would come, or endanger them who do come; and preserve this soul in the
faculties thereof from all such distempers as might shake the assurance
which myself and others have had, that because thou hast loved me thou
wouldst love me to my end, and at my end. Open none of my doors, not of
my heart, not of mine ears, not of my house, to any supplanter that
would enter to undermine me in my religion to thee, in the time of my
weakness, or to defame me, and magnify himself with false rumours of
such a victory and surprisal of me, after I am dead. Be my salvation,
and plead my salvation; work it and declare it; and as thy triumphant
shall be, so let the militant church be assured that thou wast my God,
and I thy servant, to and in my consummation. Bless thou the learning
and the labours of this man whom thou sendest to assist me; and since
thou takest me by the hand, and puttest me into his hands (for I come to
him in thy name, who in thy name comes to me), since I clog not my hopes
in him, no, nor my prayers to thee, with any limited conditions, but
inwrap all in those two petitions, _Thy kingdom come, thy will be done_,
prosper him, and relieve me, in thy way, in thy time, and in thy
measure. Amen.


[53] John, xi. 23.

[54] Num. xxiii. 9.

[55] Deut. xxxiii. 28.

[56] Eccles. iv. 10.

[57] Wisd. i. 15.

[58] Matt. xiv. 23.

[59] Matt. xxvi. 13.

[60] John, viii. 16.

[61] Psalm xxxviii. 11.

[62] Isaiah, lxiii. 3.

[63] 1 Kings, xiv. 14.

[64] Luke, x. 40.

[65] Lam. i. 1.

[66] Lev. xiii. 46.

[67] Exod. xiv. 2.

[68] Gen. xxxii. 24. 25.

[69] Ecclus. vi. 16.


_The physician is afraid._


I observe the physician with the same diligence as he the disease; I see
he fears, and I fear with him; I overtake him, I overrun him, in his
fear, and I go the faster, because he makes his pace slow; I fear the
more, because he disguises his fear, and I see it with the more
sharpness, because he would not have me see it. He knows that his fear
shall not disorder the practice and exercise of his art, but he knows
that my fear may disorder the effect and working of his practice. As the
ill affections of the spleen complicate and mingle themselves with every
infirmity of the body, so doth fear insinuate itself in every action or
passion of the mind; and as wind in the body will counterfeit any
disease, and seem the stone, and seem the gout, so fear will counterfeit
any disease of the mind. It shall seem love, a love of having; and it is
but a fear, a jealous and suspicious fear of losing. It shall seem
valour in despising and undervaluing danger; and it is but fear in an
overvaluing of opinion and estimation, and a fear of losing that. A man
that is not afraid of a lion is afraid of a cat; not afraid of starving,
and yet is afraid of some joint of meat at the table presented to feed
him; not afraid of the sound of drums and trumpets and shot and those
which they seek to drown, the last cries of men, and is afraid of some
particular harmonious instrument; so much afraid as that with any of
these the enemy might drive this man, otherwise valiant enough, out of
the field. I know not what fear is, nor I know not what it is that I
fear now; I fear not the hastening of my death, and yet I do fear the
increase of the disease; I should belie nature if I should deny that I
feared this; and if I should say that I feared death, I should belie
God. My weakness is from nature, who hath but her measure; my strength
is from God, who possesses and distributes infinitely. As then every
cold air is not a damp, every shivering is not a stupefaction; so every
fear is not a fearfulness, every declination is not a running away,
every debating is not a resolving, every wish that it were not thus, is
not a murmuring nor a dejection, though it be thus; but as my
physician's fear puts not him from his practice, neither doth mine put
me from receiving from God, and man, and myself, spiritual and civil and
moral assistances and consolations.


My God, my God, I find in thy book that fear is a stifling spirit, a
spirit of suffocation; that _Ishbosheth could not speak, nor reply in
his own defence to Abner, because he was afraid_.[70] It was thy servant
Job's case too, who, before he could say anything to thee, says of thee,
_Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me,
then would I speak with him, and not fear him; but it is not so with
me_.[71] Shall a fear of thee take away my devotion to thee? Dost thou
command me to speak to thee, and command me to fear thee; and do these
destroy one another? There is no perplexity in thee, my God; no
inextricableness in thee, my light and my clearness, my sun and my moon,
that directest me as well in the night of adversity and fear, as in my
day of prosperity and confidence. I must then speak to thee at all
times, but when must I fear thee? At all times too. When didst thou
rebuke any petitioner with the name of importunate? Thou hast proposed
to us a parable of a judge[72] that did justice at last, because the
client was importunate, and troubled him; but thou hast told us plainly,
that thy use in that parable was not that thou wast troubled with our
importunities, but (as thou sayest there) _that we should always pray_.
And to the same purpose thou proposest another,[73] that if I press my
friend, when he is in bed at midnight, to lend me bread, though he will
not rise because I am his friend, yet because of mine importunity he
will. God will do this whensoever thou askest, and never call it
importunity. Pray in thy bed at midnight, and God will not say, I will
hear thee to-morrow upon thy knees, at thy bedside; pray upon thy knees
there then, and God will not say, I will hear thee on Sunday at church;
God is no dilatory God, no froward God; prayer is never unseasonable,
God is never asleep, nor absent. But, O my God, can I do this, and fear
thee; come to thee and speak to thee, in all places, at all hours, and
fear thee? Dare I ask this question? There is more boldness in the
question than in the coming; I may do it though I fear thee; I cannot do
it except I fear thee. So well hast thou provided that we should always
fear thee, as that thou hast provided that we should fear no person but
thee, nothing but thee; no men? No. Whom? _The Lord is my help and my
salvation, whom shall I fear?_[74] Great enemies? Not great enemies, for
no enemies are great to them that fear thee. _Fear not the people of
this land, for they are bread to you_;[75] they shall not only not eat
us, not eat our bread, but they shall be our bread. Why should we fear
them? But for all this metaphorical bread, victory over enemies that
thought to devour us, may we not fear, that we may lack bread literally?
And fear famine, though we fear not enemies? _Young lions do lack and
suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good
thing._[76] Never? Though it be well with them at one time, may they not
fear that it may be worse? _Wherefore should I fear in the days of
evil?_[77] says thy servant David. Though his own sin had made them
evil, he feared them not. No? not if this evil determine in death? Not
though in a death; not though in a death inflicted by violence, by
malice, by our own desert; _fear not the sentence of death_,[78] if thou
fear God. Thou art, O my God, so far from admitting us that fear thee to
fear others, as that thou makest others to fear us; as _Herod feared
John, because he was a holy and a just man, and observed him_.[79] How
fully then, O my abundant God, how gently, O my sweet, my easy God, dost
thou unentangle me in any scruple arising out of the consideration of
thy fear! Is not this that which thou intendest when thou sayest, _The
secret of the Lord is with them that fear him_;[80] the secret, the
mystery of the right use of fear. Dost thou not mean this when thou
sayest, _we shall understand the fear of the Lord_?[81] Have it, and
have benefit by it; have it, and stand under it; be directed by it, and
not be dejected with it. And dost thou not propose that church for our
example when thou sayest, the church of Judea _walked in the fear of
God_;[82] they had it, but did not sit down lazily, nor fall down
weakly, nor sink under it. There is a fear which weakens men in the
service of God. _Adam was afraid, because he was naked._[83] They who
have put off thee are a prey to all. They may fear, for _Thou wilt laugh
when their fear comes upon them_, as thou hast told them more than
once.[84] And thou wilt make them fear where no cause of fear is, as
thou hast told them more than once too.[85] There is a fear that is a
punishment of former wickednesses, and induces more. Though some said of
thy Son, Christ Jesus, _that he was a good man, yet no man spake openly
for fear of the Jews_. Joseph was his disciple, _but secretly, for fear
of the Jews_.[86] The disciples kept some meetings, but with doors shut
for fear of the Jews. O my God, thou givest us fear for ballast to carry
us steadily in all weathers. But thou wouldst ballast us with such sand
as should have gold in it, with that fear which is thy fear; for _the
fear of the Lord is his treasure_.[87] He that hath that lacks nothing
that man can have, nothing that God does give. Timorous men thou
rebukest: _Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?_[88] Such thou
dismissest from thy service with scorn, though of them there went from
Gideon's army twenty-two thousand, and remained but ten thousand.[89]
Such thou sendest farther than so; thither from whence they never
return: _The fearful and the unbelieving, into that burning lake which
is the second death_.[90] There is a fear and there is a hope, which are
equal abominations to thee; for, they were confounded because they
hoped,[91] says thy servant Job; because they had misplaced, miscentred
their hopes, they hoped, and not in thee, and such shall fear, and not
fear thee. But in thy fear, my God, and my fear, my God, and my hope, is
hope, and love, and confidence, and peace, and every limb and ingredient
of happiness enwrapped; for joy includes all, and fear and joy consist
together, nay, constitute one another. _The women departed from the
sepulchre_,[92] the women who were made supernumerary apostles, apostles
to the apostles; mothers of the church, and of the fathers, grandfathers
of the church, the apostles themselves; the women, angels of the
resurrection, went from the sepulchre with fear and joy; they ran, says
the text, and they ran upon those two legs, fear and joy; and both was
the right leg; they joy in thee, O Lord, that fear thee, and fear thee
only, who feel this joy in thee. Nay, thy fear, and thy love are
inseparable; still we are called upon, in infinite places, to fear God,
yet the commandment, which is the root of all is, Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God; he doeth neither that doeth not both; he omits neither,
that does one. Therefore when thy servant David had said that _the fear
of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom_,[93] and his son had repeated it
again,[94] he that collects both calls this fear the root of wisdom;
and, that it may embrace all, he calls it wisdom itself.[95] A wise man,
therefore, is never without it, never without the exercise of it;
therefore thou sentest Moses to thy people, _that they might learn to
fear thee all the days of their lives_,[96] not in heavy and calamitous,
but in good and cheerful days too; for Noah, who had assurance of his
deliverance, yet, _moved with fear, prepared an ark, for the saving of
his house_.[97] _A wise man will fear in everything._[98] And therefore,
though I pretend to no other degree of wisdom, I am abundantly rich in
this, that I lie here possessed with that fear which is thy fear, both
that this sickness is thy immediate correction, and not merely a natural
accident, and therefore fearful, because it is a fearful thing to fall
into thy hands; and that this fear preserves me from all inordinate
fear, arising out of the infirmity of nature, because thy hand being
upon me, thou wilt never let me fall out of thy hand.


O most mighty God, and merciful God, the God of all true sorrow, and
true joy too, of all fear, and of all hope too, as thou hast given me a
repentance, not to be repented of, so give me, O Lord, a fear, of which
I may not be afraid. Give me tender and supple and conformable
affections, that as I joy with them that joy, and mourn with them that
mourn, so I may fear with them that fear. And since thou hast vouchsafed
to discover to me, in his fear whom thou hast admitted to be my
assistance in this sickness, that there is danger therein, let me not, O
Lord, go about to overcome the sense of that fear, so far as to
pretermit the fitting and preparing of myself for the worst that may be
feared, the passage out of this life. Many of thy blessed martyrs have
passed out of this life without any show of fear; but thy most blessed
Son himself did not so. Thy martyrs were known to be but men, and
therefore it pleased thee to fill them with thy Spirit and thy power, in
that they did more than men; thy Son was declared by thee, and by
himself, to be God; and it was requisite that he should declare himself
to be man also, in the weaknesses of man. Let me not therefore, O my
God, be ashamed of these fears, but let me feel them to determine where
his fear did, in a present submitting of all to thy will. And when thou
shalt have inflamed and thawed my former coldnesses and indevotions with
these heats, and quenched my former heats with these sweats and
inundations, and rectified my former presumptions and negligences with
these fears, be pleased, O Lord, as one made so by thee, to think me fit
for thee; and whether it be thy pleasure to dispose of this body, this
garment, so as to put it to a farther wearing in this world, or to lay
it up in the common wardrobe, the grave, for the next, glorify thyself
in thy choice now, and glorify it then, with that glory, which thy Son,
our Saviour Christ Jesus, hath purchased for them whom thou makest
partakers of his resurrection. Amen.


[70] 2 Sam. iii. 11.

[71] Job, ix. 34.

[72] Luke, xviii. 1.

[73] Luke, xi. 5.

[74] Psalm xxvii. 1.

[75] Num. xiv. 9.

[76] Psalm xxxv. 70.

[77] Psalm xlix. 5.

[78] Ecclus. xli. 3.

[79] Mark, vi. 20.

[80] Psalm xxv. 14.

[81] Prov. ii. 5.

[82] Acts, ix. 31.

[83] Gen. iii. 10.

[84] Prov. i. 26; x. 24.

[85] Psalm xiv. 5; liii. 5.

[86] John, vii. 13; xix. 38; xxix. 19

[87] Isaiah, xxxiii. 6.

[88] Matt. viii. 26.

[89] Judges, vii. 3.

[90] Rev. xxi. 8.

[91] Job, vi. 20.

[92] Matt. xxviii. 8.

[93] Psalm cxi. 10.

[94] Prov. i. 7.

[95] Ecclus. i. 20, 27.

[96] Deut. iv. 10.

[97] Heb. xi. 7.

[98] Ecclus. xviii. 27.


_The physician desires to have others joined with him._


There is more fear, therefore more cause. If the physician desire help,
the burden grows great: there is a growth of the disease then; but there
must be an autumn too; but whether an autumn of the disease or me, it is
not my part to choose; but if it be of me, it is of both; my disease
cannot survive me, I may overlive it. Howsoever, his desiring of others
argues his candour, and his ingenuity; if the danger be great, he
justifies his proceedings, and he disguises nothing that calls in
witnesses; and if the danger be not great, he is not ambitious, that is
so ready to divide the thanks and the honour of that work which he begun
alone, with others. It diminishes not the dignity of a monarch that he
derive part of his care upon others; God hath not made many suns, but he
hath made many bodies that receive and give light. The Romans began with
one king; they came to two consuls; they returned in extremities to one
dictator: whether in one or many, the sovereignty is the same in all
states and the danger is not the more, and the providence is the more,
where there are more physicians; as the state is the happier where
businesses are carried by more counsels than can be in one breast, how
large soever. Diseases themselves hold consultations, and conspire how
they may multiply, and join with one another, and exalt one another's
force so; and shall we not call physicians to consultations? Death is in
an old man's door, he appears and tells him so, and death is at a young
man's back, and says nothing; age is a sickness, and youth is an
ambush; and we need so many physicians as may make up a watch, and spy
every inconvenience. There is scarce any thing that hath not killed
somebody; a hair, a feather hath done it; nay, that which is our best
antidote against it hath done it; the best cordial hath been deadly
poison. Men have died of joy, and almost forbidden their friends to weep
for them, when they have seen them die laughing. Even that tyrant,
Dionysius (I think the same that suffered so much after), who could not
die of that sorrow, of that high fall, from a king to a wretched private
man, died of so poor a joy as to be declared by the people at a theatre
that he was a good poet. We say often that a man may live of a little;
but, alas, of how much less may a man die? And therefore the more
assistants the better. Who comes to a day of hearing, in a cause of any
importance, with one advocate? In our funerals we ourselves have no
interest; there we cannot advise, we cannot direct; and though some
nations (the Egyptians in particular) built themselves better tombs than
houses because they were to dwell longer in them, yet amongst ourselves,
the greatest man of style whom we have had, the Conqueror, was left, as
soon as his soul left him, not only without persons to assist at his
grave but without a grave. Who will keep us then we know not; as long as
we can, let us admit as much help as we can; another and another
physician is not another and another indication and symptom of death,
but another and another assistant, and proctor of life: nor do they so
much feed the imagination with apprehension of danger, as the
understanding with comfort. Let not one bring learning, another
diligence, another religion, but every one bring all; and as many
ingredients enter into a receipt, so may many men make the receipt. But
why do I exercise my meditation so long upon this, of having plentiful
help in time of need? Is not my meditation rather to be inclined another
way, to condole and commiserate their distress who have none? How many
are sicker (perchance) than I, and laid in their woful straw at home (if
that corner be a home), and have no more hope of help, though they die,
than of preferment, though they live! Nor do more expect to see a
physician then, than to be an officer after; of whom, the first that
takes knowledge, is the sexton that buries them, who buries them in
oblivion too! For they do but fill up the number of the dead in the
bill, but we shall never hear their names, till we read them in the book
of life with our own. How many are sicker (perchance) than I, and thrown
into hospitals, where (as a fish left upon the sand must stay the tide)
they must stay the physician's hour of visiting, and then can be but
visited! How many are sicker (perchance) than all we, and have not this
hospital to cover them, not this straw to lie in, to die in, but have
their gravestone under them, and breathe out their souls in the ears and
in the eyes of passengers, harder than their bed, the flint of the
street? that taste of no part of our physic, but a sparing diet, to whom
ordinary porridge would be julep enough, the refuse of our servants
bezoar enough, and the offscouring of our kitchen tables cordial enough.
O my soul, when thou art not enough awake to bless thy God enough for
his plentiful mercy in affording thee many helpers, remember how many
lack them, and help them to them or to those other things which they
lack as much as them.


My God, my God, thy blessed servant Augustine begged of thee that Moses
might come and tell him what he meant by some places of Genesis: may I
have leave to ask of that Spirit that writ that book, why, when David
expected news from Joab's army,[99] and that the watchman told him that
he saw a man running alone, David concluded out of that circumstance,
that if he came alone, he brought good news?[100] I see the grammar, the
word signifies so, and is so ever accepted, _good news_; but I see not
the logic nor the rhetoric, how David would prove or persuade that his
news was good because he was alone, except a greater company might have
made great impressions of danger, by imploring and importuning present
supplies. Howsoever that be, I am sure that that which thy apostle says
to Timothy, _Only Luke is with me_,[101] Luke, and nobody but Luke, hath
a taste of complaint and sorrow in it: though Luke want no testimony of
ability, of forwardness, of constancy, and perseverance, in assisting
that great building which St. Paul laboured in, yet St. Paul is affected
with that, that there was none but Luke to assist. We take St. Luke to
have been a physician, and it admits the application the better that in
the presence of one good physician we may be glad of more. It was not
only a civil spirit of policy, or order, that moved Moses's
father-in-law to persuade him to divide the burden of government and
judicature with others, and take others to his assistance,[102] but it
was also thy immediate Spirit, O my God, that moved Moses to present
unto thee seventy of the elders of Israel,[103] to receive of that
Spirit, which was upon Moses only before, such a portion as might ease
him in the government of that people; though Moses alone had endowments
above all, thou gavest him other assistants. I consider thy plentiful
goodness, O my God, in employing angels more than one in so many of thy
remarkable works. Of thy Son, thou sayest, _Let all the angels of God
worship him_;[104] if that be in heaven, upon earth he says, _that he
could command twelve legions of angels_;[105] and when heaven and earth
shall be all one, at the last day, thy Son, O God, _the Son of man,
shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him_.[106] The
angels that celebrated his birth to the shepherds,[107] the angels that
celebrated his second birth, his resurrection, to the Maries,[108] were
in the plural, angels associated with angels. In Jacob's ladder,[109]
they who ascended and descended, and maintained the trade between heaven
and earth, between thee and us, they who have the commission, and charge
to guide us in all our ways,[110] they who hastened Lot,[111] and in
him, us, from places of danger and temptation, they who are appointed to
instruct and govern us in the church here,[112] they who are sent to
punish the disobedient and refractory,[113] that they are to be mowers
and harvestmen[114] after we are grown up in one field, the church, at
the day of judgment, they that are to carry our souls whither they
carried Lazarus,[115] they who attended at the several gates of the new
Jerusalem,[116] to admit us there; all these who administer to thy
servants, from the first to their last, are angels, angels in the
plural, in every service angels associated with angels. The power of a
single angel we see in that one, who in one night destroyed almost two
hundred thousand in Sennacherib's army,[117] yet thou often employest
many; as we know the power of salvation is abundantly in any one
evangelist, and yet thou hast afforded us four. Thy Son proclaims of
himself that _the Spirit hath anointed him to preach the Gospel_,[118]
yet he hath given others _for the perfecting of the saints in the work
of the ministry_.[119] Thou hast made him _Bishop of our souls_,[120]
but there are others bishops too. He gave the Holy Ghost,[121] and
others gave it also. Thy way, O my God (and, O my God, thou lovest to
walk in thine own ways, for they are large), thy way from the beginning,
is multiplication of thy helps; and therefore it were a degree of
ingratitude not to accept this mercy of affording me many helps for my
bodily health, as a type and earnest of thy gracious purpose now and
ever to afford me the same assistances. That for thy great help, thy
word, I may seek that not from comers nor conventicles nor schismatical
singularities, but from the association and communion of thy Catholic
church, and those persons whom thou hast always furnished that church
withal: and that I may associate thy word with thy sacrament, thy seal
with thy patent; and in that sacrament associate the sign with the thing
signified, the bread with the body of thy Son, so as I may be sure to
have received both, and to be made thereby (as thy blessed servant
Augustine says) the ark, and the monument, and the tomb of thy most
blessed Son, that he, and all the merits of his death, may, by that
receiving, be buried in me, to my quickening in this world, and my
immortal establishing in the next.


O eternal and most gracious God, who gavest to thy servants in the
wilderness thy manna, bread so conditioned, qualified so, as that to
every man manna tasted like that which that man liked best, I humbly
beseech thee to make this correction, which I acknowledge to be part of
my daily bread, to taste so to me, not as I would but as thou wouldst
have it taste, and to conform my taste, and make it agreeable to thy
will. Thou wouldst have thy corrections taste of humiliation, but thou
wouldst have them taste of consolation too; taste of danger, but taste
of assurance too. As therefore thou hast imprinted in all thine elements
of which our bodies consist two manifest qualities, so that as thy fire
dries, so it heats too; and as thy water moists, so it cools too; so, O
Lord, in these corrections which are the elements of our regeneration,
by which our souls are made thine, imprint thy two qualities, those two
operations, that, as they scourge us, they may scourge us into the way
to thee; that when they have showed us that we are nothing in ourselves,
they may also show us, that thou art all things unto us. When therefore
in this particular circumstance, O Lord (but none of thy judgments are
circumstances, they are all of all substance of thy good purpose upon
us), when in this particular, that he whom thou hast sent to assist me,
desires assistants to him, thou hast let me see in how few hours thou
canst throw me beyond the help of man, let me by the same light see that
no vehemence of sickness, no temptation of Satan, no guiltiness of sin,
no prison of death, not this first, this sick bed, not the other prison,
the close and dark grave, can remove me from the determined and good
purpose which thou hast sealed concerning me. Let me think no degree of
this thy correction casual, or without signification; but yet when I
have read it in that language, as a correction, let me translate it into
another, and read it as a mercy; and which of these is the original, and
which is the translation; whether thy mercy or thy correction were thy
primary and original intention in this sickness, I cannot conclude,
though death conclude me; for as it must necessarily appear to be a
correction, so I can have no greater argument of thy mercy, than to die
in thee and by that death to be united to him who died for me.


[99] 2 Sam. xviii. 25.

[100] So all but our translation takes it; even Buxdor and Schindler.

[101] 2 Tim. iv. 11.

[102] Exod. xviii. 13.

[103] Num. xi. 16.

[104] Heb. i. 6.

[105] Matt. xxvi. 53.

[106] Matt. xxv. 31.

[107] Luke, ii. 13, 14.

[108] John, xx. 12.

[109] Gen. xxviii. 12.

[110] Psalm xci. 11.

[111] Gen. xix. 15.

[112] Rev. i. 20.

[113] Rev. viii. 2.

[114] Matt. xiii. 39.

[115] Luke, xvi. 22.

[116] Rev. xxi. 12.

[117] 2 Kings, xix. 35.

[118] Luke, iv. 18.

[119] Eph. iv. 12.

[120] 1 Pet. ii. 25.

[121] John, xx. 22.


_The King sends his own physician._


Still when we return to that meditation that man is a world, we find new
discoveries. Let him be a world, and himself will be the land, and
misery the sea. His misery (for misery is his, his own; of the happiness
even of this world, he is but tenant, but of misery the freeholder; of
happiness he is but the farmer, but the usufructuary, but of misery the
lord, the proprietary), his misery, as the sea, swells above all the
hills, and reaches to the remotest parts of this earth, man; who of
himself is but dust, and coagulated and kneaded into earth by tears; his
matter is earth, his form misery. In this world that is mankind, the
highest ground, the eminentest hills, are kings; and have they line and
lead enough to fathom this sea, and say, My misery is but this deep?
Scarce any misery equal to sickness, and they are subject to that
equally with their lowest subject. A glass is not the less brittle,
because a king's face is represented in it; nor a king the less brittle,
because God is represented in him. They have physicians continually
about them, and therefore sickness, or the worst of sicknesses,
continual fear of it. Are they gods? He that called them so cannot
flatter. They are gods, but sick gods; and God is presented to us under
many human affections, as far as infirmities: God is called angry, and
sorry, and weary, and heavy, but never a sick God; for then he might die
like men, as our gods do. The worst that they could say in reproach and
scorn of the gods of the heathen was, that perchance they were asleep;
but gods that are so sick as that they cannot sleep are in an infirmer
condition. A god, and need a physician? A Jupiter, and need an
Æsculapius? that must have rhubarb to purge his choler lest he be too
angry, and agarick to purge his phlegm lest he be too drowsy; that as
Tertullian says of the Egyptian gods, plants and herbs, that "God was
beholden to man for growing in his garden," so we must say of these
gods, their eternity (an eternity of threescore and ten years) is in the
apothecary's shop, and not in the metaphorical deity. But their deity is
better expressed in their humility than in their height; when abounding
and overflowing, as God, in means of doing good, they descend, as God,
to a communication of their abundances with men according to their
necessities, then they are gods. No man is well that understands not,
that values not his being well; that hath not a cheerfulness and a joy
in it; and whosoever hath this joy hath a desire to communicate, to
propagate that which occasions his happiness and his joy to others; for
every man loves witnesses of his happiness, and the best witnesses are
experimental witnesses; they who have tasted of that in themselves which
makes us happy. It consummates therefore, it perfects the happiness of
kings, to confer, to transfer, honour and riches, and (as they can)
health, upon those that need them.


My God, my God, I have a warning from the wise man, that _when a rich
man speaketh every man holdeth his tongue, and, look, what he saith,
they extol it to the clouds; but if a poor man speak, they say, What
fellow is this? And if he stumble, they will help to overthrow
him._[122] Therefore may my words be undervalued and my errors
aggravated, if I offer to speak of kings; but not by thee, O my God,
because I speak of them as they are in thee, and of thee as thou art in
them. Certainly those men prepare a way of speaking negligently or
irreverently of thee, that give themselves that liberty in speaking of
thy vicegerents, kings; for thou who gavest Augustus the empire, gavest
it to Nero too; and as Vespasian had it from thee, so had Julian. Though
kings deface in themselves thy first image in their own soul, thou
givest no man leave to deface thy second image, imprinted indelibly in
their power. But thou knowest, O God, that if I should be slack in
celebrating thy mercies to me exhibited by that royal instrument, my
sovereign, to many other faults that touch upon allegiance I should add
the worst of all, ingratitude, which constitutes an ill man; and faults
which are defects in any particular function are not so great as those
that destroy our humanity. It is not so ill to be an ill subject as to
be an ill man; for he hath an universal illness, ready to flow and pour
out itself into any mould, any form, and to spend itself in any
function. As therefore thy Son did upon the coin, I look upon the king,
and I ask whose image and whose inscription he hath, and he hath thine;
and I give unto thee that which is thine; I recommend his happiness to
thee in all my sacrifices of thanks, for that which he enjoys, and in
all my prayers for the continuance and enlargement of them. But let me
stop, my God, and consider; will not this look like a piece of art and
cunning, to convey into the world an opinion that I were more particular
in his care than other men? and that herein, in a show of humility and
thankfulness, I magnify myself more than there is cause? But let not
that jealousy stop me, O God, but let me go forward in celebrating thy
mercy exhibited by him. This which he doth now, in assisting so my
bodily health, I know is common to me with many: many, many have tasted
of that expression of his graciousness. Where he can give health by his
own hands he doth, and to more than any of his predecessors have done:
therefore hath God reserved one disease for him, that he only might cure
it, though perchance not only by one title and interest, nor only as one
king. To those that need it not, in that kind, and so cannot have it by
his own hand, he sends a donative of health in sending his physician.
The holy king St. Louis, in France, and our Maud, is celebrated for
that, that personally they visited hospitals, and assisted in the cure
even of loathsome diseases. And when that religious Empress Placilla,
the wife of Theodosius, was told that she diminished herself too much in
those personal assistances and might do enough in sending relief, she
said she would send in that capacity as a Christian, as a fellow-member
of the body of thy Son, with them. So thy servant David applies himself
to his people, so he incorporates himself in his people, by calling them
his brethren, his bones, his flesh;[123] and when they fell under thy
hand, even to the pretermitting of himself, he presses upon thee by
prayer for them; _I have sinned, but these sheep, what have they done?
Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me and against my father's
house_.[124] It is kingly to give; when Araunah gave that great and free
present to David, that place, those instruments for sacrifice, and the
sacrifices themselves, it is said there by thy Spirit, _All these things
did Araunah give, as a king, to the king_.[125] To give is an
approaching to the condition of kings, but to give health, an
approaching to the King of kings, to thee. But this his assisting to my
bodily health, thou knowest, O God, and so do some others of thine
honourable servants know, is but the twilight of that day wherein thou,
through him, hast shined upon me before; but the echo of that voice,
whereby thou, through him, hast spoke to me before, then when he, first
of any man, conceived a hope that I might be of some use in thy church
and descended to an intimation, to a persuasion, almost to a
solicitation, that I would embrace that calling. And thou who hadst put
that desire into his heart, didst also put into mine an obedience to it;
and I, who was sick before of a vertiginous giddiness and irresolution,
and almost spent all my time in consulting how I should spend it, was by
this man of God, and God of men, put into the pool and recovered: when I
asked, perchance, a stone, he gave me bread; when I asked, perchance, a
scorpion, he gave me a fish; when I asked a temporal office, he denied
not, refused not that; but let me see that he had rather I took this.
These things thou, O God, who forgettest nothing, hast not forgot,
though perchance he, because they were benefits, hath; but I am not only
a witness, but an instance, that our Jehoshaphat hath a care to ordain
priests, as well as judges:[126] and not only to send physicians for
temporal but to be the physician for spiritual health.


O eternal and most gracious God, who, though thou have reserved thy
treasure of perfect joy and perfect glory to be given by thine own hands
then, when, by seeing thee as thou art in thyself, and knowing thee as
we are known, we shall possess in an instant, and possess for ever, all
that can any way conduce to our happiness, yet here also, in this world,
givest us such earnests of that full payment, as by the value of the
earnest we may give some estimate of the treasure, humbly and thankfully
I acknowledge, that thy blessed Spirit instructs me to make a difference
of thy blessings in this world, by that difference of the instruments by
which it hath pleased thee to derive them unto me. As we see thee here
in a glass, so we receive from thee here by reflection and by
instruments. Even casual things come from thee; and that which we call
fortune here hath another name above. Nature reaches out her hand and
gives us corn, and wine, and oil, and milk; but thou fillest her hand
before, and thou openest her hand that she may rain down her showers
upon us. Industry reaches out her hand to us and gives us fruits of our
labour for ourselves and our posterity; but thy hand guides that hand
when it sows and when it waters, and the increase is from thee. Friends
reach out their hands and prefer us; but thy hand supports that hand
that supports us. Of all these thy instruments have I received thy
blessing, O God; but bless thy name most for the greatest; that, as a
member of the public, and as a partaker of private favours too, by thy
right hand, thy powerful hand set over us, I have had my portion not
only in the hearing, but in the preaching of thy Gospel. Humbly
beseeching thee, that as thou continuest thy wonted goodness upon the
whole world by the wonted means and instruments, the same sun and moon,
the same nature and industry, so to continue the same blessings upon
this state and this church by the same hand, so long as that thy Son,
when he comes in the clouds, may find him, or his son, or his son's sons
ready to give an account and able to stand in that judgment, for their
faithful stewardship and dispensation of thy talents so abundantly
committed to them; and be to him, O God, in all distempers of his body,
in all anxieties of spirit, in all holy sadnesses of soul, such a
physician in thy proportion, who are the greatest in heaven, as he hath
been in soul and body to me, in his proportion, who is the greatest upon


[122] Ecclus. xiii. 23.

[123] 2 Sam. xix. 12.

[124] 2 Sam. xxiv. 17.

[125] 2 Sam. xxiv. 22, 23.

[126] 2 Chron. xix. 8.


_Upon their consultation they prescribe._


They have seen me and heard me, arraigned me in these fetters and
received the evidence; I have cut up mine own anatomy, dissected myself,
and they are gone to read upon me. O how manifold and perplexed a thing,
nay, how wanton and various a thing, is ruin and destruction! God
presented to David three kinds, war, famine and pestilence; Satan left
out these, and brought in fires from heaven and winds from the
wilderness. If there were no ruin but sickness, we see the masters of
that art can scarce number, not name all sicknesses; every thing that
disorders a faculty, and the function of that, is a sickness; the names
will not serve them which are given from the place affected, the
pleurisy is so; nor from the effect which it works, the falling sickness
is so; they cannot have names enough, from what it does, nor where it
is, but they must extort names from what it is like, what it resembles,
and but in some one thing, or else they would lack names; for the wolf,
and the canker, and the polypus are so; and that question whether there
be more names or things, is as perplexed in sicknesses as in any thing
else; except it be easily resolved upon that side that there are more
sicknesses than names. If ruin were reduced to that one way, that man
could perish no way but by sickness, yet his danger were infinite; and
if sickness were reduced to that one way, that there were no sickness
but a fever, yet the way were infinite still; for it would overload and
oppress any natural, disorder and discompose any artificial, memory, to
deliver the names of several fevers; how intricate a work then have they
who are gone to consult which of these sicknesses mine is, and then
which of these fevers, and then what it would do, and then how it may be
countermined. But even in ill it is a degree of good when the evil will
admit consultation. In many diseases, that which is but an accident, but
a symptom of the main disease, is so violent, that the physician must
attend the cure of that, though he pretermit (so far as to intermit) the
cure of the disease itself. Is it not so in states too? Sometimes the
insolency of those that are great puts the people into commotions; the
great disease, and the greatest danger to the head, is the insolency of
the great ones; and yet they execute martial law, they come to present
executions upon the people, whose commotion was indeed but a symptom,
but an accident of the main disease; but this symptom, grown so violent,
would allow no time for a consultation. Is it not so in the accidents of
the diseases of our mind too? Is it not evidently so in our affections,
in our passions? If a choleric man be ready to strike, must I go about
to purge his choler, or to break the blow? But where there is room for
consultation things are not desperate. They consult, so there is nothing
rashly, inconsiderately done; and then they prescribe, they write, so
there is nothing covertly, disguisedly, unavowedly done. In bodily
diseases it is not always so; sometimes, as soon as the physician's foot
is in the chamber, his knife is in the patient's arm; the disease would
not allow a minute's forbearing of blood, nor prescribing of other
remedies. In states and matter of government it is so too; they are
sometimes surprised with such accidents, as that the magistrate asks not
what may be done by law, but does that which must necessarily be done in
that case. But it is a degree of good in evil, a degree that carries
hope and comfort in it, when we may have recourse to that which is
written, and that the proceedings may be apert, and ingenuous, and
candid, and avowable, for that gives satisfaction and acquiescence. They
who have received my anatomy of myself consult, and end their
consultation in prescribing, and in prescribing physic; proper and
convenient remedy; for if they should come in again and chide me for
some disorder that had occasioned and induced, or that had hastened and
exalted this sickness, or if they should begin to write now rules for my
diet and exercise when I were well, this were to antedate or to postdate
their consultation, not to give physic. It were rather a vexation than a
relief, to tell a condemned prisoner, You might have lived if you had
done this; and if you can get your pardon, you shall do well to take
this or this course hereafter. I am glad they know (I have hid nothing
from them), glad they consult (they hid nothing from one another), glad
they write (they hide nothing from the world), glad that they write and
prescribe physic, that there are remedies for the present case.


My God, my God, allow me a just indignation, a holy detestation of the
insolency of that man who, because he was of that high rank, of whom
thou hast said, _They are gods_, thought himself more than equal to
thee; that king of Aragon, Alphonsus, so perfect in the motions of the
heavenly bodies as that he adventured to say, that if he had been of
counsel with thee, in the making of the heavens, the heavens should have
been disposed in a better order than they are. The king Amaziah would
not endure thy prophet to reprehend him, but asked him in anger, _Art
thou made of the king's counsel?_[127] When thy prophet Esaias asks that
question, _Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being his
counsellor, hath taught him?_[128] it is after he had settled and
determined that office upon thy Son, and him only, when he joins with
those great titles, the mighty God and the Prince of peace, this also,
the Counsellor;[129] and after he had settled upon him the spirit of
might and of counsel.[130] So that then thou, O God, though thou have no
counsel from man, yet dost nothing upon man without counsel. In the
making of man there was a consultation; _Let us make man_.[131] In the
preserving of man, _O thou great Preserver of men_,[132] thou proceedest
by counsel; for all thy external works are the works of the whole
Trinity, and their hand is to every action. How much more must I
apprehend that all you blessed and glorious persons of the Trinity are
in consultation now, what you will do with this infirm body, with this
leprous soul, that attends guiltily, but yet comfortably, your
determination upon it. I offer not to counsel them who meet in
consultation for my body now, but I open my infirmities, I anatomize my
body to them. So I do my soul to thee, O my God, in an humble
confession, that there is no vein in me that is not full of the blood of
thy Son, whom I have crucified and crucified again, by multiplying many,
and often repeating the same, sins; that there is no artery in me that
hath not the spirit of error, the spirit of lust, the spirit of
giddiness in it;[133] no bone in me that is not hardened with the custom
of sin and nourished and suppled with the marrow of sin; no sinews, no
ligaments, that do not tie and chain sin and sin together. Yet, O
blessed and glorious Trinity, O holy and whole college, and yet but one
physician, if you take this confession into a consultation, my case is
not desperate, my destruction is not decreed. If your consultation
determine in writing, if you refer me to that which is written, you
intend my recovery: for all the way, O my God (ever constant to thine
own ways), thou hast proceeded openly, intelligibly, manifestly by the
book. From thy first book, the book of life, never shut to thee, but
never thoroughly open to us; from thy second book, the book of nature,
where, though subobscurely and in shadows, thou hast expressed thine own
image; from thy third book, the Scriptures, where thou hadst written all
in the Old, and then lightedst us a candle to read it by, in the New,
Testament; to these thou hadst added the book of just and useful laws,
established by them to whom thou hast committed thy people; to those,
the manuals, the pocket, the bosom books of our own consciences; to
those thy particular books of all our particular sins; and to those, the
books with seven seals, which only _the Lamb which was slain, was found
worthy to open_;[134] which, I hope, it shall not disagree with the
meaning of thy blessed Spirit to interpret the promulgation of their
pardon and righteousness who are washed in the blood of that Lamb; and
if thou refer me to these books, to a new reading, a new trial by these
books, this fever may be but a burning in the hand and I may be saved,
though not by my book, mine own conscience, nor by thy other books, yet
by thy first, the book of life, thy decree for my election, and by thy
last, the book of the Lamb, and the shedding of his blood upon me. If I
be still under consultation, I am not condemned yet; if I be sent to
these books, I shall not be condemned at all; for though there be
something written in some of those books (particularly in the
Scriptures) which some men turn to poison, yet upon these consultations
(these confessions, these takings of our particular cases into thy
consideration) thou intendest all for physic; and even from those
sentences from which a too late repenter will suck desperation, he that
seeks thee early shall receive thy morning dew, thy seasonable mercy,
thy forward consolation.


O eternal and most gracious God, who art of so pure eyes as that thou
canst not look upon sin, and we of so unpure constitutions as that we
can present no object but sin, and therefore might justly fear that
thou wouldst turn thine eyes for ever from us, as, though we cannot
endure afflictions in ourselves, yet in thee we can; so, though thou
canst not endure sin in us, yet in thy Son thou canst, and he hath taken
upon himself, and presented to thee, all those sins which might
displease thee in us. There is an eye in nature that kills as soon as it
sees, the eye of a serpent; no eye in nature that nourishes us by
looking upon us; but thine eye, O Lord, does so. Look therefore upon me,
O Lord, in this distress and that will recall me from the borders of
this bodily death; look upon me, and that will raise me again from that
spiritual death in which my parents buried me when they begot me in sin,
and in which I have pierced even to the jaws of hell by multiplying such
heaps of actual sins upon that foundation, that root of original sin.
Yet take me again into your consultation, O blessed and glorious
Trinity; and though the Father know that I have defaced his image
received in my creation; though the Son know I have neglected mine
interest in the redemption; yet, O blessed Spirit, as thou art to my
conscience so be to them, a witness that, at this minute, I accept that
which I have so often, so rebelliously refused, thy blessed
inspirations; be thou my witness to them that, at more pores than this
slack body sweats tears, this sad soul weeps blood; and more for the
displeasure of my God, than for the stripes of his displeasure. Take me,
then, O blessed and glorious Trinity, into a reconsultation, and
prescribe me any physic. If it be a long and painful holding of this
soul in sickness, it is physic if I may discern thy hand to give it; and
it is physic if it be a speedy departing of this soul, if I may discern
thy hand to receive it.


[127] 2 Chron. xxv. 16.

[128] Isaiah, xlii. 13.

[129] Isaiah, ix. 6.

[130] Isaiah, xi. 2.

[131] Gen. i. 26.

[132] Job, vii. 20.

[133] 1 Tim. iv. 1; Hos. iv. 12; Isaiah, xix. 14.

[134] Rev. vii. 1.


_They find the disease to steal on insensibly, and endeavour to meet
with it so._


This is nature's nest of boxes: the heavens contain the earth; the
earth, cities; cities, men. And all these are concentric; the common
centre to them all is decay, ruin; only that is eccentric which was
never made; only that place, or garment rather, which we can imagine but
not demonstrate. That light, which is the very emanation of the light of
God, in which the saints shall dwell, with which the saints shall be
apparelled, only that bends not to this centre, to ruin; that which was
not made of nothing is not threatened with this annihilation. All other
things are; even angels, even our souls; they move upon the same poles,
they bend to the same centre; and if they were not made immortal by
preservation, their nature could not keep them from sinking to this
centre, annihilation. In all these (the frame of the heavens, the states
upon earth, and men in them, comprehend all), those are the greatest
mischiefs which are least discerned; the most insensible in their ways
come to be the most sensible in their ends. The heavens have had their
dropsy, they drowned the world; and they shall have their fever, and
burn the world. Of the dropsy, the flood, the world had a foreknowledge
one hundred and twenty years before it came; and so some made provision
against it, and were saved; the fever shall break out in an instant and
consume all; the dropsy did no harm to the heavens from whence it fell,
it did not put out those lights, it did not quench those heats; but the
fever, the fire, shall burn the furnace itself, annihilate those
heavens that breathe it out. Though the dogstar have a pestilent breath,
an infectious exhalation, yet, because we know when it will rise, we
clothe ourselves, and we diet ourselves, and we shadow ourselves to a
sufficient prevention; but comets and blazing stars, whose effects or
significations no man can interrupt or frustrate, no man foresaw: no
almanack tells us when a blazing star will break out, the matter is
carried up in secret; no astrologer tells us when the effects will be
accomplished, for that is a secret of a higher sphere than the other;
and that which is most secret is most dangerous. It is so also here in
the societies of men, in states and commonwealths. Twenty rebellious
drums make not so dangerous a noise as a few whisperers and secret
plotters in corners. The cannon doth not so much hurt against a wall, as
a mine under the wall; nor a thousand enemies that threaten, so much as
a few that take an oath to say nothing. God knew many heavy sins of the
people, in the wilderness and after, but still he charges them with that
one, with murmuring, murmuring in their hearts, secret disobediences,
secret repugnances against his declared will; and these are the most
deadly, the most pernicious. And it is so too with the diseases of the
body; and that is my case. The pulse, the urine, the sweat, all have
sworn to say nothing, to give no indication of any dangerous sickness.
My forces are not enfeebled, I find no decay in my strength; my
provisions are not cut off, I find no abhorring in mine appetite; my
counsels are not corrupted nor infatuated, I find no false apprehensions
to work upon mine understanding; and yet they see that invisibly, and I
feel that insensibly, the disease prevails. The disease hath established
a kingdom, an empire in me, and will have certain _arcana imperii_,
secrets of state, by which it will proceed and not be bound to declare
them. But yet against those secret conspiracies in the state, the
magistrate hath the rack; and against these insensible diseases
physicians have their examiners; and those these employ now.


My God, my God, I have been told, and told by relation, by her own
brother that did it, by thy servant Nazianzen, that his sister in the
vehemency of her prayer, did use to threaten thee with a holy
importunity, with a pious impudency. I dare not do so, O God; but as thy
servant Augustine wished that Adam had not sinned, therefore that Christ
might not have died, may I not to this one purpose wish that if the
serpent, before the temptation of Eve, did go upright and speak,[135]
that he did so still, because I should the sooner hear him if he spoke,
the sooner see him if he went upright? In his curse I am cursed too; his
creeping undoes me; for howsoever he begin at the heel, and do but
bruise that, yet he, and _death_ in him, _is come into our
windows_;[136] into our eyes and ears, the entrances and inlets of our
soul. He works upon us in secret and we do not discern him; and one
great work of his upon us is to make us so like himself as to sin in
secret, that others may not see us; but his masterpiece is to make us
sin in secret, so as that we may not see ourselves sin. For the first,
the hiding of our sins from other men, he hath induced that which was
his offspring from the beginning, a lie;[137] for man is, in nature, yet
in possession of some such sparks of ingenuity and nobleness, as that,
but to disguise evil, he would not lie. The body, the sin, is the
serpent's; and the garment that covers it, the lie, is his too. These
are his, but the hiding of sin from ourselves is he himself: when we
have the sting of the serpent in us, and do not sting ourselves, the
venom of sin, and no remorse for sin, then, as thy blessed Son said of
Judas, _He is a devil_;[138] not that he had one, but was one; so we are
become devils to ourselves, and we have not only a serpent in our bosom,
but we ourselves are to ourselves that serpent. How far did thy servant
David press upon thy pardon in that petition, _Cleanse thou me from
secret sins_?[139] Can any sin be secret? for a great part of our sins,
though, says thy prophet, we conceive them in the dark, upon our bed,
yet, says he, we do them in the light; there are many sins which we
glory in doing, and would not do if nobody should know them. Thy blessed
servant Augustine confesses that he was ashamed of his shamefacedness
and tenderness of conscience, and that he often belied himself with sins
which he never did, lest he should be unacceptable to his sinful
companions. But if we would conceal them (thy prophet found such a
desire, and such a practice in some, when he said, _Thou hast trusted in
thy wickedness, and thou hast said, None shall see me_[140]), yet can we
conceal them? Thou, O God, canst hear of them by others: the voice of
Abel's blood will tell thee of Cain's murder;[141] the heavens
themselves will tell thee. Heaven shall reveal his iniquity; a small
creature alone shall do it, _A bird of the air shall carry the voice,
and tell the matter_;[142] thou wilt trouble no informer, thou thyself
revealedst Adam's sin to thyself;[143] and the manifestation of sin is
so full to thee, as that thou shalt reveal all to all; _Thou shalt
bring every work to judgment, with every secret thing;[144] and there
is nothing covered that shall not be revealed_.[145] But, O my God,
there is another way of knowing my sins, which thou lovest better than
any of these; to know them by my confession. As physic works, so it
draws the peccant humour to itself, that, when it is gathered together,
the weight of itself may carry that humour away; so thy Spirit returns
to my memory my former sins, that, being so recollected, they may pour
out themselves by confession. _When I kept silence_, says thy servant
David, _day and night thy hand was heavy upon me_; but when I said, _I
will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, thou forgavest the
iniquity of my sin_.[146] Thou interpretest the very purpose of
confession so well, as that thou scarce leavest any new mercy for the
action itself. This mercy thou leavest, that thou armest us thereupon
against relapses into the sins which we have confessed. And that mercy
which thy servant Augustine apprehends when he says to thee, "Thou hast
forgiven me those sins which I have done, and those sins which only by
thy grace I have not done": they were done in our inclination to them,
and even that inclination needs thy mercy, and that mercy he calls a
pardon. And these are most truly secret sins, because they were never
done, and because no other man, nor I myself, but only thou knowest, how
many and how great sins I have escaped by thy grace, which, without
that, I should have multiplied against thee.


O eternal and most gracious God, who as thy Son Christ Jesus, though he
knew all things, yet said he knew not the day of judgment, because he
knew it not so as that he might tell us; so though thou knowest all my
sins, yet thou knowest them not to my comfort, except thou know them by
my telling them to thee. How shall I bring to thy knowledge, by that
way, those sins which I myself know not? If I accuse myself of original
sin, wilt thou ask me if I know what original sin is? I know not enough
of it to satisfy others, but I know enough to condemn myself, and to
solicit thee. If I confess to thee the sins of my youth, wilt thou ask
me if I know what those sins were? I know them not so well as to name
them all, nor am sure to live hours enough to name them all (for I did
them then faster than I can speak them now, when every thing that I did
conduced to some sin), but I know them so well as to know that nothing
but thy mercy is so infinite as they. If the naming of sins of thought,
word and deed, of sins of omission and of action, of sins against thee,
against my neighbour and against myself, of sins unrepented and sins
relapsed into after repentance, of sins of ignorance and sins against
the testimony of my conscience, of sins against thy commandments, sins
against thy Son's Prayer, and sins against our own creed, of sins
against the laws of that church, and sins against the laws of that state
in which thou hast given me my station; if the naming of these sins
reach not home to all mine, I know what will. O Lord, pardon me, me, all
those sins which thy Son Christ Jesus suffered for, who suffered for all
the sins of all the world; for there is no sin amongst all those which
had not been my sin, if thou hadst not been my God, and antedated me a
pardon in thy preventing grace. And since sin, in the nature of it,
retains still so much of the author of it that it is a serpent,
insensibly insinuating itself into my soul, let thy brazen serpent (the
contemplation of thy Son crucified for me) be evermore present to me,
for my recovery against the sting of the first serpent; that so, as I
have a Lion against a lion, the Lion of the tribe of Judah against that
lion that seeks whom he may devour, so I may have a serpent against a
serpent, the wisdom of the serpent against the malice of the serpent,
and both against that lion and serpent, forcible and subtle temptations,
thy dove with thy olive in thy ark, humility and peace and
reconciliation to thee, by the ordinances of thy church. Amen.


[135] Josephus.

[136] Jer. ix. 21.

[137] John, viii. 44.

[138] John, vi. 70.

[139] Psalm xix. 12.

[140] Isaiah, xlvii. 10.

[141] Gen. iv. 10.

[142] Eccles. x. 20.

[143] Gen. iii. 8.

[144] Eccles. xii. 14.

[145] Matt. x. 26.

[146] Psalm xxxii. 3-5.


_They use cordials, to keep the venom and malignity of the disease from
the heart._


Whence can we take a better argument, a clearer demonstration, that all
the greatness of this world is built upon opinion of others and hath in
itself no real being, nor power of subsistence, than from the heart of
man? It is always in action and motion, still busy, still pretending to
do all, to furnish all the powers and faculties with all that they have;
but if an enemy dare rise up against it, it is the soonest endangered,
the soonest defeated of any part. The brain will hold out longer than
it, and the liver longer than that; they will endure a siege; but an
unnatural heat, a rebellious heat, will blow up the heart, like a mine,
in a minute. But howsoever, since the heart hath the birthright and
primogeniture, and that it is nature's eldest son in us, the part which
is first born to life in man, and that the other parts, as younger
brethren, and servants in his family, have a dependance upon it, it is
reason that the principal care be had of it, though it be not the
strongest part, as the eldest is oftentimes not the strongest of the
family. And since the brain, and liver, and heart hold not a triumvirate
in man, a sovereignty equally shed upon them all, for his well-being, as
the four elements do for his very being, but the heart alone is in the
principality, and in the throne, as king, the rest as subjects, though
in eminent place and office, must contribute to that, as children to
their parents, as all persons to all kinds of superiors, though
oftentimes those parents or those superiors be not of stronger parts
than themselves, that serve and obey them that are weaker. Neither doth
this obligation fall upon us, by second dictates of nature, by
consequences and conclusions arising out of nature, or derived from
nature by discourse (as many things bind us even by the law of nature,
and yet not by the primary law of nature; as all laws of propriety in
that which we possess are of the law of nature, which law is, to give
every one his own, and yet in the primary law of nature there was no
propriety, no _meum et tuum_, but an universal community overall; so the
obedience of superiors is of the law of nature, and yet in the primary
law of nature there was no superiority, no magistracy); but this
contribution of assistance of all to the sovereign, of all parts to the
heart, is from the very first dictates of nature, which is, in the first
place, to have care of our own preservation, to look first to
ourselves; for therefore doth the physician intermit the present care of
brain or liver, because there is a possibility that they may subsist,
though there be not a present and a particular care had of them, but
there is no possibility that they can subsist, if the heart perish: and
so, when we seem to begin with others, in such assistances, indeed, we
do begin with ourselves, and we ourselves are principally in our
contemplation; and so all these officious and mutual assistances are but
compliments towards others, and our true end is ourselves. And this is
the reward of the pains of kings; sometimes they need the power of law
to be obeyed; and when they seem to be obeyed voluntarily, they who do
it do it for their own sakes. O how little a thing is all the greatness
of man and through how false glasses doth he make shift to multiply it,
and magnify it to himself! And yet this is also another misery of this
king of man, the heart, which is also applicable to the kings of this
world, great men, that the venom and poison of every pestilential
disease directs itself to the heart, affects that (pernicious
affection), and the malignity of ill men is also directed upon the
greatest and the best; and not only greatness but goodness loses the
vigour of being an antidote or cordial against it. And as the noblest
and most generous cordials that nature or art afford, or can prepare, if
they be often taken and made familiar, become no cordials, nor have any
extraordinary operation, so the greatest cordial of the heart, patience,
if it be much exercised, exalts the venom and the malignity of the
enemy, and the more we suffer the more we are insulted upon. When God
had made this earth of nothing, it was but a little help that he had, to
make other things of this earth: nothing can be nearer nothing than this
earth; and yet how little of this earth is the greatest man! He thinks
he treads upon the earth, that all is under his feet, and the brain
that thinks so is but earth; his highest region, the flesh that covers
that, is but earth, and even the top of that, that wherein so many
Absaloms take so much pride, is but a bush growing upon that turf of
earth. How little of the world is the earth! And yet that is all that
man hath or is. How little of a man is the heart, and yet it is all by
which he is; and this continually subject not only to foreign poisons
conveyed by others, but to intestine poisons bred in ourselves by
pestilential sicknesses. O who, if before he had a being he could have
sense of this misery, would buy a being here upon these conditions?


My God, my God, all that thou askest of me is my heart, _My Son, give me
thy heart_.[147] Am I thy Son as long as I have but my heart? Wilt thou
give me an inheritance, a filiation, any thing for my heart? O thou, who
saidst to Satan, _Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is
none like him upon the earth_,[148] shall my fear, shall my zeal, shall
my jealousy, have leave to say to thee, Hast thou considered my heart,
that there is not so perverse a heart upon earth; and wouldst thou have
that, and shall I be thy son, thy eternal Son's coheir, for giving that?
_The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who
can know it?_[149] He that asks that question makes the answer, I the
Lord search the heart. When didst thou search mine? Dost thou think to
find it, as thou madest it, in Adam? Thou hast searched since, and found
all these gradations in the ill of our hearts, _that every imagination
of the thoughts of our hearts is only evil continually_.[150] Dost thou
remember this, and wouldst thou have my heart? O God of all light, I
know thou knowest all, and it is thou[151] that declarest unto man what
is his heart. Without thee, O sovereign Goodness, I could not know how
ill my heart were. Thou hast declared unto me, in thy word, that for all
this deluge of evil that hath surrounded all hearts, yet thou soughtest
and foundest a man after thine own heart;[152] that thou couldst and
wouldst give thy people pastors according to thine own heart;[153] and I
can gather out of thy word so good testimony of the hearts of men as to
find single hearts, docile and apprehensive hearts; hearts that can,
hearts that have learned; wise hearts in one place, and in another in a
great degree wise, perfect hearts; straight hearts, no perverseness
without; and clean hearts, no foulness within: such hearts I can find in
thy word; and if my heart were such a heart, I would give thee my heart.
But I find stony hearts too,[154] and I have made mine such: I have
found hearts that are snares;[155] and I have conversed with such;
hearts that burn like ovens;[156] and the fuel of lust, and envy, and
ambition, hath inflamed mine; hearts in which their masters trust, and
_he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool_;[157] his confidence in
his own moral constancy and civil fortitude will betray him, when thou
shalt cast a spiritual damp, a heaviness and dejection of spirit upon
him. I have found these hearts, and a worse than these, a heart into the
which the devil himself is entered, Judas's heart.[158] The first kind
of heart, alas, my God, I have not; the last are not hearts to be given
to thee. What shall I do? Without that present I cannot be thy son, and
I have it not. To those of the first kind thou givest joyfulness of
heart,[159] and I have not that; to those of the other kind thou givest
faintness of heart;[160] and blessed be thou, O God, for that
forbearance, I have not that yet. There is then a middle kind of hearts,
not so perfect as to be given but that the very giving mends them; not
so desperate as not to be accepted but that the very accepting dignifies
them. This is a melting heart,[161] and a troubled heart, and a wounded
heart, and a broken heart, and a contrite heart; and by the powerful
working of thy piercing Spirit such a heart I have. Thy Samuel spake
unto all the house of thy Israel, and said, _If you return to the Lord
with all your hearts, prepare your hearts unto the Lord_.[162] If my
heart be prepared, it is a returning heart. And if thou see it upon the
way, thou wilt carry it home. Nay, the preparation is thine too; this
melting, this wounding, this breaking, this contrition, which I have
now, is thy way to thy end; and those discomforts are, for all that,
_the earnest of thy Spirit in my heart_;[163] and where thou givest
earnest, thou wilt perform the bargain. Nabal was confident upon his
wine, but _in the morning his heart died within him_.[164] Thou, O Lord,
hast given me wormwood, and I have had some diffidence upon that; and
thou hast cleared a morning to me again, and my heart is alive. David's
heart smote him when he cut off the skirt from Saul;[165] and his heart
smote him when he had numbered his people:[166] my heart hath struck me
when I come to number my sins; but that blow is not to death, because
those sins are not to death, but my heart lives in thee. But yet as long
as I remain in this great hospital, this sick, this diseaseful world, as
long as I remain in this leprous house, this flesh of mine, this heart,
though thus prepared for thee, prepared by thee, will still be subject
to the invasion of malign and pestilent vapours. But I have my cordials
in thy promise; _when I shall know the plague of my heart, and pray unto
thee in thy house_,[167] thou wilt preserve that heart from all mortal
force of that infection; _and the peace of God, which passeth all
understandings shall keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus_.[168]


O eternal and most gracious God, who in thy upper house, the heavens,
though there be many mansions, yet art alike and equally in every
mansion; but here in thy lower house, though thou fillest all, yet art
otherwise in some rooms thereof than in others; otherwise in thy church
than in my chamber, and otherwise in thy sacraments than in my prayers;
so though thou be always present and always working in every room of
this thy house, my body, yet I humbly beseech thee to manifest always a
more effectual presence in my heart than in the other offices. Into the
house of thine anointed, disloyal persons, traitors, will come; into thy
house, the church, hypocrites and idolators will come; into some rooms
of this thy house, my body, temptations will come, infections will come;
but be my heart thy bedchamber, O my God, and thither let them not
enter. Job made a covenant with his eyes, but not his making of that
covenant, but thy dwelling in his heart, enabled him to keep that
covenant. Thy Son himself had a sadness in his soul to death, and he had
a reluctation, a deprecation of death, in the approaches thereof; but he
had his cordial too, _Yet not my will, but thine be done_. And as thou
hast not delivered us, thine adopted sons, from these infectious
temptations, so neither hast thou delivered us over to them, nor
withheld thy cordials from us. I was baptized in thy cordial water
against original sin, and I have drunk of thy cordial blood, for my
recovery from actual and habitual sin, in the other sacrament. Thou, O
Lord, who hast imprinted all medicinal virtues which are in all
creatures, and hast made even the flesh of vipers to assist in cordials,
art able to make this present sickness, everlasting health, this
weakness, everlasting strength, and this very dejection and faintness of
heart, a powerful cordial. When thy blessed Son cried out to thee, _My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?_ thou didst reach out thy hand
to him; but not to deliver his sad soul, but to receive his holy soul:
neither did he longer desire to hold it of thee, but to recommend it to
thee. I see thine hand upon me now, O Lord, and I ask not why it comes,
what it intends; whether thou wilt bid it stay still in this body for
some time, or bid it meet thee this day in paradise, I ask not, not in a
wish, not in a thought. Infirmity of nature, curiosity of mind, are
temptations that offer; but a silent and absolute obedience to thy will,
even before I know it, is my cordial. Preserve that to me, O my God, and
that will preserve me to thee; that, when thou hast catechised me with
affliction here, I may take a greater degree, and serve thee in a higher
place, in thy kingdom of joy and glory. Amen.


[147] Prov. xxiii. 26.

[148] Job, i. 8.

[149] Jer. xvii. 9.

[150] Gen. vi. 5.

[151] Amos, iv. 13.

[152] 1 Sam. xiii. 14.

[153] Jer. iii. 15.

[154] Ezek. xi. 19.

[155] Eccles. vii. 26.

[156] Hos. vii. 6.

[157] Prov. xxviii. 26.

[158] John, xiii. 2.

[159] Ecclus. l. 23.

[160] Lev. xxvi. 36.

[161] Josh. ii. 11.

[162] 1 Sam. vii. 3.

[163] 2 Cor. i. 22.

[164] 1 Sam. xxv. 37.

[165] 1 Sam. xxiv. 5.

[166] 2 Sam. xxiv. 10.

[167] 1 Kings, viii. 38.

[168] Phil. iv. 7.

    XII. ------------------ Spirante columba
    Supposita pedibus, revocantur ad ima vapores.

_They apply pigeons, to draw the vapours from the head._


What will not kill a man if a vapour will? How great an elephant, how
small a mouse destroys! To die by a bullet is the soldier's daily bread;
but few men die by hail-shot. A man is more worth than to be sold for
single money; a life to be valued above a trifle. If this were a violent
shaking of the air by thunder or by cannon, in that case the air is
condensed above the thickness of water, of water baked into ice, almost
petrified, almost made stone, and no wonder that kills; but that which
is but a vapour, and a vapour not forced but breathed, should kill, that
our nurse should overlay us, and air that nourishes us should destroy
us, but that it is a half atheism to murmur against Nature, who is God's
immediate commissioner, who would not think himself miserable to be put
into the hands of Nature, who does not only set him up for a mark for
others to shoot at, but delights herself to blow him up like a glass,
till she see him break, even with her own breath? Nay, if this
infectious vapour were sought for, or travelled to, as Pliny hunted
after the vapour of Ætna and dared and challenged Death in the form of a
vapour to do his worst, and felt the worst, he died; or if this vapour
were met withal in an ambush, and we surprised with it, out of a long
shut well, or out of a new opened mine, who would lament, who would
accuse, when we had nothing to accuse, none to lament against but
fortune, who is less than a vapour? But when ourselves are the well
that breathes out this exhalation, the oven that spits out this fiery
smoke, the mine that spews out this suffocating and strangling damp, who
can ever, after this, aggravate his sorrow by this circumstance, that it
was his neighbour, his familiar friend, his brother, that destroyed him,
and destroyed him with a whispering and a calumniating breath, when we
ourselves do it to ourselves by the same means, kill ourselves with our
own vapours? Or if these occasions of this self-destruction had any
contribution from our own wills, any assistance from our own intentions,
nay, from our own errors, we might divide the rebuke, and chide
ourselves as much as them. Fevers upon wilful distempers of drink and
surfeits, consumptions upon intemperances and licentiousness, madness
upon misplacing or overbending our natural faculties, proceed from
ourselves, and so as that ourselves are in the plot, and we are not only
passive, but active too, to our own destruction. But what have I done,
either to breed or to breathe these vapours? They tell me it is my
melancholy; did I infuse, did I drink in melancholy into myself? It is
my thoughtfulness; was I not made to think? It is my study; doth not my
calling call for that? I have done nothing wilfully, perversely toward
it, yet must suffer in it, die by it. There are too many examples of men
that have been their own executioners, and that have made hard shift to
be so: some have always had poison about them, in a hollow ring upon
their finger, and some in their pen that they used to write with; some
have beat out their brains at the wall of their prison, and some have
eat the fire out of their chimneys;[169] and one is said to have come
nearer our case than so, to have strangled himself, though his hands
were bound, by crushing his throat between his knees. But I do nothing
upon myself, and yet am mine own executioner. And we have heard of death
upon small occasions and by scornful instruments: a pin, a comb, a hair
pulled, hath gangrened and killed; but when I have said a vapour, if I
were asked again what is a vapour, I could not tell, it is so insensible
a thing; so near nothing is that that reduces us to nothing. But extend
this vapour, rarefy it; from so narrow a room as our natural bodies, to
any politic body, to a state. That which is fume in us is, in a state
rumour; and these vapours in us, which we consider here pestilent and
infectious fumes, are, in a state, infecitious rumours, detracting and
dishonourable calumnies, libels, The heart in that body is the king, and
the bran his council; and the whole magistracy, that ties all together,
is the sinews which proceed from thence; and the life of all is honour,
and just respect, and due reverence; and therefore, when these vapours,
these venomous rumours, are directed against these noble parts, the
whole body suffers. But yet for all their privileges, they are not
privileged from our misery; that as the vapours most pernicious to us
arise in our own bodies, so do the most dishonourable rumours, and those
that wound a state most arise at home. What ill air that I could have
met in the street, what channel, what shambles, what dunghill, what
vault, could have hurt me so much as these homebred vapours? What
fugitive, what almsman of any foreign state, can do so much harm as a
detractor, a libeller, a scornful jester at home? For as they that write
of poisons, and of creatures naturally disposed to the ruin of man, do
as well mention the flea as the viper[170], because the flea, though he
kill none, he does all the harm he can; so even these libellous and
licentious jesters utter the venom they have, though sometimes virtue,
and always power, be a good pigeon to draw this vapour from the head
and from doing any deadly harm there.


My God, my God, as thy servant James, when he asks that question, _What
is your life?_ provides me my answer, _It is even a vapour, that
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away_;[171] so, if he
did ask me what is your death, I am provided of my answer, it is a
vapour too; and why should it not be all one to me, whether I live or
die, if life and death be all one, both a vapour? Thou hast made vapour
so indifferent a thing as that thy blessings and thy judgments are
equally expressed by it, and is made by thee the hieroglyphic of both.
Why should not that be always good by which thou hast declared thy
plentiful goodness to us? _A vapour went up from the earth, and watered
the whole face of the ground._[172] And that by which thou hast imputed
a goodness to us, and wherein thou hast accepted our service to thee,
sacrifices; for sacrifices were vapours;[173] and in them it is said,
that a _thick cloud of incense went up to thee_.[174] So it is of that
wherein thou comest to us, the dew of heaven, and of that wherein we
come to thee, both are vapours; and he, in whom we have and are all that
we are or have, temporally or spiritually, thy blessed Son, in the
person of Wisdom, is called so too; _She is_ (that is, he is) _the
vapour of the power of God, and the pure influence from the glory of the
Almighty._[175] Hast thou, thou, O my God, perfumed vapour with thine
own breath, with so many sweet acceptations in thine own word, and shall
this vapour receive an ill and infectious sense? It must; for, since we
have displeased thee with that which is but vapour (for what is sin but
a vapour, but a smoke, though such a smoke as takes away our sight, and
disables us from seeing our danger), it is just that thou punish us with
vapours too. For so thou dost, as the wise man tells us, thou canst
punish us by those things wherein we offend thee; as he hath expressed
it there, _by beasts newly created, breathing vapours_.[176] Therefore
that commination of thine, by thy prophet, _I will show wonders in the
heaven, and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke_;[177]
thine apostle, who knew thy meaning best, calls _vapours of smoke_.[178]
One prophet presents thee in thy terribleness so, _There went out a
smoke at his nostrils_,[179] and another the effect of thine anger so,
_The house was filled with smoke_;[180] and he that continues his
prophecy as long as the world can continue, describes the miseries of
the latter times so, _Out of the bottomless pit arose a smoke, that
darkened the sun, and out of that smoke came locusts, who had the power
of scorpions_.[181] Now all smokes begin in fire, and all these will end
so too: the smoke of sin and of thy wrath will end in the fire of hell.
But hast thou afforded us no means to evaporate these smokes, to
withdraw these vapours? When thine angels fell from heaven, thou tookest
into thy care the reparation of that place, and didst it by assuming, by
drawing us thither; when we fell from thee here, in this world, thou
tookest into thy care the reparation of this place too, and didst it by
assuming us another way, by descending down to assume our nature, in thy
Son. So that though our last act be an ascending to glory (we shall
ascend to the place of angels), yet our first act is to go the way of
thy Son, descending, and the way of thy blessed Spirit too, who
descended in the dove. Therefore hast thou been pleased to afford us
this remedy in nature, by this application of a dove to our lower parts,
to make these vapours in our bodies to descend, and to make that a type
to us, that, by the visitation of thy Spirit, the vapours of sin shall
descend, and we tread them under our feet. At the baptism of thy Son,
the Dove descended, and at the exalting of thine apostles to preach, the
same Spirit descended. Let us draw down the vapours of our own pride,
our own wits, our own wills, our own inventions, to the simplicity of
thy sacraments and the obedience of thy word; and these doves, thus
applied, shall make us live.


O eternal and most gracious God, who, though thou have suffered us to
destroy ourselves, and hast not given us the power of reparation in
ourselves, hast yet afforded us such means of reparation as may easily
and familiarly be compassed by us, prosper, I humbly beseech thee, this
means of bodily assistance in this thy ordinary creature, and prosper
thy means of spiritual assistance in thy holy ordinances. And as thou
hast carried this thy creature, the dove, through all thy ways through
nature, and made it naturally proper to conduce medicinally to our
bodily health, through the law, and made it a sacrifice for sin there,
and through the gospel, and made it, and thy Spirit in it, a witness of
thy Son's baptism there, so carry it, and the qualities of it, home to
my soul, and imprint there that simplicity, that mildness, that
harmlessness, which thou hast imprinted by nature in this creature. That
so all vapours of all disobedience to thee, being subdued under my
feet, I may, in the power and triumph of thy Son, tread victoriously
upon my grave, and trample upon the lion and dragon[182] that lie under
it to devour me. Thou, O Lord, by the prophet, callest the dove the
_dove of the valleys_, but promisest that the _dove of the valleys shall
be upon the mountain_.[183] As thou hast laid me low in this valley of
sickness, so low as that I am made fit for that question asked in the
field of bones, _Son of man, can these bones live?_[184] so, in thy good
time, carry me up to these mountains of which even in this valley thou
affordest me a prospect, the mountain where thou dwellest, the holy
hill, unto which none can ascend _but he that hath clean hands_, which
none can have but by that one and that strong way of making them clean,
in the blood of thy Son Christ Jesus. Amen.


[169] Coma, latro. in Val. Max.

[170] Ardoinus.

[171] James, iv. 14.

[172] Gen. ii. 6.

[173] Lev. xvi. 13.

[174] Ezek. viii. 11.

[175] Wisd. vii. 25.

[176] Wisd. xi. 18.

[177] Joel, ii. 30.

[178] Acts, ii. 19.

[179] Psalm xviii. 8.

[180] Isaiah, vi. 4.

[181] Rev. ix. 2.


_The sickness declares the infection and malignity thereof by spots._


We say that the world is made of sea and land, as though they were
equal; but we know that there is more sea in the Western than in the
Eastern hemisphere. We say that the firmament is full of stars, as
though it were equally full; but we know that there are more stars under
the Northern than under the Southern pole. We say the elements of man
are misery and happiness, as though he had an equal proportion of both,
and the days of man vicissitudinary, as though he had as many good days
as ill, and that he lived under a perpetual equinoctial, night and day
equal, good and ill fortune in the same measure. But it is far from
that; he drinks misery, and he tastes happiness; he mows misery, and he
gleans happiness; he journeys in misery, he does but walk in happiness;
and, which is worst, his misery is positive and dogmatical, his
happiness is but disputable and problematical: all men call misery
misery, but happiness changes the name by the taste of man. In this
accident that befalls me, now that this sickness declares itself by
spots to be a malignant and pestilential disease, if there be a comfort
in the declaration, that thereby the physicians see more clearly what to
do, there may be as much discomfort in this, that the malignity may be
so great as that all that they can do shall do nothing; that an enemy
declares himself then, when he is able to subsist, and to pursue, and to
achieve his ends, is no great comfort. In intestine conspiracies,
voluntary confessions do more good than confessions upon the rack; in
these infections, when nature herself confesses and cries out by these
outward declarations which she is able to put forth of herself, they
minister comfort; but when all is by the strength of cordials, it is but
a confession upon the rack, by which, though we come to know the malice
of that man, yet we do not know whether there be not as much malice in
his heart then as before his confession; we are sure of his treason, but
not of his repentance; sure of him, but not of his accomplices. It is a
faint comfort to know the worst when the worst is remediless, and a
weaker than that to know much ill, and not to know that that is the
worst. A woman is comforted with the birth of her son, her body is eased
of a burden; but if she could prophetically read his history, how ill a
man, perchance how ill a son, he would prove, she should receive a
greater burden into her mind. Scarce any purchase that is not clogged
with secret incumbrances; scarce any happiness that hath not in it so
much of the nature of false and base money, as that the allay is more
than the metal. Nay, is it not so (at least much towards it) even in the
exercise of virtues? I must be poor and want before I can exercise the
virtue of gratitude; miserable, and in torment, before I can exercise
the virtue of patience. How deep do we dig, and for how coarse gold! And
what other touchstone have we of our gold but comparison, whether we be
as happy as others, or as ourselves at other times? O poor step toward
being well, when these spots do only tell us that we are worse than we
were sure of before.


My God, my God, thou hast made this sick bed thine altar, and I have no
other sacrifice to offer but myself; and wilt thou accept no spotted
sacrifice? Doth thy Son dwell bodily in this flesh that thou shouldst
look for an unspottedness here? or is the Holy Ghost the soul of this
body, as he is of thy spouse, who is therefore _all fair, and no spot in
her_?[185] or hath thy Son himself no spots, who hath all our stains and
deformities in him? or hath thy spouse, thy church, no spots, when every
particular limb of that fair and spotless body, every particular soul in
that church, is full of stains and spots? Thou bidst us _hate the
garment that is spotted with the flesh_.[186] The flesh itself is the
garment, and it spotteth itself with itself. And _if I wash myself with
snow water, mine own clothes shall make me abominable_;[187] and yet _no
man yet ever hated his own flesh_.[188] Lord, if thou look for a
spotlessness, whom wilt thou look upon? Thy mercy may go a great way in
my soul and yet not leave me without spots; thy corrections may go far
and burn deep, and yet not leave me spotless: thy children apprehended
that, when they said, _From our former iniquity we are not cleansed
until this day, though there was a plague in the congregation of the
Lord_.[189] Thou rainest upon us, and yet dost not always mollify all
our hardness; thou kindlest thy fires in us, and yet dost not always
burn up all our dross; thou healest our wounds, and yet leavest scars;
thou purgest the blood, and yet leavest spots. But the spots that thou
hatest are the spots that we hide. The carvers of images cover
spots,[190] says the wise man; when we hide our spots, we become
idolators of our own stains, of our own foulnesses. But if my spots come
forth, by what means soever, whether by the strength of nature, by
voluntary confession (for grace is the nature of a regenerate man, and
the power of grace is the strength of nature), or by the virtue of
cordials (for even thy corrections are cordials), if they come forth
either way, thou receivest that confession with a gracious
interpretation. When thy servant Jacob practised an invention to procure
spots in his sheep,[191] thou didst prosper his rods; and thou dost
prosper thine own rods, when corrections procure the discovery of our
spots, the humble manifestation of our sins to thee; till then thou
mayst justly say, _The whole need not the physician_;[192] till we tell
thee in our sickness we think ourselves whole, till we show our spots,
thou appliest no medicine. But since I do that, shall I not, _Lord, lift
up my face without spot, and be steadfast, and not fear_?[193] Even my
spots belong to thy Son's body, and are part of that which he came down
to this earth to fetch, and challenge, and assume to himself. When I
open my spots I do but present him with that which is his; and till I do
so, I detain and withhold his right. When therefore thou seest them upon
me, as his, and seest them by this way of confession, they shall not
appear to me as the pinches of death, to decline my fear to hell (for
thou hast not left thy holy one in hell, thy Son is not there); but
these spots upon my breast, and upon my soul, shall appear to me as the
constellations of the firmament, to direct my contemplation to that
place where thy Son is, thy right hand.


O eternal and most gracious God, who as thou givest all for nothing, if
we consider any precedent merit in us, so givest nothing for nothing, if
we consider the acknowledgment and thankfulness which thou lookest for
after, accept my humble thanks, both for thy mercy, and for this
particular mercy, that in thy judgment I can discern thy mercy, and find
comfort in thy corrections. I know, O Lord, the ordinary discomfort that
accompanies that phrase, that the house is visited, and that, that thy
marks and thy tokens are upon the patient; but what a wretched and
disconsolate hermitage is that house which is not visited by thee, and
what a waif and stray is that man that hath not thy marks upon him?
These heats, O Lord, which thou hast brought upon this body, are but thy
chafing of the wax, that thou mightst seal me to thee: these spots are
but the letters in which thou hast written thine own name and conveyed
thyself to me; whether for a present possession, by taking me now, or
for a future reversion, by glorifying thyself in my stay here, I limit
not, I condition not, I choose not, I wish not, no more than the house
or land that passeth by any civil conveyance. Only be thou ever present
to me, O my God, and this bedchamber and thy bedchamber shall be all one
room, and the closing of these bodily eyes here, and the opening of the
eyes of my soul there, all one act.


[182] Psalm xci. 13.

[183] Ezek. vii. 16.

[184] Ezek. xxxvii. 3.

[185] Cant. iv. 7.

[186] Jude, 23.

[187] Job, ix. 30

[188] Eph. v. 29

[189] Josh. xxii. 17

[190] Wisd. xiii. 14

[191] Gen. xxx. 33

[192] Matt. ix. 12

[193] Job, xi. 15.


_The physicians observe these accidents to have fallen upon the critical


I would not make man worse than he is, nor his condition more miserable
than it is. But could I though I would? As a man cannot flatter God, nor
overpraise him, so a man cannot injure man, nor undervalue him. Thus
much must necessarily be presented to his remembrance, that those false
happinesses which he hath in this world, have their times, and their
seasons, and their critical days; and they are judged and denominated
according to the times when they befall us. What poor elements are our
happinesses made of, if time, time which we can scarce consider to be
any thing, be an essential part of our happiness! All things are done in
some place; but if we consider place to be no more but the next hollow
superficies of the air, alas! how thin and fluid a thing is air, and how
thin a film is a superficies, and a superficies of air! All things are
done in time too, but if we consider time to be but the measure of
motion, and howsoever it may seem to have three stations, past, present,
and future, yet the first and last of these are not (one is not now, and
the other is not yet), and that which you call present, is not now the
same that it was when you began to call it so in this line (before you
sound that word present, or that monosyllable now, the present and the
now is past). If this imaginary, half-nothing time, be of the essence of
our happinesses, how can they be thought durable? Time is not so; how
can they be thought to be? Time is not so; not so considered in any of
the parts thereof. If we consider eternity, into that time never
entered; eternity is not an everlasting flux of time, but time is a
short parenthesis in a long period; and eternity had been the same as it
is, though time had never been. If we consider, not eternity, but
perpetuity; not that which had no time to begin in, but which shall
outlive time, and be when time shall be no more, what a minute is the
life of the durablest creature compared to that! and what a minute is
man's life in respect of the sun's, or of a tree? and yet how little of
our life is occasion, opportunity to receive good in; and how little of
that occasion do we apprehend and lay hold of? How busy and perplexed a
cobweb is the happiness of man here, that must be made up with a
watchfulness to lay hold upon occasion, which is but a little piece of
that which is nothing, time? and yet the best things are nothing without
that. Honours, pleasures, possessions, presented to us out of time? in
our decrepit and distasted and unapprehensive age, lose their office,
and lose their name; they are not honours to us that shall never appear,
nor come abroad into the eyes of the people, to receive honour from them
who give it; nor pleasures to us, who have lost our sense to taste
them; nor possessions to us, who are departing from the possession of
them. Youth is their critical day, that judges them, that denominates
them, that inanimates and informs them, and makes them honours, and
pleasures, and possessions; and when they come in an unapprehensive age,
they come as a cordial when the bell rings out, as a pardon when the
head is off. We rejoice in the comfort of fire, but does any man cleave
to it at midsummer? We are glad of the freshness and coolness of a
vault, but does any man keep his Christmas there; or are the pleasures
of the spring acceptable in autumn? If happiness be in the season, or in
the climate, how much happier then are birds than men, who can change
the climate and accompany and enjoy the same season ever.


My God, my God, wouldst thou call thyself the ancient of days,[194] if
we were not to call ourselves to an account for our days? Wouldst thou
chide us for _standing idle here all the day_,[195] if we were sure to
have more days to make up our harvest? When thou bidst us _take no
thought for to-morrow, for sufficient unto the day_ (to every day) _is
the evil thereof_,[196] is this truly, absolutely, to put off all that
concerns the present life? When thou reprehendest the Galatians by thy
message to them, _That they observed days, and months, and times, and
years_,[197] when thou sendest by the same messenger to forbid the
Colossians all critical days, indicatory days, _Let no man judge you in
respect of a holy day, or of a new moon, or of a sabbath_,[198] dost
thou take away all consideration, all distinction of days? Though thou
remove them from being of the essence of our salvation, thou leavest
them for assistances, and for the exaltation of our devotion, to fix
ourselves, at certain periodical and stationary times, upon the
consideration of those things which thou hast done for us, and the
crisis, the trial, the judgment, how those things have wrought upon us
and disposed us to a spiritual recovery and convalescence. For there is
to every man a day of salvation. _Now is the accepted time, now is the
day of salvation_,[199] and there is _a great day of thy wrath_,[200]
which no man shall be able to stand in; and there are evil days before,
and therefore thou warnest us and armest us, _Take unto you the whole
armour of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day_.[201] So
far then our days must be critical to us, as that by consideration of
them, we may make a judgment of our spiritual health, for that is the
crisis of our bodily health. Thy beloved servant, St. John, wishes to
Gaius, _that he may prosper in his health, so as his soul
prospers_;[202] for if the soul be lean the marrow of the body is but
water; if the soul wither, the verdure and the good estate of the body
is but an illusion and the goodliest man a fearful ghost. Shall we, O my
God, determine our thoughts, and shall we never determine our
disputations upon our climacterical years, for particular men and
periodical years, for the life of states and kingdoms, and never
consider these in our long life, and our interest in the everlasting
kingdom? We have exercised our curiosity in observing that Adam, the
eldest of the eldest world, died in his climacterical year, and Shem,
the eldest son of the next world, in his; Abraham, the father of the
faithful, in his, and the blessed Virgin Mary, the garden where the
root of faith grew, in hers. But they whose climacterics we observe,
employed their observation upon their critical days, the working of thy
promise of a Messias upon them. And shall we, O my God, make less use of
those days who have more of them? We, who have not only the day of the
prophets, the first days, but the last days, in which thou hast spoken
unto us by thy Son?[203] We are the children of the day,[204] for thou
hast shined in as full a noon upon us as upon the Thessalonians: they
who were of the night (a night which they had superinduced upon
themselves), the Pharisees, pretended, _that if they had been in their
fathers' days_ (those indicatory and judicatory, those critical days),
_they would not have been partakers of the blood of the prophets_;[205]
and shall we who are in the day, these days, not of the prophets, but of
the Son, stone those prophets again, and crucify that Son again, for all
those evident indications and critical judicatures which are afforded
us? Those opposed adversaries of thy Son, the Pharisees, with the
Herodians, watched a critical day; then when the state was incensed
against him, came to tempt him in the dangerous question of
tribute.[206] They left him, and that day was the critical day to the
Sadducees. The same day, says thy Spirit in thy word, the Sadducees came
to him to question him about the resurrection,[207] and them he
silenced; they left him, and this was the critical day for the Scribe,
expert in the law, who thought himself learneder than the Herodian, the
Pharisee, or Sadducee; and he tempted him about the great
commandment,[208] and him Christ left without power of replying. When
all was done, and that they went about to begin their circle of vexation
and temptation again, Christ silences them so, that as they had taken
their critical days, to come in that and in that day, so Christ imposes
a critical day upon them. _From that day forth_, says thy Spirit, _no
man durst ask him any more questions_.[209] This, O my God, my most
blessed God, is a fearful crisis, a fearful indication, when we will
study, and seek, and find, what days are fittest to forsake thee in; to
say, now religion is in a neutrality in the world, and this is my day,
the day of liberty; now I may make new friends by changing my old
religion, and this is my day, the day of advancement. But, O my God,
with thy servant Jacob's holy boldness, who, though thou lamedst him,
would not let thee go till thou hadst given him a blessing;[210] though
thou have laid me upon my hearse, yet thou shalt not depart from me,
from this bed, till thou have given me a crisis, a judgment upon myself
this day. Since _a day is as a thousand years with thee_,[211] let, O
Lord, a day be as a week to me; and in this one, let me consider seven
days, seven critical days, and judge myself that I be not judged by
thee. First, this is the day of thy visitation, thy coming to me; and
would I look to be welcome to thee, and not entertain thee in thy coming
to me? We measure not the visitations of great persons by their apparel,
by their equipage, by the solemnity of their coming, but by their very
coming; and therefore, howsoever thou come, it is a crisis to me, that
thou wouldst not lose me who seekest me by any means. This leads me from
my first day, thy visitation by sickness, to a second, to the light and
testimony of my conscience. There I have an evening and a morning, a sad
guiltiness in my soul, but yet a cheerful rising of thy Sun too; thy
evenings and mornings made days in the creation, and there is no mention
of nights; my sadnesses for sins are evenings, but they determine not
in night, but deliver me over to the day, the day of a conscience
dejected, but then rectified, accused, but then acquitted, by thee, by
him who speaks thy word, and who is thy word, thy Son. From this day,
the crisis and examination of my conscience, breaks out my third day, my
day of preparing and fitting myself for a more especial receiving of thy
Son in his institution of the Sacrament; in which day, though there be
many dark passages and slippery steps to them who will entangle and
endanger themselves in unnecessary disputations, yet there are light
hours enough for any man to go his whole journey intended by thee, to
know that that bread and wine is not more really assimilated to my body,
and to my blood, than the body and blood of thy Son is communicated to
me in that action, and participation of that bread and that wine. And
having, O my God, walked with thee these three days, the day of thy
visitation, the day of my conscience, the day of preparing for this seal
of reconciliation, I am the less afraid of the clouds or storms of my
fourth day, the day of my dissolution and transmigration from hence.
Nothing deserves the name of happiness that makes the remembrance of
death bitter; and, _O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee, to a
man that lives at rest in his possessions, the man that hath nothing to
vex him, yea unto him that is able to receive meat!_[212] Therefore hast
thou, O my God, made this sickness, in which I am not able to receive
meat, my fasting day, my eve to this great festival, my dissolution. And
this day of death shall deliver me over to my fifth day, the day of my
resurrection; for how long a day soever thou make that day in the grave,
yet there is no day between that and the resurrection. Then we shall all
be invested, reapparelled in our own bodies; but they who have made
just use of their former days be super-invested with glory; whereas the
others, condemned to their old clothes, their sinful bodies, shall have
nothing added but immortality to torment. And this day of awaking me,
and reinvesting my soul in my body, and my body in the body of Christ,
shall present me, body and soul, to my sixth day, the day of judgment,
which is truly, and most literally, the critical, the decretory day;
both because all judgment shall be manifested to me then, and I shall
assist in judging the world then, and because then, that judgment shall
declare to me, and possess me of my seventh day, my everlasting Sabbath
in thy rest, thy glory, thy joy, thy sight, thyself; and where I shall
live as long without reckoning any more days after, as thy Son and thy
Holy Spirit lived with thee, before you three made any days in the


O eternal and most gracious God, who, though thou didst permit darkness
to be before light in the creation, yet in the making of light didst so
multiply that light, as that it enlightened not the day only, but the
night too; though thou have suffered some dimness, some clouds of
sadness and disconsolateness to shed themselves upon my soul, I humbly
bless and thankfully glorify thy holy name, that thou hast afforded me
the light of thy Spirit, against which the prince of darkness cannot
prevail, nor hinder his illumination of our darkest nights, of our
saddest thoughts. Even the visitation of thy most blessed Spirit upon
the blessed Virgin, is called an overshadowing. There was the presence
of the Holy Ghost, the fountain of all light, and yet an overshadowing;
nay, except there were some light, there could be no shadow. Let thy
merciful providence so govern all in this sickness, that I never fall
into utter darkness, ignorance of thee, or inconsideration of myself;
and let those shadows which do fall upon me, faintnesses of spirit, and
condemnations of myself, be overcome by the power of thine irresistible
light, the God of consolation; that when those shadows have done their
office upon me, to let me see, that of myself I should fall into
irrecoverable darkness, thy Spirit may do his office upon those shadows,
and disperse them, and establish me in so bright a day here, as may be a
critical day to me, a day wherein and whereby I may give thy judgment
upon myself, and that the words of thy Son, spoken to his apostles, may
reflect upon me, _Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the


[194] Dan. vii. 22.

[195] Matt. xx. 6.

[196] Matt. vi. 34.

[197] Gal. iv. 10.

[198] Col. ii. 16.

[199] 2 Cor. vi. 2.

[200] Rev. vi. 17.

[201] Eph. vi. 11.

[202] 3 John, 2.

[203] Heb. i. 2.

[204] 1 Thes. v. 8.

[205] Matt. xxiii. 30.

[206] Matt. xxii. 15.

[207] Matt. xxii. 23.

[208] Matt. xxii. 36.

[209] Matt. xxii. 46.

[210] Gen. xxxii. 26.

[211] 2 Pet. iii. 8.

[212] Ecclus. xli. 1.


_I sleep not day nor night._


Natural men have conceived a twofold use of sleep; that it is a
refreshing of the body in this life; that it is a preparing of the soul
for the next; that it is a feast, and it is the grace at that feast;
that it is our recreation and cheers us, and it is our catechism and
instructs us; we lie down in a hope that we shall rise the stronger, and
we lie down in a knowledge that we may rise no more. Sleep is an opiate
which gives us rest, but such an opiate, as perchance, being under it,
we shall wake no more. But though natural men, who have induced
secondary and figurative considerations, have found out this second,
this emblematical use of sleep, that it should be a representation of
death, God, who wrought and perfected his work before nature began (for
nature was but his apprentice, to learn in the first seven days, and now
is his foreman, and works next under him), God, I say, intended sleep
only for the refreshing of man by bodily rest, and not for a figure of
death, for he intended not death itself then. But man having induced
death upon himself, God hath taken man's creature, death, into his hand,
and mended it; and whereas it hath in itself a fearful form and aspect,
so that man is afraid of his own creature, God presents it to him in a
familiar, in an assiduous, in an agreeable and acceptable form, in
sleep; that so when he awakes from sleep, and says to himself, "Shall I
be no otherwise when I am dead, than I was even now when I was asleep?"
he may be ashamed of his waking dreams, and of his melancholy fancying
out a horrid and an affrightful figure of that death which is so like
sleep. As then we need sleep to live out our threescore and ten years,
so we need death to live that life which we cannot outlive. And as death
being our enemy, God allows us to defend ourselves against it (for we
victual ourselves against death twice every day), as often as we eat, so
God having so sweetened death unto us as he hath in sleep, we put
ourselves into our enemy's hands once every day, so far as sleep is
death; and sleep is as much death as meat is life. This then is the
misery of my sickness, that death, as it is produced from me and is mine
own creature, is now before mine eyes, but in that form in which God
hath mollified it to us, and made it acceptable, in sleep I cannot see
it. How many prisoners, who have even hollowed themselves their graves
upon that earth on which they have lain long under heavy fetters, yet at
this hour are asleep, though they be yet working upon their own graves
by their own weight? He that hath seen his friend die to-day, or knows
he shall see it to-morrow, yet will sink into a sleep between. I cannot,
and oh, if I be entering now into eternity, where there shall be no more
distinction of hours, why is it all my business now to tell clocks? Why
is none of the heaviness of my heart dispensed into mine eye-lids, that
they might fall as my heart doth? And why, since I have lost my delight
in all objects, cannot I discontinue the faculty of seeing them by
closing mine eyes in sleep? But why rather, being entering into that
presence where I shall wake continually and never sleep more, do I not
interpret my continual waking here, to be a parasceve and a preparation
to that?


My God, my God, I know (for thou hast said it) that _he that keepeth
Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep_:[214] but shall not that Israel,
over whom thou watchest, sleep? I know (for thou hast said it) that
there are men whose damnation sleepeth not;[215] but shall not they to
whom thou art salvation sleep? or wilt thou take from them that
evidence, and that testimony that they are thy Israel, or thou their
salvation? _Thou givest thy beloved sleep_:[216] shall I lack that seal
of thy love? _You shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid_:[217]
shall I be outlawed from that protection? Jonah slept in one dangerous
storm,[218] and thy blessed Son in another;[219] shall I have no use, no
benefit, no application of those great examples? _Lord, if he sleep, he
shall do well_,[220] say thy Son's disciples to him of Lazarus; and
shall there be no room for that argument in me? or shall I be open to
the contrary? If I sleep not, shall I not be well in their sense? Let me
not, O my God, take this too precisely, too literally; _There is that
neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes_,[221] says thy wise
servant Solomon; and whether he speak that of worldly men, or of men
that seek wisdom, whether in justification or condemnation of their
watchfulness, we cannot tell: we can tell that there are men that cannot
sleep till they have done mischief,[222] and then they can; and we can
tell that the rich man cannot sleep, because his abundance will not let
him.[223] The tares were sown when the husbandmen were asleep[224]; and
the elders thought it a probable excuse, a credible lie, that the
watchmen which kept the sepulchre should say, that the body of thy Son
was stolen away when they were asleep.[225] Since thy blessed Son
rebuked his disciples for sleeping, shall I murmur because I do not
sleep? If Samson had slept any longer in Gaza, he had been taken;[226]
and when he did sleep longer with Delilah,[227] he was taken. Sleep is
as often taken for natural death in thy Scriptures, as for natural rest.
Nay, sometimes sleep hath so heavy a sense, as to be taken for sin
itself,[228] as well as for the punishment of sin, death.[229] Much
comfort is not in much sleep, when the most fearful and most irrevocable
malediction is presented by thee in a perpetual sleep. _I will make
their feasts, and I will make them drunk, and they shall sleep a
perpetual sleep, and not wake._[230] I must therefore, O my God, look
farther than into the very act of sleeping before I misinterpret my
waking; for since I find thy whole hand light, shall any finger of that
hand seem heavy? Since the whole sickness is thy physic, shall any
accident in it be my poison by my murmuring? The name of watchmen
belongs to our profession; thy prophets are not only seers, endued with
a power of seeing, able to see, but watchmen evermore in the act of
seeing. And therefore give me leave, O my blessed God, to invert the
words of thy Son's spouse: she said, _I sleep, but my heart
waketh_;[231] I say, I wake, but my heart sleepeth: my body is in a sick
weariness, but my soul in a peaceful rest with thee; and as our eyes in
our health see not the air that is next them, nor the fire, nor the
spheres, nor stop upon any thing till they come to stars, so my eyes
that are open, see nothing of this world, but pass through all that, and
fix themselves upon thy peace, and joy, and glory above. Almost as soon
as thy apostle had said, _Let us not sleep_,[232] lest we should be too
much discomforted if we did, he says again, _Whether we wake or sleep,
let us live together with Christ_.[233] Though then this absence of
sleep may argue the presence of death (the original may exclude the
copy, the life the picture), yet this gentle sleep and rest of my soul
betroths me to thee, to whom I shall be married indissolubly, though by
this way of dissolution.


O eternal and most gracious God, who art able to make, and dost make,
the sick bed of thy servants chapels of ease to them, and the dreams of
thy servants prayers and meditations upon thee, let not this continual
watchfulness of mine, this inability to sleep, which thou hast laid upon
me, be any disquiet or discomfort to me, but rather an argument, that
thou wouldst not have me sleep in thy presence. What it may indicate or
signify concerning the state of my body, let them consider to whom that
consideration belongs; do thou, who only art the Physician of my soul,
tell her, that thou wilt afford her such defensatives, as that she shall
wake ever towards thee, and yet ever sleep in thee, and that, through
all this sickness, thou wilt either preserve mine understanding from all
decays and distractions which these watchings might occasion, or that
thou wilt reckon and account with me from before those violences, and
not call any piece of my sickness a sin. It is a heavy and indelible sin
that I brought into the world with me; it is a heavy and innumerable
multitude of sins which I have heaped up since; I have sinned behind thy
back (if that can be done), by wilful abstaining from thy congregations
and omitting thy service, and I have sinned before thy face, in my
hypocrisies in prayer, in my ostentation, and the mingling a respect of
myself in preaching thy word; I have sinned in my fasting, by repining
when a penurious fortune hath kept me low; and I have sinned even in
that fulness, when I have been at thy table, by a negligent examination,
by a wilful prevarication, in receiving that heavenly food and physic.
But as I know, O my gracious God, that for all those sins committed
since, yet thou wilt consider me, as I was in thy purpose when thou
wrotest my name in the book of life in mine election; so into what
deviations soever I stray and wander by occasion of this sickness, O
God, return thou to that minute wherein thou wast pleased with me and
consider me in that condition.


[213] Matt. xxviii. 20.

[214] Psalm cxxi. 4.

[215] 2 Pet. ii. 3.

[216] Psalm cxxvii. 2.

[217] Lev. xxvi. 6.

[218] Jonah, i. 5.

[219] Matt. viii. 24.

[220] John, xi. 12.

[221] Eccles. viii. 16.

[222] Prov. iv. 16.

[223] Eccles. v. 12.

[224] Matt. xiii. 25; xxviii. 13.

[225] Matt. xxvi. 40.

[226] Judges, xvi. 3.

[227] Judges, xvi. 19.

[228] Eph. v. 14.

[229] 1 Thes. v. 6.

[230] Jer. li. 57.

[231] Cant. v. 2.

[232] 1 Thes. v. 6.

[233] 1 Thes. v. 10.


_From the bells of the church adjoining, I am daily remembered of my
burial in the funerals of others._


We have a convenient author,[234] who writ a discourse of bells when he
was prisoner in Turkey. How would he have enlarged himself if he had
been my fellow-prisoner in this sick bed, so near to that steeple which
never ceases, no more than the harmony of the spheres, but is more
heard. When the Turks took Constantinople, they melted the bells into
ordnance; I have heard both bells and ordnance, but never been so much
affected with those as with these bells. I have lain near a steeple[235]
in which there are said to be more than thirty bells, and near another,
where there is one so big, as that the clapper is said to weigh more
than six hundred pounds,[236] yet never so affected as here. Here the
bells can scarce solemnize the funeral of any person, but that I knew
him, or knew that he was my neighbour: we dwelt in houses near to one
another before, but now he is gone into that house into which I must
follow him. There is a way of correcting the children of great persons,
that other children are corrected in their behalf, and in their names,
and this works upon them who indeed had more deserved it. And when these
bells tell me, that now one, and now another is buried, must not I
acknowledge that they have the correction due to me, and paid the debt
that I owe? There is a story of a bell in a monastery[237] which, when
any of the house was sick to death, rung always voluntarily, and they
knew the inevitableness of the danger by that. It rung once when no man
was sick, but the next day one of the house fell from the steeple and
died, and the bell held the reputation of a prophet still. If these
bells that warn to a funeral now, were appropriated to none, may not I,
by the hour of the funeral, supply? How many men that stand at an
execution, if they would ask, For what dies that man? should hear their
own faults condemned, and see themselves executed by attorney? We scarce
hear of any man preferred, but we think of ourselves that we might very
well have been that man; why might not I have been that man that is
carried to his grave now? Could I fit myself to stand or sit in any
man's place, and not to lie in any man's grave? I may lack much of the
good parts of the meanest, but I lack nothing of the mortality of the
weakest; they may have acquired better abilities than I, but I was born
to as many infirmities as they. To be an incumbent by lying down in a
grave, to be a doctor by teaching mortification by example, by dying,
though I may have seniors, others may be older than I, yet I have
proceeded apace in a good university, and gone a great way in a little
time, by the furtherance of a vehement fever, and whomsoever these bells
bring to the ground to-day, if he and I had been compared yesterday,
perchance I should have been thought likelier to come to this
preferment then than he. God hath kept the power of death in his own
hands, lest any man should bribe death. If man knew the gain of death,
the ease of death, he would solicit, he would provoke death to assist
him by any hand which he might use. But as when men see many of their
own professions preferred, it ministers a hope that that may light upon
them; so when these hourly bells tell me of so many funerals of men like
me, it presents, if not a desire that it may, yet a comfort whensoever
mine shall come.


My God, my God, I do not expostulate with thee, but with them who dare
do that; who dare expostulate with thee, when in the voice of thy church
thou givest allowance to this ceremony of bells at funerals. Is it
enough to refuse it, because it was in use among the Gentiles? so were
funerals too. Is it because some abuses may have crept in amongst
Christians? Is that enough, that their ringing hath been said to drive
away evil spirits? Truly, that is so far true, as that the evil spirit
is vehemently vexed in their ringing, therefore, because that action
brings the congregation together, and unites God and his people, to the
destruction of that kingdom which the evil spirit usurps. In the first
institution of thy church in this world, in the foundation of thy
militant church amongst the Jews, thou didst appoint the calling of the
assembly in to be by trumpet;[238] and when they were in, then thou
gavest them the sound of bells in the garment of thy priest.[239] In the
triumphant church, thou employest both too, but in an inverted order;
we enter into the triumphant church by the sound of bells (for we enter
when we die); and then we receive our further edification, or
consummation, by the sound of trumpets at the resurrection. The sound of
thy trumpets thou didst impart to secular and civil uses too, but the
sound of bells only to sacred. Lord, let not us break the communion of
saints in that which was intended for the advancement of it; let not
that pull us asunder from one another, which was intended for the
assembling of us in the militant, and associating of us to the
triumphant church. But he, for whose funeral these bells ring now, was
at home, at his journey's end yesterday; why ring they now? A man, that
is a world, is all the things in the world; he is an army, and when an
army marches, the van may lodge to-night where the rear comes not till
to-morrow. A man extends to his act and to his example; to that which he
does, and that which he teaches; so do those things that concern him, so
do these bells; that which rung yesterday was to convey him out of the
world in his van, in his soul; that which rung to-day was to bring him
in his rear, in his body, to the church; and this continuing of ringing
after his entering is to bring him to me in the application. Where I lie
I could hear the psalm, and did join with the congregation in it; but I
could not hear the sermon, and these latter bells are a repetition
sermon to me. But, O my God, my God, do I that have this fever need
other remembrances of my mortality? Is not mine own hollow voice, voice
enough to pronounce that to me? Need I look upon a death's head in a
ring, that have one in my face? or go for death to my neighbour's house,
that have him in my bosom? We cannot, we cannot, O my God, take in too
many helps for religious duties; I know I cannot have any better image
of thee than thy Son, nor any better image of him than his Gospel; yet
must not I with thanks confess to thee, that some historical pictures of
his have sometimes put me upon better meditations than otherwise I
should have fallen upon? I know thy church needed not to have taken in,
from Jew, or Gentile, any supplies for the exaltation of thy glory, or
our devotion; of absolute necessity I know she needed not; but yet we
owe thee our thanks, that thou hast given her leave to do so, and that
as, in making us Christians, thou didst not destroy that which we were
before, natural men, so, in the exalting of our religious devotions now
we are Christians, thou hast been pleased to continue to us those
assistances which did work upon the affections of natural men before;
for thou lovest a good man as thou lovest a good Christian; and though
grace be merely from me, yet thou dost not plant grace but in good


O eternal and most gracious God, who having consecrated our living
bodies to thine own Spirit, and made us temples of the Holy Ghost, dost
also require a respect to be given to these temples, even when the
priest is gone out of them, to these bodies when the soul is departed
from them, I bless and glorify thy name, that as thou takest care in our
life of every hair of our head, so dost thou also of every grain of
ashes after our death. Neither dost thou only do good to us all in life
and death, but also wouldst have us do good to one another, as in a holy
life, so in those things which accompany our death. In that
contemplation I make account that I hear this dead brother of ours, who
is now carried out to his burial, to speak to me, and to preach my
funeral sermon in the voice of these bells. In him, O God, thou hast
accomplished to me even the request of Dives to Abraham; thou hast sent
one from the dead to speak unto me. He speaks to me aloud from that
steeple; he whispers to me at these curtains, and he speaks thy words:
_Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth_.[240] Let
this prayer therefore, O my God, be as my last gasp, my expiring, my
dying in thee; that if this be the hour of my transmigration, I may die
the death of a sinner, drowned in my sins, in the blood of thy Son; and
if I live longer, yet I may now die the death of the righteous, die to
sin; which death is a resurrection to a new life. _Thou killest and thou
givest life_: whichsoever comes, it comes from thee; which way soever it
comes, let me come to thee.


[234] Magius.

[235] Antwerp.

[236] Roan.

[237] Roccha.

[238] Numb. x. 2.

[239] Exod. xviii. 33-4.


_Now, this bell tolling softly for another, says to me: Thou must die._


Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows
not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better
than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have
caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is Catholic,
universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all.
When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is
thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into
that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action
concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one
man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a
better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs
several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by
sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every
translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again
for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As
therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher
only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but
how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.
There was a contention as far as a suit (in which both piety and
dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled), which of the religious
orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was
determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we
understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening
prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that
application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is.
The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit
again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is
united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but
who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not
his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it
from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world? No
man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the
continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a
manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes
me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know
for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a
begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not
miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next
house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an
excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and
scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is
not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.
If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none
coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he
travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not
current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our
home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and
this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no
use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and
applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger I
take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my
recourse to my God, who is our only security.


My God, my God, is this one of thy ways of drawing light out of
darkness, to make him for whom this bell tolls, now in this dimness of
his sight, to become a superintendent, an overseer, a bishop, to as many
as hear his voice in this bell, and to give us a confirmation in this
action? Is this one of thy ways, to raise strength out of weakness, to
make him who cannot rise from his bed, nor stir in his bed, come home
to me, and in this sound give me the strength of healthy and vigorous
instructions? O my God, my God, what thunder is not a well-tuned cymbal,
what hoarseness, what harshness, is not a clear organ, if thou be
pleased to set thy voice to it? And what organ is not well played on if
thy hand be upon it? Thy voice, thy hand, is in this sound, and in this
one sound I hear this whole concert. I hear thy Jacob call unto his sons
and say, _Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall
befall you in the last days_:[241] he says, That which I am now, you
must be then. I hear thy Moses telling me, and all within the compass of
this sound, _This is the blessing wherewith I bless you before my
death_;[242] this, that before your death, you would consider your own
in mine. I hear thy prophet saying to Hezekiah, _Set thy house in order,
for thou shalt die, and not live_:[243] he makes use of his family, and
calls this a setting of his house in order, to compose us to the
meditation of death. I hear thy apostle saying, _I think it meet to put
you in remembrance, knowing that shortly I must go out of this
tabernacle_:[244] this is the publishing of his will, and this bell is
our legacy, the applying of his present condition to our use. I hear
that which makes all sounds music, and all music perfect; I hear thy Son
himself saying, _Let not your hearts be troubled_;[245] only I hear this
change, that whereas thy Son says there, _I go to prepare a place for
you_, this man in this sound says, I send to prepare you for a place,
for a grave. But, O my God, my God, since heaven is glory and joy, why
do not glorious and joyful things lead us, induce us to heaven? Thy
legacies in thy first will, in the Old Testament, were plenty and
victory, wine and oil, milk and honey, alliances of friends, ruin of
enemies, peaceful hearts and cheerful countenances, and by these
galleries thou broughtest them into thy bedchamber, by these glories and
joys, to the joys and glories of heaven. Why hast thou changed thine old
way, and carried us by the ways of discipline and mortification, by the
ways of mourning and lamentation, by the ways of miserable ends and
miserable anticipations of those miseries, in appropriating the exemplar
miseries of others to ourselves, and usurping upon their miseries as our
own, to our prejudice? Is the glory of heaven no perfecter in itself,
but that it needs a foil of depression and ingloriousness in this world,
to set it off? Is the joy of heaven no perfecter in itself, but that it
needs the sourness of this life to give it a taste? Is that joy and that
glory but a comparative glory and a comparative joy? not such in itself,
but such in comparison of the joylessness and the ingloriousness of this
world? I know, my God, it is far, far otherwise. As thou thyself, who
art all, art made of no substances, so the joys and glory which are with
thee are made of none of these circumstances, essential joy, and glory
essential. But why then, my God, wilt thou not begin them here? Pardon,
O God, this unthankful rashness; I that ask why thou dost not, find even
now in myself, that thou dost; such joy, such glory, as that I conclude
upon myself, upon all, they that find not joys in their sorrows, glory
in their dejections in this world, are in a fearful danger of missing
both in the next.


O eternal and most gracious God, who hast been pleased to speak to us,
not only in the voice of nature, who speaks in our hearts, and of thy
word, which speaks to our ears, but in the speech of speechless
creatures, in Balaam's ass, in the speech of unbelieving men, in the
confession of Pilate, in the speech of the devil himself, in the
recognition and attestation of thy Son, I humbly accept thy voice in the
sound of this sad and funeral bell. And first, I bless thy glorious
name, that in this sound and voice I can hear thy instructions, in
another man's to consider mine own condition; and to know, that this
bell which tolls for another, before it come to ring out, may take me in
too. As death is the wages of sin it is due to me; as death is the end
of sickness it belongs to me; and though so disobedient a servant as I
may be afraid to die, yet to so merciful a master as thou I cannot be
afraid to come; and therefore into thy hands, O my God, I commend my
spirit, a surrender which I know thou wilt accept, whether I live or
die; for thy servant David made it,[246] when he put himself into thy
protection for his life; and thy blessed Son made it, when he delivered
up his soul at his death: declare thou thy will upon me, O Lord, for
life or death in thy time; receive my surrender of myself now; into thy
hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. And being thus, O my God, prepared
by thy correction, mellowed by thy chastisement, and conformed to thy
will by thy Spirit, having received thy pardon for my soul, and asking
no reprieve for my body, I am bold, O Lord, to bend my prayers to thee
for his assistance, the voice of whose bell hath called me to this
devotion. Lay hold upon his soul, O God, till that soul have thoroughly
considered his account; and how few minutes soever it have to remain in
that body, let the power of thy Spirit recompense the shortness of time,
and perfect his account before he pass away; present his sins so to him,
as that he may know what thou forgivest, and not doubt of thy
forgiveness, let him stop upon the infiniteness of those sins, but dwell
upon the infiniteness of thy mercy; let him discern his own demerits,
but wrap himself up in the merits of thy Son Christ Jesus; breathe
inward comforts to his heart, and afford him the power of giving such
outward testimonies thereof, as all that are about him may derive
comforts from thence, and have this edification, even in this
dissolution, that though the body be going the way of all flesh, yet
that soul is going the way of all saints. When thy Son cried out upon
the cross, _My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?_ he spake not so
much in his own person, as in the person of the church, and of his
afflicted members, who in deep distresses might fear thy forsaking. This
patient, O most blessed God, is one of them; in his behalf, and in his
name, hear thy Son crying to thee, _My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?_ and forsake him not; but with thy left hand lay his body
in the grave (if that be thy determination upon him), and with thy right
hand receive his soul into thy kingdom, and unite him and us in one
communion of saints. Amen.


[240] Rev. xiv. 13.

[241] Gen. xlix. 1.

[242] Deut. xxxiii. 1.

[243] 2 Kings, xx. 1.

[244] 2 Pet. i. 13.

[245] John, xiv. 1.

[246] Psalm xxxi. 5.

    XVIII. ------------------------ AT INDE

_The bell rings out, and tells me in him, that I am dead._


The bell rings out, the pulse thereof is changed; the tolling was a
faint and intermitting pulse, upon one side; this stronger, and argues
more and better life. His soul is gone out, and as a man who had a lease
of one thousand years after the expiration of a short one, or an
inheritance after the life of a man in a consumption, he is now entered
into the possession of his better estate. His soul is gone, whither? Who
saw it come in, or who saw it go out? Nobody; yet everybody is sure he
had one, and hath none. If I will ask mere philosophers what the soul
is, I shall find amongst them that will tell me, it is nothing but the
temperament and harmony, and just and equal composition of the elements
in the body, which produces all those faculties which we ascribe to the
soul; and so in itself is nothing, no separable substance that overlives
the body. They see the soul is nothing else in other creatures, and they
affect an impious humility to think as low of man. But if my soul were
no more than the soul of a beast, I could not think so; that soul that
can reflect upon itself, consider itself, is more than so. If I will
ask, not mere philosophers, but mixed men, philosophical divines, how
the soul, being a separate substance, enters into man, I shall find some
that will tell me, that it is by generation and procreation from
parents, because they think it hard to charge the soul with the
guiltiness of original sin if the soul were infused into a body in which
it must necessarily grow foul, and contract original sin whether it
will or no; and I shall find some that will tell me, that it is by
immediate infusion from God, because they think it hard to maintain an
immortality in such a soul, as should be begotten and derived with the
body from mortal parents. If I will ask, not a few men, but almost whole
bodies, whole churches, what becomes of the souls of the righteous at
the departing thereof from the body, I shall be told by some, that they
attend an expiation, a purification in a place of torment; by some, that
they attend the fruition of the sight of God in a place of rest, but yet
but of expectation; by some, that they pass to an immediate possession
of the presence of God. St. Augustine studied the nature of the soul as
much as any thing, but the salvation of the soul; and he sent an express
messenger to St. Hierome, to consult of some things concerning the soul;
but he satisfies himself with this: "Let the departure of my soul to
salvation be evident to my faith, and I care the less how dark the
entrance of my soul into my body be to my reason." It is the going out,
more than the coming in, that concerns us. This soul this bell tells me
is gone out, whither? Who shall tell me that? I know not who it is, much
less what he was, the condition of the man, and the course of his life,
which should tell me whither he is gone, I know not. I was not there in
his sickness, nor at his death; I saw not his way nor his end, nor can
ask them who did, thereby to conclude or argue whither he is gone. But
yet I have one nearer me than all these, mine own charity; I ask that,
and that tells me he is gone to everlasting rest, and joy, and glory. I
owe him a good opinion; it is but thankful charity in me, because I
received benefit and instruction from him when his bell tolled; and I,
being made the fitter to pray by that disposition, wherein I was
assisted by his occasion, did pray for him; and I pray not without
faith; so I do charitably, so I do faithfully believe, that that soul is
gone to everlasting rest, and joy, and glory. But for the body, how poor
a wretched thing is that? we cannot express it so fast, as it grows
worse and worse. That body, which scarce three minutes since was such a
house, as that that soul, which made but one step from thence to heaven,
was scarce thoroughly content to leave that for heaven; that body hath
lost the name of a dwelling-house, because none dwells in it, and is
making haste to lose the name of a body, and dissolve to putrefaction.
Who would not be affected to see a clear and sweet river in the morning,
grow a kennel of muddy land-water by noon, and condemned to the saltness
of the sea by night? and how lame a picture, how faint a representation
is that, of the precipitation of man's body to dissolution? Now all the
parts built up, and knit by a lovely soul, now but a statue of clay, and
now these limbs melted off, as if that clay were but snow; and now the
whole house is but a handful of sand, so much dust, and but a peck of
rubbish, so much bone. If he who, as this bell tells me, is gone now,
were some excellent artificer, who comes to him for a cloak or for a
garment now? or for counsel, if he were a lawyer? if a magistrate, for
justice? Man, before he hath his immortal soul, hath a soul of sense,
and a soul of vegetation before that: this immortal soul did not forbid
other souls to be in us before, but when this soul departs, it carries
all with it; no more vegetation, no more sense. Such a mother-in-law is
the earth, in respect of our natural mother; in her womb we grew, and
when she was delivered of us, we were planted in some place, in some
calling in the world; in the womb of the earth we diminish, and when she
is delivered of us, our grave opened for another; we are not
transplanted, but transported, our dust blown away with profane dust,
with every wind.


My God, my God, if expostulation be too bold a word, do thou mollify it
with another; let it be wonder in myself, let it be but problem to
others; but let me ask, why wouldst thou not suffer those that serve
thee in holy services, to do any office about the dead,[247] nor assist
at their funeral? Thou hadst no counsellor, thou needst none; thou hast
no controller, thou admittedst none. Why do I ask? In ceremonial things
(as that was) any convenient reason is enough; who can be sure to
propose that reason, that moved thee in the institution thereof? I
satisfy myself with this; that in those times the Gentiles were
over-full of an over-reverent respect to the memory of the dead: a great
part of the idolatry of the nations flowed from that; an over-amorous
devotion, an over-zealous celebrating, and over-studious preserving of
the memories, and the pictures of some dead persons; and by _the vain
glory of men, they entered into the world_,[248] and their statues and
pictures contracted an opinion of divinity by age: that which was at
first but a picture of a friend grew a god in time, as the wise man
notes, _They called them gods, which were the work of an ancient
hand_.[249] And some have assigned a certain time, when a picture should
come out of minority, and be at age to be a god in sixty years after it
is made. Those images of men that had life, and some idols of other
things which never had any being, are by one common name called
promiscuously dead; and for that the wise man reprehends the idolater,
_for health he prays to that which is weak, and for life he prays to
that which is dead_.[250] Should we do so? says thy prophet;[251]
_should we go from the living to the dead?_ So much ill then being
occasioned by so much religious compliment exhibited to the dead, thou,
O God (I think), wouldst therefore inhibit thy principal holy servants
from contributing any thing at all to this dangerous intimation of
idolatry; and that the people might say, Surely those dead men are not
so much to be magnified as men mistake, since God will not suffer his
holy officers so much as to touch them, not to see them. But those
dangers being removed, thou, O my God, dost certainly allow that we
should do offices of piety to the dead and that we should draw
instructions to piety from the dead. Is not this, O my God, a holy kind
of raising up seed to my dead brother, if I, by the meditation of his
death produce a better life in myself? It is the blessing upon Reuben,
_Let Reuben live, and not die, and let not his men be few_;[252] let him
propagate many. And it is a malediction, _That that dieth, let it
die_,[253] let it do no good in dying; for _trees without fruit_, thou,
by thy apostle, callest _twice dead_.[254] It is a second death, if none
live the better by me after my death, by the manner of my death.
Therefore may I justly think, that thou madest that a way to convey to
the Egyptians a fear of thee and a fear of death, that _there was not a
house where there was not one dead_;[255] for thereupon the Egyptians
said, _We are all dead men_: the death of others should catechise us to
death. Thy Son Christ Jesus is the _first begotten of the dead_;[256] he
rises first, the eldest brother, and he is my master in this science of
death; but yet, for me, I am a younger brother too, to this man who
died now, and to every man whom I see or hear to die before me, and all
they are ushers to me in this school of death. I take therefore that
which thy servant David's wife said to him, to be said to me, _If thou
save not thy life to-night, to-morrow thou shalt be slain_.[257] If the
death of this man work not upon me now, I shall die worse than if thou
hadst not afforded me this help; for thou hast sent him in this bell to
me, as thou didst send to the angel of Sardis, with commission to
_strengthen the things that remain, and that are ready to die_,[258]
that in this weakness of body I might receive spiritual strength by
these occasions. This is my strength, that whether thou say to me, as
thine angel said to Gideon, _Peace be unto thee, fear not, thou shalt
not die_;[259] or whether thou say, as unto Aaron, _Thou shalt die
there_;[260] yet thou wilt preserve that which is ready to die, my soul,
from the worst death, that of sin. Zimri _died for his sins_, says thy
Spirit, _which he sinned in doing evil; and in his sin which he did to
make Israel sin_;[261] for his sins, his many sins, and then in his sin,
his particular sin. For my sins I shall die whensoever I die, for death
is the wages of sin; but I shall die in my sin, in that particular sin
of resisting thy Spirit, if I apply not thy assistances. Doth it not
call us to a particular consideration that thy blessed Son varies his
form of commination, and aggravates it in the variation, when he says to
the Jews (because they refused the light offered), _You shall die in
your sin_:[262] and then when they proceeded to farther disputations,
and vexations, and temptations, he adds, _You shall die in your
sins_;[263] he multiplies the former expression to a plural. In this
sin, and in all your sins, doth not the resisting of thy particular
helps at last draw upon us the guiltiness of all our former sins? May
not the neglecting of this sound ministered to me in this man's death,
bring me to that misery, so that I, whom the Lord of life loved so as to
die for me, shall die, and a creature of mine own shall be immortal;
that I shall die, and the _worm_ of mine own conscience _shall never


O eternal and most gracious God, I have a new occasion of thanks, and a
new occasion of prayer to thee from the ringing of this bell. Thou
toldest me in the other voice that I was mortal and approaching to
death; in this I may hear thee say that I am dead in an irremediable, in
an irrecoverable state for bodily health. If that be thy language in
this voice, how infinitely am I bound to thy heavenly Majesty for
speaking so plainly unto me? for even that voice, that I must die now,
is not the voice of a judge that speaks by way of condemnation, but of a
physician that presents health in that. Thou presentest me death as the
cure of my disease, not as the exaltation of it; if I mistake thy voice
herein, if I overrun thy pace, and prevent thy hand, and imagine death
more instant upon me than thou hast bid him be, yet the voice belongs to
me; I am dead, I was born dead, and from the first laying of these mud
walls in my conception, they have mouldered away, and the whole course
of life is but an active death. Whether this voice instruct me that I am
a dead man now, or remember me that I have been a dead man all this
while. I humbly thank thee for speaking in this voice to my soul; and I
humbly beseech thee also to accept my prayers in his behalf, by whose
occasion this voice, this sound, is come to me. For though he be by
death transplanted to thee, and so in possession of inexpressible
happiness there, yet here upon earth thou hast given us such a portion
of heaven, as that though men dispute whether thy saints in heaven do
know what we in earth in particular do stand in need of, yet, without
all disputation, we upon earth do know what thy saints in heaven lack
yet for the consummation of their happiness, and therefore thou hast
afforded us the dignity that we may pray for them. That therefore this
soul, now newly departed to thy kingdom, may quickly return to a joyful
reunion to that body which it hath left, and that we with it may soon
enjoy the full consummation of all in body and soul, I humbly beg at thy
hand, O our most merciful God, for thy Son Christ Jesus' sake. That that
blessed Son of thine may have the consummation of his dignity, by
entering into his last office, the office of a judge, and may have
society of human bodies in heaven, as well as he hath had ever of souls;
and that as thou hatest sin itself, thy hate to sin may be expressed in
the abolishing of all instruments of sin, the allurements of this world,
and the world itself; and all the temporary revenges of sin, the stings
of sickness and of death; and all the castles, and prisons, and
monuments of sin, in the grave. That time may be swallowed up in
eternity, and hope swallowed in possession, and ends swallowed in
infiniteness, and all men ordained to salvation in body and soul be one
entire and everlasting sacrifice to thee, where thou mayst receive
delight from them, and they glory from thee, for evermore. Amen.


[247] Levit. xxi. 1.

[248] Wisd. xiv. 14.

[249] Wisd. xiii. 10.

[250] Wisd. xiii. 18.

[251] Isaiah, viii. 19.

[252] Deut. xxxiii. 6.

[253] Zech. xi. 9.

[254] Jude, 12.

[255] Exod. xii. 30.

[256] Rev. i. 5.

[257] 1 Sam. xix. 11.

[258] Rev. iii. 2.

[259] Judg. vi, 23.

[260] Numb. xx. 26.

[261] 1 Kings, xvi. 19.

[262] John, viii. 21.

[263] John, viii. 24.

[264] Isaiah, lxvi. 24.


_At last the physicians, after a long and stormy voyage, see land: they
have so good signs of the concoction of the disease, as that they may
safely proceed to purge._


All this while the physicians themselves have been patients, patiently
attending when they should see any land in this sea, any earth, any
cloud, any indication of concoction in these waters. Any disorder of
mine, any pretermission of theirs, exalts the disease, accelerates the
rages of it; no diligence accelerates the concoction, the maturity of
the disease; they must stay till the season of the sickness come; and
till it be ripened of itself, and then they may put to their hand to
gather it before it fall off, but they cannot hasten the ripening. Why
should we look for it in a disease, which is the disorder, the discord,
the irregularity, the commotion and rebellion of the body? It were
scarce a disease if it could be ordered and made obedient to our times.
Why should we look for that in disorder, in a disease, when we cannot
have it in nature, who is so regular and so pregnant, so forward to
bring her work to perfection and to light? Yet we cannot awake the July
flowers in January, nor retard the flowers of the spring to autumn. We
cannot bid the fruits come in May, nor the leaves to stick on in
December. A woman that is weak cannot put off her ninth month to a tenth
for her delivery, and say she will stay till she be stronger; nor a
queen cannot hasten it to a seventh, that she may be ready for some
other pleasure. Nature (if we look for durable and vigorous effects)
will not admit preventions, nor anticipations, nor obligations upon her,
for they are precontracts, and she will be left to her liberty. Nature
would not be spurred, nor forced to mend her pace; nor power, the power
of man, greatness, loves not that kind of violence neither. There are of
them that will give, that will do justice, that will pardon, but they
have their own seasons for all these, and he that knows not them shall
starve before that gift come, and ruin before the justice, and die
before the pardon save him. Some tree bears no fruit, except much dung
be laid about it; and justice comes not from some till they be richly
manured: some trees require much visiting, much watering, much labour;
and some men give not their fruits but upon importunity: some trees
require incision, and pruning, and lopping; some men must be intimidated
and syndicated with commissions, before they will deliver the fruits of
justice: some trees require the early and the often access of the sun;
some men open not, but upon the favours and letters of court mediation:
some trees must be housed and kept within doors; some men lock up, not
only their liberality, but their justice and their compassion, till the
solicitation of a wife, or a son, or a friend, or a servant, turn the
key. Reward is the season of one man, and importunity of another; fear
the season of one man, and favour of another; friendship the season of
one man, and natural affection of another; and he that knows not their
seasons, nor cannot stay them, must lose the fruits: as nature will not,
so power and greatness will not be put to change their seasons, and
shall we look for this indulgence in a disease, or think to shake it off
before it be ripe? All this while, therefore, we are but upon a
defensive war, and that is but a doubtful state; especially where they
who are besieged do know the best of their defences, and do not know
the worst of their enemy's power; when they cannot mend their works
within, and the enemy can increase his numbers without. O how many far
more miserable, and far more worthy to be less miserable than I, are
besieged with this sickness, and lack their sentinels, their physicians
to watch, and lack their munition, their cordials to defend, and perish
before the enemy's weakness might invite them to sally, before the
disease show any declination, or admit any way of working upon itself?
In me the siege is so far slackened, as that we may come to fight, and
so die in the field, if I die, and not in a prison.


My God, my God, thou art a direct God, may I not say a literal God, a
God that wouldst be understood literally and according to the plain
sense of all that thou sayest? but thou art also (Lord, I intend it to
thy glory, and let no profane misinterpreter abuse it to thy
diminution), thou art a figurative, a metaphorical God too; a God in
whose words there is such a height of figures, such voyages, such
peregrinations to fetch remote and precious metaphors, such extensions,
such spreadings, such curtains of allegories, such third heavens of
hyperboles, so harmonious elocutions, so retired and so reserved
expressions, so commanding persuasions, so persuading commandments, such
sinews even in thy milk, and such things in thy words, as all profane
authors seem of the seed of the serpent that creeps, thou art the Dove
that flies. O, what words but thine can express the inexpressible
texture and composition of thy word, in which to one man that argument
that binds his faith to believe that to be the word of God, is the
reverent simplicity of the word, and to another the majesty of the word;
and in which two men equally pious may meet, and one wonder that all
should not understand it, and the other as much that any man should. So,
Lord, thou givest us the same earth to labour on and to lie in, a house
and a grave of the same earth; so, Lord, thou givest us the same word
for our satisfaction and for our inquisition, for our instruction and
for our admiration too; for there are places that thy servants Hierom
and Augustine would scarce believe (when they grew warm by mutual
letters) of one another, that they understood them, and yet both Hierom
and Augustine call upon persons whom they knew to be far weaker than
they thought one another (old women and young maids) to read the
Scriptures, without confining them to these or those places. Neither art
thou thus a figurative, a metaphorical God in thy word only, but in thy
works too. The style of thy works, the phrase of thine actions, is
metaphorical The institution of thy whole worship in the old law was a
continual allegory; types and figures overspread all, and figures flowed
into figures, and poured themselves out into farther figures;
circumcision carried a figure of baptism, and baptism carries a figure
of that purity which we shall have in perfection in the new Jerusalem.
Neither didst thou speak and work in this language only in the time of
thy prophets; but since thou spokest in thy Son it is so too. How often,
how much more often, doth thy Son call himself a way, and a light, and a
gate, and a vine, and bread, than the Son of God, or of man? How much
oftener doth he exhibit a metaphorical Christ, than a real, a literal?
This hath occasioned thine ancient servants, whose delight it was to
write after thy copy, to proceed the same way in their expositions of
the Scriptures, and in their composing both of public liturgies and of
private prayers to thee, to make their accesses to thee in such a kind
of language as thou wast pleased to speak to them, in a figurative, in a
metaphorical language, in which manner I am bold to call the comfort
which I receive now in this sickness in the indication of the concoction
and maturity thereof, in certain clouds and recidences, which the
physicians observe, a discovering of land from sea after a long and
tempestuous voyage. But wherefore, O my God, hast thou presented to us
the afflictions and calamities of this life in the name of waters? so
often in the name of waters, and deep waters, and seas of waters? Must
we look to be drowned? are they bottomless, are they boundless? That is
not the dialect of thy language; thou hast given a remedy against the
deepest water by water; against the inundation of sin by baptism; and
the first life that thou gavest to any creatures was in waters:
therefore thou dost not threaten us with an irremediableness when our
affliction is a sea. It is so if we consider ourselves; so thou callest
Genezareth, which was but a lake, and not salt, a sea; so thou callest
the Mediterranean sea still the great sea, because the inhabitants saw
no other sea; they that dwelt there thought a lake a sea, and the others
thought a little sea, the greatest, and we that know not the afflictions
of others call our own the heaviest. But, O my God, that is truly great
that overflows the channel, that is really a great affliction which is
above my strength; but thou, O God, art my strength, and then what can
be above it? _Mountains shake with the swelling of thy sea_;[265]
secular mountains, men strong in power; spiritual mountains, men strong
in grace, are shaken with afflictions; but _thou layest up thy sea in
storehouses_;[266] even thy corrections are of thy treasure, and thou
wilt not waste thy corrections; when they have done their service to
humble thy patient, thou wilt call them in again, for _thou givest the
sea thy decree, that the waters should not pass thy commandment_.[267]
All our waters shall run into Jordan, and thy servants passed Jordan dry
foot;[268] they shall run into the red sea (the sea of thy Son's blood),
and the red sea, that red sea, drowns none of thine: but _they that sail
on the sea tell of the danger thereof_.[269] I that am yet in this
affliction, owe thee the glory of speaking of it; but, as the wise man
bids me, I say, I _may speak much and come short, wherefore in sum thou
art all_.[270] Since thou art so, O my God, and affliction is a sea too
deep for us, what is our refuge? Thine ark, thy ship. In all other
afflictions, those means which thou hast ordained in this sea, in
sickness, thy ship is thy physician. _Thou hast made a way in the sea,
and a safe path in the waters, showing that thou canst save from all
dangers, yea, though a man went to sea without art_:[271] yet, where I
find all that, I find this added; _nevertheless thou wouldst not, that
the work of thy wisdom should be idle_.[272] Thou canst save without
means, but thou hast told no man that thou wilt; thou hast told every
man that thou wilt not.[273] When the centurion believed the master of
the ship more than St. Paul, they were all opened to a great danger;
this was a preferring of thy means before thee, the author of the means:
but, my God, though thou beest every where: I have no promise of
appearing to me but in thy ship, thy blessed Son preached out of a
ship:[274] the means is preaching, he did that; and the ship was a type
of the church, he did it there. Thou gavest St. Paul the lives of all
them that sailed with him;[275] if they had not been in the ship with
him, the gift had not extended to them. _As soon as thy Son was come out
of the ship, immediately there met him, out of the tombs, a man with an
unclean spirit, and no man could hold him, no not with chains._[276] Thy
Son needed no use of means; yet there we apprehend the danger to us, if
we leave the ship, the means, in this case the physician. But as they
are ships to us in those seas, so is there a ship to them too in which
they are to stay. Give me leave, O my God, to assist myself with such a
construction of these words of thy servant Paul to the centurion, when
the mariners would have left the ship, _Except these abide in the ship,
you cannot be safe_:[277] except they who are our ships, the physicians,
abide in that which is theirs, and our ship, the truth, and the sincere
and religious worship of thee and thy gospel, we cannot promise
ourselves so good safety; for though we have our ship, the physician, he
hath not his ship, religion; and means are not means but in their
concatenation, as they depend and are chained together. _The ships are
great_, says thy apostle, _but a helm turns them_;[278] the men are
learned, but their religion turns their labours to good, and therefore
it was a heavy curse when _the third part of the ships perished_:[279]
it is a heavy case where either all religion, or true religion, should
forsake many of these ships whom thou hast sent to convey us over these
seas. But, O my God, my God, since I have my ship and they theirs, I
have them and they have thee, why are we yet no nearer land? As soon as
thy Son's disciple had taken him into the ship, _immediately the ship
was at the land whither they went_.[280] Why have not they and I this
dispatch? Every thing is immediately done, which is done when thou
wouldst have it done. Thy purpose terminates every action, and what was
done before that is undone yet. Shall that slacken my hope? thy prophet
from thee hath forbidden it. _It is good that a man should both hope,
and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord._[281] Thou puttest off
many judgments till the last day, and many pass this life without any;
and shall not I endure the putting off thy mercy for a day? And yet, O
my God, thou puttest me not to that, for the assurance of future mercy
is present mercy. But what is my assurance now? what is my seal? It is
but a cloud; that which my physicians call a cloud, in that which gives
them their indication. But a cloud? Thy great seal to all the world, the
rainbow, that secured the world for ever from drowning, was but a
reflection upon a cloud. A cloud itself was a pillar which guided the
church,[282] and the glory of God not only was, but appeared in a
cloud.[283] Let me return, O my God, to the consideration of thy servant
Elijah's proceeding in a time of desperate drought;[284] he bids them
look towards the sea; they look, and see nothing. He bids them again and
again seven times; and at the seventh time they saw a little cloud
rising out of the sea, and presently they had their desire of rain.
Seven days, O my God, have we looked for this cloud, and now we have it;
none of thy indications are frivolous, thou makest thy signs seals, and
thy seals effects, and thy effects consolation and restitution,
wheresoever thou mayst receive glory by that way.


O eternal and most gracious God, who though thou passedst over infinite
millions of generations, before thou camest to a creation of this world,
yet when thou beganst, didst never intermit that work, but continuedst
day to day, till thou hadst perfected all the work, and deposed it in
the hands and rest of a sabbath, though thou have been pleased to
glorify thyself in a long exercise of my patience, with an expectation
of thy declaration of thyself in this my sickness, yet since thou hast
now of thy goodness afforded that which affords us some hope, if that be
still the way of thy glory, proceed in that way and perfect that work,
and establish me in a sabbath and rest in thee, by this thy seal of
bodily restitution. Thy priests came up to thee by steps in the temple;
thy angels came down to Jacob by steps upon the ladder; we find no stair
by which thou thyself camest to Adam in paradise, nor to Sodom in thine
anger; for thou, and thou only, art able to do all at once. But O Lord,
I am not weary of thy pace, nor weary of mine own patience. I provoke
thee not with a prayer, not with a wish, not with a hope, to more haste
than consists with thy purpose, nor look that any other thing should
have entered into thy purpose, but thy glory. To hear thy steps coming
towards me is the same comfort as to see thy face present with me;
whether thou do the work of a thousand years in a day, or extend the
work of a day to a thousand years, as long as thou workest, it is light
and comfort. Heaven itself is but an extension of the same joy; and an
extension of this mercy, to proceed at thy leisure, in the way of
restitution, is a manifestation of heaven to me here upon earth. From
that people to whom thou appearedst in signs and in types, the Jews,
thou art departed, because they trusted in them; but from thy church, to
whom thou hast appeared in thyself, in thy Son, thou wilt never depart,
because we cannot trust too much in him. Though thou have afforded me
these signs of restitution, yet if I confide in them, and begin to say,
all was but a natural accident, and nature begins to discharge herself,
and she will perfect the whole work, my hope shall vanish because it is
not in thee. If thou shouldst take thy hand utterly from me, and have
nothing to do with me, nature alone were able to destroy me; but if thou
withdraw thy helping hand, alas, how frivolous are the helps of nature,
how impotent the assistances of art? As therefore the morning dew is a
pawn of the evening fatness, so, O Lord, let this day's comfort be the
earnest of to-morrow's, so far as may conform me entirely to thee, to
what end, and by what way soever thy mercy have appointed me.


[265] Psalm xlvi. 3.

[266] Psalm xxxiii. 7.

[267] Prov. viii. 29.

[268] Josh. iii. 17.

[269] Ecclus. xliii. 24.

[270] Ecclus. xliii. 27.

[271] Wisd. xiv. 3.

[272] Wisd. xiv. 5.

[273] Acts, xxvii. 11.

[274] Luke, v. 3.

[275] Acts, xxvii. 24.

[276] Mark, v. 2.

[277] Acts, xxvii. 31.

[278] James, iii. 4.

[279] Rev. viii. 9.

[280] John, vi. 21.

[281] Lam. iii. 26.

[282] Exod. xiii. 21.

[283] Exod. xvi. 10.

[284] 1 Kings, xviii. 43.


_Upon these indications of digested matter, they proceed to purge._


Though counsel seem rather to consist of spiritual parts than action,
yet action is the spirit and the soul of counsel. Counsels are not
always determined in resolutions, we cannot always say, this was
concluded; actions are always determined in effects, we can say, this
was done. Then have laws their reverence and their majesty, when we see
the judge upon the bench executing them. Then have counsels of war
their impressions and their operations, when we see the seal of an army
set to them. It was an ancient way of celebrating the memory of such as
deserved well of the state, to afford them that kind of statuary
representation, which was then called Hermes, which was the head and
shoulders of a man standing upon a cube, but those shoulders without
arms and hands. Altogether it figured a constant supporter of the state,
by his counsel; but in this hieroglyphic, which they made without hands,
they pass their consideration no farther but that the counsellor should
be without hands, so far as not to reach out his hand to foreign
temptations of bribes, in matters of counsel, and that it was not
necessary that the head should employ his own hand; that the same men
should serve in the execution which assisted in the counsel; but that
there should not belong hands to every head, action to every counsel,
was never intended so much as in figure and representation. For as
matrimony is scarce to be called matrimony where there is a resolution
against the fruits of matrimony, against the having of children,[285] so
counsels are not counsels, but illusions, where there is from the
beginning no purpose to execute the determinations of those counsels.
The arts and sciences are most properly referred to the head; that is
their proper element and sphere; but yet the art of proving, logic, and
the art of persuading, rhetoric, are deduced to the hand, and that
expressed by a hand contracted into a fist, and this by a hand enlarged
and expanded; and evermore the power of man, and the power of God,
himself is expressed so. All things are in his hand; neither is God so
often presented to us, by names that carry our consideration upon
counsel, as upon execution of counsel; he oftener is called the Lord of
Hosts than by all other names, that may be referred to the other
signification. Hereby therefore we take into our meditation the slippery
condition of man, whose happiness in any kind, the defect of any one
thing conducing to that happiness, may ruin; but it must have all the
pieces to make it up. Without counsel, I had not got thus far; without
action and practice, I should go no farther towards health. But what is
the present necessary action? Purging; a withdrawing, a violating of
nature, a farther weakening. O dear price, and O strange way of
addition, to do it by subtraction; of restoring nature, to violate
nature; of providing strength, by increasing weakness. Was I not sick
before? And is it a question of comfort to be asked now, did your physic
make you sick? Was that it that my physic promised, to make me sick?
This is another step upon which we may stand, and see farther into the
misery of man, the time, the season of his misery; it must be done now.
O over-cunning, over-watchful, over-diligent, and over-sociable misery
of man, that seldom comes alone, but then when it may accompany other
miseries, and so put one another into the higher exaltation, and better
heart. I am ground even to an attenuation and must proceed to
evacuation, all ways to exinanition and annihilation.


My God, my God, the God of order, but yet not of ambition, who assignest
place to every one, but not contention for place, when shall it be thy
pleasure to put an end to all these quarrels for spiritual precedences?
When shall men leave their uncharitable disputations, which is to take
place, faith or repentance, and which, when we consider faith and works?
The head and the hand too are required to a perfect natural man;
counsel and action too, to a perfect civil man; faith and works too, to
him that is perfectly spiritual. But because it is easily said, I
believe, and because it doth not easily lie in proof, nor is easily
demonstrable by any evidence taken from my heart (for who sees that, who
searches those rolls?) whether I do believe or no, is it not therefore,
O my God, that thou dost so frequently, so earnestly, refer us to the
hand, to the observation of actions? There is a little suspicion, a
little imputation laid upon over-tedious and dilatory counsels. Many
good occasions slip away in long consultations; and it may be a degree
of sloth, to be too long in mending nets, though that must be done. _He
that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds
shall not reap_;[286] that is, he that is too dilatory, too
superstitious in these observations, and studies but the excuse of his
own idleness in them; but that which the same wise and royal servant of
thine says in another place, all accept, and ask no comment upon it, _He
becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand, but the hand of the
diligent maketh rich_;[287] all evil imputed to the absence, all good
attributed to the presence of the hand. I know, my God (and I bless thy
name for knowing it, for all good knowledge is from thee), that thou
considerest the heart; but thou takest not off thine eye till thou come
to the hand. Nay, my God, doth not thy Spirit intimate that thou
beginnest where we begin (at least, that thou allowest us to begin
there), when thou orderest thine own answer to thine own question, _Who
shall ascend into the hill of the Lord_? thus, _He that hath clean
hands, and a pure heart_?[288] Dost thou not (at least) send us first to
the hand? And is not the work of their hands that declaration of their
holy zeal, in the present execution of manifest idolators, called a
consecration of themselves,[289] by thy Holy Spirit? Their hands are
called all themselves; for even counsel itself goes under that name in
thy word, who knowest best how to give right names: because the counsel
of the priests assisted David,[290] Saul says the hand of the priest is
with David. And that which is often said by Moses, is very often
repeated by thy other prophets, _These and these things the Lord
spake_,[291] and _the Lord said_, and _the Lord commanded_, not by the
counsels, not by the voice, but by the _hand of Moses_, and by the _hand
of the prophets_. Evermore we are referred for our evidence of others,
and of ourselves, to the hand, to action, to works. There is something
before it, believing; and there is something after it, suffering; but in
the most eminent, and obvious, and conspicuous place stands doing. Why
then, O my God, my blessed God, in the ways of my spiritual strength,
come I so slow to action? I was whipped by thy rod, before I came to
consultation, to consider my state; and shall I go no farther? As he
that would describe a circle in paper, if he have brought that circle
within one inch of finishing, yet if he remove his compass he cannot
make it up a perfect circle except he fall to work again, to find out
the same centre, so, though setting that foot of my compass upon thee, I
have gone so far as to the consideration of myself, yet if I depart from
thee, my centre, all is imperfect. This proceeding to action, therefore,
is a returning to thee, and a working upon myself by thy physic, by thy
purgative physic, a free and entire evacuation of my soul by confession.
The working of purgative physic is violent and contrary to nature. O
Lord, I decline not this potion of confession, however it may be
contrary to a natural man. To take physic, and not according to the
right method, is dangerous.[292] O Lord, I decline not that method in
this physic, in things that burthen my conscience, to make my confession
to him, into whose hands thou hast put the power of absolution. I know
that "physic may be made so pleasant as that it may easily be taken; but
not so pleasant as the virtue and nature of the medicine be
extinguished."[293] I know I am not submitted to such a confession as is
a rack and torture of the conscience; but I know I am not exempt from
all. If it were merely problematical, left merely indifferent whether we
should take this physic, use this confession, or no, a great physician
acknowledges this to have been his practice, to minister to many things
which he was not sure would do good, but never any other thing but such
as he was sure would do no harm.[294] The use of this spiritual physic
can certainly do no harm; and the church hath always thought that it
might, and, doubtless, many humble souls have found, that it hath done
them good. _I will therefore take the cup of salvation, and call upon
thy name._[295] I will find this cup of compunction as full as I have
formerly filled the cups of worldly confections, that so I may escape
the cup of malediction and irrecoverable destruction that depends upon
that. And since thy blessed and glorious Son, being offered, in the way
to his execution, a cup of stupefaction,[296] to take away the sense of
his pain (a charity afforded to condemned persons ordinarily in those
places and times), refused that ease, and embraced the whole torment, I
take not this cup, but this vessel of mine own sins into my
contemplation, and I pour them out here according to the motions of thy
Holy Spirit, and any where according to the ordinances of thy holy


O eternal and most gracious God, who having married man and woman
together, and made them one flesh, wouldst have them also to become one
soul, so as that they might maintain a sympathy in their affections, and
have a conformity to one another in the accidents of this world, good or
bad; so having married this soul and this body in me, I humbly beseech
thee that my soul may look and make her use of thy merciful proceedings
towards my bodily restitution, and go the same way to a spiritual. I am
come, by thy goodness, to the use of thine ordinary means for my body,
to wash away those peccant humours that endangered it. I have, O Lord, a
river in my body, but a sea in my soul, and a sea swollen into the depth
of a deluge, above the sea. Thou hast raised up certain hills in me
heretofore, by which I might have stood safe from these inundations of
sin. Even our natural faculties are a hill, and might preserve us from
some sin. Education, study, observation, example, are hills too, and
might preserve us from some. Thy church, and thy word, and thy
sacraments, and thine ordinances are hills above these; thy spirit of
remorse, and compunction, and repentance for former sin, are hills too;
and to the top of all these hills thou hast brought me heretofore; but
this deluge, this inundation, is got above all my hills; and I have
sinned and sinned, and multiplied sin to sin, after all these thy
assistances against sin, and where is there water enough to wash away
this deluge? There is a red sea, greater than this ocean, and there is a
little spring, through which this ocean may pour itself into that red
sea. Let thy spirit of true contrition and sorrow pass all my sins,
through these eyes, into the wounds of thy Son, and I shall be clean,
and my soul so much better purged than my body, as it is ordained for
better and a longer life.


[285] August.

[286] Eccles. xi. 4.

[287] Prov. x. 4.

[288] Psalm xxiv. 3.

[289] Exod. xxxii. 29.

[290] 1 Sam. xxii. 17.

[291] Lev. viii. 36.

[292] Galen.

[293] Galen.

[294] Galen.

[295] Psalm cxvi. 13.

[296] Mark, xv. 23.

    XXI. -------------- ATQUE ANNUIT ILLE,

_God prospers their practice, and he, by them, calls Lazarus out of his
tomb, me out of my bed._


If man had been left alone in this world at first, shall I think that he
would not have fallen? If there had been no woman, would not man have
served to have been his own tempter? When I see him now subject to
infinite weaknesses, fall into infinite sin without any foreign
temptations, shall I think he would have had none, if he had been alone?
God saw that man needed a helper, if he should be well; but to make
woman ill, the devil saw that there needed no third. When God and we
were alone in Adam, that was not enough; when the devil and we were
alone in Eve, it was enough. O what a giant is man when he fights
against himself, and what a dwarf when he needs or exercises his own
assistance for himself? I cannot rise out of my bed till the physician
enable me, nay, I cannot tell that I am able to rise till he tell me so.
I do nothing, I know nothing of myself; how little and how impotent a
piece of the world is any man alone? And how much less a piece of
himself is that man? So little as that when it falls out (as it falls
out in some cases) that more misery and more oppression would be an ease
to a man, he cannot give himself that miserable addition of more misery.
A man that is pressed to death, and might be eased by more weights,
cannot lay those more weights upon himself: he can sin alone, and suffer
alone, but not repent, not be absolved, without another. Another tells
me, I may rise; and I do so. But is every raising a preferment? or is
every present preferment a station? I am readier to fall to the earth,
now I am up, than I was when I lay in the bed. O perverse way, irregular
motion of man; even rising itself is the way to ruin! How many men are
raised, and then do not fill the place they are raised to? No corner of
any place can be empty; there can be no vacuity. If that man do not fill
the place, other men will; complaints of his insufficiency will fill it;
nay, such an abhorring is there in nature of vacuity, that if there be
but an imagination of not filling, in any man, that which is but
imagination, neither will fill it, that is, rumour and voice, and it
will be given out (upon no ground but imagination, and no man knows
whose imagination), that he is corrupt in his place, or insufficient in
his place, and another prepared to succeed him in his place. A man rises
sometimes and stands not, because he doth not or is not believed to fill
his place; and sometimes he stands not because he overfills his place.
He may bring so much virtue, so much justice, so much integrity to the
place, as shall spoil the place, burthen the place; his integrity may be
a libel upon his predecessor and cast an infamy upon him, and a burthen
upon his successor to proceed by example, and to bring the place itself
to an undervalue and the market to an uncertainty. I am up, and I seem
to stand, and I go round, and I am a new argument of the new philosophy,
that the earth moves round; why may I not believe that the whole earth
moves, in a round motion, though that seem to me to stand, when as I
seem to stand to my company, and yet am carried in a giddy and circular
motion as I stand? Man hath no centre but misery; there, and only there,
he is fixed, and sure to find himself. How little soever he be raised,
he moves, and moves in a circle giddily; and as in the heavens there are
but a few circles that go about the whole world, but many epicycles, and
other lesser circles, but yet circles; so of those men which are raised
and put into circles, few of them move from place to place, and pass
through many and beneficial places, but fall into little circles, and,
within a step or two, are at their end, and not so well as they were in
the centre, from which they were raised. Every thing serves to
exemplify, to illustrate man's misery. But I need go no farther than
myself: for a long time I was not able to rise; at last I must be raised
by others; and now I am up, I am ready to sink lower than before.


My God, my God, how large a glass of the next world is this! As we have
an art, to cast from one glass to another, and so to carry the species a
great way off, so hast thou, that way, much more; we shall have a
resurrection in heaven; the knowledge of that thou castest by another
glass upon us here; we feel that we have a resurrection from sin, and
that by another glass too; we see we have a resurrection of the body
from the miseries and calamities of this life. This resurrection of my
body shows me the resurrection of my soul; and both here severally, of
both together hereafter. Since thy martyrs under the altar press thee
with their solicitation for the resurrection of the body to glory, thou
wouldst pardon me, if I should press thee by prayer for the
accomplishing of this resurrection, which thou hast begun in me, to
health. But, O my God, I do not ask, where I might ask amiss, nor beg
that which perchance might be worse for me. I have a bed of sin; delight
in sin is a bed: I have a grave of sin; senselessness of sin is a grave:
and where Lazarus had been four days, I have been fifty years in this
putrefaction; why dost thou not call me, as thou didst him, _with a loud
voice_,[297] since my soul is as dead as his body was? I need thy
thunder, O my God; thy music will not serve me. Thou hast called thy
servants, who are to work upon us in thine ordinance, by all these loud
names--winds, and chariots, and falls of waters; where thou wouldst be
heard, thou wilt be heard. When thy Son concurred with thee to the
making of man, there it is but a speaking, but a saying. There, O
blessed and glorious Trinity, was none to hear but you three, and you
easily hear one another, because you say the same things. But when thy
Son came to the work of redemption, thou spokest,[298] and they that
heard it took it for thunder; and thy Son himself cried with a loud
voice upon the cross twice,[299] as he who was to prepare his coming,
John Baptist, was the voice of a crier, and not of a whisperer. Still,
if it be thy voice, it is a loud voice. _These words_, says thy Moses,
_thou spokest with a great voice, and thou addedst no more_,[300] says
he there. That which thou hast said is evident, and it is evident that
none can speak so loud; none can bind us to hear him, as we must thee.
_The Most High uttered his voice._ What was his voice? _The Lord
thundered from heaven_,[301] it might be heard; but this voice, thy
voice, is also a _mighty voice_;[302] not only mighty in power, it may
be heard, nor mighty in obligation, it should be heard; but mighty in
operation, it will be heard; and therefore hast thou bestowed a whole
psalm[303] upon us, to lead us to the consideration of thy voice. It is
such a voice as that thy Son says, _the dead shall hear it_;[304] and
that is my state. And why, O God, dost thou not speak to me, in that
effectual loudness? Saint John heard a voice, and _he turned about to
see the voice_:[305] sometimes we are too curious of the instrument by
what man God speaks; but thou speakest loudest when thou speakest to the
heart. _There was silence, and I heard a voice_, says one, to thy
servant Job.[306] I hearken after thy voice in thine ordinances, and I
seek not a whispering in conventicles; but yet, O my God, speak louder,
that so, though I do hear thee now, then I may hear nothing but thee. My
sins cry aloud; Cain's murder did so: my afflictions cry aloud; _the
floods have lifted up their voice_ (and waters are afflictions), _but
thou, O Lord, art mightier than the voice of many waters_;[307] than
many temporal, many spiritual afflictions, than any of either kind: and
why dost thou not speak to me in that voice? _What is man, and whereto
serveth he? What is his good and what is his evil?_[308] My bed of sin
is not evil, not desperately evil, for thou dost call me out of it; but
my rising out of it is not good (not perfectly good), if thou call not
louder, and hold me now I am up. O my God, I am afraid of a fearful
application of those words, _When a man hath done, then he
beginneth_;[309] when this body is unable to sin, his sinful memory sins
over his old sins again; and that which thou wouldst have us to remember
for compunction, we remember with delight. _Bring him to me in his bed,
that I may kill him_,[310] says Saul of David: thou hast not said so,
that is not thy voice. Joash's own servants slew him when he was sick
in his bed:[311] thou hast not suffered that, that my servants should so
much as neglect me, or be weary of me in my sickness. Thou threatenest,
that _as a shepherd takes out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a
piece of an ear, so shall the children of Israel, that dwell in Samaria,
in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus, in a couch, be taken
away_;[312] and even they that are secure from danger shall perish. How
much more might I, who was in the bed of death, die? But thou hast not
so dealt with me. As they brought out sick persons in beds, that thy
servant Peter's shadow might over-shadow them,[313] thou hast, O my God,
over-shadowed me, refreshed me; but when wilt thou do more? When wilt
thou do all? When wilt thou speak in thy loud voice? When wilt thou bid
me _take up my bed and walk_?[314] As my bed is my affections, when
shall I bear them so as to subdue them? As my bed is my afflictions,
when shall I bear them so as not to murmur at them? When shall I take up
my bed and walk? Not lie down upon it, as it is my pleasure, not sink
under it, as it is my correction? But O my God, my God, the God of all
flesh, and of all spirit, to let me be content with that in my fainting
spirit, which thou declarest in this decayed flesh, that as this body is
content to sit still, that it may learn to stand, and to learn by
standing to walk, and by walking to travel, so my soul, by obeying this
thy voice of rising, may by a farther and farther growth of thy grace
proceed so, and be so established, as may remove all suspicions, all
jealousies between thee and me, and may speak and hear in such a voice,
as that still I may be acceptable to thee, and satisfied from thee.


O eternal and most gracious God, who hast made little things to signify
great, and conveyed the infinite merits of thy Son in the water of
baptism, and in the bread and wine of thy other sacrament, unto us,
receive the sacrifice of my humble thanks, that thou hast not only
afforded me the ability to rise out of this bed of weariness and
discomfort, but hast also made this bodily rising, by thy grace, an
earnest of a second resurrection from sin, and of a third, to
everlasting glory. Thy Son himself, always infinite in himself, and
incapable of addition, was yet pleased to grow in the Virgin's womb, and
to grow in stature in the sight of men. Thy good purposes upon me, I
know, have their determination and perfection in thy holy will upon me;
there thy grace is, and there I am altogether; but manifest them so unto
me, in thy seasons, and in thy measures and degrees, that I may not only
have that comfort of knowing thee to be infinitely good, but that also
of finding thee to be every day better and better to me; and that as
thou gavest Saint Paul the messenger of Satan, to humble him so for my
humiliation, thou mayst give me thyself in this knowledge, that what
grace soever thou afford me to-day, yet I should perish to-morrow if I
had not had to-morrow's grace too. Therefore I beg of thee my daily
bread; and as thou gavest me the bread of sorrow for many days, and
since the bread of hope for some, and this day the bread of possessing,
in rising by that strength, which thou the God of all strength hast
infused into me, so, O Lord, continue to me the bread of life: the
spiritual bread of life, in a faithful assurance in thee; the
sacramental bread of life, in a worthy receiving of thee; and the more
real bread of life in an everlasting union to thee. I know, O Lord,
that when thou hast created angels, and they saw thee produce fowl, and
fish, and beasts, and worms, they did not importune thee, and say, Shall
we have no better creatures than these, no better companions than these?
but stayed thy leisure, and then had man delivered over to them, not
much inferior in nature to themselves. No more do I, O God, now that by
thy first mercy I am able to rise, importune thee for present
confirmation of health; nor now, that by thy mercy I am brought to see
that thy correction hath wrought medicinally upon me, presume I upon
that spiritual strength I have; but as I acknowledge that my bodily
strength is subject to every puff of wind, so is my spiritual strength
to every blast of vanity. Keep me therefore still, O my gracious God, in
such a proportion of both strengths, as I may still have something to
thank thee for, which I have received, and still something to pray for
and ask at thy hand.


[297] John, xi. 43.

[298] John, xii. 28.

[299] Matt. xxvii. 46, 50.

[300] Deut. v. 22.

[301] 2 Sam. xxii. 14.

[302] Psalm lxviii. 33.

[303] Psalm xxix.

[304] John, v. 25.

[305] Rev. i. 12.

[306] Job, iv. 16.

[307] Psalm xciii. 3, 4.

[308] Ecclus. xviii, 8.

[309] Ecclus. v. 7.

[310] 1 Sam. xix. 15.

[311] 2 Chron. xxiv. 25.

[312] Amos, iii. 12.

[313] Acts, v. 15.

[314] Matt. ix. 6.


_The physicians consider the root and occasion, the embers, and coals,
and fuel of the disease, and seek to purge or correct that._


How ruinous a farm hath man taken, in taking himself! How ready is the
house every day to fall down, and how is all the ground overspread with
weeds, all the body with diseases; where not only every turf, but every
stone bears weeds; not only every muscle of the flesh, but every bone of
the body hath some infirmity; every little flint upon the face of this
soil hath some infectious weed, every tooth in our head such a pain as
a constant man is afraid of, and yet ashamed of that fear, of that sense
of the pain. How dear, and how often a rent doth man pay for his farm!
He pays twice a day, in double meals, and how little time he hath to
raise his rent! How many holidays to call him from his labour! Every day
is half holiday, half spent in sleep. What reparations, and subsidies,
and contributions he is put to, besides his rent! What medicines besides
his diet; and what inmates he is fain to take in, besides his own
family; what infectious diseases from other men! Adam might have had
Paradise for dressing and keeping it; and then his rent was not improved
to such a labour as would have made his brow sweat; and yet he gave it
over; how far greater a rent do we pay for this farm, this body, who pay
ourselves, who pay the farm itself, and cannot live upon it! Neither is
our labour at an end when we have cut down some weed as soon as it
sprung up, corrected some violent and dangerous accident of a disease
which would have destroyed speedily, nor when we have pulled up that
weed from the very root, recovered entirely and soundly from that
particular disease; but the whole ground is of an ill nature, the whole
soil ill disposed; there are inclinations, there is a propenseness to
diseases in the body, out of which, without any other disorder, diseases
will grow, and so we are put to a continual labour upon this farm, to a
continual study of the whole complexion and constitution of our body. In
the distempers and diseases of soils, sourness, dryness, weeping, any
kind of barrenness, the remedy and the physic is, for a great part,
sometimes in themselves; sometimes the very situation relieves them; the
hanger of a hill will purge and vent his own malignant moisture, and the
burning of the upper turf of some ground (as health from cauterizing)
puts a new and a vigorous youth into that soil, and there rises a kind
of phoenix out of the ashes, a fruitfulness out of that which was
barren before, and by that which is the barrenest of all, ashes. And
where the ground cannot give itself physic, yet it receives physic from
other grounds, from other soils, which are not the worse for having
contributed that help to them from marl in other hills, or from slimy
sand in other shores, grounds help themselves, or hurt not other grounds
from whence they receive help. But I have taken a farm at this hard
rent, and upon those heavy covenants, that it can afford itself no help
(no part of my body, if it were cut off, would cure another part; in
some cases it might preserve a sound part, but in no case recover an
infected); and if my body may have had any physic, any medicine from
another body, one man from the flesh of another man (as by mummy, or any
such composition), it must be from a man that is dead, and not as in
other soils, which are never the worse for contributing their marl or
their fat slime to my ground. There is nothing in the same man to help
man, nothing in mankind to help one another (in this sort, by way of
physic), but that he who ministers the help is in as ill case as he that
receives it would have been if he had not had it; for he from whose body
the physic comes is dead. When therefore I took this farm, undertook
this body, I undertook to drain not a marsh but a moat, where there was,
not water mingled to offend, but all was water; I undertook to perfume
dung, where no one part but all was equally unsavoury; I undertook to
make such a thing wholesome, as was not poison by any manifest quality,
intense heat or cold, but poison in the whole substance, and in the
specific form of it. To cure the sharp accidents of diseases is a great
work; to cure the disease itself is a greater; but to cure the body,
the root, the occasion of diseases, is a work reserved for the great
physician, which he doth never any other way but by glorifying these
bodies in the next world.


My God, my God, what am I put to when I am put to consider and put off
the root, the fuel, the occasion of my sickness? What Hippocrates, what
Galen, could show me that in my body? It lies deeper than so, it lies in
my soul; and deeper than so, for we may well consider the body before
the soul came, before inanimation, to be without sin; and the soul,
before it come to the body, before that infection, to be without sin:
sin is the root and the fuel of all sickness, and yet that which
destroys body and soul is in neither, but in both together. It is the
union of the body and soul, and, O my God, could I prevent that, or can
I dissolve that? The root and the fuel of my sickness is my sin, my
actual sin; but even that sin hath another root, another fuel, original
sin; and can I divest that? Wilt thou bid me to separate the leaven that
a lump of dough hath received, or the salt, that the water hath
contracted, from the sea? Dost thou look, that I should so look to the
fuel or embers of sin, that I never take fire? The whole world is a pile
of fagots, upon which we are laid, and (as though there were no other)
we are the bellows. Ignorance blows the fire. He that touched any
unclean thing, though he knew it not, became unclean,[315] and a
sacrifice was required (therefore a sin imputed), though it were done in
ignorance.[316] Ignorance blows this coal; but then knowledge much more;
for there are that _know thy judgments, and yet not only do, but have
pleasure in others that do against them_.[317] Nature blows this coal;
_by nature we are the children of wrath_;[318] and the law blows it; thy
apostle Saint Paul found that _sin took occasion by the law_, that
therefore, because it is forbidden, we do some things. If we break the
law, we sin; _sin is the transgression of the law_;[319] and sin itself
becomes a law in our members.[320] Our fathers have imprinted the seed,
infused a spring of sin in us. _As a fountain casteth out her waters_,
we _cast out our wickedness_, but _we have done worse than our
fathers_.[321] We are open to infinite temptations, and yet, as though
we lacked, we are tempted of our own lusts.[322] And not satisfied with
that, as though we were not powerful enough, or cunning enough, to
demolish or undermine ourselves, when we ourselves have no pleasure in
the sin, we sin for others' sakes. When Adam sinned for Eve's sake,[323]
and Solomon to gratify his wives,[324] it was an uxorious sin; when the
judges sinned for Jezebel's sake,[325] and Joab to obey David,[326] it
was an ambitious sin; when Pilate sinned to humour the people,[327] and
Herod to give farther contentment to the Jews,[328] it was a popular
sin. Any thing serves to occasion sin, at home in my bosom, or abroad in
my mark and aim; that which I am, and that which I am not, that which I
would be, proves coals, and embers, and fuel, and bellows to sin; and
dost thou put me, O my God, to discharge myself of myself, before I can
be well? When thou bidst me _to put off the old man_,[329] dost thou
mean not only my old habits of actual sin, but the oldest of all,
original sin? When thou bidst me _purge out the leaven_,[330] dost thou
mean not only the sourness of mine own ill contracted customs, but the
innate tincture of sin imprinted by nature? How shall I do that which
thou requirest, and not falsify that which thou hast said, that sin is
gone over all? But, O my God, I press thee not with thine own text,
without thine own comment; I know that in the state of my body, which is
more discernible than that of my soul, thou dost effigiate my soul to
me. And though no anatomist can say, in dissecting a body, "Here lay the
coal, the fuel, the occasion of all bodily diseases," but yet a man may
have such a knowledge of his own constitution and bodily inclination to
diseases, as that he may prevent his danger in a great part; so, though
we cannot assign the place of original sin, nor the nature of it, so
exactly as of actual, or by any diligence divest it, yet, having washed
it in the water of thy baptism, we have not only so cleansed it, that we
may the better look upon it and discern it, but so weakened it, that
howsoever it may retain the former nature, it doth not retain the former
force, and though it may have the same name, it hath not the same venom.


O eternal and most gracious God, the God of security, and the enemy of
security too, who wouldst have us always sure of thy love, and yet
wouldst have us always doing something for it, let me always so
apprehend thee as present with me, and yet so follow after thee, as
though I had not apprehended thee. Thou enlargedst Hezekiah's lease for
fifteen years; thou renewedst Lazarus's lease for a time which we know
not; but thou didst never so put out any of these fires as that thou
didst not rake up the embers, and wrap up a future mortality in that
body, which thou hadst then so reprieved. Thou proceedest no otherwise
in our souls, O our good but fearful God; thou pardonest no sin, so as
that that sinner can sin no more; thou makest no man so acceptable as
that thou makest him impeccable. Though therefore it were a diminution
of the largeness, and derogatory to the fulness of thy mercy, to look
back upon the sins which in a true repentance I have buried in the
wounds of thy Son, with a jealous or suspicious eye, as though they were
now my sins, when I had so transferred them upon thy Son, as though they
could now be raised to life again, to condemn me to death, when they are
dead in him who is the fountain of life, yet were it an irregular
anticipation, and an insolent presumption, to think that thy present
mercy extended to all my future sins, or that there were no embers, no
coals, of future sins left in me. Temper therefore thy mercy so to my
soul, O my God, that I may neither decline to any faintness of spirit,
in suspecting thy mercy now to be less hearty, less sincere, than it
uses to be, to those who are perfectly reconciled to thee, nor presume
so of it as either to think this present mercy an antidote against all
poisons, and so expose myself to temptations, upon confidence that this
thy mercy shall preserve me, or that when I do cast myself into new
sins, I may have new mercy at any time, because thou didst so easily
afford me this.


[315] Lev. v. 2.

[316] Num. xv. 24.

[317] Rom. i. 32.

[318] Eph. ii. 3.

[319] 1 John, iii. 4.

[320] Rom. vii. 23.

[321] Jer. vi. 7; vii. 26.

[322] James, i. 14.

[323] Gen. iii. 6.

[324] 1 Kings, xi. 3.

[325] 1 Kings, xxi.

[326] 2 Sam. xi. 16-21.

[327] Luke, xxiii. 23.

[328] Acts, xii. 3.

[329] Eph. iv. 22.

[330] 1 Cor. v. 7.


_They warn me of the fearful danger of relapsing._


It is not in man's body, as it is in the city, that when the bell hath
rung, to cover your fire, and rake up the embers, you may lie down and
sleep without fear. Though you have by physic and diet raked up the
embers of your disease, still there is a fear of a relapse; and the
greater danger is in that. Even in pleasures and in pains, there is a
proprietary, a _meum et tuum_, and a man is most affected with that
pleasure which is his, his by former enjoying and experience, and most
intimidated with those pains which are his, his by a woful sense of
them, in former afflictions. A covetous person, who hath preoccupated
all his senses, filled all his capacities with the delight of gathering,
wonders how any man can have any taste of any pleasure in any openness
or liberality; so also in bodily pains, in a fit of the stone, the
patient wonders why any man should call the gout a pain; and he that
hath felt neither, but the toothache, is as much afraid of a fit of that
as either of the other of either of the other. Diseases which we never
felt in ourselves come but to a compassion of others that have endured
them; nay, compassion itself comes to no great degree if we have not
felt in some proportion in ourselves that which we lament and condole in
another. But when we have had those torments in their exaltation
ourselves, we tremble at relapse. When we must pant through all those
fiery heats, and sail through all those overflowing sweats, when we must
watch through all those long nights, and mourn through all those long
days (days and nights, so long as that Nature herself shall seem to be
perverted, and to have put the longest day, and the longest night, which
should be six months asunder, into one natural, unnatural day), when we
must stand at the same bar, expect the return of physicians from their
consultations, and not be sure of the same verdict, in any good
indications, when we must go the same way over again, and not see the
same issue, that is a state, a condition, a calamity, in respect of
which any other sickness were a convalescence, and any greater, less. It
adds to the affliction, that relapses are (and for the most part justly)
imputed to ourselves, as occasioned by some disorder in us; and so we
are not only passive but active in our own ruin; we do not only stand
under a falling house, but pull it down upon us; and we are not only
executed (that implies guiltiness), but we are executioners (that
implies dishonour), and executioners of ourselves (and that implies
impiety). And we fall from that comfort which we might have in our first
sickness, from that meditation, "Alas, how generally miserable is man,
and how subject to diseases" (for in that it is some degree of comfort
that we are but in the state common to all), we fall, I say, to this
discomfort, and self-accusing, and self-condemning: "Alas, how
improvident, and in that how unthankful to God and his instruments, am I
in making so ill use of so great benefits, in destroying so soon so long
a work, in relapsing, by my disorder, to that from which they had
delivered me": and so my meditation is fearfully transferred from the
body to the mind, and from the consideration of the sickness to that
sin, that sinful carelessness, by which I have occasioned my relapse.
And amongst the many weights that aggravate a relapse, this also is one,
that a relapse proceeds with a more violent dispatch, and more
irremediably, because it finds the country weakened, and depopulated
before. Upon a sickness, which as yet appears not, we can scarce fix a
fear, because we know not what to fear; but as fear is the busiest and
irksomest affection, so is a relapse (which is still ready to come) into
that which is but newly gone, the nearest object, the most immediate
exercise of that affection of fear.


My God, my God, my God, thou mighty Father, who hast been my physician;
thou glorious Son, who hast been my physic; thou blessed Spirit, who
hast prepared and applied all to me, shall I alone be able to overthrow
the work of all you, and relapse into those spiritual sicknesses from
which infinite mercies have withdrawn me? Though thou, O my God, have
filled my measure with mercy, yet my measure was not so large as that of
thy whole people, the nation, the numerous and glorious nation of
Israel; and yet how often, how often did they fall into relapses! And
then, where is my assurance? How easily thou passedst over many other
sins in them, and how vehemently thou insistedst in those into which
they so often relapsed; those were their murmurings against thee, in
thine instruments and ministers, and their turnings upon other gods, and
embracing the idolatries of their neighbours. O my God, how slippery a
way, to how irrecoverable a bottom, is murmuring; and how near thyself
he comes, that murmurs at him who comes from thee! The magistrate is the
garment in which thou apparelest thyself, and he that shoots at the
clothes cannot say he meant no ill to the man: thy people were fearful
examples of that, for how often did their murmuring against thy
ministers end in a departing from thee! When they would have other
officers, they would have other gods; and still to-day's murmuring was
to-morrow's idolatry; as their murmuring induced idolatry, and they
relapsed often into both, I have found in myself, O my God (O my God,
thou hast found it in me, and thy finding it hast showed it to me) such
a transmigration of sin, as makes me afraid of relapsing too. The soul
of sin (for we have made sin immortal, and it must have a soul), the
soul of sin is disobedience to thee; and when one sin hath been dead in
me, that soul hath passed into another sin. Our youth dies, and the sins
of our youth with it; some sins die a violent death, and some a natural;
poverty, penury, imprisonment, banishment, kill some sins in us, and
some die of age; many ways we become unable to do that sin, but still
the soul lives and passes into another sin; and that that was
licentiousness grows ambition, and that comes to indevotion and
spiritual coldness: we have three lives in our state of sin, and where
the sins of youth expire, those of our middle years enter, and those of
our age after them. This transmigration of sin found in myself, makes me
afraid, O my God, of a relapse; but the occasion of my fear is more
pregnant than so, for I have had, I have multiplied relapses already.
Why, O my God, is a relapse so odious to thee? Not so much their
murmuring and their idolatry, as their relapsing into those sins, seems
to affect thee in thy disobedient people. _They limited the holy One of
Israel_,[331] as thou complainest of them: that was a murmuring; but
before thou chargest them with the fault itself, in the same place thou
chargest them with the iterating, the redoubling of that fault before
the fault was named; _How oft did they provoke me in the wilderness, and
grieve me in the desert?_ That which brings thee to that exasperation
against them, as to say, that thou wouldst break thine own oath rather
than leave them unpunished (_They shall not see the land which I sware
unto their fathers_) was because _they had tempted thee ten times_,[332]
infinitely; upon that thou threatenest with that vehemency, _If you do
in any wise go back, know for a certainty God will no more drive out any
of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps
unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, till ye
perish_.[333] No tongue but thine own, O my God, can express thine
indignation against a nation relapsing to idolatry. Idolatry in any
nation is deadly, but when the disease is complicated with a relapse (a
knowledge and a profession of a former recovery), it is desperate; and
thine anger works, not only where the evidence is pregnant and without
exception (so thou sayest when it is said, that certain men in a city
have withdrawn others to idolatry, and that inquiry is made, and it is
found true; the city, and the inhabitants, and the cattle are to be
destroyed),[334] but where there is but a suspicion, a rumour, of such a
relapse to idolatry, thine anger is awakened, and thine indignation
stirred. In the government of thy servant Joshua, there was a voice,
that Reuben and Gad, with those of Manasseh, had built a new altar.[335]
Israel doth not send one to inquire, but the whole congregation gathered
to go up to war against them,[336] and there went a prince of every
tribe; and they object to them, not so much their present declination to
idolatry, as their relapse: _Is the iniquity of Peor too little for
us?_[337] an idolatry formerly committed, and punished with the
slaughter of twenty-four thousand delinquents. At last Reuben and Gad
satisfy them, that that altar was not built for idolatry, but built as a
pattern of theirs, that they might thereby profess themselves to be of
the same profession that they were, and so the army returned without
blood. Even where it comes not so far as to an actual relapse into
idolatry, thou, O my God, becomest sensible of it; though thou, who
seest the heart all the way, preventest all dangerous effects where
there was no ill meaning, however there were occasion of suspicious
rumours given to thine Israel of relapsing. So odious to thee, and so
aggravating a weight upon sin is a relapse. But, O my God, why is it so?
so odious? It must be so, because he that hath sinned and then repented,
hath weighed God and the devil in a balance; he hath heard God and the
devil plead, and after hearing given judgment on that side to which he
adheres by his subsequent practice;[338] if he return to his sin, he
decrees for Satan, he prefers sin before grace, and Satan before God;
and in contempt of God, declares the precedency for his adversary; and a
contempt wounds deeper than an injury, a relapse deeper than a
blasphemy. And when thou hast told me that a relapse is more odious to
thee, need I ask why it is more dangerous, more pernicious to me? Is
there any other measure of the greatness of my danger, than the
greatness of thy displeasure? How fitly and how fearfully hast thou
expressed my case in a storm at sea, if I relapse; _They mount up to
heaven, and they go down again to the depth_![339] My sickness brought
me to thee in repentance, and my relapse hath cast me farther from thee.
_The end of that man shall be worse than the beginning_,[340] says thy
Word, thy Son; my beginning was sickness, punishment for sin: but _a
worse thing may follow_,[341] says he also, if I sin again; not only
death, which is an end worse than sickness, which was the beginning, but
hell, which is a beginning worse than that end. Thy great servant
denied thy Son,[342] and he denied him again, but all before repentance;
here was no relapse. O, if thou hadst ever readmitted Adam into
Paradise, how abstinently would he have walked by that tree! And would
not the angels that fell have fixed themselves upon thee, if thou hadst
once readmitted them to thy sight? They never relapsed; if I do, must
not my case be as desperate? Not so desperate; for _as thy majesty, so
is thy mercy_,[343] both infinite; and thou, who hast commanded me to
pardon my brother seventy-seven times, hast limited thyself to no
number. If death were ill in itself, thou wouldst never have raised any
dead man to life again, because that man must necessarily die again. If
thy mercy in pardoning did so far aggravate a relapse, as that there
were no more mercy after it, our case were the worse for that former
mercy; for who is not under even a necessity of sinning whilst he is
here, if we place this necessity in our own infirmity, and not in thy
decree? But I speak not this, O my God, as preparing a way to my relapse
out of presumption, but to preclude all accesses of desperation, though
out of infirmity I should relapse.


O eternal and most gracious God, who, though thou beest ever infinite,
yet enlargest thyself by the number of our prayers, and takest our often
petitions to thee to be an addition to thy glory and thy greatness, as
ever upon all occasions, so now, O my God, I come to thy majesty with
two prayers, two supplications. I have meditated upon the jealousy which
thou hast of thine own honour, and considered that nothing comes nearer
a violating of that honour, nearer to the nature of a scorn to thee,
than to sue out thy pardon, and receive the seals of reconciliation to
thee, and then return to that sin for which I needed and had thy pardon
before. I know that this comes too near to a making thy holy ordinances,
thy word, thy sacraments, thy seals, thy grace, instruments of my
spiritual fornications. Since therefore thy correction hath brought me
to such a participation of thyself (thyself, O my God, cannot be
parted), to such an entire possession of thee, as that I durst deliver
myself over to thee this minute, if this minute thou wouldst accept my
dissolution, preserve me, O my God, the God of constancy and
perseverance, in this state, from all relapses into those sins which
have induced thy former judgments upon me. But because, by too
lamentable experience, I know how slippery my customs of sin have made
my ways of sin, I presume to add this petition too, that if my infirmity
overtake me, thou forsake me not. Say to my soul, _My son, thou hast
sinned, do so no more_;[344] but say also, that though I do, thy spirit
of remorse and compunction shall never depart from me. Thy holy apostle,
St. Paul, was shipwrecked thrice,[345] and yet still saved. Though the
rocks and the sands, the heights and the shallows, the prosperity and
the adversity of this world, do diversely threaten me, though mine own
leaks endanger me, yet, O God, let me never put myself aboard with
Hymenæus, nor _make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience_,[346] and
then thy long-lived, thy everlasting mercy, will visit me, though that
which I most earnestly pray against, should fall upon me, a relapse into
those sins which I have truly repented, and thou hast fully pardoned.


[331] Psalm lxxviii. 41.

[332] Numb. xiv. 22, 23.

[333] Josh. xxiii. 12, 13.

[334] Deut. xiii. 12-16.

[335] Josh. xxii. 11, 12.

[336] Josh. xxii. 11, 12.

[337] Josh. xxii. 17.

[338] Tertullian.

[339] Psalm cvii. 26.

[340] Matt. xii. 45.

[341] John, v. 14.

[342] Mark, xiv. 70.

[343] Ecclus. ii. 18.

[344] Ecclus. i. 21.

[345] 2 Cor. xi. 25.

[346] 1 Tim. i. 19.



OF LENT, 1630._




_This sermon was, by sacred authority, styled the author's own funeral
sermon, most fitly, whether we respect the time or matter. It was
preached not many days before his death, as if, having done this, there
remained nothing for him to do but to die; and the matter is of
death--the occasion and subject of all funeral sermons. It hath been
observed of this reverend man, that his faculty in preaching continually
increased, and that, as he exceeded others at first, so at last he
exceeded himself. This is his last sermon; I will not say it is
therefore his best, because all his were excellent. Yet thus much: a
dying man's words, if they concern ourselves, do usually make the
deepest impression, as being spoken most feelingly, and with least
affectation. Now, whom doth it concern to learn both the danger and
benefit of death? Death is every man's enemy, and intends hurt to all,
though to many he be occasion of greatest good. This enemy we must all
combat dying, whom he living did almost conquer, having discovered the
utmost of his power, the utmost of his cruelty. May we make such use of
this and other the like preparatives, that neither death, whensoever it
shall come, may seem terrible, nor life tedious, how long soever it
shall last._


PSALM LXVIII. 20, _in fine_.

_And unto God the Lord belong the issues of death (i.e. from death)._

Buildings stand by the benefit of their foundations that sustain and
support them, and of their buttresses that comprehend and embrace them,
and of their contignations that knit and unite them. The foundations
suffer them not to sink, the buttresses suffer them not to swerve, and
the contignation and knitting suffers them not to cleave. The body of
our building is in the former part of this verse. It is this: _He that
is our God is the God of salvation_; _ad salutes_, of salvations in the
plural, so it is in the original; the God that gives us spiritual and
temporal salvation too. But of this building, the foundation, the
buttresses, the contignations, are in this part of the verse which
constitutes our text, and in the three divers acceptations of the words
amongst our expositors: _Unto God the Lord belong the issues from
death_, for, first, the foundation of this building (that our God is the
God of all salvation) is laid in this, that _unto_ this _God the Lord
belong the issues of death_; that is, it is in his power to give us an
issue and deliverance, even then when we are brought to the jaws and
teeth of death, and to the lips of that whirlpool, the grave. And so in
this acceptation, this _exitus mortis_, this issue of death is
_liberatio á morte_, a deliverance from death, and this is the most
obvious and most ordinary acceptation of these words, and that upon
which our translation lays hold, the _issues from death_. And then,
secondly, the buttresses that comprehend and settle this building, that
he that is our God is the God of all salvation, are thus raised; _unto
God the Lord belong the issues of death_, that is, the disposition and
manner of our death; what kind of issue and transmigration we shall have
out of this world, whether prepared or sudden, whether violent or
natural, whether in our perfect senses or shaken and disordered by
sickness, there is no condemnation to be argued out of that, no judgment
to be made upon that, for, howsoever they die, _precious in his sight is
the death of his saints_, and with him are the issues of death; the ways
of our departing out of this life are in his hands. And so in this sense
of the words, this _exitus mortis_, the issues of death, is _liberatio
in morte_, a deliverance in death; not that God will deliver us from
dying, but that he will have a care of us in the hour of death, of what
kind soever our passage be. And in this sense and acceptation of the
words, the natural frame and contexture doth well and pregnantly
administer unto us. And then, lastly, the contignation and knitting of
this building, that he that is our God is the God of all salvations,
consists in this, _Unto_ this _God the Lord belong the issues of death_;
that is, that this God the Lord having united and knit both natures in
one, and being God, having also come into this world in our flesh, he
could have no other means to save us, he could have no other issue out
of this world, nor return to his former glory, but by death. And so in
this sense, this _exitus mortis_, this issue of death, is _liberatio per
mortem_, a deliverance by death, by the death of this God, our Lord
Christ Jesus. And this is Saint Augustine's acceptation of the words,
and those many and great persons that have adhered to him. In all these
three lines, then, we shall look upon these words, first, as the God of
power, the Almighty Father rescues his servants from the jaws of death;
and then as the God of mercy, the glorious Son rescued us by taking upon
himself this issue of death; and then, between these two, as the God of
comfort, the Holy Ghost rescues us from all discomfort by his blessed
impressions beforehand, that what manner of death soever be ordained for
us, yet this _exitus mortis_ shall be _introitus in vitam_, our issue in
death shall be an entrance into everlasting life. And these three
considerations: our deliverance _à morte, in morte, per mortem_, from
death, in death, and by death, will abundantly do all the offices of the
foundations, of the buttresses, of the contignation, of this our
building; that he that is our God is the God of all salvation, because
_unto_ this _God the Lord belong the issues of death_.

First, then, we consider this _exitus mortis_ to be _liberatio à morte_,
that with _God the Lord are the issues of death_; and therefore in all
our death, and deadly calamities of this life, we may justly hope of a
good issue from him. In all our periods and transitions in this life,
are so many passages from death to death; our very birth and entrance
into this life is _exitus à morte_, an issue from death, for in our
mother's womb we are dead, so as that we do not know we live, not so
much as we do in our sleep, neither is there any grave so close or so
putrid a prison, as the womb would be unto us if we stayed in it beyond
our time, or died there before our time. In the grave the worms do not
kill us; we breed, and feed, and then kill those worms which we
ourselves produced. In the womb the dead child kills the mother that
conceived it, and is a murderer, nay, a parricide, even after it is
dead. And if we be not dead so in the womb, so as that being dead we
kill her that gave us our first life, our life of vegetation, yet we are
dead so as David's idols are dead. In the womb we have _eyes and see
not, ears and hear not_.[347] There in the womb we are fitted for works
of darkness, all the while deprived of light; and there in the womb we
are taught cruelty, by being fed with blood, and may be damned, though
we be never born. Of our very making in the womb, David says, _I am
wonderfully and fearfully made_, and _such knowledge is too excellent
for me_,[348] for even that _is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful in
our eyes_;[349] ipse fecit nos, _it is he that made us, and not we
ourselves_,[350] nor our parents neither. _Thy hands have made and
fashioned me round about_, saith Job, _and_ (as the original word is)
_thou hast taken pains about me, and yet_ (says he) _thou dost destroy
me_. Though I be the masterpiece of the greatest master (man is so), yet
if thou do no more for me, if thou leave me where thou madest me,
destruction will follow. The womb, which should be the house of life,
becomes death itself if God leave us there. That which God threatens so
often, the shutting of a womb, is not so heavy nor so discomfortable a
curse in the first as in the latter shutting, nor in the shutting of
barrenness as in the shutting of weakness, when _children are come to
the birth, and no strength to bring forth_.[351]

It is the exaltation of misery to fall from a near hope of happiness.
And in that vehement imprecation, the prophet expresses the highest of
God's anger, _Give them, O Lord, what wilt thou give them? give them a
miscarrying womb._ Therefore as soon as we are men (that is, inanimated,
quickened in the womb), though we cannot ourselves, our parents have to
say in our behalf, _Wretched man that he is, who shall deliver him from
this body of death?_[352] if there be no deliverer. It must be he that
said to Jeremiah, _Before I formed thee I knew thee, and before thou
camest out of the womb I sanctified thee_. We are not sure that there
was no kind of ship nor boat to fish in, nor to pass by, till God
prescribed Noah that absolute form of the ark.[353] That word which the
Holy Ghost, by Moses, useth for the ark, is common to all kind of boats,
_thebah_; and is the same word that Moses useth for the boat that he was
exposed in, that his mother laid him in an ark of bulrushes. But we are
sure that Eve had no midwife when she was delivered of Cain, therefore
she might well say, _Possedi virum à Domino, I have gotten a man from
the Lord_,[354] wholly, entirely from the Lord; it is the Lord that
enabled me to conceive, the Lord that infused a quickening soul into
that conception, the Lord that brought into the world that which himself
had quickened; without all this might Eve say, my body had been but the
house of death, and _Domini Domini sunt exitus mortis, To God the Lord
belong the issues of death_. But then this _exitus à morte_ is but
_introitus in mortem_; this issue, this deliverance, from that death,
the death of the womb, is an entrance, a delivering over to another
death, the manifold deaths of this world; we have a winding-sheet in our
mother's womb which grows with us from our conception, and we come into
the world wound up in that winding-sheet, for we come to seek a grave.
And as prisoners discharged of actions may lie for fees, so when the
womb hath discharged us, yet we are bound to it by cords of hestæ, by
such a string as that we cannot go thence, nor stay there; we celebrate
our own funerals with cries even at our birth; as though our threescore
and ten years' life were spent in our mother's labour, and our circle
made up in the first point thereof; we beg our baptism with another
sacrament, with tears; and we come into a world that lasts many ages,
but we last not. _In domo Patris_, says our Saviour, speaking of heaven,
_multæ mansiones_, divers and durable; so that if a man cannot possess a
martyr's house (he hath shed no blood for Christ), yet he may have a
confessor's, he hath been ready to glorify God in the shedding of his
blood. And if a woman cannot possess a virgin's house (she hath embraced
the holy state of marriage), yet she may have a matron's house, she hath
brought forth and brought up children in the fear of God. _In domo
Patris, in my Father's house_, in heaven, there _are many
mansions_;[355] but here, upon earth, the _Son of man hath not where to
lay his head_,[356] saith he himself. _Nonne terram dedit filiis
hominum?_ How then hath God given this earth to the sons of men? He hath
given them earth for their materials to be made of earth, and he hath
given them earth for their grave and sepulchre, to return and resolve to
earth, but not for their possession. _Here we have no continuing
city_,[357] nay, no cottage that continues, nay, no persons, no bodies,
that continue. Whatsoever moved Saint Jerome to call the journeys of the
Israelites in the wilderness,[358] mansions; the word (the word is
_nasang_) signifies but a journey, but a peregrination. Even the Israel
of God hath no mansions, but journeys, pilgrimages in this life. By what
measure did Jacob measure his life to Pharaoh? _The days of the years of
my pilgrimage._[359] And though the apostle would not say _morimur_,
that whilst we are in the body we are dead, yet he says, _perigrinamur_,
whilst we are in the body we are but in a pilgrimage, and we are _absent
from the Lord_:[360] he might have said dead, for this whole world is
but an universal churchyard, but our common grave, and the life and
motion that the greatest persons have in it is but as the shaking of
buried bodies in their grave, by an earthquake. That which we call life
is but _hebdomada mortium_, a week of death, seven days, seven periods
of our life spent in dying, a dying seven times over; and there is an
end. Our birth dies in infancy, and our infancy dies in youth, and youth
and the rest die in age, and age also dies and determines all. Nor do
all these, youth out of infancy, or age out of youth, arise so, as the
phoenix out of the ashes of another phoenix formerly dead, but as a
wasp or a serpent out of a carrion, or as a snake out of dung. Our youth
is worse than our infancy, and our age worse than our youth. Our youth
is hungry and thirsty after those sins which our infancy knew not; and
our age is sorry and angry, that it cannot pursue those sins which our
youth did; and besides, all the way, so many deaths, that is, so many
deadly calamities accompany every condition and every period of this
life, as that death itself would be an ease to them that suffer them.
Upon this sense doth Job wish that God had not given him an issue from
the first death, from the womb, _Wherefore thou hast brought me forth
out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye seen me! I
should have been as though I had not been._[361] And not only the
impatient Israelites in their murmuring (_would to God we had died by
the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt_),[362] but Elijah himself,
when he fled from Jezebel, and went for his life, as that text says,
under the juniper tree, requested that he might die, and said, _It is
enough now, O Lord, take away my life_.[363] So Jonah justifies his
impatience, nay, his anger, towards God himself: _Now, O Lord, take, I
beseech thee, my life from me, for it is better to die than to
live_.[364] And when God asked him, _Dost thou well to be angry for
this?_ he replies, _I do well to be angry, even unto death_. How much
worse a death than death is this life, which so good men would so often
change for death! But if my case be as Saint Paul's case, _quotidiè
morior_, that I die daily, that something heavier than death fall upon
me every day; if my case be David's case, _tota die mortificamur; all
the day long we are killed_, that not only every day, but every hour of
the day, something heavier than death fall upon me; though that be true
of me, _Conceptus in peccatis, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did
my mother conceive me_ (there I died one death); though that be true of
me, _Natus filius iræ_, I was born not only the child of sin, but the
child of wrath, of the wrath of God for sin, which is a heavier death:
yet _Domini Domini sunt exitus mortis, with God the Lord are the issues
of death_; and after a Job, and a Joseph, and a Jeremiah, and a Daniel,
I cannot doubt of a deliverance. And if no other deliverance conduce
more to his glory and my good, yet he hath the keys of death,[365] and
he can let me out at that door, that is, deliver me from the manifold
deaths of this world, the _omni die_, and the _tota die_, the every
day's death and every hour's death, by that one death, the final
dissolution of body and soul, the end of all. But then is that the end
of all? Is that dissolution of body and soul the last death that the
body shall suffer (for of spiritual death we speak not now). It is not,
though this be _exitus à morte_: it is _introitus in mortem_; though it
be an issue from manifold deaths of this world, yet it is an entrance
into the death of corruption and putrefaction, and vermiculation, and
incineration, and dispersion in and from the grave, in which every dead
man dies over again. It was a prerogative peculiar to Christ, not to die
this death, not to see corruption. What gave him this privilege? Not
Joseph's great proportion of gums and spices, that might have preserved
his body from corruption and incineration longer than he needed it,
longer than three days, but it would not have done it for ever. What
preserved him then? Did his exemption and freedom from original sin
preserve him from this corruption and incineration? It is true that
original sin hath induced this corruption and incineration upon us; if
we had not sinned in Adam, _mortality had not put on immortality_[366]
(as the apostle speaks), nor _corruption had not put on incorruption_,
but we had had our transmigration from this to the other world without
any mortality, any corruption at all. But yet since Christ took sin upon
him, so far as made him mortal, he had it so far too as might have made
him see this corruption and incineration, though he had no original sin
in himself; what preserved him then? Did the hypostatical union of both
natures, God and man, preserve him from this corruption and
incineration? It is true that this was a most powerful embalming, to be
embalmed with the Divine Nature itself, to be embalmed with eternity,
was able to preserve him from corruption and incineration for ever. And
he was embalmed so, embalmed with the Divine Nature itself, even in his
body as well as in his soul; for the Godhead, the Divine Nature, did not
depart, but remained still united to his dead body in the grave; but yet
for all this powerful embalming, his hypostatical union of both natures,
we see Christ did die; and for all his union which made him God and man,
he became no man (for the union of the body and soul makes the man, and
he whose soul and body are separated by death as long as that state
lasts, is properly no man). And therefore as in him the dissolution of
body and soul was no dissolution of the hypostatical union, so there is
nothing that constrains us to say, that though the flesh of Christ had
seen corruption and incineration in the grave, this had not been any
dissolution of the hypostatical union, for the Divine nature, the
Godhead, might have remained with all the elements and principles of
Christ's body, as well as it did with the two constitutive parts of his
person, his body and his soul. This incorruption then was not in
Joseph's gums and spices, nor was it in Christ's innocency, and
exemption from original sin, nor was it (that is, it is not necessary to
say it was) in the hypostatical union. But this incorruptibleness of his
flesh is most conveniently placed in that; _Non dabis, thou wilt not
suffer thy Holy One to see corruption_; we look no further for causes or
reasons in the mysteries of religion, but to the will and pleasure of
God; Christ himself limited his inquisition in that _ita est, even so,
Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight_. Christ's body did not see
corruption, therefore, because God had decreed it should not. The humble
soul (and only the humble soul is the religious soul) rests himself upon
God's purposes and the decrees of God which he hath declared and
manifested, not such as are conceived and imagined in ourselves, though
upon some probability, some verisimilitude; so in our present case
Peter proceeds in his sermon at Jerusalem, and so Paul in his at
Antioch.[367] They preached Christ to have been risen without seeing
corruption, not only because God had decreed it, but because he had
manifested that decree in his prophet, therefore doth Saint Paul cite by
special number the second Psalm for that decree, and therefore both
Saint Peter and Saint Paul cite for it that place in the sixteenth
Psalm;[368] for when God declares his decree and purpose in the express
words of his prophet, or when he declares it in the real execution of
the decree, then he makes it ours, then he manifests it to us. And
therefore, as the mysteries of our religion are not the objects of our
reason, but by faith we rest on God's decree and purpose--(it is so, O
God, because it is thy will it should be so)--so God's decrees are ever
to be considered in the manifestation thereof. All manifestation is
either in the word of God, or in the execution of the decree; and when
these two concur and meet it is the strongest demonstration that can be:
when therefore I find those marks of adoption and spiritual filiation
which are delivered in the word of God to be upon me; when I find that
real execution of his good purpose upon me, as that actually I do live
under the obedience and under the conditions which are evidences of
adoption and spiritual filiation; then, so long as I see these marks and
live so, I may safely comfort myself in a holy certitude and a modest
infallibility of my adoption. Christ determines himself in that, the
purpose of God was manifest to him; Saint Peter and Saint Paul determine
themselves in those two ways of knowing the purpose of God, the word of
God before the execution of the decree in the fulness of time. It was
prophesied before, said they, and it is performed now, Christ is risen
without seeing corruption. Now, this which is so singularly peculiar to
him, that his flesh should not see corruption, at his second coming, his
coming to judgment, shall extend to all that are then alive; their hestæ
shall not see corruption, because, as the apostle says, and says as a
secret, as a mystery, _Behold I shew you a mystery, we shall not all
sleep_ (that is, not continue in the state of the dead in the grave),
_but we shall all be changed in an instant_, we shall have a
dissolution, and in the same instant a redintegration, a recompacting of
body and soul, and that shall be truly a death and truly a resurrection,
but no sleeping in corruption; but for us that die now and sleep in the
state of the dead, we must all pass this posthume death, this death
after death, nay, this death after burial, this dissolution after
dissolution, this death of corruption and putrefaction, of vermiculation
and incineration, of dissolution and dispersion in and from the grave,
when these bodies that have been the children of royal parents, and the
parents of royal children, must say with Job, _Corruption, thou art my
father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister_. Miserable
riddle, when the same worm must be my mother, and my sister and myself!
Miserable incest, when I must be married to my mother and my sister, and
be both father and mother to my own mother and sister, beget and bear
that worm which is all that miserable penury; when my mouth shall be
filled with dust, and the _worm shall feed, and feed sweetly_[369] upon
me; when the ambitious man shall have no satisfaction, if the poorest
alive tread upon him, nor the poorest receive any contentment in being
made equal to princes, for they shall be equal but in dust. _One dieth
at his full strength, being wholly at ease and in quiet; and another
dies in the bitterness of his soul, and never eats with pleasure_; but
_they lie down alike in the dust, and the worm covers them_.[370] In
Job and in Isaiah,[371] it covers them and is spread under them, _the
worm is spread under thee, and the worm covers thee_. There are the mats
and the carpets that lie under, and there are the state and the canopy
that hang over the greatest of the sons of men. Even those bodies that
were _the temples of the Holy Ghost_ come to this dilapidation, to ruin,
to rubbish, to dust; even the Israel of the Lord, and Jacob himself,
hath no other specification, no other denomination, but that _vermis
Jacob_, thou worm of Jacob. Truly the consideration of this posthume
death, this death after burial, that after God (with whom are the issues
of death) hath delivered me from the death of the womb, by bringing me
into the world, and from the manifold deaths of the world, by laying me
in the grave, I must die again in an incineration of this flesh, and in
a dispersion of that dust. That that monarch, who spread over many
nations alive, must in his dust lie in a corner of that sheet of lead,
and there but so long as that lead will last; and that private and
retired man, that thought himself his own for ever, and never came
forth, must in his dust of the grave be published, and (such are the
revolutions of the grave) be mingled with the dust of every highway and
of every dunghill, and swallowed in every puddle and pond. This is the
most inglorious and contemptible vilification, the most deadly and
peremptory nullification of man, that we can consider. God seems to have
carried the declaration of his power to a great height, when he sets the
prophet Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones, and says, _Son of man, can
these bones live?_ as though it had been impossible, and yet they did;
the Lord laid _sinews upon them, and flesh, and breathed into them, and
they did live_. But in that case there were bones to be seen, something
visible, of which it might be said, Can this thing live? But in this
death of incineration and dispersion of dust, we see nothing that we
call that man's. If we say, Can this dust live? Perchance it cannot; it
may be the mere dust of the earth, which never did live, never shall. It
may be the dust of that man's worm, which did live, but shall no more.
It may be the dust of another man, that concerns not him of whom it was
asked. This death of incineration and dispersion is, to natural reason,
the most irrecoverable death of all; and yet _Domini Domini sunt exitus
mortis, unto God the Lord belong the issues of death_; and by
recompacting this dust into the same body, and remaining the same body
with the same soul, he shall in a blessed and glorious resurrection give
me such an issue from this death as shall never pass into any other
death, but establish me into a life that shall last as long as the Lord
of Life himself.

And so have you that that belongs to the first acceptation of these
words (_unto God the Lord belong the issues of death_); That though from
the womb to the grave, and in the grave itself, we pass from death to
death, yet, as Daniel speaks, _the Lord our God is able to deliver us,
and he will deliver us_.

And so we pass unto our second accommodation of these words (_unto God
the Lord belong the issues of death_); that it belongs to God, and not
to man, to pass a judgment upon us at our death, or to conclude a
dereliction on God's part upon the manner thereof.

Those indications which the physicians receive, and those presagitions
which they give for death or recovery in the patient, they receive and
they give out of the grounds and the rules of their art; but we have no
such rule or art to give a presagition of spiritual death and damnation
upon any such indication as we see in any dying man; we see often
enough to be sorry, but not to despair; we may be deceived both ways: we
use to comfort ourself in the death of a friend, if it be testified that
he went away like a lamb, that is, without any reluctation; but God
knows that may be accompanied with a dangerous damp and stupefaction,
and insensibility of his present state. Our blessed Saviour suffered
colluctations with death, and a _sadness even in his soul to death_, and
an agony even to a bloody sweat in his body, and expostulations with
God, and exclamations upon the cross. He was a devout man who said upon
his death-bed, or death-turf (for he was a hermit), _Septuaginta annos
Domino servivisti, et mori times?_ Hast thou served a good master
threescore and ten years, and now art thou loth to go into his presence?
Yet Hilarion was loth. Barlaam was a devout man (a hermit too) that said
that day he died, _Cogita te hodie cæpisse servire Domino, et hodie
finiturum_, Consider this to be the first day's service that ever thou
didst thy Master, to glorify him in a Christianly and a constant death,
and if thy first day be thy last day too, how soon dost thou come to
receive thy wages! Yet Barlaam could have been content to have stayed
longer forth. Make no ill conclusions upon any man's lothness to die,
for the mercies of God work momentarily in minutes, and many times
insensibly to bystanders, or any other than the party departing. And
then upon violent deaths inflicted as upon malefactors, Christ himself
hath forbidden us by his own death to make any ill conclusion; for his
own death had those impressions in it; he was reputed, he was executed
as a malefactor, and no doubt many of them who concurred to his death
did believe him to be so. Of sudden death there are scarce examples be
found in the Scriptures upon good men, for death in battle cannot be
called sudden death; but God governs not by examples but by rules, and
therefore make no ill conclusion upon sudden death nor upon distempers
neither, though perchance accompanied with some words of diffidence and
distrust in the mercies of God. The tree lies as it falls, it is true,
but it is not the last stroke that fells the tree, nor the last word nor
gasp that qualifies the soul. Still pray we for a peaceable life against
violent death, and for time of repentance against sudden death, and for
sober and modest assurance against distempered and diffident death, but
never make ill conclusions upon persons overtaken with such deaths;
_Domini Domini sunt exitus mortis, to God the Lord belong the issues of
death_. And he received Samson, who went out of this world in such a
manner (consider it actively, consider it passively in his own death,
and in those whom he slew with himself) as was subject to interpretation
hard enough. Yet the Holy Ghost hath moved Saint Paul to celebrate
Samson in his great catalogue,[372] and so doth all the church. Our
critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of
our life. I thank him that prays for me when the bell tolls, but I thank
him much more that catechises me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how
to live. _Fac hoc et vive_, there is my security, the mouth of the Lord
hath said it, _do this and thou shalt live_. But though I do it, yet I
shall die too, die a bodily, a natural death. But God never mentions,
never seems to consider that death, the bodily, the natural death. God
doth not say, Live well, and thou shalt die well, that is, an easy, a
quiet death; but, Live well here, and thou shalt live well for ever. As
the first part of a sentence pieces well with the last, and never
respects, never hearkens after the parenthesis that comes between, so
doth a good life here flow into an eternal life, without any
consideration what manner of death we die. But whether the gate of my
prison be opened with an oiled key (by a gentle and preparing sickness),
or the gate be hewn down by a violent death, or the gate be burnt down
by a raging and frantic fever, a gate into heaven I shall have, for from
the Lord is the cause of my life, and _with God the Lord are the issues
of death_. And further we carry not this second acceptation of the
words, as this _issue of death_ is _liberatio in morte_, God's care that
the soul be safe, what agonies soever the body suffers in the hour of

But pass to our third part and last part: As this issue of death is
_liberatio per mortem_, a deliverance by the death of another.
_Sufferentiam Job audiisti, et vidisti finem Domini_, says Saint James
(v. 11), _You have heard of the patience of Job_, says he: all this
while you have done that, for in every man, calamitous, miserable man, a
Job speaks. Now, _see the end of the Lord_, sayeth that apostle, which
is not that end that the Lord proposed to himself (salvation to us), nor
the end which he proposes to us (conformity to him), but _see the end of
the Lord_, says he, the end that the Lord himself came to, death, and a
painful and a shameful death. But why did he die? and why die so? _Quia
Domini Domini sunt exitus mortis_ (as Saint Augustine, interpreting this
text, answers that question),[373] because to this _God our Lord
belonged the issues of death. Quid apertius diceretur?_ says he there,
what can be more obvious, more manifest than this sense of these words?
In the former part of this verse it is said, He that is _our God is the
God of salvation; Deus salvos faciendi_, so he reads it, the God that
must save us. Who can that be, says he, but Jesus? For therefore that
name was given him because he was to save us. And to this Jesus, says
he, this Saviour,[374] _belong the issues of death_; _Nec oportuit eum
de hac vita alios exitus habere quam mortis_: being come into this life
in our mortal nature, he could not go out of this life any other way but
by death. _Ideo dictum_, says he, therefore it is said, _to God the Lord
belonged the issues of death; ut ostenderetur moriendo nos salvos
facturum_, to show that his way to save us was to die. And from this
text doth Saint Isidore prove that Christ was truly man (which as many
sects of heretics denied, as that he was truly God), because to him,
though he were _Dominus Dominus_ (as the text doubles it), God the Lord,
yet to _him, to God the Lord belonged the issues of death_; _oportuit
eum pati_; more cannot be said than Christ himself says of himself;
_These things Christ ought to suffer_;[375] he had no other way but
death: so then this part of our sermon must needs be a passion sermon,
since all his life was a continual passion, all our Lent may well be a
continual Good Friday. Christ's painful life took off none of the pains
of his death, he felt not the less then for having felt so much before.
Nor will any thing that shall be said before lessen, but rather enlarge
the devotion, to that which shall be said of his passion at the time of
due solemnization thereof. Christ bled not a drop the less at the last
for having bled at his circumcision before, nor will you a tear the less
then if you shed some now. And therefore be now content to consider with
me how _to this God the Lord belonged the issues of death_. That God,
this Lord, the Lord of life, could die, is a strange contemplation; that
the Red Sea could be dry, that the sun could stand still, that an oven
could be seven times heat and not burn, that lions could be hungry and
not bite, is strange, miraculously strange, but super-miraculous that
God _could_ die; but that God _would_ die is an exaltation of that. But
even of that also it is a super-exaltation, that God should die, must
die, and _non exitus_ (said Saint Augustine), God the Lord had no issue
but by death, and _oportuit pati_ (says Christ himself), all this Christ
ought to suffer, was bound to suffer; _Deus ultimo Deus_, says David,
God is the God of revenges, he would not pass over the son of man
unrevenged, unpunished. But then _Deus ultionum libere egit_ (says that
place), the God of revenges works freely, he punishes, he spares whom he
will. And would he not spare himself? he would not: _Dilectio fortis ut
mors, love is strong as death_;[376] stronger, it drew in death, that
naturally is not welcome. _Si possibile_ says Christ, _if it be
possible, let this cup pass_, when his love, expressed in a former
decree with his Father, had made it impossible. _Many waters quench not
love._[377] Christ tried many: he was baptised out of his love, and his
love determined not there; he mingled blood with water in his agony, and
that determined not his love; he wept pure blood, all his blood at all
his eyes, at all his pores, in his flagellation and thorns (_to the Lord
our God belonged the issues of blood_), and these expressed, but these
did not quench his love. He would not spare, nay, he could not spare
himself. There was nothing more free, more voluntary, more spontaneous
than the death of Christ. It is true, _libere egit_, he died
voluntarily; but yet when we consider the contract that had passed
between his Father and him, there was an _oportuit_, a kind of necessity
upon him: all this _Christ ought to suffer_. And when shall we date this
obligation, this _oportuit_, this necessity? When shall we say that
began? Certainly this decree by which Christ was to suffer all this was
an eternal decree, and was there any thing before that that was eternal?
Infinite love, eternal love; be pleased to follow this home, and to
consider it seriously, that what liberty soever we can conceive in
Christ to die or not to die; this necessity of dying, this decree is as
eternal as that liberty; and yet how small a matter made he of this
necessity and this dying? His Father calls it but a bruise, and but a
bruising of his heel[378] (the serpent shall bruise his heel), and yet
that was, that the serpent should practise and compass his death.
Himself calls it but a baptism, as though he were to be the better for
it. I _have a baptism to be baptised with_,[379] and he was in pain till
it was accomplished, and yet this baptism was his death. The Holy Ghost
calls it joy (_for the joy which was set before him he endured the
cross_),[380] which was not a joy of his reward after his passion, but a
joy that filled him even in the midst of his torments, and arose from
him; when Christ calls his _calicem_ a cup, and no worse (_Can ye drink
of my cup_)[381], he speaks not odiously, not with detestation of it.
Indeed it was a cup, _salus mundo_, a health to all the world. And _quid
retribuam_, says David, _What shall I render to the Lord?_[382] Answer
you with David, _Accipiam calicem, I will take the cup of salvation_;
take it, that cup is salvation, his passion, if not into your present
imitation, yet into your present contemplation. And behold how that Lord
that was God, yet could die, would die, must die for our salvation. That
Moses and Elias talked with Christ in the transfiguration, both Saint
Matthew and Saint Mark[383] tells us, but what they talked of, only
Saint Luke; _Dicebant excessum ejus_, says he, _They talked of his
disease, of his death, which was to be accomplished at Jerusalem_.[384]
The word is of his _exodus_, the very word of our text, _exitus_, his
_issue by death_. Moses, who in his exodus had prefigured this issue of
our Lord, and in passing Israel out of Egypt through the Red Sea, had
foretold in that actual prophecy, Christ passing of mankind through the
sea of his blood; and Elias, whose exodus and issue of this world was a
figure of Christ's ascension; had no doubt a great satisfaction in
talking with our blessed Lord, _de excessu ejus_, of the full
consummation of all this in his death, which was to be accomplished at
Jerusalem. Our meditation of his death should be more visceral, and
affect us more, because it is of a thing already done. The ancient
Romans had a certain tenderness and detestation of the name of death;
they could not name death, no, not in their wills; there they could not
say, _Si mori contigerit_, but _si quid humanitas contingat_, not if or
when I die, but when the course of nature is accomplished upon me. To us
that speak daily of the death of Christ (he was crucified, dead, and
buried), can the memory or the mention of our own death be irksome or
bitter? There are in these latter times amongst us that name death
freely enough, and the death of God, but in blasphemous oaths and
execrations. Miserable men, who shall therefore be said never to have
named Jesus, because they have named him too often; and therefore hear
Jesus say, _Nescivi vos, I never knew you_, because they made themselves
too familiar with him. Moses and Elias talked with Christ of his death
only in a holy and joyful sense, of the benefit which they and all the
world were to receive by that. Discourses of religion should not be out
of curiosity, but to edification. And then they talked with Christ of
his death at that time when he was in the greatest height of glory, that
ever he admitted in this world, that is, his transfiguration. And we are
afraid to speak to the great men of this world of their death, but
nourish in them a vain imagination of immortality and immutability. But
_bonum est nobis esse hic_ (as Saint Peter said there), _It is good to
dwell here_, in this consideration of his death, and therefore transfer
we our tabernacle (our devotions) through some of those steps which God
the Lord made to his _issue of death_ that day. Take in the whole day
from the hour that Christ received the passover upon Thursday unto the
hour in which he died the next day. Make this present day that day in
thy devotion, and consider what he did, and remember what you have done.
Before he instituted and celebrated the sacrament (which was after the
eating of the passover), he proceeded to that act of humility, to wash
his disciples' feet, even Peter's, who for a while resisted him. In thy
preparation to the holy and blessed sacrament, hast thou with a sincere
humility sought a reconciliation with all the world, even with those
that have been averse from it, and refused that reconciliation from
thee? If so, and not else, thou hast spent that first part of his last
day in a conformity with him. After the sacrament he spent the time till
night in prayer, in preaching, in psalms: hast thou considered that a
worthy receiving of the sacrament consists in a continuation of holiness
after, as well as in a preparation before? If so, thou hast therein also
conformed thyself to him; so Christ spent his time till night. At night
he went into the garden to pray, and he prayed prolixious, he spent much
time in prayer, how much? Because it is literally expressed, that he
prayed there three several times,[385] and that returning to his
disciples after his first prayer, and finding them asleep, said, _Could
ye not watch with me one hour_,[386] it is collected that he spent three
hours in prayer. I dare scarce ask thee whither thou wentest, or how
thou disposedst of thyself, when it grew dark and after last night. If
that time were spent in a holy recommendation of thyself to God, and a
submission of thy will to his, it was spent in a conformity to him. In
that time, and in those prayers, was his agony and bloody sweat. I will
hope that thou didst pray; but not every ordinary and customary prayer,
but prayer actually accompanied with shedding of tears and dispositively
in a readiness to shed blood for his glory in necessary cases, puts thee
into a conformity with him. About midnight he was taken and bound with a
kiss, art thou not too conformable to him in that? Is not that too
literally, too exactly thy case, at midnight to have been taken and
bound with a kiss? From thence he was carried back to Jerusalem, first
to Annas, then to Caiaphas, and (as late as it was) then he was examined
and buffeted, and delivered over to the custody of those officers from
whom he received all those irrisions, and violences, the covering of his
face, the spitting upon his face, the blasphemies of words, and the
smartness of blows, which that gospel mentions: in which compass fell
that gallicinium, that crowing of the cock which called up Peter to his
repentance. How thou passedst all that time thou knowest. If thou didst
any thing that needest Peter's tears, and hast not shed them, let me be
thy cock, do it now. Now, thy Master (in the unworthiest of his
servants) looks back upon thee, do it now. Betimes, in the morning, so
soon as it was day, the Jews held a council in the high priest's hall,
and agreed upon their evidence against him, and then carried him to
Pilate, who was to be his judge; didst thou accuse thyself when thou
wakedst this morning, and wast thou content even with false accusations,
that is, rather to suspect actions to have been sin, which were not,
than to smother and justify such as were truly sins? Then thou spentest
that hour in conformity to him; Pilate found no evidence against him,
and therefore to ease himself, and to pass a compliment upon Herod,
tetrarch of Galilee, who was at that time at Jerusalem (because Christ,
being a Galilean, was of Herod's jurisdiction), Pilate sent him to
Herod, and rather as a madman than a malefactor; Herod remanded him
(with scorn) to Pilate, to proceed against him; and this was about eight
of the clock. Hast thou been content to come to this inquisition, this
examination, this agitation, this cribration, this pursuit of thy
conscience; to sift it, to follow it from the sins of thy youth to thy
present sins, from the sins of thy bed to the sins of thy board, and
from the substance to the circumstance of thy sins? That is time spent
like thy Saviour's. Pilate would have saved Christ, by using the
privilege of the day in his behalf, because that day one prisoner was to
be delivered, but they choose Barabbas; he would have saved him from
death, by satisfying their fury with inflicting other torments upon him,
scourging and crowning with thorns, and loading him with many scornful
and ignominious contumelies; but they regarded him not, they pressed a
crucifying. Hast thou gone about to redeem thy sin, by fasting, by alms,
by disciplines and mortifications, in way of satisfaction to the justice
of God? That will not serve, that is not the right way; we press an
utter crucifying of that sin that governs thee: and that conforms thee
to Christ. Towards noon Pilate gave judgment, and they made such haste
to execution as that by noon he was upon the cross. There now hangs that
sacred body upon the cross, rebaptized in his own tears, and sweat, and
embalmed in his own blood alive. There are those bowels of compassion
which are so conspicuous, so manifested, as that you may see them
through his wounds. There those glorious eyes grew faint in their sight,
so as the sun, ashamed to survive them, departed with his light too.
And then that Son of God, who was never from us, and yet had now come a
new way unto us in assuming our nature, delivers that soul (which was
never out of his Father's hands) by a _new way_, a voluntary emission of
it into his Father's hands; for though _to this God our Lord belonged
these issues of death_, so that considered in his own contract, he must
necessarily die, yet at no breach or battery which they had made upon
his sacred body issued his soul; but _emisit_, he gave up the ghost; and
as God breathed a soul into the first Adam, so this second Adam breathed
his soul into God, into the hands of God.

There we leave you in that blessed dependency, to hang upon him that
hangs upon the cross, there bathe in his tears, there suck at his
wounds, and lie down in peace in his grave, till he vouchsafe you a
resurrection, and an ascension into that kingdom which He hath prepared
for you with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. Amen.


[347] Psalm cxv. 6.

[348] Psalm cxxxix. 6.

[349] Psalm cxviii. 23.

[350] Psalm c. 3.

[351] Isaiah, xxxvii. 3.

[352] Rom. vii. 24.

[353] Gen. vi. 14.

[354] Gen. iv. 1.

[355] John, xiv. 2.

[356] Matt. viii. 20.

[357] Heb. xiii. 14.

[358] Exod. xvii. 1.

[359] Gen. xlvii. 9.

[360] 2 Cor. v. 6.

[361] Job, x. 18, 19.

[362] Exod. xvi. 3.

[363] 1 Kings, xix. 4.

[364] Jonah, iv. 3.

[365] Rev. i. 18.

[366] 1 Cor. xv. 33.

[367] Acts, ii. 31; xiii. 35.

[368] Ver. 10.

[369] Job, xxiv. 20.

[370] Job, xxi. 23, 25, 26.

[371] Isaiah, xiv. 11.

[372] Heb. xi.

[373] De Civitate Dei, lib. xvii.

[374] Matt. i. 21.

[375] Luke, xxiv. 26.

[376] Cant. viii. 6.

[377] _Ibid._ 7.

[378] Gen. iii. 15.

[379] Luke, xii. 50.

[380] Heb. xii. 2.

[381] Matt. xx. 22.

[382] Psalm cxvi. 12.

[383] Matt. xvii. 3; Mark, ix. 4.

[384] Luke, ix. 31.

[385] Luke, xxii. 41.

[386] Matt. xxvi. 40.

Transcribers Notes:

I corrected an error in Footnote 1. The original book said
Matt. xiii. 16, which I corrected to verse 15.

I corrected an error in Footnote 65. The original book said
Jer., which I corrected to Lam.

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