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The soul is συνεργὸς τῷ Θεῷ, “ it must work together with God;" and the body works together with the soul: but no external action can purify the soul, because, its nature and operations being spiritual, it can no more be changed by a ceremony or an external solemnity, than an angel can be caressed with sweetmeats, or a man's belly with music or long orations. The sum is this: no christian does his duty to God but he that serves him with all his heart and although it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness, even the external also; yet that which makes us gracious in his eyes, is not the external, it is the love of the heart and the real change of the mind and obedience of the spirit; that is the first great measure of the righteousness evangelical.
2. The righteousness evangelical must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees by extension of our obedience to things of the same signification: "Leges non ex verbis, sed ex mente intelligendas," says the law. There must be a commentary of kindness in the understanding the laws of Christ. We must understand all God's meaning; we must secure his service, we must be far removed from the dangers of his displeasure. And, therefore, our righteousness must be the purification and the perfection of the spirit. So that it will be nothing for us not to commit adultery, unless our eyes and hands be chaste, and the desires be clean. A christian must not look upon a woman to lust after her. He must hate sin in all dimensions, and in all instances, and in every angle of its reception. A christian must not sin, and he must not be willing to sin if he durst. He must not be lustful, and therefore he must not feed high, nor drink deep, for these make provisions for lust: and, amongst christians, great eatings and drinkings are acts of uncleanness as well as of intemperance, and whatever ministers to sin, and is the way of it; it partakes of its nature and its curse.
For it is remarkable that in good and evil the case is greatly different. Mortification (e. g.) is a duty of christianity; but there is no law concerning the instruments of it. We are not commanded to roll ourselves on thorns, as St. Benedict did; or to burn our flesh, like St. Martinian; or to tumble in snows, with St. Francis; or in pools of water, with St. Bernard. A man may chew aloes, or lie upon the ground, or wear sackcloth, if he have a mind to it, and if he finds it good in its circumstances and to his purposes of mortification; but, it may be, he may do it alone by the instrumentalities of fear and love; and so the thing be done, no special instrument is under a command. But although the instruments of virtue are free, yet the instruments and ministries of vice are not. Not only the sin is forbidden, but all the ways that lead to it. The instruments of virtue are of themselves indifferent, that is, not naturally, but good only for their relation's sake, and in order to their end. But the instruments of vice are of themselves vicious; they are part of the sin, they have a share in the fantastic pleasure, and they begin to estrange a man's heart from God, and are directly in the prohibition. For we are commanded to fly from temptation, to d De Legibus 1. scire.
pray against it, "to abstain from all appearances of evil," "to make a covenant with our eyes," "to pluck them out" if there be need. And if christians do not understand the commandments to this extension of signification, they will be innocent only by the measures of human laws, but not by the righteousness of God.
3. Of the same consideration it is also that we understand Christ's commandments to extend our duty, not only to what is named, and what is not named of the same nature and design; but that we abstain from all such things as are like to sins. Of this nature there are many. All violences of passion, irregularities in gaming, prodigality of our time, indecency of action, doing things unworthy of our birth or our profession, aptness to go to law; "ambitus," or a fierce prosecution even of honourable employments; misconstruction of the words and actions of our brother; easiness to believe evil of others, willingness to report the evil which we hear; curiosity of diet, peevishness towards servants, indiscreet and importune standing for place, and all excess in ornaments; for even this little instance is directly prohibited by the christian and royal law of charity. For ȧyán оν περжEρεVEтαι, ov πepπepeveral, saith St. Paul; the word is a word hard to be understood; we render it well enough, "charity vaunteth not itself;" and upon this St. Basil says, that an ecclesiastic person (and so every christian in his proportion) ought not to go in splendid and vain ornaments; Пāv yàp ỏ μǹ dià xpeíav, åλλà dià καλλωπισμὸν παραλαμβάνεται περπερείας ἔχει κατηyopíav "Every thing that is not wisely useful or proportioned to the state of the christian, but ministers only to vanity, is a part of this περπερεύεσα Oau," it is a "vaunting," which the charity and the grace of a christian does not well endure. These things are like to sins; they are of a suspicious nature, and not easily to be reconciled to the righteousness evangelical. It is no wonder if christianity be nice and curious; it is the cleanness and the purification of the soul, and Christ intends to present his church to God aσriλov kaì åμwμητov, “ without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." N. B. or any such thing. If there be any irregularity that is less than a wrinkle, the evangelical righteousness does not allow it. These are such things which if men will stand to defend, possibly a modest reprover may be more ashamed than an impudent offender. If I see a person apt to quarrel, to take every thing in an ill sense, to resent an error deeply, to reprove it bitterly, to remember it tenaciously, to repeat it frequently, to upbraid it unhandsomely, I think I have great reason to say, that this person does not do what becomes the sweetness of a christian spirit. If it be replied, It is no where forbidden to chide an offending person, and that it cannot be a fault to understand when a thing is said or done amiss; I cannot return an answer, but by saying, that suppose nothing of it were a sin, yet that every thing of it is so like a sin, that it is the worse for it; and that it were better not to do so; at least I think so, and so ought you too, if you be curious of your eternal interest: a little more tenderness here would
do well. I cannot say that this dress, or this gar- | counsel; and if a priest be simoniacal, he cannot be ment, or this standing for place, is the direct sin of esteemed righteous before God by preaching well, pride; but I am sure it looks like it in some per- and taking care of his charge. To be zealous for sons; at least the letting it alone is much better, God and for religion is good, but that will not legiand is very like humility. And certain it is, that he timate cruelty to our brother. It is not enough for is dull of hearing who understands not the voice of a man to be a good citizen, unless he be also a good God, unless it be clamorous in an express and a loud man; but some men build their houses with half a commandment, proclaimed with trumpets and cla- dozen cross sticks, and turf is the foundation, and rions upon mount Sinai; but a willing and an obe- straw is the covering, and they think they dwell sedient ear understands the still voice of Christ, and curely; their religion is made up of two or three is ready to obey his meaning at half a word; and virtues, and they think to comute with God, some that is the righteousness evangelical. It not only good for some bad, woλλà μɛμyμéva, ñoλλà dè aioabstains from sins named, and sins implied, but from xpà as if one deadly wound were not enough to dethe beginnings and instruments of sin; and from stroy the most healthful constitution in the world. whatsoever is like it. The Jews were so great | Deceive not yourselves. It is all one on which hand haters of swine upon pretensions of the Mosaic rites, we fall: that they would not so much as name a swine, but called it 37 daber acher, another thing. And thus the Romans, in their auguries, used "alterum”. for "non bonum." The simile of this St. Paul translates to a christian duty: "Let not fornication be so much as named amongst you, wç πрéπOV Év Toïç ȧyíοis, as is comely amongst christians;" that is, come not near a foul thing; speak not of it, let it be wholly banished from all your conversation; for this niceness and curiosity of duty" becometh saints," and is an instance of the righteousness evangelical.
I have now done with the first sort of measures of the christian righteousness; these which are the matter of our negative duty; these are the measures of our caution and our first innocence. But there are greater things behind, which although I must crowd up into a narrow room, yet I must not wholly omit them: therefore,
4. The fourth thing I shall note to you is, that whereas the righteousness of the Pharisees was but a fragment of the broken tables of Moses; the pursuance of some one grace, "lacinia sanctitatis," "a piece of the robe of righteousness;" the righteousness evangelical must be like Christ's seamless coat, all of a piece from the top to the bottom; it must invest the whole soul: Misma, Dumah, Massah, said the proverb of the Rabbins; it is this, and it is the other, and it must be all, it must be a universal righteousness; not a little knot of holy actions scattered in our lives, and drawn into a sum at the day of judgment, but it must be a state of holiness. It was said of the Paphlagonian pigeons, dɩπλñv ópãoDaι Tηy Kapdíav," every one of them had two hearts;" but that in our mystical theology signifies a wicked man. So said Solomon, "the perverse or wicked man (derachaim) he is a man of two ways; avỳp divxos, so St. James expresses an unbeliever; a man that will and will not; something he does for God, and something for the world; he hath two minds and in a good fit, in his well days he is full of repentance, and overflows in piety; but the paroxysm will return in the day of temptation, and then he is gone infallibly. But know this, that in the righteousness evangelical, one duty cannot be exchanged for another, and three virtues will not make amends for one remaining vice. He that oppresses the poor cannot make amends by giving good
e Prov. xxviii. 14.
Et calor et frigus, sic hoc, sic illud adurit;
The moon may burn us by night as well as the sun
5. And lastly: the pharisaical righteousness was the product of fear, and, therefore, what they must needs do, that they would do; but no more: but the righteousness evangelical is produced by love, it is managed by choice, and cherished by delight and fair experiences. Christians are a willing people; "homines bonæ voluntatis," "men of good will;" arbores Domini:" so they are mystically represented in Scripture; "the trees of the Lord are full of sap:" among the Hebrews the trees of the Lord did signify such trees as grew of themselves; and all that are of God's planting, are such as have
terms with God, and so carefully husbands his duty, and thinks to make so good a market of obedience, that he will quit nothing which he thinks he may lawfully keep, shall never be exemplar in his life, and shall never grow in grace, and therefore shall never enter into glory. He, therefore, that will be
a vital principle within, and grow without constraint. Πείθονται τοῖς ὡρισμένοις νόμοις, καὶ τοῖς ἰδίοις βιοῖς VIKσI TOVS Vóμovs, one said it of christians: "They obey the laws, and by the goodness of their lives exceed the laws;" and certain it is, no man hath the righteousness evangelical, if he resolves always to take all his liberty in every thing that is merely law-righteous by the measures evangelical, must conful; or if he purposes to do no more than he must needs, that is, no more than he is just commanded. For the reasons are plain.
1. The christian that resolves to do every thing that is lawful, will many times run into danger and inconvenience; because the utmost extremity of lawful is so near to that which is unlawful, that he will often pass into unlawful undiscernibly. Virtues and vices have not, in all their instances, a great landmark set between them, like warlike nations separate by prodigious walls, vast seas, and portentous hills; but they are oftentimes like the bounds of a parish; men are fain to cut a cross upon the turf, and make little marks and annual perambulations for memorials: so it is in lawful and unlawful, by a little mistake a man may be greatly ruined. He that drinks till his tongue is as full as a sponge, and his speech a little stammering and tripping, hasty and disorderly, though he be not gone as far as drunkenness, yet he is gone beyond the severity of a christian; and when he is just past into unlawful, if he disputes too curiously, he will certainly deceive himself for want of a wiser curiosity.
But 2. He that will do all that he thinks he may lawfully, had need have an infallible guide always by him, who should, without error, be able to answer all cases of conscience, which will happen every day in a life so careless and insecure; for if he should be mistaken, his error is his crime, and not his excuse. A man in this case had need be very sure of his proposition; which because he cannot be, in charity to himself, he will quickly find that he is bound to abstain from all things that are uncertainly good, and from all disputable evils, from things which, although they may be in themselves lawful, yet, accidentally, and, that from a thousand causes, may become unlawful. "Pavidus quippe et formidolosus est christianus," saith Salvian, "atque in tantum peccare metuens, ut interdum et non timenda formidet:" "A christian is afraid of every little thing; and he sometimes greatly fears that he hath sinned, even then when he hath no other reason to be afraid, but because he would not do so for all the world."
sider not only what is lawful, but what is expedient; not only what is barely safe, but what is worthy; that which may secure, and that which may do advantage to that concern that is the greatest in the world.
And 2. The case is very like with them that resolve to do no more good than is commanded them. For 1. It is infinitely unprofitable as to our eternal interest, because no man does do all that is commanded at all times; and, therefore, he that will not sometimes do more, besides that he hath no love, no zeal of duty, no holy fires in his soul; besides this, I say, he can never make any amends towards the reparation of his conscience. "Let him that stole, steal no more;" that is well; but that is not well enough; for he must, if he can, make restitution of what he stole, or he shall never be pardoned; and so it is in all our intercourse with God. To do what is commanded is the duty of the present; we are tied to this in every present, in every period of our lives; but, therefore, if we never do any more than just the present duty, who shall supply the deficiencies, and fill up the gaps, and redeem what is past? This is a material consideration in the righteousness evangelical.
But then, 2. We must know that in keeping of God's commandments, every degree of internal duty is under the commandments; and, therefore, whatever we do, we must do it as well as we can. Now he that does his duty with the biggest affection he can, will also do all that he can; and he can never know that he hath done what is commanded, unless he does all that is in his power. For God hath put no limit but love and possibility; and therefore whoever says, Hither will I go, and no further; this I will do, and no more; thus much will I serve God, but that shall be all; he hath the affections of a slave, and the religion of a Pharisee, the craft of a merchant, and the falseness of a broker; but he hath not the proper measures of the righteousness evangelical. But so it happens in the mud and slime of the river Borborus, when the eye of the sun hath long dwelt upon it, and produces frogs and mice which begin to move a little under a thin cover of its own parental matter, and if they can get loose to live half a life, that is all; but the hinder parts, which are not formed before the setting of the sun, stick fast in their beds of mud, and the little moiety of a creature dies before it could be well said to live; so it is with those christians, who will do all that they think lawful, and will do no more than what they suppose necessary; they do but peep into the light of the Sun of righteousness; they have the beginnings of life; but their hinder parts, their passions and affections, and the desires of the lower man, are still unformed; 4. Besides all this; he that thus stands on his and he that dwells in this state, is just so much of
3. He that resolves to use all his liberty, cannot be innocent, so long as there are in the world so many bold temptations, and presumptuous actions, so many scandals, and so much ignorance in the things of God, so many things that are suspicious, and so many things that are of evil report; so many ill customs and disguises in the world, with which if we resolve to comply in all that is supposed lawful, a man may be in the regions of death, before he perceive his head to ache; and, instead of a staff in his hand, may have a splinter in his elbow.
a christian, as a sponge is of a plant, and a mush- | the rest; so much as is fit to bring when we pray room of a shrub; they may be as sensible as an oyster, and discourse at the rate of a child, but are greatly short of the righteousness evangelical.
for a great pardon, and deprecate a mighty anger, and turn aside an intolerable fear, and will purchase an excellent peace, and will reconcile a sinner. Now in this case a christian is to take his measures according to the rate of his contrition and his love, his religion and his fear, his danger and his expectation, and let him measure his amends wisely; his sorrow pouring in, and his fear thrusting it down, and it were very well, if his love also would make it run For, deceive not yourselves, there is no other measure but this; so much good as a man does, or so much as he would do, if he could,-so much of religion, and so much of repentance he hath, and no more: and a man cannot ordinarily know that he is in a savable condition, but by the testimony which a divine philanthropy and a good mind always gives, which is to omit no opportunity of doing good in our several proportions and possibilities.
I have now done with those parts of the christian righteousness, which were not only an iжɛρox, or, excess," but an ȧvriσTоixelwσis to the pharisaical: but because I ought not to conceal any thing from you that must integrate our duty, and secure our title to the kingdom of heaven; there is this to be added, that this precept of our blessed Saviour is to be extended to the direct degrees of our duty. We must do more duties, and we must do them better. And in this, although we can have no positive measures, because they are potentially infinite, yet therefore we ought to take the best, because we are sure the greatest is not too big; and we are not sure that God will accept a worse, when we can do a better. Now although this is to be understood of the internal affection only, because that must never be abated, but God is at all times to be loved and served with all our heart; yet concerning the degrees of external duty, as prayers, and alms, and the like, we are certainly tied to a greater excel-ousness" or "justice;" but the alms which chrislency in the degree, than was that of the scribes and Pharisees. I am obliged to speak one word for the determination of this inquiry, viz. to how much more of external duty christians are obliged, than was in the righteousness of the scribes and PhariIn order to this, briefly thus.
I remember that Salvian, speaking of old men summing up their repentances, and making amends for the sins of their whole life, exhorts them to alms and works of piety; but inquiring how much they should do towards the redeeming of their souls, answers with a little sarcasm, but plainly enough to give a wise man an answer: "A man," says he, " is not bound to give away all his goods, unless, peradventure, he owes all to God; but, in that case, I cannot tell what to say; for then the case is altered. A man is not bound to part with all his estate; that is, unless his sins be greater than his estate; but if they be, then he may consider of it again, and consider better. And he need not part with it all, unless pardon be more precious to him than his money, and unless heaven be worth it all, and unless he knows justly how much less will do it. If he does, let him try his skill, and pay just so much and no more than he owes to God; but if he does not know, let him be sure to do enough." His meaning is this: not that a man is bound to give all he hath, and leave his children beggars; he is bound from that by another obligation. But as when we are tied to pray continually, the meaning is, we should consecrate all our time by taking good portions out of all our time for that duty; the devoutest person being like the waters of Siloam, a perpetual spring, but not a perpetual current; that is always in readiness, but actually thrusting forth his waters at certain periods every day. So out of all our estate we must take for religion and repentance such portions as the whole estate can allow; so much as will consecrate
S. Hier. in Comment. Isa. viii. Isidor. lib. xiii. Orig.
There was an alms which the scribes and Pharisees were obliged by the law to give, the tenth of every third year's increase; this they always paid, and this sort of alms is called dikawσvvn, “righte
tians ought to give, is xápic, and it is ȧyárŋ, it is grace," and it is "love," and it is abundance; and so the old rabbins told: "Justitia propriè dicitur in iis quæ jure facimus; benignitas in iis quæ præter jus." It is more than righteousness, it is bounty and benignity, for that is the christian measure. And so it is in the other parts and instances of the righteousness evangelical. And, therefore, it is remarkable that the saints in the Old Testament were called ɛviç, "right men;" and the book of Genesis, as we find it twice attested by St. Jerome, was called by the ancient Hellenists, βίβλος εὐθέων, "the book of right or just men," the book of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But the word for christians is xpnoToì, "good" men, harmless, and profitable; men that are good, and men that do good. In pursuance of which it is further observed by learned men, that the word aperǹ, or "virtue," is not in the four gospels; for the actions of Christ's disciples should not be in "gradu virtutis" only, virtuous and laudable; such as these Aristotle presses in his "Magna Moralia ;" they must pass on to a further excellency than so: the same which he calls pákεiç tāv ǹpwwv, they must be sometimes, and as often as we can, in "gradu heroico;" or, that I may use the christian style, they must be "actions of perfection." Righteousness" was the ovvvvμov for "alms" in the Old Testament,-—and TEλεLÓTηs, or "perfection," was the word for "alms" in the New; as appears by comparing the fifth of St. Matthew and the sixth of St. Luke together; and that is the full state of this difference in the inquiries of the righteousness pharisaical and evangelical.
I have many more things to say, but ye cannot hear them now, because the time is past. One thing indeed were fit to be spoken of, if I had any time left; but I can only name it, and desire your
8 Comment. in Isa. xii. and lib. vi. in Ezek, xviii.
consideration to make it up. This great rule that I Christ gives us, does also, and that principally too, concern churches and commonwealths, as well as every single christian. Christian parliaments must exceed the religion and government of the sanhedrim. Your laws must be more holy, the condition of the subjects be made more tolerable, the laws of Christ must be strictly enforced; you must not suffer your great Master to be dishonoured, nor his religion dismembered by sects, or disgraced by impiety you must give no impunity to vicious persons, and you must take care that no great example be greatly corrupted; you must make better provisions for your poor than they did, and take more care even of the external advantages of Christ's religion and his ministers, than they did of the priests and Levites; that is, in all things you must be more zealous to promote the kingdom of Christ, than they were for the ministries of Moses.
The sum of all is this: the righteousness evangelical is the same with that, which the ancients called ἀποστολικὴν διάγειν πολίτειαν, “ to live an apostolical life;" that was the measure of christians; the οἱ ἐναρέτως καὶ θεαρέστως βιοῦντες, “ men that desired to please God;" that is, as Apostolius most admirably describes it,h men who are curious of their very eyes, temperate in their tongue, of a mortified body, and an humble spirit, pure in their intentions, masters of their passions; men who, when they are injured, return honourable words; when they are lessened in their estates, increase in their charity; when they are abused, they yet are courteous, and give entreaties; when they are hated, they pay love; men that are dull in contentions, and quick in loving-kindnesses, swift as the feet of Asahel,1 and ready as the chariots of Amminadib. True christians are such as are crucified with Christ, and dead unto all sin, and finally place their whole love on God, and, for his sake, upon all mankind: this is the description of a christian, and the true state of the righteousness evangelical; so that it was well said of Athenagoras, Oudeis xpioriavòs πονηρὸς, εἰ μὴ ὑποκρίνεται τὸν λόγον, “ No christian is a wicked man, unless his life be a continual lie," 1 unless he be false to God and his religion. For the righteousness of the gospel is, in short, nothing else but a transcript of the life of Christ: 'De matthana nahaliel; de nahaliel Bamoth," said R. Joshua; Christ is the image of God, and every christian is the image of Christ, whose example is imitable; but it is the best, and his laws are the most perfect, but the most easy; and the promises by which he invites our greater services, are most excellent, but most true; and the rewards shall be hereafter, but they shall abide for ever; and, that I may take notice of the last words of my text, the threatenings to them that fall short of this righteousness, are most terrible, but most certainly shall come to pass; "they shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven;" that is, their portion shall be shame
* Εστι δὲ αὐτὴ ὀφθαλμῶν ἀκρίβεια, γλώσσης ἐγκράτεια, σώματος δουλαγωγία, φρόνημα ταπεινὸν, ἐννοίας καθαρότης, ὀργῆς ἀφανισμὸς· ἀγγαρευόμενος προτίθει, ἀποστερούμενος μὴ δικάζου, μισούμενος ἀγάπα, βιαζόμενος ἀνέχου, βλασφη
and an eternal prison, ἀσφαλτῶδες ῥεῦμα, of brimstone," and a cohabitation with devils to eternal ages; and if this consideration will not prevail, there is no place left for persuasion, and there is no use of reason, and the greatest hopes and the greatest fears can be no argument or sanction of laws; and the greatest good in the world is not considerable, and the greatest evil is not formidable: but if they be, there is no more to be said; if you would have your portion with Christ, you must be righteous by his measures: and these are they that | I have told you of.
THE CHRISTIAN'S CONQUEST OVER THE BODY OF SIN.
For the good that I would I do not but the evil which I would not, that I do.-Rom. vii. 19.
WHAT the eunuch said to Philip, when he read the book of the prophet Isaiah, "Of whom speaketh the prophet this, of himself, or some other man ?" the same question I am to ask concerning the words of my text: Does St. Paul mean this of himself, or of some other? It is hoped that he speaks it of himself; and means, that though his understanding is convinced that he ought to serve God, and that he hath some imperfect desires to do so, yet the law of God without is opposed by a law of sin within. We have a corrupted nature, and a body of infirmity, and our reason dwells in the dark, and we must go out of the world before we leave our sin. For besides that some sins are esteemed brave and honourable, and he is a baffled person that dares not kill his brother like a gentleman; our very tables are made snare, and our civilities are direct treasons to the soul. You cannot entertain your friend, but excess is the measure; and that you may be very kind to your guest, you step aside, and lay away the christian; your love cannot be expressed, unless you do him an ill turn, and civilly invite him to a fever. Justice is too often taught to bow to great interests, and men cannot live without flattery: and there are some trades that minister to sin, so that without a sin we cannot maintain our families; and if you mean to live, you must do as others do. Now so long as men see they are like to be undone by innocence, and that they can no way live but by compliance with the evil customs of the world, men conclude practically, because they must live, they must sin; they must live handsomely, and, therefore, must do some things unhandsomely, and so upon the whole matter sin is unavoidable. Fain they would, but cannot tell how to help it. But since it is no