Inferences of Practice from the former observa∣vations.
HERE then we see first the different [ 1] state and disposition of the Church, here in a state of corruption and therefore in want of water in Bap∣tisme to wash it; in a state of infancy, and therefore in want of milke in the word to nourish it; in a state of weaknesse, and there∣fore in want of bread, the body of Christ, to strengthen it; in a state of sorrow, and there∣fore in want of wine, the blood of Christ, to comfort it. Thus the Church while it is a child, it speaks as a child, it understands as a child, it feeds as a child, here a little and there a little; one day in the week, one houre in the day, it is kept fasting and hungry. But when it is growne from strength to strength, unto a perfect age, and unto the fulnesse of the stature of Christ, then it shall be satisfied with fatnesse, and drink its full of those rivers of pleasures, which make glad the City of God: It shall keep an eternall Sabbath, a continued festivall; the Supper of the Lamb shall bee without end, or satiety: so long as the Bride∣groom is with them, (which shall be for ever) they cannot fast.
[ 2] Secondly we see here, nor see only, but Page 11 even taste and touch how gratious the Lord is, in that he is pleased even to unroabe his graces of their naturall lustre, to overshad∣dow his Promises, and as it were to obscure his glory that they might be made propor∣tion'd to our dull and earthy senses, to lock up so rich mysteries as lie hidden in the Sacra∣ments in a bason of water, or a morsell of bread. When hee was invisible by reason of that infinite distance between the divine na∣ture and ours, hee made himselfe to be seen in the flesh; and now that his very flesh is to us againe invisible by reason of that vast di∣stance between his place and ours, he hath made even it in a mysticall sense to be seen and tasted in the Sacrament. Oh then since God doth thus farre humble himselfe and his graces even unto our senses, let not us by an odious ingratitude humble them yet low∣er, even under our feet. Let us not trample on the blood of the Covenant, by taking it into a noisome sinke, into a dirty and earthie heart. He that eats Christs in the Sacrament with a foule mouth, and receives him into an un∣clensed and sinfull soule doth all one as if he should sop the bread he eates in dirt, or lay up his richest treasures in a sink.
Thirdly we learn how we should employ [ 3] all our senses. Not only as brute beasts do, to fasten them on the earth, but to lift them up unto a more heavenly use, since God hath Page 12 made even them the organs & instruments of our spirituall nourishment. Mix ever with the naturall a heavenly use of thy senses. Whatso∣ever thou seest▪ behold in it his wonder: what∣soever thou hearest, hear in it his wisedome: whatsoever thou tastest, taste in it the sweet∣nesse, as well of his love, as of the creature. If Christ will not dwell in a foul house, he will certainly not enter at a foul door. Let not those teeth that eat the bread of Angelsgrinde the face of the poor; Let not the mouth which doth drink the blood of Christ, thirst after the blood of his neighbour: Let not that hand which is reached out to receive Christ in the Sacrament, be stretched out to injure him in his members: Let not those eyes which look on Christ, be gazing after vanity. Certainly if he will not be onea in the same body with a harlot, neither will he be seen with the same eyes: he is really in the heaven of the greater world, and he will be no where else Sacra∣mentally but in the heavenly parts of man, the lesser.
Lastly, we see here what manner of conver∣sation we have; The church on earth hath but the earnests of glory, the earnest of the Spirit, and the earnest of the Sacrament; that bwitnessing, thisc signifying; both confirming andd sealing our adoption. Bute we know not what we shall be,f our life is yet hid, andg our inheritance is laid up for us. A Prince that Page 7 is haply bred up in a great distance from his future kingdome in another Realm, and that a∣mongst enemies where he suffers one while a danger, another a disgrace, loaded with dan∣gers and discontents, though by the assurance of blood, by the warrant of his fathers own hand & seal he may be confirmed in the evident right of his succession, can hardly yet so much as imagine the honour he shall enjoy, nor any more see the gold and lustre of his crown in the print of the wax that confirms it, than a man that never saw the Sunne can conceive that brightnesse which dwelleth in it by its pi∣cture drawn in some dark colours. We area a royall people,b heirs, yea coheirs with Christ: but we are in a farre countrey andc absent from the Lord, in houses ruinous and made of clay, in a region of darknesse, in a shadow of death, in a valley of tears, though compas∣sed in with a wall of fire, yet do the waves of ungodly men break in upon us; though ship'd in a safe Ark, the temple of God, yet often tos'd almost unto shipwrack, and ready with Ionah to be swallowed of a great Leviathan; though protected with a guard of holy An∣gels, which pitch their tents about us, so that the enemy without cannot enter, yet enticed often out,* and led privily but voluntarily a∣away by the enchanting lusts, the Dalilahs of our own bosome. The kingdome and inhe∣ritance we expect is hid from us,* and we know Page 14 no more of it, but onely this, that it passeth knowledge. Truly the assurance of it is con∣firmd by an infallible pattent, Gods own pro∣mise, and that made firm by a seal coloured with that blood, and stamped with the image of that body which was the price that bought it. What remains then but that where the bo∣dy is, thither the Eagles flie, where the treasure is, there the heart be also, that we groan after the revelation of the sonnes of God, when the vayl of our mortallity shall be rent, the mud∣wall of the flesh made spirituall and transpa∣rant, the shadows and resemblances of the Sa∣craments abolished, the glasse of the creature removed, the riddle of our salvation unfold∣ed, the vapours of corruption dispelled, the patience of our expectation rewarded, and from the power of the spirit within, and the presence of Christ without shall be diffused on the whole man a double lustre of exceeding abundant glory. The hope and assurance of this is it which in those holy mysteries of Christs Supper we receive, which if received without dependance and relation on that glo∣ry which they foreshadow, and on that body which withall the merits of it they obsignate, doth no more good than the seal of a king, without any grant or patent whereunto it should be joyned, in which there is no profit beyond the bare wax, and much danger in tri∣flin with so sacred a thing.