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and, for the better convenience of our discourse, through the first, last.
My speech therefore shall, as it were, climb up these six stairs of doctrine.
I. That here our eyes are full of TEARS: how else should they be wiped away? how all, unless many?
II. That these Tears are from SORROW; and this Sorrow from DEATH, and TOIL; out of the connexion of all these,
III, That God will once FREE us, both from Tears which are the Effect of Sorrow; and from Toil and Death, which are the Causes of it.
IV. That this our Freedom must be upon a CHANGE; for that the first things are passed.
V. That this Change shall be in our RENOVATION: Behold, I make all things new.
VI. That this Renovation and happy Change shall be in our PERPETUAL FRUITION OF THE INSEPARABLE PRESENCE OF GOD, whose Tabernacle shall be with men.
I. As those grounds that lie low are commonly moorish, this base part
of the world wherein we live, is the vale of 'YEARS; Psalm !xxxiv. 6. That true Bochim, as the Israelites called their mourning-place, Judges ii. 5. We begin our life with tears; and therefore our lawyers define life, by weeping. If a child were heard cry, it is a lawful proof of his living; else, if he be dead, we say he is still-born: and, at our parting, God finds tears, in our eyes, which he shall wipe off. So we find it always, not only, niany, a time of weeping, but, 7190, of soleinn mourning, as Solomon puts them together; Eccl. iii, 4. Except we be in that case, that David and his people were in; 1 Sam, xxx. 4, (and Jeremiah says the same, in his Lamentations, of the Jews; Lam. ii. 11,) that they wept, till they could weep no more. Here are tears at our devotion; the altar covered with tears; Mal. ii. 13 : tears in the bed; David watered his couch with tears; Psal. vi. 6: tears to wash with; as Mary's: tears to eat; Psalm xlii. 3: tears to drink; Psalm lxxx, 5: yea, drunkenness with tears; Isaiah xvi. 9,
This is our destiny as we are men, but more as we are Christians, To bow in tears; and God loves these wet seed-times: they are seasonable for us here below. Those men therefore are mistaken, that think to go to heaven with dry eyes, and hope to leap immediately out of the pleasures of earth, into the paradise of God; insulting over the drooping estate of God's distressed ones. As Jerome and Bede say of Peter, that he could not weep while he was in the high priest's walls; so these men cannot weep where they have offended. But let them know, that they must have a time of tears; and, if they do not begin with tears, they shall end with them; Woc be to them that laugh, for they shall weep: and if they will not weep, and shake their heads here, they shall weep and wail, and gnash their teeth hereafter, Here must be tears, and that good store,
II. All tears; as rivers are called the tears of the sea; O' 223, Job xxxviii. 16: so must our tears be the rivers of our eyes; Psalm cxix. 136. and our eyes fountains; Jer, ix, 1. Here must be tears of penitence, tears of compassion, and will be tears of SORROW: well are those two met therefore; Tears and Sorrow: for though some shed tears for spite, others for joy, as Cyprian's Martyrs, Gaudium pectoras lachrymis exprimentes; (Greg. Nis. Orat.) yet commonly tears are the juice of a mind pressed with grief. And as well do tears, and crying, and sorrow accompany DEATH; either in the supposition, or the denial. For as worldly sorrow, (even in this sense) causeth death, by drying the bones and consuming the body; so death ever lightly, is a just cause of sorrow; sorrow to nature in ourselves, sorrow to ours.
And, as death is the terriblest thing, so is it the saddest thing, that befals a man. Nature could say in the poet, Quis matrem in funere nati flere retat? yea, God himself allowed his holy priests, to pollute themselves in mourning, for their nearest dead friends; except the high priest, which was forbidden it in figure; Lev. xxi: and the Apostle, while he forbids the Thessalonians to mourn, as without hope, doth in a sort command their tears, but bar their immoderation. It was not without a special reference to a judgment, that God says to Ezekiel, Son of Man, Behold I will take from thee the pleasure of thy life with a plague, yet shalt thou neither mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down; Ezek. xxiv. 16.
So fit did the Jews hold tears for funerals, that they hired mourners; which, with incomposed gestures, ran up and down the streets; Eccl. xii. 5: who did also cut and lance themselves, that they might mourn in earnest; Jer. xvi. 6. That good natured Patriarch, Isaac, mourned three years for his mother; as the Chinese do at this day for their friends. Jacob mourned two-and-twenty years for Joseph; and there want not some, which have thought Adam and Eve mourned a hundred years for Abel: but, who knows not the wailing of Abel-mitzraim for Joseph; of the valley of Me. giddon for Josiah? And if ever any corpse deserved to swim in tears, if ever any loss could command lamentation; then this of ours, yea of this whole island, yea of the whole Church of God, yea of the whole world, justly calls for it, and truly hath it.
O Henry, our sweet prince, our sweet prince Henry, the second glory of our nation, ornament of mankind, hope of posterity, and life of our life, how do all hearts bleed, and eyes worthily gush out, for thy loss! A loss, that we had neither grace to fear, nor have capacity to conceive. Shall I praise him to you, who are therefore now miserable, because you did know him so well? I forbear it, though to my pain. If I did not spare you, I could not so swiftly pass over the name and the virtues of that glorious Saint, our dear Master; or the aggravation of that loss, whereof you are too sensible: my true commiseration shall command me silence: yet I could not but touch our sore, with this light hand, though yet raw and bleeding. Death, especially such a death, must have
sorrow and tears. All nations, all succession of times, shall bear a part with us in this lamentation. And, if we could but as heartily have prayed for him before, as we have heartily wept for him since, perhaps we had not had this cause of mourning.
From sorrow, let us descend to PAINS, (which is no small cause of crying and tears,) as I fear some of us must. The word, howsoever it is here translated, is nóvos, labour. I must confess, labour and pain are near one another; whence we say, that he, which labours, takes pains; and, contrarily, that a woman is in labour or travail, when she is in the pain of childbirth. Tears cannot be wiped away, while toil remains. That the Israelites may leave crying, they must be delivered from the brick-kilns of Egypt.
Indeed, God had in our creation allotted us labour, without pain; but, when once sin came into the soul, pain seized upon the bones, and the mind was possessed with a weariness and irksome loathing of what it must do; and, ever since, sorrow and labour have been inseparable attendants upon the life of man: insomuch as God, when he would describe to us the happy estate of the dead, does it in those terms, They shall rest from their labours.
Look into the field: there you shall see toiling at the plough and scythe, Look into the waters: there you see tugging at the oars and cables. Look into the city: there you see plodding in the streets, sweating in the shops. Look into the studies: there you see fixing of eyes, tossing of books, scratching the head, paleness, infirmity. Look into the Court: there you see tedious attendance, emulatory officiousness. All things are full of labour, and labour is full of sorrow. If we do nothing, idleness is wearisome : if any thing, work is wearisome: in one or both of these, the best of life is consumed,
III. Who now can be in love with a life, that hath nothing in it but crying and tears in the entrance; death, in the conclusion; labour and pain, in the continuance; and sorrow, in all these? What galley-slave but we, would be in love with our chain ? what prisoner would delight in his dungeon? How hath our infidelity besotted us, if we do not long after that happy estate of our immortality, wherein all our tears shall be wiped away; and we at once FREE from labour, sorrow, and death. Now, as it is vain to hope for this till then; so, then not to hope for it, is paganish and brutish. He, that hath taxed us with these penances, hath undertaken to release us: God shall wipe away all tears.
While we stay here, he keeps all our tears in a bottle; so precious is the water that is distilled from penitent eyes: and, because he will be sure not to fail, he notes how many drops there be, in his register; Psalm lvi. 8. It was a precious ointment, wherewith the woman in the Pharisee's house, it is thought Mary Magdalen, anointed the feet of Christ; Luke vii. 37: but her tears, wherewith she washed them, were more worth than her spikenard. But, that which is here precious, is there unscasonable: then, he shall wipe away those, which here he would save.
As death, so passions are the companions of infirmity; where. upon some, that have been too nice, have called those, wnich were incident unto Christ, Propassions; not considering, that he, which was capable of death, might be as well of passions. These trouble. some affections of grief, fear, and such like, do not fall into glori. fied souls. It is true, that they have love, desire, joy in their greatest perfection: yea, they could not have perfection without them: but, like as God loves, and hates, and rejoices truly, but in a manner of his own, abstracted from all infirmity and passion; so do his glorified Saints, in imitation of him.
There, therefore, as we cannot die, so we cannot grieve, we cannot be afflicted. Here one says, My belly, my belly, with the prophet; another, Mine head, mine head, with the Shunamite's son; another, My son, my son, as David; another, My father, my father, with Elisha. One cries out of his sins, with David; another of his hunger, with Esau; another of an ill wife, with Job; another of treacherous friends, with the Psalmist: one, of a sore in body, with Hezekiah; another of a troubled soul, with our Saviour in the garden: every one hath some complaint or other, to make his cheeks wet, and his heart heavy. Stay but a while, and there shall be none of these. There shall be no crying, no complaining, in the streets of the New Jerusalem: no axe, no hammer, shall be heard within this Heavenly Temple.
Why are we not content to weep here awhile, on condition that we may weep no more? Why are we not ambitious of this blessed ease ? Certainly, we do not smart enough with our evils, that we are not desirous of rest. These tears are not yet dry, yet they are ready to be overtaken by others, for our particular afflictions. Miseries, as the Psalmist compares them, are like waves, which break one upon another, and toss us with a perpetual vexation; and we, vain men,
shall we not wish to be in heaven? Are we sick, and grieve to think of remedy? Are we still dying, and are we loth to think of life? O this miserable unbelief, that, though we see a glorious heaven above us, yet we are unwilling to go to it: we see a wearisome world about us, and yet are loth to think of leaving it.
This gracious Master of ours, whose dissolution is ours, while he was here amongst us, his Princely crown could not keep his head from pain; his golden rod could not drive away his fevers: now is he freed from all his aches, agues, stitches, convulsions, cold sweats; now he triomphs in glory, amongst the angels and saints; now he walks in white robes, and attends on the glorious Bridegroom of the Church: and do we think he would be content now, for all the kingdoms of the world, to be as he was? We, that profess it was our joy and honour to follow him, whithersoever he had gone; in his disports, in his wars, in his travels; why are we not now ambitious of following him to his better crown; yea, of reigning together with him, (for heaven admits of this equality,) in that glory wherein he reigns with his Saviour and ours? Why do we not now heartily, with him that was ravished into the third heaven,
say, Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo; not barely to be dissolved: a malecontent may do so; but, therefore to be dissolved, that we may be with Christ; possessed of his everlasting glory, where we shall not only not weep, but rejoice and sing Hallelujahs for ever; not only not die, but enjoy a blessed and heavenly life ? Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.
IV. Now if any man shall ask the disciples' question, Master, when shall these things be? the celestial voice tells him, it must be upon a CHANGE; For the first things are passed. It shall be in part, so soon as ever our first things, our life, the condition of our mortality, are passed over: it shall be fully, when the first things of the world are passed; passed, not by abolition, but by immutation, as that Father said well, “ not the frame of the world, but the corruption of that frame must pass.'
The Spirit of God is not curious: he calls those things first, which were only former; not in respect of the state which is, but that which shall be: for those things, which were first of all, were like their Maker; good, not capable of destruction. Our sins tainted the whole creation, and brought shame upon all the frame of heaven and earth. That, which we did, shall be disanulled; that, which God did, shall stand for ever; and this dissolụtion shall be our glory. Other dissolutions strike tears into our eyes; as this day is witness. It is our sorrow, that the first things are passed: our offices, our pensions, our hopes, our favours, and, which we esteemed most, our services are gone. Let this last dissolution comfort us against the present. Who can grieve to see a family dissolved, that considers the world must be dissolved? This little world of ours, first, whereof this day gives an image; for as our service, so our life must away: and then
that great one, whose dissolution is represented in these. The difference is, that, whereas this dissolution brings tears to some eyes, that wipes them away from all: for all our tears, and sorrow, and toil, and crying, and death, are for our sins: take away corruption, and misery goes away with it; and, till then, it will never be removed. No man puts new wine into old vessels; much less will God put the new wine of glory into the old vessels of corruption.
They are our sins, which, as, in particular, they have robbed us of our Prince, changed our seasons, swept away thousands with varieties of death; so, in general, they have deformed the face of heaven and earth, and made all the creation sigh and groan, and still make us incapable of the perfection of our blessedness; for, while the first things continue, there must needs be tears, and sorrow, and death. Let us therefore look upon heaven and earth as goodly creatures; but, as blemished, as transitory, as those which we shall once see more glorious. Let us look upon ourselves with indignation, which have thus distained them; and as those, which, after some term of their cottage expired, are assured they shall have a marble palace built for them, do long after the time prefixed them, and think the days and months pass slowly away, till then; so let us earnestly desire the day of the dissolution of this