Page images

did eat and drink that' Alesh and blood : that Mary Magdalene, who was not only tempted, (is there any that is not so ?) but overcome with the temptations, (and how many are so?) and possessed with seven devils, should presently hearken after the powerful charm of the gospel, and presently believe that she should be welcome into his arms, after all her prostitutions : that the world, this world, all this world, should believe this, and believe it thus ; this was the apostle's altitudo divitiarum, the depth of the riches of God's wisdom: and this is his longitudo, and la titudo, the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, which no man can comprehend. Theudas' rose up, dicens se esse aliquem; he said he was somebody, and he proved nobody. Simon Magus rose up, dicens se esse aliquem magnum, saying he was some great body; and he proved as little. Christ Jesus rose up, and said himself not to be somebody, nor some great body; but that there was nobody else, no other name given under heaven, whereby we should be saved; and was believed. And therefore, if any man think to destroy this general, by making himself a woful instance to the contrary-Christ is not believed in all the world, for I never believed in Christ; sô poor an objection requires no more answer, but that that will still be true in the general ; man is a reasonable creature, though he be an unreasonable There is something striking in the opening of the 5th Sermon, from the text, “ For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."


I have seen minute glasses; glasses so short-lived. If I were to preach upon this text, to such a glass*, it were enough for half the sermon; enough to shew the worldly man his treasure, and the object of his heart, (for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also) to call his eye to that minute-glass, and to tell him, there flows, there flies your treasure,

heart with it." But if I had a secular glass, a glass that would run an age; if the two hemispheres of the world calcined and burnt to ashes, and all the ashes, and sands, and atoms of the world put into that glass, it would not be enough to tell the godly man what his treasure and the object of his heart is. A parrot, or a stare, docile birds, and of pregnant imitation, will sooner be brought to relate to us the wisdom of a council-table, than any Ambrose, or any Chrysostome, men that have gold and honey in their names, shall tell us what the

and your

* Allusions are common, in these sermons, to the house glass, which, in those times, was placed by the preacher to regulate the length of his sermon. Ône long-winded divine, when he had got to the end of his first hour, used to turn up the regulator, and say, “ with your leave, gentlemen, we will have one glass more.”

sweetness, what the treasure of heaven is, and what that man's peace, that hath set his heart upon that treasure.

His descriptive allusion, in the 21st Sermon, to the lewd courses of some of the Londoners at the time of the plague, is very awful.

No doubt but the hand of God fell

upon thousands in this deadly infection, who were no more affected with it, than those Egyptians, to cry out, omnes moriemur, we can but die, and we must die: and, edamus et bibamus eras moriemur, " let us eat and drink and take our pleasure," and make our profits, “ for to-morrow we shall die," and so were cut off by the hand of God; some even in their robberies, in halfempty houses, and in their drunkenness, in voluptuous and riotous houses; and in their lusts and wantonness in licentious houses; and so took in infection and death, like Judas's sop, death-dipt and soaked in sin. Men whose lust carried them into the jaws of infection in lewd houses, and seeking one sore perished with another; men whose rapine and covetousness broke into houses, and seeking the wardrobes of others, found their own winding-sheet in the infection of that house where they stole their own death; men who sought no other way to divert 'sadness, but strong drink in riotous houses, and there drank up David's cup of malediction, the cup

of condemned men, of death, in the infection of that place, For these men that died in their sins, that sinned in their dying, that sought and hunted after death so sinfully, we have little comfort of such men; in the phrase of this text, “ they were dead,” for they are dead still; as Moses said of the Egyptians, I am afraid we may say of these men, We shall see them no more for ever."

In the next page but one are some curiously solemn reflections on the mingled dust of dead relations in that very church (St. Dunstan's) where this sermon was preached.

In this house where we stand now, the house of God and of his saints, God affords us a fair beam of this consolation, in the phrase of this text also, “ they were dead." How applicable to you in this place, is that which God said to Moses, “ Put off thy shoes, for thou treadest on holy ground;" put off all confidence, all standing, all relying upon worldly assurances, and consider

ground you tread; upon ground so holy, as that all the ground is made of the bodies of Christians, and therein hath received a second consecration. Every puff of wind within these walls, may blow the father into the son's eyes, or the wife into her husband's, or bis into her's or both into their children's, or their children's into both. Every grain of dust that fies here, is a piece of a Christian : you need not distinguish your pews by figures ; you need not say, I sit within so many of such a neighbour, but I sit within so many inches of my husbands's, or wife's, or child's, or friend's grave. Ambitious men never made more shift for places in court, then dead men for graves in churches ; and as in our later times, we have seen two and two almost in every place and office, so almost every grave is oppressed with twins; and as at Christ's resurrection, some of the dead arose out of their graves, that were buried again ; so in this lamentable calamity, the dead were buried, and thrown up again before they were resolved to dust, to make room for more.

upon what

Lord Falkland styles Donne“ one of the most witty and most eloquent of modern divines.” I cannot say, that I have found his writings embossed thick enough with brilliant passages, to repay the expence of time in

« PreviousContinue »