PRIMS Full-text transcription (HTML)

ΘΕΙΟΝΕΝΩΤΙΚΟΝ,

A DISCOURSE OF HOLY LOVE, By which the SOUL is united unto GOD.

Containing the various Acts of Love, the pro­per Motives, and the Exerciſe of it in order to Duty and Perfection.

WRITTEN IN SPANISH By the learned CHRISTOPHER de FONSECA, Done into Engliſh with ſome Variation and much Addition,

By Sr GEORGE STRODE KNIGHT.

LONDON, Printed by J. Fleſher, for Richard Royſton, at the Angel in Ivy-lane. 1652.

[Charitie:

〈1 page duplicate〉

The Epiſtle Dedicatory.

Dear Children,

THE good old Patriarch Jacob, conſtrained in his later days to live in a ſtrange Country, conſidered the manner how to make himſelf happy, and to bleſs his Children before his death; Such were the thoughts of my heart, in theſe ſad diſtracted times, when, in the decli­nation of my age, I was inforced to eat my bread in forein parts; where, having abandoned the thorny cares, and troubled cogitations of world­ly imployments, ſome way to alienate the weight of my preſſing afflictions, I reſolved by ſtudious endevours to find the right and true way to my eternal habitation, and heavenly Country as it is manifeſted in the book of God, which although alſufficient every way for mans ſalvation; yet I omitted not to caſt mine eyes on ſuch objects, as might prove helps to diſcover the cleareſt and eaſieſt paths for my better conduct thereunto, to which end amongſt other books, I tranſlated this treatiſe intituled the Love of God, Compiled in Spaniſh by the learned Chri­ſtopher De Fonſeca.

This when I had finiſhed, and conſidered that the generall ſubject of the whole work was love, and the ſeverall parts thereof might tend to the better ordering of a Godly, Moral and Ci­vil life, I knew not unto whom more fitly to recommend it, as the Legacy of a dying man, then to you my dear children, the living Cions of my Corporall ſtock, and the comfortable cares of my drooping age, and this I do the rather be­queath unto you, as confident that you like Noahs good children, will not onely turn your own eyes from your fathers nakedneſs (in this his undertaking) but as much as in you is, la­bour to cover the ſame from others.

But that which eſpecially invites me to addreſs this tract unto you, is that you may not only be put in minde (ſo far as God ſhall inable you) to imitate your father, in Holy Love, whereby I may ſeem to revive and live again in you, but that making your ſelves firſt Scholars and followers, and then having your hearts repleni­ſhed with the Spirit of Love, and your feet con­ducted in the right paths of Charity you may be­come guides of others unto the heavenly Canaan.

After which as my ſoul ever longed, move then after all earthly goods, worldly contents or fleſhly delights, ſo that herein you may imitate and exceed me your father, is the ear­neſt deſire, hearty counſel and moſt fervent prayer of

Your moſt tender affectionate father, GEORGE STRODE.

The Contents.

  • Chapter. 1.OF the diviſion of Love into its kindes. Fol. 1
  • Chapter. 2.What love is, and how it is the cauſe of all our paſſions. Fol. 3
  • Chapter. 3.Of the power and force of love. Fol. 6
  • Chapter. 4.That love is ſilent yet active. Fol. 9
  • Chapter. 5.How love leſſeneth or facilitateth things moſt difficult. Fol. 11
  • Chapter. 6.Love extracteth delights and glory, out of ſufferings and torments. Fol. 13
  • Chapter. 7.Love transformeth the lover into the thing beloved. Fol. 15
  • Chapter. 8.Vehement love cauſeth extaſies. Fol. 19
  • Chapter. 9.Love exchangeth and counterchan­geth all with its beloved. Fol. 21
  • Chapter. 10.The motives and cauſes of love. Fol. 25
  • Chapter. 11.Love is only conquered and remu­nerated with love. Thus far of love in generall. Fol. 29
  • Chapter. 12.The love of God is not to be par­rallelled. Fol. 33
  • Chapter. 13.By the ſame means that mans love decreaſeth, Gods love increaſeth. Fol. 36
  • Chapter. 14.Gods jealouſie. Fol. 39
  • Chapter. 15.Gods revealing his ſecrets unto man is a great demonſtration of his love. Fol. 40
  • Chapter. 16.God ſeemeth to be ſolitary without man. Fol. 42
  • Chapter. 17.Charity is the moſt eminent a­mongſt all the virtues. Fol. 44
  • Chapter. 18.Our love to God is to precede all other loves. Fol. 47
  • Chapter. 19.God muſt be loved with the whole heart. Fol. 52
  • Chapter. 20.The love of the heavenly Angels unto man. Fol. 58
  • Chapter. 21.Of the love which man oweth to his neighbour. Fol. 61
  • Chapter. 22.The manner how we are to love our neighbour. Fol. 72
  • Chapter. 23.That we ought to love our enemies. Fol. 77
  • Chapter. 24.Motives and reaſons inducing love to our enemies. Fol. 86
  • Chapter. 25.To pardon is a ſign of honour, and of puſillanimity to revenge. Fol. 93
  • Chapter. 26.Of friendſhip. Fol. 102
  • Chapter. 27.Of the comfort and benefit of friendſhip. Fol. 111
  • Chapter. 28.Of ſelf-love. Fol. 115
  • Chapter. 29.Temporall goods connot give con­tent. Fol. 121
  • Chapter. 30.Temporall goods deſerve not mans love. Fol. 123
  • Chapter. 31.The brevity, frailty, mutability, uncertainty and miſery of mans life abateth the love thereof. Fol. 140
  • Chapter. 32.The honour of this world deſer­veth not mans love. Fol. 157
  • Chapter. 33.Pleaſures and delights are not wor­thy of mans love. Fol. 168
  • Chapter. 34.Of the love of women. Fol. 175
  • Chapter. 35.Of the inordinate love of eating and drinking. Fol. 185
  • Chapter. 36.Of the immoderate love of apparel. Fol. 195
  • Chapter. 37.Of favorites to Princes, and Con­querours in war. Fol. 202
  • Chapter. 38.Of the mutuall love of the maried couple. Fol. 208
  • Chapter. 39.Of the love of Parents and Chil­dren. Fol. 247
  • Chapter. 40.Of the love of our native Country. Fol. 262
1

Holy Love.

CHAP. I. The diviſion of Love into its kinds.

THat which is moſt pleaſing and delightfull to the Soule and Nature of man, next unto God, is Love. Of which I intending to ſpeak, (by way of Preface) I muſt tell you that there are two kinds of Love; the one metaphorically ſo termed, which is that naturall inclination in things inſen­ſate, and irrationall, whereby they are moved according to that, which may moſt work to their reſt, or better being. By the power and ſtrength of this Love, the fire aſcends, the earth de­ſcends, the aire and water ever ſtrive to attaine and reach their own Region, or place; wherein, and where, (never till then) they are at reſt.

And I may not altogether improperly call that quality, ſtrength, or vertue, Love; which doth ſo unite, and knit all the parts of this great world (the Ʋniverſe) together, that without it, both it, and all the parts thereof, would ſoon be diſſolved and come to nothing, of what they are. 2An ancient Philoſopher called this kinde of love, unity; and to this loving unity, other Philoſo­phers attributed ſo much, that they conceived the whole world, and all in it, to be nothing elſe but that, or but one entire thing; which, though conſiſting of many various and different na­tures, are yet by Love collected, drawn toge­ther, and knit into one; which ſo long as it holds to be one, becomes incorruptible.

What is Muſick, but an harmony or conſonancy of various diſcordant ſounds? What's health, but a temper or accord of the elements and parts of the body? Some write that the ſtone Tuces, if broken, though then leſſe weighty, ſinketh; but, ſo long as it is one, whole and intire, then, and ſo long it ſwimmeth, and keeps from ſinking under water: and the like power hath love and unity in all other bodies.

Conſider and know, that if the Almighty Ar­chitect of the world had not breathed or infuſed a ſpirit of unity into the upper and celeſtiall parts with the inferiour elementary, that theſe had ſoon been ſcorched, and indeed conſumed by thoſe. Again, the inferiour parts ever ſtand in need, and crave the help, benefit, or influence of thoſe above them, as the earth of the water, the wa­ter of the aire, the aire of the fire, and the fiery element of the Heavens; in which if one Sphere ſhould thwart, and not gently yeeld to the others influence or motion, they, as the inferiour world, would ſuddenly periſh and be conſumed.

The great Creator of theſe, and all things in, and under them,Geneſis 1.31. gave not the high praiſe and title of very good unto them, untill himſelf, by his moſt admirable power and goodneſſe,Gen. 1.31. had united them by love, and ſo made them all one. I cannot but acknowledge, the ſaying of that3 Philoſopher to be good and wiſe, who called this kinde of love, the Soul of the world. For, as the ſoule gives life and motion unto the body: ſo doth love unto all other things; and as the ſoule cheriſheth and enlightens the bodie: ſo doth love beautifie and inrich the world.

In a word, there is no creature, nor part of the world, either great or ſmall, but hath, if not all, yet the greateſt part of its perfection, ſub­ſiſtence, or continuance from this love.

But beſides this kinde of love hitherto ſpoken of, which in unreaſonable creatures may more ſtrictly be called inclination; there is a love pro­perly ſo termed, which hath its working in the will, both of God, Angels, and men. Parmeni­des (though an Heathen) could ſay, That love in God preceded the Chaos, or the creation of the world, as cauſing and making both. Take this love as in man, and then hear another Philo­ſopher call it, the Pilot; a ſecond, the Sun; a third, the guide and director of the will of man, and of all his choice actions.

CHAP. II. What love is, and how it is the cauſe of all paſsions.

THings high and immenſe, having ſome re­ſemblance to infinity, hardly come under the limits of a ſtrict definition: which hath cau­ſed the ancients to ſet forth love by Emblemes and Hieroglyphicks. Yet ſo, that ſome have in gene­rall deſcribed it by negatives: as that, it is a thing which is I know not what, affecteth and worketh I know not in what manner, and which4 hurteth I know not how. S. Gregorie calls it, the fire in mans heart, which, according to the work­ing thereof, either cheriſheth, or deſtroyeth the Tabernacle of its reſidence: and it may well be conceived, that when the holy Ghoſt deſcended in the figure or ſhew of fire,Act. 2.3. that that fire ſigni­fied the love and accord to be amongſt the holy Apoſtles, being aſſembled together in one place; which is, the complement and bleſſing of all good Aſſemblies, when they are all of one minde and one heart, in a godly innocent love. The fire which came from Heaven to conſume the Sacri­fice, God commanded ever to be continued,Levit. .13. that ſo it might never be extinguiſhed, or put out. Iſaiah ſaith,Iſa. 31.9. That God hath his fire in Sion, and his furnace in Jeruſalem: each, Symbols of Gods love, burning in the temple of our ſouls. Now Philoſophy teacheth, that love is a paſſion both of complacency, and ſuch as faſteneth the thing or perſon beloved, in the heart of the lover; and it addeth, That this love is the originall cauſe of all other paſſions in man, according as they pleaſe or diſpleaſe, ſuit with, or are contrary to our love and deſire.

For the ſoule of man hath two great powerfull faculties, called by Philoſophers, the concupiſcible and the iraſcible. In that are love, hate, deſire, fear, joy, and ſorrow, ariſing from the preſence or abſence of ſomething or other, which is ei­ther truly or apparently good. And according as the concupiſcible part is affected with grief, want, or loſſe of that which is deſired: ſo, more or leſſe, the iraſcible part is inflamed or incenſed to the proſecution or revenge of the affronts or be­reavings of the ſouls deſire. S. Baſil compared this paſſion unto the Shepherds dog, more valued by him, then many of his ſheep; not for that5 the dog hath any wooll, or gives any milk, but becauſe by his watchfulneſſe and barking, he defendeth the flock from the wolf; and ſo the concupiſcible faculty, or part of the ſoule, propo­ſeth to it ſelf matter of delight and content, and the iraſcible removeth or converteth the incon­veniences and difficulties which croſſe or op­pugne this deſire. And theſe are the two wings wherewith mans ſoule flyeth in the purſuit of great Acts, and without which, ſhe appears as a Galley unoared, and a bird unwinged, each un­able to move or help it ſelf.

A certain Philoſopher hath compared the bo­dy of a man, to a Coach drawn with two hor­ſes. Conceive them to be love of good, and ha­tred of evill. But conſidering that they are diſ­orderly, and oft-times unruly, God hath aſſigned them a diſcreet guide, that is, reaſon, to rule and govern them. Seneca the Philoſopher, calleth this the Guardian: and S. Auguſtine termeth it, the Author and Mover of all our actions, be they good or evill, as having tied at its girdle the keyes of all our wills and affections.

Betwixt love and concupiſcence ſome put this difference: 1. That concupiſcenſe aimeth at a ſuppoſed good that is abſent: but love, both at the abſent and preſent. 2. Concupiſcence, after the having and enjoying the thing deſired, (as being ſatisfied) groweth cold, or ceaſeth for the preſent to deſire: whereas love, by poſſeſſing and injoying, increaſeth, and is more ardent to­wards the thing beloved. For the poſſeſſion or enjoyment of the thing beloved, ſerveth as fuell to continue and increaſe the flame or fire: whereas things deſired by a concupiſcence, being injoyed, die, and are often reſolved into the ſmoak of diſgrace, or the aſhes of hate.

6

CHAP. III. The power and force of Love.

SOlomon ſaith, Love is ſtrong as death. But if we examine the ſtrength of each, we ſhall finde love to be the ſtronger. antic. .6.Tis true, that all earthly things ſubmit to the power of death; the young as the old, the King as the Peaſant, the rich as the poor, the wiſe as the fool. Scep­ters and ſpades are both alike to death. All know this truth; would we did but half ſo well conſider and prepare for it.

And as the juriſdiction of death, ſo is that of love, univerſall. None ever eſcaped the flames of this fire; not the Supremacy of the King, not the holineſſe of the Prophet, both proved in David: not the gravity of the high Prieſt, verified in Eli to his ſons; not the wiſdom of Solomon, nor the ſtrength of Samſon; all owe homage, and pay their tribute to Love, as un­to Death.

When Solomon compared Loves force, to the power of death, he ſo compared it, becauſe he could finde no one thing ſo ſtrong, to which he might have likened it. And if with the He­brews there had been in their expreſſions any comparative degrees, I conceive Solomon would, as well he might, have ſaid, That Love is ſtron­ger then Death; which will eaſily appear, if we compare the powerfull acts of Love, with thoſe of Death.

For the power of Death is ſeen in that (as is before ſaid) Kings, wiſe, rich, ſtrong, young,7 all ſtoop and ſubmit to the ſtroak of Death Nay, it you ſay further, That Death adventu­red upon, yea, and prevailed over the Son of God, the Saviour and life of the world: yet know, that all this was done, neither could it have been done, but onely by the Love of Him, who ſubmitted himſelf to this Death. For love it was, and onely love, that wreſtled with God, and overcame him in this, that he ſhould leave the Heavens, and lay down his life, ſubmitting himſelf to that death, which had no power over him, but through his own unſpeakable love. So that I may truly ſay, That all Deaths atchieve­ments are but weakeneſs, in compariſon of this Love.

Might I not adde to this, that it was love, and love alone, that brought down God himſelf from Heaven, to be incarnate in the wombe of a wo­man, to ſuffer all the miſeries and hardneſſe to which humane nature (not ſinfull) is ſubject? to endure weather, travail, hunger, thirſt, fear, yea, the ſadneſſe of ſoule, even unto death, and to a kinde of expoſtulation with his Father, My God, why haſt thou forſaken me? and, in concluſion of all, to ſuffer his glorious body to be nailed to the Croſſe, and there, by direfull long tormentings, to linger out his life? and what were all theſe ſufferings, but ſo many tri­umphs of his love? and may I not cry out, O the power of Love! triumphing (with reve­rence and in a right ſenſe be it ſpoken) over God himſelf?

You have in a glaunce or ſhadow, as it were, ſeen ſome glimpſe of Loves power in God; will you now ſee, how it hath wrought on men? where to rehearſe the many great affronts diſgra­ces, perſections, ſuffered by S. Peter, S. Paul,8 and by other the glorious company of the Apo­ſtles, and the noble Army of Martyrs: were to write Volumes greater then have been ſeen yet. In cloſe of all, we muſt conclude, that all thoſe glorious Martyrdoms were performed by the po­wer of Faith, through Love.

It were eaſie to inlarge the hiſtory of Loves power, ſhould I tell you, that Love oft-times re­jecteth the greateſt Commands, wiſeſt Edicts, and beſt Laws, deſpiſeth honour, neglects fame, wealth, health, life, ſoul, and all: yea, and perverteth the very courſe of nature; ſuch is the unruly and untamed diſpoſition and po­wer of Love. It makes the weak dare and to encounter the ſtrong, and the coward, the moſt valiant. In a word, it turns the hen, having chickens, to become an Eaglet, and a timerous Doe, as a couragious Lion.

Love by many is rightly compared to fire, the moſt active, and ſtrongeſt worker of all the Elements, which deſtroyeth houſes, Caſtles, Towns, Cities, which melteth and conſumeth the hardeſt Metals; and ſuch is, and ſo oft-times works, Love. Which as it moſt takes and works by idleneſſe, and converſe: ſo is it beſt reſiſted by the contraries, good imployment, and the ſhunning wanton company.

We reade that one of Darius his ſervants held,1 Eſda3. that the King, a ſecond, that Wine, and a third, that a Woman, is of the greateſt power to perſwade, or overcome man. But neither wine nor woman, hath, or can have, this power over man, unleſſe it firſt prevaile, and get the love of man. So that it is not the beauty, or in­ticements of woman, but mans love, that over­comes, inthralls, and deſtroyes man.

9

CHAP. IV. Love is ſilent, yet active.

SCripture, and experience teach us, that they who love moſt, make the leaſt ſhew of their love; and in this they reſemble, the moſt righ­teous, the wiſeſt, the nobleſt, and moſt valiant: who rather let others ſee, and judge of their goodneſſe and vertue, then themſelves to become their own trumpets.

True love hath hands, and no mouth: whereas the falſe hath only a tongue to prate, but no hands to act. Some Ancients therefore portrayed Love, with the finger on the mouth, as ſparing of words: but naked, as having diſtributed, and given all away unto his very skin. And, our moſt bleſſed Saviour after his reſurrection, ſhewed unto his Diſciples his ſide and his hands pierced, that, by that fountain, and theſe chanels, his love might appear to them, and to all the world. S. John therefore, his beloved Diſciple,1 Joh. 3.18. and true follower, admoniſheth his ſcholars not to love, by tongue, and in words; but in truth, and works: S. Peter having made large promiſes, though all forſake thee, yet I will not: and again, I will lay down my life for thee: Chriſt upon this puts Peter to it, three times queſtioning him, Loveſt thou me? and as often bidding him, to make proof of his love, by feeding his ſheep,Joh. 21.17. the elder, and his lambs, the younger ſort. Acti­on and performance is the touchſtone, and ſureſt triall of true love; for which, and the cauſe thereof, ſhewed in anointing Chriſts head, waſh­ing his feet, and wiping them with her hair, one M. Magdalene hath no leſſe reward, then the for­giveneſſe10 of all her ſins; and all this ſaith Chriſt, becauſe ſhe loved much.

Moſes the Angel and ſervant of the Lord, had prodigious or wonder-working hands, and ſuch, as with his rod could draw fountains of water, out of the hard and drie rock: ſuch as could bring flies, frogs, and deſtroying armies of ſmall beaſts upon Pharaoh, and all the land of Aegypt: yet he was a man, as it were, without a tongue, tongue-tied, or no man of fluent ſpeech: and therefore his brother Aaron,Exod. 4.10. was in his ſtead, the mouth,Exod. 4.30. and Oratour, to deliver the Almighties meſſage unto King Pharaoh. Ezkiels living creatures,Ezk. 1. the repreſentations of Gods Embaſſa­dors, had wings to flie, and ſoare aloft by con­templation, and ſpreading glad tydings to the world, but under theſe wings they had hands, herein expreſſing the nature and work of true love.

Love, wee ſee, is beſt ſeen by works, not words: and the work of love is ſuch, that oft-times it diſroabs, or takes away that ſtupidity, or incivility, which naturally is inbred, and by a gentle influence and cultivation, infuſeth, or begets fantaſie, and manly deportments. Plato a great Philoſopher, was of opinion, that, the ſtrength of fantafie, which was ſhewed in many high ſtraines of Poëſie, was kindled, and in­flamed by the heat of love.

And this love, though it oft-times want a tongue for outward expreſſion, yet this defect, it makes good by the eye; for as loves palace is the heart: ſo this palace is full of lights, through which love makes it ſelf viſible, and known.

And as a Chamaeleon, or an Actor on the ſtage, is now fearfull, then confident; ſorrowfull, and anon joyfull; jealous, yet ſecure; weak, but11 made ſtrong: ſo love makes one man twenty ſeverall men, it makes him all, and again a no­thing, but all working love.

CHAP. V. Love leſſeneth, or facilitateth things moſt difficult.

LOve hath a participation of the Almighties power, able to make the bitter, ſweet; hea­vy, light; and the almoſt impoſſible things, fea­ſible. A taſt of the Colloquintida in Eliſha's pot of portage,2 King. 4.41. cauſeth his gueſts the Prophets, to cry out, Death is in the pot: to remedy the which Eliſha caſts meal, and then ſaith the text, there was no harm, or evil thing in the pot: what that meal did, Love can doe, and more. Our moſt bleſſed Saviour ſaith, My yoke is eaſie,Mat. 11.30. and my burden light: now his yoke, and burden are, the renouncing all that a man hath, wealth, li­berty, and life; and are theſe ſo eaſie, and light? yes, Truth it ſelf hath ſpoken it, and moſt true it is, that Love makes theſe, both light, and eaſie.

The traditionall Jewes had branched, and ſummed up the precepts of the Moſaicall law into 793, whereof they made 428 affirmatives, & 365 negatives; but all theſe, and if there were a thouſand times more,Joh. 15.12. Chriſt hath reduced them all, into this one, Love; and according to this truth, S. Paul averreth, that the fulfilling of that law, which to fleſh and blood was impoſ­ſible, is now done, and performed by love; Love, ſaith he, is the fulfilling of the law. Rom. 13.10.

As love fulfills all, and makes all things eaſie and light: ſo where love is wanting, nothing12 is light, eaſie, well done, or indeed is done at all, or not as it ought to be done; for where love is wanting, all is too much, that is done: and where love is, all that is done is too little; love maketh a beam, a ſtraw; and contrariwiſe it can change a ſtraw, into a beam. He, ſaith Chriſt, that loveth me, keepeth my law: for where love is, the leaſt word is a law, and that law is fulfil­led by this word, Love. Some ſpectacles there are, that repreſent things greater, and others leſſer then indeed they are, and both theſe ſpe­ctacles are made of love; which makes the vir­tues of the beloved greater, but his vices leſſe.

Jacob loves Rachel, and that he may injoy this beloved piece, he ſerves twice ſeven yeares, bea­ring the heat of the day, and cold by night; and yet all this ſeemed to him, but as a pleaſant act of a few daies,Gen. 29.20. for the love (ſaith the text) he had to her.

The truth of this Axiome, is made manifeſt by the mirrour of love, Love it ſelf, Chriſt, our Saviour, who being very God, and ſo, impaſ­ſible, yet aſſumes our nature, and then ſuffers himſelf to be reviled, ſcornfully uſed, ſcourged, and put to a ſhamefull and moſt ignominious death; and all for us, his open, deadly enemies.

Look upon me O Lord, ſaith David, and be mer­cifull unto me,ſ. 119.132. as thou uſeſt to doe unto thoſe, that love thy name: that is, as to thy friends, and ſer­vants whom thou loveſt; for as Love, by the Heathens, and Poets is feigned, and portrayed blind: ſo indeed, where love is, it doth not, or will not ſee, or cenſure the infirmities, and ble­miſhes of its beloved, but takes them to be as Love-ſpots, rather then deformities.

When Adam laid the blame of his tranſgreſ­ſion on his Wife, S. Bernard ſeems to blame13 Adam, that, he had not taken it upon himſelf, which, ſaith he, he would have done, had he loved her.

CHAP. VI. Love extracteth delight, and glory, out of torments, and ſufferings.

I Speak not this of carnall, or politick love, which is uſually changeable, and inconſtant, and accompanied with falſity, tending to ſelf-ends; but of Divine love, and of this I may truly ſay, the greater or leſſer the affection is, ſuch, more, or leſſe is the perfection acquired.

The bleſſed Apoſtles, and holy Martyrs in the primitive times, give us ample teſtimony, and proof to this aſſertion, whoſe revilings, and moſt exquiſite tortures, begot in them not pa­tience only, but delight, and pleaſure; the ſtones thrown at the Proto-martyr Stephens head, he eſteemed, as ſo many jewels. The fire under Laurence, was to him, as ſome pretious balme, or ſoveraigne confection. Ignatius, who ſo much longed, to be torn in pieces by wild beaſts, ſaid, If they be tame, I will provoke them; for I am as wheat to be bruiſed, broken, and to be ſerved up to my Lords table. And S. Paul ſaid, that his af­flictions,2 Cor. 11.30. temptations, and tribulations were his joy, and glory: ſo that, though pain, oft-times, might have drawn teares from their eyes, or blood from their veines, yet, the love they bore to their Lord Chriſt, raiſed content in their hearts, and ſuch ſmiles in their faces, as if they had been already with him, in heavenly joy.

And, in all this, they did but as ſcholars imi­tate14 their Maſter; who, as he often delighted to treat of his paſſion: ſo he profeſt to his diſciples, that,Luk. 22.15. with deſire he deſired, that is, he greatly, and earneſtly deſired to eat the Paſſover, not as de­lighted to feaſt with them, but to ſuffer for them: and when S. Peter would have diſſwaded his Lord from his laſt great ſufferings, his Lord reproved him more for this, then for his deniall of him in the high Prieſts hall; for on this de­niall Chriſt did but caſt his eye toward Peter, minding him thereby of his high promiſe made never to deny him; but for that, he not only bids him avaunt,Mat. 16.23. which we only ſay to Dogs, but he calls him Satan, as being an adverſary or hinde­rer of his much deſired and longed-for Death.

We read in the New Teſtament of two Moun­tains whereon Chriſt more eminently appeared, the one was Tabor, where the ſhine of his glory ſeemed greater then that of the ſun: the other was Calvarie, where he was beheld as a man de­ſpiſed more then the worſt of men, Barabbas the thief & murderer prefer'd before him; and when the ſun hid his face, aſhamed of the horrid fact, of putting the God of Heaven to death; yet this exaltation on the Croſſe in Mount Calvarie, took more with Chriſt, then that other, of his tranſ­figuration on Mount Tabor, inſomuch as here he finiſhed the great work of his love, for which he came into the world, for the redemption of mankind, and that all might be ſaved: a pledge of which the thief dying beſides him, found; who, upon the word of Chriſt ſpoken unto him, preſently entred Paradiſe: and this ſuffering on the Croſſe in Calvarie, ſubſtantially proved, what the other appearing on Tabor, did but typically prefigure, the glory of his paſſion; ſo that, here, not there, the ſtanders by, and ſince that, the15 Chriſtian world proclaimed him,Mat. 27.54. what before was believed but by few, that he was truly the Son of God.

Men on earth ſtudy to blazon their coats with Dogs, Hogs, Cats, and the like; and by theſe means think to traduce their names, as famous to poſterity, though themſelves never in their lives, did an act worthy of a Dogs-taile; where­as our moſt bleſſed Lord Chriſt, who acted all things worthy the Son of the moſt high God, and all for the good of mankind, had no other coat-armour, but the Croſſe, which his love pro­cured and wrought; and hath thereby made him juſtly to be adored, and worſhipped, as the God of the whole world.

CHAP. VII. Love transformeth the Lover into the thing beloved.

NOT onely ſome choice Philoſophers, but learned Fathers of our Church have dee­med, and called a friend, a ſecond ſelf; the half of the ſoule: or the ſame. And, among them, one ſaith, he that loveth intirely, is dead as to his own body, and liveth in that body which he loveth: for that, love carrieth with it, if not the whole ſubſtance, yet the principall vigorous acting fa­culties of the ſoule. This poſition, (in ſome ſenſe) is made good in the divine Lover, by that of S. Paul, when he ſaith, Your life is hid,Col. 3.3. with Chriſt, in God: where love to God hath morti­fied the Lover, as to the body, and to the world; and, makes him live by, and in Chriſt: for truly the ſoule cannot be thought, or ſaid to live, but16 where it appears to move, or work. Hereupon, ſome wittily have pronounced, that the beloved is become an homicide, and guilty of murder, if he return not love, for love; but robs the Lover of his ſoul, not returning his again to the Lover.

And ſome Philoſophers have conceived, that, the ſoul of a dead friend by a ſtrange tranſmi­gration, hath been ſecretly conveighed into the body of a friend living, and there kept alive, and operating: and all this to be effected, and brought to paſſe by the ſpirituall power of love. S. Auguſtine comes ſomewhat neer to theſe con­ceits, when he ſaith, My love is as the weight in a clock, or the magnetick virtue in the load-ſtone; for whitherſoever I am moved, or caried, that it is which carieth, or moveth me, and my ſoule.

Every one therefore it ſtrongly behoveth ſe­riouſly to conſider, before he ſetleth, upon what he intends to ſet his love: for if on earth, he becomes earthly; if fleſh, fleſhly; if heaven, heavenly; which agreeth well with thoſe terms given in holy Scriptures, to ſeverall kinds of af­fectionate lovers. Our moſt bleſſed Saviour prayeth for us, that, we may be in him, and be one with him:Joh. 17.21. as Chriſt is in, and with his Father: wch holy reſidence, and bleſſed union, muſt be next to Gods goodneſſe, the work of love.

S. Paul ſaith of himſelf, that he is crucified with Chriſt,Gal. 2.20. nevertheleſſe (ſaith he) I live, and yet (he adds) it is not I that live, but Chriſt liveth in me; if you ask him, how this can be? he tells you in the words following, the life which I now live, I live by faith, this is the inſtrumentall mean: & if you enquire into the cauſe of this life, it is there mentioned, when he ſaith, by the ſon of God, who loved me, and gave himſelf, and all his merits, and benefits to work for, and in me.

17

Our carnall and prophane looſe lovers, uſu­ally court their miſtreſſes with theſe, and the like unhallowed ſpeeches; You are my life, my heart, my ſoul; which oft-times is more true, then godly. Divinely ſpoke King David, (O that we would imitate him!) God is my light, and ſalvation.

Plato ſaid, that a friend is like a good looking-glaſſe, in, and by which, the other friend may ſee himſelf; and be ſeen by others: for ſo it was in Jonathan and David, that who ſaw the one, diſcerned the other.

Or, you ſhall find two friends united by true love, to be like the mother and the child; where if the child ſmile, or weep, the mother doeth the like: and as the Chamelcon appeareth to be of that colour with the thing to which it is joy­ned; ſo is it with good, and true lovers; who like Hippocrates twins looked, laughed, cried, each as the other, and were of like colour, con­dition, and paſſion each as other; ſo that the union of friends made by ſincere love, is well compared and preſented by inoculating a bud into another ſtock, whereby it is made one with it.

Now in man there be three unions, and each of them cauſed or bottomed on love: the firſt is that of the ſoule and body matched together by a naturall love. The ſecond is the union of ſoules, whether as among ordinary friends, or as among Chriſts diſciples,Act. 2.1. who were of one heart and mind, endevouring to keep the unity of the ſpirit (as S. Paul ſpeaks) in the bond of peace:Eph. 4.3. the former of theſe is wrought by a naturall, the other by a ſpirituall love. The third union is that which is betwixt God, and mans ſoule, when, as S. John ſaith, God is in the righteous,1 Joh. 4.16.18 and they in him: and the efficient cauſe of this union is, Divine love.

Which union as of all other, and above all things in this world, it is to be moſt deſired, eſte­med, and preſerved; ſo is the ſeparation or di­vorce the moſt to be feared, grieved for, and moſt carefully to be prevented; for, as by that bleſſed union we are made partakers of all the beſt things that earth or heaven can afford; ſo by that ſeparation, we not only loſe all the bleſ­ſings by that union acquired, but we purchaſe to our ſelves all the miſcries, vexations, and torments, that hell, the Devils, and our owne conſcience can afflict us with: the cutting off a finger from the hand is painfull; of the hand from the arm painfull, and damagefull; and of the head from the body, painfull, grievous, and deadly: but the dividing or divorcing the ſoule of man from God, the life of the ſoule, is a pain, grief, and loſſe not to be expreſſed, no nor to be imagined fully, no not by them that ſuffer and feel it. Of all ſeparations and divorces, O my ſoule be fearfull and carefull to avoid this: and, O thou the God of my ſoule, be gracious, and mercifull unto me, that through blindneſſe of underſtanding, or hardneſſe of heart, I never incurre the dreadfull ſentence of ſuch a divorce or ſeparation.

19

CHAP. VIII. Vehement love cauſeth extaſies, ma­king the Lover beſides, or to rob himſelf, of, himſelf.

LOve (ſaith the Wiſe man) is ſtrong as death; and, in this comes neer to death,Cant. 5.6. in that it makes the Lover oft-times not to ſee what he fixeth his eye on, not to anſwer what he hears, or what he is demanded: and indeed, oft-times to put him into ſuch trances, as that he ſeems rather a moving trunk of fleſh, then a living ſoule: and, this in part excuſeth the words and acts of Lovers, as proceeding from men di­ſtracted, rather then from men in their wits; and hereupon the Romans had a law, exempting ſuch Lovers from the penalty of death, holding them to be no better then mad men.

This holy phrenſie of love, hath not eſcaped the Saints of God on earth. S. Paul was neer this, when in his extreme love to his Country­men, as Moſes,Exod. 32.32. Rom. 9.3. that wiſhed himſelf blotted out of the Booke of God: ſo he wiſhed himſelf ac­curſed from Chriſt, unleſſe the Jews his bre­thren might be pardoned, and ſaved with him: ſo that which is ſaid of Peter, raviſht with the glorious apparition on Mount Tabor; the like might be ſpoken of S. Paul, in his exceſſive love to the Jews, he knew not what he ſaid; or, as Felix ſaid unto him, Paul, thou art ſurely be­ſides thy ſelf; love, in ſtead of learning, hath made thee mad.

And if ever any exceeded in love,Joh. 10.20. above all the love that ever was in the world, it was Chriſt; who ſo exceeded herein, that the Jews once20 thought him mad. And might not others, as well as they, have imagined the like of him, when in the exceſſe of his love to his very ene­mies, he would ſuffer himſelf to be taken, deli­vered up, and ſhamefully put to death for them? Thus far did the love in Chriſt work him to go, or ſeem to be beſides himſelf: and all, that he might work us to return to, and to look into our ſelves, and up to heaven; that, as raviſht with the love hereof, we might live here in the world, as though we were out of the world; and that we might ſo look on theſe delights below, as men blinde; and hear of them, as deaf; and diſcourſe of them, as not concerned; but as men in part tranſlated to heaven, and here become earthly Angels.

S. Paul made his daily prayers unto the Fa­ther of our Lord Chriſt, That he would grant unto the Epheſians the riches of his holy Spirit, to be rooted and grounded in love:Epheſ. 3.17. and that they might know the love of Chriſt, which paſſeth all knowledge; where he prayeth for the mutuall love between the head and the members: their love to him, but his love to them firſt. For with­out this love of Chriſt to them, they cannot love him. He loved his firſt, ſaith S. John: and then without their love to him,1 John 4.1. they cannot under­ſtand the power that love hath, ere it is rooted in them.

For it is able to make things in themſelves baſe and contemptible, to be of great price and eſteem. Might it not ſeem in our bleſſed Savi­our a blemiſh and diſhonour to his perſon, to be reviled, ſcorned, whipt, and crucified: yet the love of Chriſt took and accounted all as acts of glory; and all, that he might prove himſelf thereby, the Saviour of the world. It is regiſtred21 of the wife to the Emperour Theodoſius, That ſhe, as a Nurſe-keeper, rather than an Empreſſe, attended the ſick and weak, and made playſters, and dreſt the ſores of the poor Hoſpitallers: who when ſhe was by ſome nice Courtiers gent­ly reproved, her anſwer was, That although thoſe offices were below the perſon of an Em­preſſe, yet were they not able to reach and ex­preſſe the love which ſhe bore to the pooreſt members of her Lord and Saviour Chriſt Jeſus: who in his unſpeakable love did more, ſaith ſhe, for me, then ever I can in the leaſt de­ſerve, or in any meaſure requite.

CHAP. IX. Love exchangeth and counterchan­geth all with its beloved.

FOr proof of this, I could inſtance in many Lovers Regiſtred in profane Authors, as in Pylades and Oreſtes, each of them, though but one was guilty, took the fact upon himſelf, that he might thereby redeem the life of the other. King David, when the plague ſeized on, and deſtroyed the people, cries out to the Lord,2 Kings 24.17. It is I, Lord, that have ſinned, let me ſuffer, but ſpare theſe innocent ſheep, for what have they done? And when the Souldiers came to ap­prehend Jeſus, whom they yet knew not, and ſome of his Diſciples being preſent with him, he asks, Whom ſeek ye? they anſwered, We ſeek Jeſus; he roundly and readily anſwereth, I am he. And this he did,Joh. 18. to the end that he might22 ſave his diſciples from their arreſt; and therefore he addeth, Ye have me whom you ſeek, therefore let theſe go their way.

Reade and conſider that of S. Paul, Who is weake,1 Cor. 21.29. and I am not weake? who is offended, and I burn not? the troubles, infirmities, and ſufferings of the Corinthians, through the Apo­ſtles love to them, are all become and made his. Yea, but ſee a greater power of love manifeſted in the ſame Apoſtle toward the Philippians, whom he tells, that his death will be gain to him, v. 21.Phil. 1. for thereby he ſhall injoy Chriſt; whereas life to him, will prove but labour and pain, v. 22. and yet, ſaith he, though the difference be ſo great, as is betwixt everlaſting joy and glory, be­ing with Chriſt, and pain and labour, living with you; yet my love is ſuch to you, more then to my ſelf, that I am in a ſtrait, not knowing which to chooſe; but concludes, Though it be far better for me to die, and to be with Chriſt, v. 23. nevertheleſſe ſaith he, v. 24. to abide in the fleſh is more profitable for you; and therefore he con­cludes, v. 25. Having this confidence, I ſhall abide and continue with you, for your furtherance and joy of faith.

But, S. Paul writing to the Romans, ſeems to go beyond all the bounds of love, I, and of com­mon reaſon,Rom. 9.8. when he ſaith, I could wiſh that my ſelf were accurſed from Chriſt, for my brethren, my kinſmen, (the Jews.) Expoſitors, antient and mo­dern, generally conclude that this wiſh or deſire of S. Paul, was an expreſſion of the moſt tran­ſcendent power of love, which might poſſeſſe any mortall man; but what the full extent and force of the words may be, is not ſo clearly agreed on; for ſome expound the words [accur­ſed from Chriſt] (wherein all the difficulty lies)23 to intend a temporall affliction, or corporall pu­niſhment: 2. others, a ſpirituall ſeparation, or ex­commumcation from the Church of Chriſt: 3. a third ſort, will have an eternall ſeparation, re­jection, or caſting away from the joyes of hea­ven, to be here underſtood.

They, who imbrace the firſt expoſition, con­ceive this deſire of the Apoſtle, to be like that of Moſes, ſaying, Lord,Exod. 32.32. if thou wilt not forgive the ſins of the Iſraelites, in making the golden calf, then blot me out of thy book; and this blotting out of the book, they expound, of depoſing, or ca­ſting Moſes from his government of that people; which was, as they would have this in S. Paul to be, but a temporall puniſhment; and this they would deduce and inferre, from the word [ac­curſed;] which in the Greek, they ſay, may here, as elſwhere among ſacred and profane Wri­ters, ſignifie a ſeparation, or ſetting apart the perſon of man, and beaſt, to ſuffer death or the like, as a ſacrifice, thereby to expiate the offence of others; and if this ſenſe may be admitted, then much more cannot be inferred, then that S. Paul preferred his Countrey-mens ſpirituall, and eternall eſtates, before his own temporall, or before his life; which ſhewes (that which we allege for to prove) the tranſcendency of his love.

Others conceive the words [anathema, or ac­curſed from Chriſt,] to mean Excommunication; and this to be like that caſting out of Cain,Gen. 4.14. where it is ſaid, and from thy face ſhall I be hid; Gods face noting typically, the Church, or viſible con­gregation of Gods ſervants: and this wiſh, or deſire in the Apoſtle, though it goe farre, yet becauſe it includes not an everlaſting ſeparati­on, but ſuch as by Gods mercy, and the Apoſtles24 repentance may be relaxed, it is not ſo ſcrupu­lous, and dangerous as

The third ſenſe of the words, viz: that S. Paul hereby ſhould wiſh, his eternall diſheriſance, from heaven, for his brethren and Countrey-men; which curſe, ſeparation, or diſheriſance, if it be the ſenſe of the words, then ſome anſwer, that the word is, I could have wiſhed it. So that S. Paul doth not expreſly and plainly ſay, I do wiſh this, but, I could; or, my love is ſuch, that rather then my Countreymen, to whom the Promiſe and the Covenant is made, ſhould periſh, and they loſe the benefit thereof, I could finde in my heart to wiſh, that I might be ſepa­rated. But, ſay they, he doth not explicitely, and in the indicative mood, ſay, I do wiſh.

But if this anſwer be not admitted as ſatiſ­factory, but that S. Paul ſeems to wiſh, as a dear friend and tender father, to be kept from eternall joyes, rather then want the company of his chil­dren and Countrymen, (whom he calls by a neer relation brethren) the queſtion then will be, (as it is generally made) how far forth this deſire may be held juſtifiable, or be accounted ſinfull, as to himſelf, to wiſh the privation of his own eternall bliſſe. Which queſtion or difficul­ty, ſome thus aſſoile.

1. That for the greater promotion and exal­tation of Gods glory, this may be deſired: being that this is the firſt main principall end of mans being made or redeemed, to advance the glory of God: and that Gods glory ſhould the more ap­peare, by the reſtoring and ſaving of the Jews, cannot be denied, or doubted by any.

2. Or, as before, the Text ſpeaks not, that I do wiſh, but that I could ſo wiſh; and that, I could wiſh, may imply, that this wiſh in the25 Apoſtle, is not ſo abſolute, as ſimply to deſire his own damnation, for his Countrymens ſalva­tion: but that it may well comprehend under it, at leaſt a tacite condition, as, Lord I wiſh it, if ſo it agree with thy will, decree, and good plea­ſure; for whatever is agreeable to this, muſt be, and is juſtifiable, and no waies ſinfull.

3. S. Paul may be conſtrued thus to meane, if for any cauſe under Gods glory, I may deſire mine own excluſion from Heaven, then I could wiſh it for my Countrymens benefit and ſalvati­on; ſuch was the heighth and depth of the love of this bleſſed Apoſtle, which deſires at leaſt to tranſlate all its own good to his beloved.

CHAP. X. The Cauſes and Motives of Love.

I Shall not yet here touch upon the prime and principall cauſe of Love, which is God: but of that which is neereſt unto God, goodneſſe; which is the true proportionate object of the will, and ſo of our love. Inſomuch, that if the will at any time makes choice of the contrary, which is evill, this comes to paſſe by the wills being deceived by a falſe object, and counterfeit colour, in appearance of ſome ſeeming good. For the will, in its pure conſtitution, doth not, can­not affect or deſire that which in it ſelf ſimply is, and ſo appears to be evill.

A man blinded in his reaſon, and deceived by the pleaſancy of wine, or the beauty of wo­men, may will the unlawfull company of the one, and the inordinate uſe of the other: yet26 in neither doth he will or deſire fornication, or drunkenneſſe, as they are evils; but, as he is a­ſhamed to be termed a fornicator, or a drun­kard: ſo though he become, or be both, yet he deſires not drunkenneſſe or fornication, but onely the baſe delight and pleaſure in them; which hath deceived and couſened his deſire; under a ſhew of that which ſeemed then unto him good.

For God, which made all by weight and meaſure, hath given to our underſtanding and will, certain naturall inclinations, which as laws, cauſe them to affect their proper objects, which are truth to the underſtanding, and good­neſſe to the will. So that who is perverted, or willingly perverteth the truth, this is done by the falſe colour and ſhadow of truth: and ſo it comes to paſſe in the matter of our will, which ever deſires that which is good, and if decei­ved, it is by that which appears at that time ſo to be.

Ariſtotle hath ranged Love into three kinds, according to the three ſeverall objects alluring the will and deſire. The one is, love of pleaſure and delight, which too commonly follows, and is entertained by youth. Another is, the love of wealth, and is the ſervant moſtly of old age. A third, is the love of that which is comely and honeſt, which, I fear, hath the leaſt part or pre­dominancy in mans will, where private intereſt bears the ſway. We have read, that in ages be­fore us, vertue, honour, and beauty, had the maſtery in the will; but thoſe objects are laid aſide, and are paſt away with thoſe times.

Some ancient Fathers give a reaſon why our Saviour openly proclaimed his gift of paradiſe to the Thiefe on the Croſſe, rather than to27 the Patriarchs and Prophets; and it was, ſay they, becauſe he, at that time when Chriſt was publickly diſeſteemed, and contemptuouſly uſed by all, that he then proclaimed him to be the Meſſias and the Saviour of the world. This ſin­gular bounty therefore of our Saviour, accom­panied that rare piece of faith and love in the Thief, to whom (at that time when the Thief profeſt him) Chriſt had ſhewed no miracle, nor done him ſavour. Whereas now adaies few ſerve or worſhip Chriſt, unleſs he honour or ſerve their turns: ſo that were it not for the be­nefits he daily beſtows on us, he might for us, live as retired in the contemplation of his own infinite goodneſſe, with little or no love of the world.

Next to goodneſſe, not onely Philoſophers, but the holy Scriptures, have aſſigned knowledge to be an eſpeciall worker of love. Our Saviour ſaith, This is life eternall,Joh. 17. . to know the Father and the Son; for from this knowledge ariſeth our love, and by them both, we attain to life ever­laſting. Unbelief, ignorance, or the forgetful­neſſe of this principle, as to ſay with the foole, there is no God, or with the Epicure, he regar­deth not our works below, but that we may, for all him, eat and drink, and die. Theſe, and ſuch like, are the great cauſes of all our ſinnes. S. Paul profeſſedly hath expreſt ſo much, when he ſaith, The Gentiles have given themſelves over unto all laſciviouſneſſe,Epheſ. 4.19. to worke all uncleanneſſe with greedineſſe. Whereof the cauſe is expreſt in the verſe before; when he ſaith, this they did, having their underſtandings darkened, through the ignorance that is in them, becauſe of the blind­neſſe of their hearts. And the Prophet Hoſea ſaith, there is no knowledge of God in the land:Hoſ. 4. .28 and what then follows? but ver 2. ſwearing, ly­ing, killing, ſtealing, adultery, ſo that blood tou­cheth blood.

I may adde another cauſe, or the ingenderer of love, which is likeneſs. Like will to like, is ſeen among the beaſts, among whom ſheep flock not with woolves, nor will Harts heard with Lions.

And the like to this in man, ſome Philoſo­phers have attributed it to the complexion in men; among whom we finde the company, ge­ſture, voice, and looks of ſome, to be diſplea­ſing and diſtaſtfull to others; for which the per­ſon diſaffecting, at firſt happily, can give no ſufficient reaſon.

Others, and more neerly to reaſon and truth, have given the cauſe of this love betwixt men, to be the likeneſſe of their qualities and diſpoſiti­ons: as the ſinner hateth the righteous, whatever the alliance is, as it was ſeen in Cain to Abel, Iſmael to Iſaac, Eſau to Jacob: ſo on the other ſide, the good, juſt, and wiſe, love each other. S. Paul hath determined this piece, when he ſaith, Be ye not unequally yoaked; for what fel­lowſhip hath righteouſneſſe with unrighteouſneſſe?2 Cor. 6.14. and what communion hath light with darkneſſe? and what concord hath Chriſt with Belial?

The Pythagorean and Platonique Philoſophers were of opinion, that the ſoules of men had a kinde of harmonious concent each to other; ſo that, as in muſick, one ſtring being ſtruck, ano­ther will quaver, and offer to give the like ſound, though not touched: ſo ſay they, and not improbably, fareth it with the ſouls of ma­ny men.

S. Ambroſe giveth another cauſe or parent of love, which is converſation; when as he tells us,29 that to this end God walked with man in Para­diſe, and that it is ſaid of Enoch, that he walked with God; and though God had given Adam all the goods of the aire, earth, and water, yet with none of theſe, or any, or all of the Beaſts took he any delight, but onely in that conſort which God gave him, as a companion to his body, and ſolace to his ſoule, and to her he cleaves, and ſo of two, they are made but one, by a loving converſe and agreement.

If any aske, how this comes to paſſe, that likeneſſe and converſation ſhould thus beget, con­tinue, and increaſe love: the reaſon is eaſie and plain: for ſeeing every man naturally loves himſelf, and the rather becauſe he is ever con­verſant with himſelf; therefore it muſt needs follow, that whatever is neereſt to, or moſt like him, that he moſt neerly loveth, and moſt deſi­reth. Can any give any other reaſon, why man or woman delights to ſee their face in a glaſſe, but becauſe it repreſents them, and makes them, as it were, to ſee and know themſelves by this repreſentative, whereby the imagination appre­hends it ſelf?

CHAP. XI. Love is onely conquered and repayed with Love.

LOve (that is the inward affection of the heart) is the ſoul, as it were, of the ſoul of man, yea, of the whole world; for by it the world continueth, and without it, it could not ſtand, as was ſhewed before.

30

We thank not the water, nor the aire, nor any inanimate or animate thing for doing us good, it this good proceed from a naturall diſpoſition in themſelves, without an affection of doing good to us. For this latter is it, which truly is called love: and he that thinks ro requite this with gold, or other gifts of price, returns ſcarce droſſe for gold. Our Saviour and his Apoſtles, have ſummed up all the Law in this kinde of Love: and after all their precepts and counſels, call for this love, as the fulfilling of all. For he that hath this, cannot but believe, and endea­vour to work according to what is required or deſired by Chriſt and his Apoſtles.

Our bleſſed Saviour promiſeth heaven to him that gives but a cup of cold water in his Name,Mat. 10.4. and for his ſake: and can any imagine, that heaven is of ſo mean a value, or water ſo much worth, as that heaven ſhould be given for a cup of water? no, not the cup of water, nor all the waters under heaven, can be valued with hea­ven, but the cordiall love and affection of the heart; this is that God eſteems; and therefore calls to every one for it, when he ſaith, My Son, take all earth, heaven, and all, as my gift; and for all, onely give me but thy heart. Prov. 23. .

It was not Abels ſacrifice, nor the widows mite caſt into the Treaſury, that God ſo highly prized and commended, but the love of the ſa­crificer and giver, which he eſteemed more than all the worlds good. For all theſe are his, The earth is the Lords,Pſ. 4.1. and the fulneſſe thereof. And when we have theſe, or any part thereof, we re­ceive and hold them as his gift; and for all, he onely requires our love; which onely is ours to give.

If you tell me,Prov. 21. . the heart of Kings, and ſo31 of all men, is in the hand of the Lord, he turneth it whither ſoever he will. And that without God,2 Cor. 3.5. we cannot ſo much as think a good thought, and therefore not love. I anſwer, that though all things in man, are of him, through him,Rom. 11.36. and to him, as the Apoſtle ſpeaks: yet of all things in man, mans will is moſt his own; and this ſo leſt by God to man, that for it, when it freely loves God, it may return him in recompence (as it were) his love again. The free preſent of a paire of pigeons, with man is more eſteemed than the return of 100 l. which was lent, and the borrower bound to repay. God often ex­preſſeth his regard to the love of his ſervants, when he asks them, Am I delighted with the ſa­crifices of goats and bullocks,Pſ. 50.9. and who requires theſe things at your hands?Iſa. 1.12. and by his Prophet Jeremiah, I ſpake not to your fathers,Jer. 7.22. nor com­manded them, when I brought them out of the Land of Egypt, concerning ſacrifices, to be ſatiſ­fied or ſerved therewith. Save onely by theſe, as outward teſtimonies of your inward affections, which indeed, as to me, are the onely ſacrifice and ſervice.

And from hence iris, that. God and man re­pay love with love. For love hath an Adaman­tine power, that is able to draw the hardeſt heart of iron unto it ſelf, by a mutuall love. For the very apprehenſion of being beloved, directs the ſoul without any force, to a return of a love re­ciprocall.

And as love mollifies the heart of the belo­ved, drawing from it a return of love: ſo this return of love gives ample ſatisfaction and re­ward, as it were, for that love that was beſtowed. And ſo the Spouſe in the Canticles,Can. 1.2. for her love to her beloved, deſires ſome kiſſes (as teſtimo­nies)32 for the aſſurance of his love to her again.

And neither the firſt, nor the ſecond, neither an inviting nor the return'd love, are purchaſed, wonne, or procured by gifts, greatneſſe, or po­wer. Theſe have no force on a generous heart, to cauſe love; which is onely begotten by it ſelf, through love; and this may be well called the myſterie of love, that the ſame thing, and nothing elſe, ſhould beget it ſelf.

And this love being of ſo rare an extraction, ſo amiable, and ſo much to be deſired; we ſhall finde God, of all things deſiring it, and in compariſon of it, nothing elſe but our love; and therefore uſeth it, as a conjuration to the effecting his will and commands; as when he ſaith,John 21.16. If ye love me, keep my commandments; to Peter thee times, as it were, in a breath, loveſt thou, loveſt thou, loveſt thou me, Peter? and then follows three times, Peter, feed, feed, feed. For this thou canſt not chuſe but do, and keep my〈…〉. Love, as we ſay, breaks through ſtone walls; in­timating, that nothing is hard to a loving heart, but that this tender love, as is ſaid of the milke of the Goat, is able to mollifie, and ſoften the hardeſt Adamant.

God, willing to draw man to himſelf, firſt uſed his power, ſhewed in the great deluge of the world: after that he uſed his goodneſſe, bring­ing his people out of Egypt into a goodly and plentifull Land; but when neither power nor goodneſſe prevailed, he takes the ready courſe, if any could prevail, to ſhew his love unto them, in ſending his onely Son into the world, there to ſuffer ſo ignominious a death for them. And if this did not, he never meant to uſe other33 means to draw them to him. For if love, ſuch love could not, then nothing in heaven, earth, or hell, can work or move their converſion.

Charit as Chriſti urget nos, ſaith S. Paul,2 Cor. 3, 14. the love of Chriſt, this, this, or nothing, doth, or can, with a ſweet, delightfull force, as it were, con­ſtrain us. Chriſt ſheweth this in the parable of the Creditor and Debtor, concluding, that to whom moſt was forgiven, that he ſhould and muſt love moſt. For love freely ſhewed to the well be­loved, may be reſembled to the depoſiting or truſting a great Treaſure in a friends cheſt or Cabinet; which friend, if he return it not when deſired, deſerves the note and eſtimation, not of ungratefull alone, but of a falſe and moſt wicked man, and no friend.

CHAP. XII. The Love of God is not to be pa­rallel'd.

THe eſſence or being of God is pure and ſimple, and the infinity of his attributes and perfections are ſingle: ſo that his omnipo­tency is his mercy, his mercy is his juſtice, his juſtice his goodneſſe, his goodneſſe his love, neither is there in theſe any diſtinction reall or formall, onely mans apprehenſion conceiteth a variety in this ſimple unity.

Now the love of God differeth from the love of man, as in many other things, ſo in this, that mans love oft times wants power to effect what it loves and deſires: whereas Gods love is both operative and effective, it both works and accom­pliſheth34 whatever it will; ſo that to love with God, is the ſame thing as to do us good.

And this is ſo large, as to do that, beyond which nothing more can be done. Iſaiah ex­preſſeth this in Gods perſon, ſaying,Iſa. .4. What could have been done more, that I have not done? ſo that if we would enter into, and conſider all the works of Gods love, in creating, redeeming, ſan­ctifying, and glorifying man, how can they be fa­thomed? mans ſoule cannot apprehend it in the leaſt degree.

To help mans weakenſſe in this, and by ſha­dows, as it were, to make ſome appearance of this love;Iſa. 49.15. the Prophet Iſaiah tells us of the love of a mother to her childe, when he asks the que­ſtion, Can a mother forget her ſucking childe, that ſhe ſhould not have compaſsion on the ſonne of her wombe? Which, can ſhe? is as much as, ſhe cannot: but ſaith God, If ſhe could, yet ſuch is my love to man, that I will not, I cannot, my love is my ſelf: and therefore I may be ſaid as well, to forget my ſelf, as to forget or deny my love to mine own Image, man.

The Prophet Iſaiah ſeems to go a little far­ther, by a ſimilitude to ſet forth Gods love, when he compares it to the love of a Bridegroome,〈◊〉. 62.5. mar­ried to a Virgin, in whom he is delighted and rejoyceth, ſaith the text, where it addeth, and ſo ſhall thy God rejoyce over thee.

Nay, the Prophet Jeremiah goes farther yet, ſaying, If a man put away his wife, for her lewd­neſſe and adultery, ſhall he return unto her again? e. 3.1.But thou Judah lift up thine eyes unto the high pla­ces, and ſee where thou haſt not been lien with: in the waies thou haſt ſate for them; and thou haſt polluted the Land with thy whoredoms, and with thy wickedneſſe; and yet heare the husband of35 this wife, which is God, notwithſtanding all this crying out, and proclaiming, thou haſt played the harlot with many lovers: yet returne againe to me, ſaith the Lord. Tell me now, whether a greater love can be expreſt, than this in God.

As the love of God is infinite, ſo might I be in the proſecution of this argument; but I con­tract my ſelf, and wiſh you to remember, that as God in holy Writ is parabolically called King, Father, Husband, Phyſician, Shepherd, Head of his Church: ſo under all theſe, and many other names and notions, his love is manifeſt unto us; for as the head, he governs: as the Shepherd, he leads us to good paſtures, and defends us from de­ſtroying beaſts: as the Phyſician, he cures and heals our infirmities and ſoares: as an husband, he imbraceth and delighteth in, and rejoyceth over us: as a Father, he nouriſheth, and provi­deth for us: and as a King, he not onely pro­tects us from oppreſſion and danger, but gives us honours, yea, makes us heires with his onely begotten Son Chriſt Jeſus, to reigne with him in his heavenly Kingdom for ever. And is there any love that can be compared to this?

All that I will adde for cloſe, is this: love re­quires love. And, O my ſoule, though thou wilt not love this thy Father, this thy King firſt: yet when he hath ſo ſuper abounded in his love to thee, too flinty hearted, I muſt needs ſay, thou art, if thou ſhalt refuſe to return all the love thy heart can affoord or conceive to him again, for that infinite and endleſſe love which he hath be­ſtowed on thee.

36

Chap. XIII. By the ſame cauſes and meanes that mans love decreaſeth, the love of God increaſeth.

SOme Divines have propounded the queſti­on, why Chriſt, the ſecond Perſon in the ho­ly Trinity, rather than either of the other per­ſons, was made man; and among other reaſons, this they give in anſwer: That our firſt parents ſin,1 Cor. 1.24. in deſiring to be as God, knowing good and evill, directly oppoſeth the wiſdome of God, which is Chriſt. And to ſhew the infinite love of God to man? that Perſon who moſt directly was offended, came down from Heaven, tooke mans nature, and ſuffered more than man could do; and all to redeem man. So that he alone, (God, that can draw good out of evill, and light out of darkneſſe) uſed mans ſin as an occaſion, through his love, to ſave mankinde.

The Prophet Zacbary deſcribes the ſtate of the world,Zach. 6. and in eſpecially of the Iſraelites, by foure Chariots; the firſt whereof had red horſes, which typified the bloody Babylonians: the ſe­cond had black horſes, which noted the Perſians; under whom the Jews were neer their utter ex­tirpation: the third had white horſes, by which may be meant the Macedonians, who, as Alexan­der and others, were gracious and favourable to the Jews: the fourth had grizled, or horſes of divers colours, which figured the changeable, various, and mixed government of the Romans, which firſt or laſt is deſtructive to a State. And37 now under this power and rule, which contained all the miſrule and barbarous uſage of the three other Governments, came the Meſſias into the world, and this by the Apoſtle is called the ful­neſſe of time:Gal. 4.4. becauſe when the ſin of the world was at the full, now was. the time of our bleſſed Saviour to come into the world, and by his un­ſpeakable love to redeem it.

The Prophet Iſaiah ſets forth Jeruſalem thus: Their hands are defiled with blood, and their fin­gers with iniquity,Iſa. 59.3. their lips have ſpoken lies, and their tongues perverſeneſſe; none calleth for juſtice, nor any pleadeth for truth: the act of violence is in their hands, their feet run to evill, and they make baſte to ſhed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, waſting and deſtruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; yea, judgement is turned backward, and juſtice ſtand­eth afar off: for truth is fallen in the ſtreets, and equity cannot enter: and he that departeth from evill, maketh himſelf a prey. And the Lord ſaw, and wondered that there was no Interceſſor; there­fore his arm brought ſalvation. For he put on righteouſneſſe as a breaſt-plate, and vengeance for a clothing; and according to their deeds, he will repay fury to his adverſaries: but to Zion ſhall the Redeemer come. And is there any thing in all this, that ſavours, but of the love of God (to truth and juſtice) to his people, though laden with their ſins; and for this puniſhed and op­preſſed by their enemies?

The love of Chriſt in this kinde, is not to be uttered, or any way expreſſed. I will ſumme it up therefore in that one paſſage of S. Paul; the ſame night that our Lord Jeſus was betrayed, he inſtituted the Sacrament of his body broken,1 Cor. 11.23. and of his bloud ſhed: as a ſacrifice fully and ſolely38 expiatory for the ſin of the whole world. And, while the Jews cried to the Romans, Crucifie, crucifie him: he for them more inceſſantly praies to his Father, Father, forgive them; and though they ſaid. Let his blood be upon us, and our chil­dren; yet he tells them, My blood is ſhed for you, and for all that will take and apply it to the for­giveneſſe of their ſins.

The Pſalmiſt, in a wonder and amazement of this exceſſive love,Pſal. .4. exclaims, Lord! what is man, that thou art ſo mindfull of him? or the ſon of man, that thou viſiteſt him? for what is there in himſelf, as man, but that is to be abhorred? his body being at the beſt, but a bag of bones, a ſinke of foule water, and ſtinking dirt, and his ſoule like a cage of uncleane birds, or a forge of wicked imaginations, and a ſtorehouſe of ſinne. To the Pſalmiſts queſtion, Why, Lord, haſt thou ſo viſited man? no other an­ſwer or reaſon can be given, then this of the Apoſtle,Job. 3.16. So God loved the world, that he gave his onely begotten Son, to be made, ſaith the Prophet Iſay,Iſa. 9.6. as a childe; as the Apoſtle Saint Paul, ſaith, as a Servant, who emptied himſelf, as it were,Phil. 2.7. to a nothing; and all this, as the effect onely of his infinite, incomprehenſible Love.

39

CHAP. XIV. Gods jealouſie.

JEalouſie in man is an exceſſe of love, and for the moſt part, is the attendant of ſome ill condition in him: whereas in God, it is the quinteſſence (as it were) of his love. And this riſeth in God, and moves him to anger and pu­niſhment, when he finds himſelf diſhonoured or neglected by thoſe he loves.

Moſes not onely tells us,Exo. 20.5. that he is a jealous God, but adds, Exod. 34.14. that his Name is jealous. And ſuch is his jealouſie, that although he ſuffered the rebellious murmurings of his Iſ­rael,Exo. 34.14. yet when they committed ſpirituall whore­dome, in making and worſhipping the golden calf, he deſtroyed 33000. of them: and had not his deare ſervant Moſes interceded, he had in his jealouſie utterly deſtroyed them all.

Covetouſneſſe, by S. Paul is called Idolatry;Col. 3.5. and when God finds his people worſhipping or ſetting their hearts on theſe, it moves him to jea­louſie.

Yea, God is jealous of the inordinate or over­much love of the husband to the wife, or of the wife to the husband. For theſe may love each other ſo much, that ſome part of the love and worſhip due to God, is beſtowed on the Creature. And for this God oft times turns jealous, and in his anger takes the one from the other; or bereaves them of their delight, which is chil­dren.

And it being ſo, that God hath commanded us to love him with all our heart, and with all40 the ſtrength and powers of the ſoule, the leaſt alienation of our love from God, and beſtowed on vain delights, moves God to jealouſie, and provokes his anger.

And as the leaſt withdrawing of our love from God, works jealouſie in him: ſo when he finds us perſiſt in a daily revolt from him, he ceaſeth any longer to be jealous. See this pro­ved in Iſraels caſe; where God, for Iſraels mul­tiplied departings from him, threatens, My jealouſie ſhall depart from them,Ezek. 16.42. and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry. And this is the ſaddeſt condition that a ſoule can fall into; for then it is apparent, that God hath ſent a bill of divorce to that ſoul: and hath removed his love utterly from it; for where God loves, he can­not but be jealous.

Chap. XV. Gods revealing his ſecrets, is a great demonſtration of his love to man.

DElilab uſeth this as an argument,Judg. 16.15. that Samſon loved her not, becauſe he did not open the ſecrets of his heart unto her: for ſo ſhe ſaid, How canſt thou ſay, I love thee, when thy heart is not with me? and when thou telleſt me not where thy great ſtrength lieth?

When God purpoſed the deſtruction of So­dome,Gen. 18.17. he ſaith, I know Abraham, that he will command his children, and his houſhold after him, to keep the way of the Lord, to do juſtice and judge­ment. Here God reſts aſſured in Abraham's41 love and ſervice to him; and what followeth? why this, that though God intended a ſecret and ſudden burning of Sodome: yet he will not do it, before he acquaints Abraham therewith: and therefore ſaith, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?

We reade the like of God to Moſes;Exo. 33.9.13. that when God ſpake face to face with Moſes in the Tabernacle, that there was a, cloudy pillar at the Tabernacle doore, ſo that the people might not ſee them. And at this interview and conference betwixt God and Moſes, Moſes ſaith unto God, If I have found grace in thy ſight, ſhew me now thy way. The Prophet ſaith,Pſa. 147.19, 20. the Lord ſhewed his word unto Jacob. And then addeth, He hath not dealt ſo with any Nation, but this his beloved. And S. Paul ſaith,Col. 1.2 The myſterie (of ſalvation by Chriſt Jeſus) hath been hid from ages, and from generations; but now is made manifeſt to his Saints. In a word, he that loveth me, ſaith Chriſt,John 14 21. ſhall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and〈…〉my〈◊〉unto him. And accordingly he ſaith unto his Diſciples, To you (as my friends) it given to know the myſterie (or ſe­crets) of the Kingdome of God: but unto thoſe that are without, all theſe things are done in parables. And why in parables to theſe? that ſeeing,Mark 411. ſaith Chriſt, they may ſee, and not perceive; and hea­ring they may heare, and not underſtand; leſt at any time they ſhould be converted, and their ſins ſhould be forgiven them. Whence we may gather and learn, that whom God loves, to thoſe he re­veals his word and will: ſo that they may ſee, and heare, and underſtand it to their converſion and ſalvation of their ſouls; which none can deny to be an eſpeciall argument of Gods love; the fruition whereof, the Lord grant unto us in Jeſus Chriſt.

42

CHAP. XVI. God ſeemeth to be ſolitary without man, which is an eſpeciall argu­ment of his love to man.

THe Scriptures tell us of thouſands of An­gels that attend Chriſt; and in the Go­ſpels we finde them upon all occaſions, at his birth, in his life, and at his paſſion with him: how then, having ſuch a company of holy Spi­rits ever with him, and at his command, can he be ſaid to be alone (if without man?) It is true, in reſpect of the ſweet ſociety of Saints and An­gels, he cannot be truly ſaid to be alone; yet in regard that he made man to his own Image, and every one loves that which is moſt like unto himſelf: and that God hath ſaid, My delight is to be with the Sons of men; in this reſpect, with­out this his like, with whom he is delighted, he may well be ſaid to be alone.

In the parable of the loſt ſheep,Matth. 18.12. it is ſeen, that the ſhepherd had 99. beſides that which was ſtrayed, yet he left them all. Suppoſe theſe to be the Saints and Angels in heaven, and all to ſeek the one that was loſt, which is man. The Prophet ſaith,Pſal. 33.10. The Lord looked down from Hea­ven, to behold the Sons of men; and ſeeing them captiv'd by the Devill, weltring in their filth of ſin, and therefore lamentably afflicted; for them he came down, and never reſted, but un­derwent all travell, hardneſſe, and death; that he might exalt them, and bring them where him­ſelf was to have his everlaſting reſidence, in Heaven.

43

God under the Law, when he ſaw his Iſrael ſcattered in Egypt, he reſted not, till he brought them together; and though in the wilderneſſe, yet there he commanded them to make a Ta­bernacle, and after that, a large and glorious Temple; that he might be with them, and in­joy, as it were, their company there together.

And Chriſt, God in heaven, that he might have the company of man, he deſcended from heaven; and as though this were too little, to have the more full ſociety of man, he took his nature, and was made man; yea ſo, that as it was ſpoken of Adam to Eve, he was ſo married to mans nature, that he might truly ſay, He is bone of my bone, and fleſh of my fleſh.

More yet; ſee Chriſt in his agony and tor­ture on the Croſſe, and wanting the company of his Diſciples, and men believing in him, he cries out, My God! my God!Mat. 27.46. why haſt thou for­ſaken me? and as ſoon as the the Thief on the one hand was converted, and prayed unto him, Lord,Luk. 23.43. remember me when thou comeſt into thy Kingdome; he was ſo pleaſed with this, that he readily granted his petition, and told him, This day ſhalt thou be with me in Paradiſe: and ſo gently departed, and took his new convert with him to Heaven.

And it is the opinion of many ancient and learned Fathers, that the Saints and holy men which roſe out of their graves, at the time of our Saviours reſurrection; that they likewiſe, as pleaſing company, aſcended with Chriſt into Heaven, there to be with him; and as of the Chore, to ſing continuall Allelujahs of glory, Glory to the Lamb, that was, and is, and ever ſhall be.

S. Hierome cries out, O ungrateful man to44 thy God, who ever thou art! conſidereſt thou not the wonderful and unſpeakable love of him, the Lord of heaven, to be thus delighted, and to do, and to ſuffer ſo much for thee? and thin­keſt thou thy ſelf beſt, when thou art in the com­pany of the wicked, blaſphemers, murderers, adulterers, drunkards, and profane perſons? re­turn rather, Shunamite, return, and run to him who is delighted with thee, and is thy Saviour.

CHAP. XVII. Charity is moſt eminent among all the vertues.

EVery vertue hath its proper oppoſites; as li­berality hath covetouſneſſe and prodigality to encounter: whereas Charity is enemy to, and oppoſeth not two, or more, but all vices. And if any particular ſin be more oppoſite to Charity then other, it is the enmity to God. And it be­ing ſo, that there is no ſin that man committeth, but, more or leſſe, is tainted with this enmity; hereby Charity is become a generall enemy and oppoſer of all ſin.

When David had wickedly deflowred the wife of his faithfull Souldier Vriah, and baſely ſlaughtered the husband; here were ſins of mur­der, adultery, ſcandall, and all theſe ſins, and enmities againſt his neighbour: but as though theſe were nothing in compariſon of that one ſin and enmity to God;Pſa. 51.4. he ſaith, Againſt thee alone, O Lord, have I ſinned.

But although againſt this ſin principally, Cha­rity oppoſeth her forces; yet no leſſe doth ſhe45 abhor and reſiſt all other ſins of the lower rank. S. Paul, when he ſaith, Charity ſuffereth long;1 Cor. 13.4. what ſaith he leſſe than that, as the impatient man acts againſt the long ſuffering Charity: ſo Charity works againſt all impatience: and as Charity, that envieth not, is aſſaulted by the en­vious: ſo Charity fighteth againſt envy: and as Charity, that vaunteth not, nor is puffed up, is oppoſed by pride: ſo Charity labours to beat down pride. And what from S. Paul I have ſaid of thoſe ſins mentioned, is alike true of thoſe other ſins inſtanced by S. Paul; and of all other ſins committed in the world. And therefore not onely the Apoſtles, but their and our Lord and Maſter, Chriſt, hath taught us this leſſon, that Charity is the fulfilling of the Law. Inſomuch as,Rom. 13.10. ſo far as Charity can prevail to the killing of ſin,Mat. 22.40. which is the tranſgreſſion of the Law, ſhe may well be called the fulfilling of the Law.

And ſo high an eſteem had our Lord Chriſt, of the great virtue and power which Charity hath in the work of our ſalvation. that when he had largely preached of the whole duty of man, and given him many precepts, and expoſitions of the Decalogue, neceſſary to be underſtood and followed by old and young, learned and illite­rate: for the relief of mans memory, and the greater incouragement to his proceeding, he ſummes up all, and tells us all the Law, and all that God requires of man, is nothing elſe but Charity; (that is) love to God, and for his ſake, love to thy neighbour.

S. Auguſtine addeth, that as God calls himſelf Love, who is all in all:1 John 4.8. for all things are from him, by him, and for him: ſo the like in a quail­fied and reverend ſenſe, we may ſpeak of Love or Charity; we ſay, he that hath not houſes,46 nor Vineyards, nor Lands, yet if he hath Money, he hath potentially all: ſo may we ſay of Cha­rity, in reſpect of other graces and endowments of the ſoul.

In the place before cited, S. Paul ſpeaks that of himſelf,1 Cor. 13.1. which the beſt of men may ſay of themſelves with the like truth; that could I preach as though I ſpoke with the tongue of An­gels: yet this without Charity, will make me but like an empty ſound of braſſe, or like the bell in the ſleeple, that calls others to the Church, and ſo to Heaven, while it ſelf hangs without doors. Nay, do I give all my goods to the poore, and my body to martyrdome for the truth, and have no charity, theſe will profit me nothing. Yea, if I underſtand all the myſteries of God, and have all faith, ſaith he, and have not Charity; obſerve this, he ſaith not of this laſt, as of the former gifts of preaching, martyrdome, or goods, that theſe without Charity profit nothing; but he ſaith, that although he hath all underſtanding, all knowledge, and all ſaith, yet theſe without Charity, make him not onely as a ſound, or which profiteth nothing; but he ſaith, that having theſe, and not having Charity, he is plainly nothing; nothing as in Gods acceptance, and nothing as appertaining to the Kingdome of Heaven.

The Prophet Iſaiah tells the people, that God regards not,Iſa. 1. but abhors the ſacrifices which he requires of them; and that when they lift up their hands to Heaven, he will hide his eyes, and not ſee them: and when they make many long and loud prayers unto him, yet he will not hear them. And how? or why is God become ſo averſe to his own commands and ordinances? the Prophet tells us, the cauſe is want of Cha­rity, when he ſaith, Your hands are full of blood,47 your works are full of evill, injuſtice, and oppreſ­ſion. In a word, I ſee not, I hear not, ſaith God, but I abhor you, and your works, becauſe both want Charity.

Much like this hath the ſame Prophet,Iſa. 58. taxing the falſhood of the Iſraelites, who hypocritically cried out, ſaying, Have we not held our Faſts? and have we not afflicted our ſouls? yet thou, O Lord, ſeeſt not, neither takeſt thou knowledge of our holy acts. To whom the Lord in truth makes anſwer, Tis true, I neither ſee, nor take knowledge, nor pleaſure in your ſounds and ſhews of holineſſe. For in, or by theſe, ſaith God, ye exact your labours, or things where­with ye grieve others. And ye faſt for ſtrife and debate, and to ſmite with the fiſt of wickedneſſe, and call ye this your faſting, ſaith God? no, ſaith he, the faſt that I have choſen, is to looſe the bands of wickedneſſe, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppreſſed go free, and that ye break every yoak (of Taxes, Excize, and the like) theſe, theſe, and not praying, preaching, faſting, with murder, robbery, and oppreſſion, are the works of Charity, well pleaſing to, and required of God. Without which, no man by his crying, Lord, Lord,Mat. 7.23 ſhall enter into the Kingdome of Heaven.

CHAP. XVIII. Our love to God, is to precede all other loves.

SUch was the exceeding goodneſſe of God to his people, that he knowing the many delights and enticements of the world, the fleſh,48 and the Devill, to withdraw mans love from his God, that he not onely wrote in the heart of man, that he was to love his Creator: but that he might never forget it, he gives him this as a ſpirituall Law, written in the Tables of ſtone, Thou ſhalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,Deut. 6. with all thy ſoul, and with all thy might. In which words, not onely the precept is expreſt to love him: but the reaſon is annexed, becauſe he is the Lord of all, and thy God in ſpeciall. And that thou mayeſt keep this commandment, it ſhall be in thy heart. And becauſe from the abundance of the heart, the mouth ſpeaketh; there­fore thou ſhalt talk of it ſitting, walking, lying, riſing, that thy children thereby may learne the ſame: and thou ſhalt binde it on thine hand, and between thine eyes; and ſhalt write it upon the poſts of thine houſe, and on thy gates. I do not remember that any law or precept was ſo largely and ſtrongly injoyned as this, binding heart, tongue, eyes, and all the faculties of the ſoul, to love God.

Probably ſome may demand, wherefore the Almighty ſhould ſo earneſtly and deſirouſly re­quire our love before, or more then any, or all things elſe, that are in mans power? In anſwer whereunto, I may ſay, that man hath nothing elſe to preſent, that is ſo much his own, or that is ſo much worthy of Gods acceptance, nor ſo eaſie and beneficiall to himſelf (for man) to give, as his love. And therefore that which is leaſt painfull, or chargeable, and moſt eaſie and beneficiall to the giver, man: and which, with­all, is moſt pleaſing to the Receiver, God: God the Receiver, in his infinite goodneſſe, hath re­quired of man, the giver, onely his love.

If a man were in danger to loſe his life, or his49 underſtanding, or but an eye, or any other mem­ber of his body, how would he love that perſon, who could and would cure, free, or deliver him? and how much more then is he bound to love him, who both gave the eye, the other members, reaſon, and life; and not only made them won­derfully, but gave them freely, with all manner of gracious endowments; and not onely ſo made, and ſo gave them, but who hourly ſo preſerveth them from all outward and inward dangers of corruption and deſtruction? can any price or eſtimate be ſet, ſufficient for ſuch a rare work­manſhip, ſo bounteous a gift, and ſo gracious a preſervation? and then can we render any thing leſſe for them all, than love to him, that ſo made, ſo gave, and ſo preſerves them all?

And yet hitherto I have told you but the leaſt of what God hath done for the meaneſt part of thy ſelf. For when I ſhall adde, that when thou hadſt deſtroyed thy ſoule by ſin, and forfeited it with thy body, and all the faculties and members of both, to the Devill and everlaſting hell fire; that then thy God ſhould deſcend from Hea­ven, ſhould be diſgracefully uſed, ſhamefully tortured, and cruelly murdered; and all this only to ranſome and free both thy body and ſoul: Can any price be ſet too high for this? or canſt thou repay any thing leſſe then thy love?

Should God, as he might juſtly, for the leaſt of his mercies and benefits, have commanded thee to offer unto him all thy worldly wealth, or to ſacrifice thy children to him, as ſome Hea­thens did, and as once he tempted Abraham to do: or with ſtripes or faſting to mortifie or kill thy body; had it been too much for a compenſa­tion or requitall? but, in lieu of theſe, what a mercy, what a goodneſſe, what a love is it in thy50 God, to require onely that which coſts thee leaſt, which is eaſieſt performed, and is in the power of all ſorts of people to give, love? which if thou keepeſt back, and cheerfully rendereſt not, how canſt thou anſwer thine owne ſoule without bluſhing here, or without confuſion and condemnation of thy ſelf at the laſt day of judg­ment?

If God had required of man, almoſt any thing elſe but love, ſome or other might have fra­med, at leaſt, ſome probable ſeeming excuſe for not performance; as if God had commanded our bounty to Gods poor, the poor man might have anſwered, I have it not to give; if faſting, or labour, the ſick and infirm; if knowledge or contemplation; the ignorant or ſimple might have pleaded, theſe are not in our power to do; and therefore, Lord, I am to be excuſed. But when God requires onely thy love; neither the illite­rate, nor ignorant, neither the poore, nor the weak, nor any other condition or ſort of people, have any ſhew or colour of excuſe for not per­formance; for it is in every mans power, if he will, to love.

I may adde, that this ſweet return of our love, as it is generally eaſie for all men to give: ſo is it as generally alwaies to be performed, in all the actions, ſtudies, or demeanours of our life. Art thou eating, drinking, recreating thy ſelf, buy­ing, ſelling, meditating? loving of God hin­ders thee not, but furthers thee in all theſe, ſo in, and with all theſe, he hath but juſtly and gra­ciouſly commanded thy love.

God by his Prophet thus reaſons with his Iſ­rael,Iſa. 43. 3. as now with us; I have not cauſed thee to ſerve with an Offering, nor wearied thee with In­cenſe, but without theſe; Thou haſt made me to51 ſerve with thy ſins, and thou haſt wearied me with thine iniquities. And for all this, I ask but that, which without expence, pain, or labour, thou mayeſt eaſily afford me, thy love; and for it re­ceive heaven. So eaſie and plain a way, and ſo open a door to everlaſting joy, hath God prepa­red for us, when he requires from us onely our love.

The Scripture is plentifull, not onely in tel­ling thee, O man, that God came downe from Heaven, and was incarnate for thee; but that he ſuffered, died, and roſe again, and all this for thee: and it is as often repeated in holy Writ, that he is thy Lord, thy Father, thy King, thy God; and if God in all be thine,1 Cor. 3. 22, 23. the Apoſtle rightly infers, then all that is Gods, Angels, Spirits, and all that is in God, power, juſtice, mercy, all is thine. And canſt thou poſſibly think, how to make a better purchaſe, then to make God, Heaven, Earth, and all thine wholly and onely by Love?

And when God is thus made thine, then in loving him, thou doſt but love thine own; and this is ſo common, that it is naturall for a man to love what is his, rather then what is another mans. But further, indeed to love God, who by love is made thine, is but to love thy ſelf; who by love art united to God; and no man, ſaith the Apoſtle, hates,Epheſ. 5.29. but rather cheriſheth and loveth himſelf.

S. Paul reckoning up the fruits of Gods bleſ­ſed Spirit, in the firſt place ſets love, as being the ſource and ſpring of the reſt;Gal. 5.22 The fruit of the Spirit, ſaith he, is, love, peace, joy, long-ſuffer­ing, gentleneſſe, goodneſſe, faith, meekneſſe, tem­perance; where the firſt, as the parent of all, is love.

52

From the conſideration of ſomewhat here, and elſewhere ſpoken of love, ſome holy Fathers have profeſt, that nothing can be accounted dif­ficult, hard, chargeable, or painfull to him that truly loves; ſuch are the fruits of an hearty a­ctive love, and ſuch are the ſufferings of love from its beloved. For if it reprehends, it is gently; if it burthens, it is delightfully; if it detains, it is pleaſantly; if it reſtrains, it is courteouſly; if it rewards, it is bountifully. And therefore well may we with them con­clude, that love is the pretious pearle mentioned in the Goſpell,Matth. 13. 6. for which the wiſe Merchant ſold all to buy it: as being of moſt value of all other pearls, or heavenly vertues.

CHAP. XIX. God muſt be loved with the whole heart.

GOd requires the heart, 2. the whole heart, 3. that none other may have part therein, 4. no, not man himſelf, to uſe his heart any way againſt, but altogether as tending to Gods ſer­vice and glory.

All that God courts, and wooes man for, is for his heart;Prov. 23.26. My ſon give me thy heart, is the ſumme of his deſire. Which in another word is explained, by that of the King of Sodome to A­braham, give me the ſouls (of the people,) the reſt take to thy ſelf. Gen. 14.21.And for this, as in war for the Citadell, or chief place of ſtrength, is all the contention, that I may ſo ſay, betwixt the true husband and lover of the ſoule, God, and53 the adulterous and falſe lovers, the world, the fleſh, and the Devill.

And God, to ſhew how ardently he affecteth this, and how jealous he is of it, he is not ſatiſ­fied with thy heart, unleſſe, as he hath expreſt himſelf under the Law and the Goſpell,Deut. .5. Thou love him with all thy heart, and with all thy ſoule, with all the ſtrength, and faculties thereof. For as a great Prince coming to an Inne, takes up all the rooms in the houſe; not holding it to ſtand with his ſtate, to have any ſtranger a ſha­rer with him: ſo is it, and much more, with God. And that again, becauſe as S. John ſaith,1 John 3.20. God is greater then thy heart: ſo that all is too little for him, though he hath all. And if he will not en­dure, that one Temple ſhall receive both his Ark and the Idoll Dagon: will he be content,1 Sam. 5 in his bed-chamber, which is mans heart, to en­dure his enemies, the World, the fleſh, and the Devill, to have their abode, or to lodge there? No, one ſaith Chriſt, cannot ſerve two Maſters; I am ſure not two ſuch, that are ſo contrary and oppoſite, as God is to the Devill, the World, and the Fleſh: neither, ſaith S. Paul,1 Cor. 6.14. can light dwell with darkneſſe, nor Chriſt with Belial.

The Prophet Elijah ſaith unto the people,1 Kings 18.21. How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, ſerve him; but if Baal, then follow him. God will not, cannot endure any corrivall, much leſſe any bedfellow with him in the heart of man. Moſes tells Pharaoh,Exod. •• that God will not ſuffer him to leave ſo much as an hoof behinde in Egypt, when he goes to ſacrifice to God: for the leaſt poſſeſſion is a kinde of engagement a­gainſt God. The world or the Devill, like the counterfeit mother, cries divide it, let me have a part, tis no matter which, living or dead,54 ſo God hath not all to himſelt alone: whereas the true mother of the living child,Kin. 3. will admit of no diviſion, but ſhe will have all or none; and ſuch is Gods deſire, for if the heart be divided, as H­ſea ſpeaks of Iſrael,oſ. 10. it is as the childe divided, which cannot live to the true Parent.

But O man, conſider how reaſonable and juſt God is, in requiring thy whole ſoule: and how unjuſt and unreaſonable thou art in denying it him entire, or dividing it in parts, betwixt him and his enemies. Conſider, I ſay, when he crea­ted the goodly univerſe of this world, and ſo glo­riouſly adorned and furniſhed it, not onely with the fruitfull plants, and fragrant flowers, but with thoſe bright Lamps in Heaven; that he made all this, and gave it entire to thee alone, making thee the ſole Lord thereof, in reſpect of any other creatures, over all which alſo he gave thee temporall power and dominion: and as though in this he had ſhewed but half, or in­deed but the leaſt part of his love: conſider, that God himſelf gave himſelf wholly to thee, was incarnate, ſuffered, died, roſe, and all onely for thee, and not for any other. And is not this ar­gument ſufficient, that the leaſt thou canſt re­turn in gratitude, ſhould be thy heart, entire, not to be cut into parcels or ſhreds; ſome whereof to be given to the giver of all, and the reſt to his and thine own enemies?

But ſome perchance may ſay, though this is juſt and reaſonable, which is required, yet it is moſt difficult, for man clothed with fleſh, to performe this duty ſo ſtrictly commanded, to love God with all the affections and thoughts of the ſoul, and theſe ever to be fixed on him, and nothing elſe; neither on parents, friends, or things of this life.

55

In anſwer hereunto I muſt tell you, that God knoweth what we are, and whereof we are made; and therefore in this ſtrict command, or abſo­lute requeſt of all our love, he prohibits us nei­ther to love parents, children, friends, no nor the things of this world: ſo we love them with theſe two rules or cautions.

1. That we love neither friends, nor things on earth, with ſuch a degree of affection as may alienate or divide our fouls from God. And therefore God himſelf hath not onely comman­ded us to love our neighbours, all our neigh­bours, of what rank or diſtance ſoever, ſo they be men: and to ſeek in the ſecond place, things neceſſary for the life and well being of our ſelves and thoſe who depend on us, and for whom we are to provide: but hath figured the fame in pro­portioning our heart; which though it hath a large and broad ſuperficies upward, to look and dilate it ſelf to Heaven: yet it hath but a cone or ſmall point downwards, to the things be­neath.

The ſecond caution, in our love to any thing beſides God, is, that whatever we thus love, it muſt virtually tend and move to the ſervice and glory of God. And in this, our love reſembles the point of the needle in the Sea-mans Card, or the Geometricians paire of compaſſes; the former of which, though it be ever moving, and as it were, caſting about to ſeverall parts, yet it ſtill returns, and reteins its whole ſetled courſe to the true pole ſtar: and the latter, though the one foot of the Compaſſe circuit and ſurround the circumference or globe of the earth, yet the other ſtands ever firm and conſtant to the point, which point here, as that ſtar before, in this our application, is God.

56

So that God, who without any ſhew of cove­touſneſſe in himſelf, or wrong to thee, might require all thy ſubſtance, all thy actions, and all thy time, wholly to be dedicated and ſpent on his immediate holy ſervice: yet grants rhee the fruits of thy honeſt labour, thy wealth, and bids thee give his poore, onely th t which thou mayeſt well ſpare; and of the fruits of thy increaſe, he takes onely a tenth; and from thy worldly travails, onely a ſeventh part: and that Love which he wholly and entirely calls for, is the affection and love of thy heart.

Shall I ſumme up all? There is none ſo un­godly in this world, but aſſents to this generall doctrine, that God is to be ſo loved as he re­quires; but all the queſtion and difference lies in the performance, and manner of loving; for the moſt wicked, in ſome ſort, may be ſaid to love God. But how? and why? for it is but with a carnall or worldly minde, and to their own end and behoof; as by him to enjoy life, health, wealth, pleaſure, and delight; and ſo they love God for theſe things, that if he would confirm his letters patents unto them, that theſe they might perpetually enjoy, they would readily re­leaſe unto him all the grant and intereſt made to them in Heaven.

On the other ſide, the true lovers of God ſo love the world, as that thereby, and therewith, they may the better ſerve him, and promote his glory; without which, they deſire neither the things of the world, nor long to continue in it. They love theſe things ſo, as a man doth his horſe, his cloak, or garment; the one to carry him through his journey, to his Inne, and the other to keep him warm, and to defend him from the hurt or violence of the weather: ſo57 that the love of the firſt, is like that