THE SECOND SERMON UPON THE PASSION.
JOHN. xix. 34.
But one of the Souldiers with a Spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out Bloud and Water.
WE cannot meddle with any part of our Saviours Body this day but we shall touch a wound; and the greatest of them all without controversie is this in my Text.*Thomas might put a finger in where the nails had entred; but where the Spear had opened his side Christ bad him thrust in his hand. Of Evils be sure to choose the least, as David did; but of Blessings, such were all the wounds of Christs Passion, wisdom without art will lead our meditations to the greatest:* And as Lot chose the Plain of Jordan to dwell there before all the Land of Canaan besides, because it had variety of Springs of waters: so this wound was the moistest, and had the most plentiful issue of all the five, it gushed out into two streams of blood and water. I have not found such a passage in the Meditations of the Ancients, that they came to drink at the hands or feet of Christ, although the bloud trickled down from them also.* But it is usual with them in their Allegories to speak un∣to their Soul, as if they laid their mouth unto the side of our Lord, and did draw at it for the Fountain of everlasting life. Did they suppose, said I, that they laid their lips there? Nay Bernard could not satisfie his desire,* till he found a way to lay his heart upon the place; and at length thus he hit upon it: he believed as he had received, that this Souldiers Spear entred at the right side of our Saviour. Now says he, that Elisha stretcht his living Body upon the dead Corps of the Child to raise it again to life: it is a figure that Christ should apply his Body to our body, which is dead in sin, that it might live unto God; his mouth which bled with buffeting, upon our mouth that hath been full of deceit and bitterness; his brows enameld with the pricks of thorns, upon our heads which have con∣trived mischief and malice; his hands which were riveted with nails, upon ours, that they may be washt in innocency; his feet upon ours, that have trod in the crooked ways of the Serpent: then the Orifice of this Wound, laying his right side to our left, shall ly directly upon our heart, and cure that part which dis∣perseth iniquity to all the body.
The other three Evangelists, exact in most circumstances of the Passion, have all omitted this violence done to the dead Body of Christ.
Ʋnus militum, one of the Souldiers did a despiteful fact upon the Body of Christ. The Romans having the whole Nation of the Jews under their subjection at this time, did gratifie them notwithstanding in many things to prevent rebellion; and to satisfie their Law, which forbids their dead to hang upon a tree after Sun-set, lest the Land should be defiled. Pilate gave them leave to take away the Bodies this day crucified from the Cross. Wherefore to dispatch the Malefactors, that they might be taken down, two Thieves had their legs broken, in whom there was life remaining. It seems the chief Centurion would not be more rigid than the Law, to do any further despite to Christ when he was dead already; (yet the cracking of his bones to splinters was the chief thing the Jews intended) but one of the Souldiers 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* certainly says the Father for a fee to please the people, thrust a spear into his side. I doubt me that those who delight∣ed in war bore no good will unto our Saviour. His birth was destinated by provi∣dence unto the days of peace: his Name was the Prince of Peace, his Doctrin was utterly against the Sword, qui gladium sumpserit gladio ferietur; now see what comes of it when he is faln into the hands of Souldiers. Joab and the mighty men of the Camp were all for Adoniah, and all against Solomon. Adoniah was like to live in the field as his Father David had done, but Solomon's hand must spill no blood, that it may build up a Temple. The Emperor Probus let a word of meekness slip from him,*equus nascetur ad pacem, he hoped to have horses brought up to do service in peace, and not in war, and the Captains of the Host cut short his dayes: and so it far'd with the great Preacher of Peace. Christ had as good be guarded by one of the Pharisees, as by one of the Souldiers: As Aristotle said of Bees and Swal∣lows, Nec feri sunt generis, nec mansueti; they were neither reckoned among those creatures that were wild, nor those that were tame, but of a middle sort: Such was the condition of these Spear-men, somewhat ruder than civil men, somewhat tamer than Savages, but violent in their disposition as they are pleased or pro∣voked.
*Yet I am not of Tertullian's mind, to fall out with the whole Profession of Chi∣valry for one Miscreants sake that pierced my Saviours side, or for four at the most, as some say, that scourged him. Quis requiescet super lonco, quo perfossum est Christi latus? for by that reason we should fall out with the Priests and High-Priests too, who were deeper interested in the business than the Souldiers: The Sons of Aaron were his first Enemies: as you would say Hereticks and corrupt Teachers, that sow Tares among the Wheat, were the first Adversaries against the Church of Christ. The Military men were his last Enemies, they that wounded him in my Text, and belyed the truth of his Resurrection afterward, watching at the Se∣pulcher. So the Battels of usurping Princes put on pestilently to be the last ruin of the Church; Caesaris milites, Caesar's Souldiers, such as these were his Souldiers that would be an Universal Monarch, the Caesar over all the Princes of the earth. Some Expositors out of their respects to the honour of a Martial life, would have this person to be ne unus militum, no Souldier at all rightly called, but by abuse and usurpation: and I think you will say they speak reason when I tell you why. When Hannibal was Master of the field against the Romans, a People of Italy called Brutiani revolted to the Conquerors side: But fortune turn'd, and the time came that the Romans had clear'd the Coast of the Carthaginians,* and could take revenge of their Enemies at home, then they neither would let those Brutiani live so hap∣pily as in Peace, nor so honourably as to bear Arms in War, but took them along Page 507 with their Camp, and made them Lictores & Lorarii, that is base Instruments for correction and execution of Malefactors: so that by good conjecture this was but unus è Brutianis, an Executioner, and not a Souldier, but as he lived in the Camp. Now where villany was bred in the bone, and the condition of the man was to be like Satanas emissus ad vexandum orbem, appointed to vex all that came into his hands, what could be expected, but that he should thrust his Spear into the bow∣els of an Innocent. As it was said of Maximinus the Tyrant, who was born a Barbarian both by Father and Mother: in quo fuit conscientia degeneris animi; he did not apply himself to good, because his conscience always told him that his origi∣nal was base and degenerous.
Let him be as bad as we would have him, or as good as the Text calls him, he was as we are in one thing, a Gentile, and not a Jew, a Gentile that did malice Christ. The divisions of both those two great Houses did concur to these cruel and dolo∣rous sufferings; that both in their Posterity to the worlds end might think them∣selves indebted to expiate so great an offence: both had an interest in these bloo∣dy passions, prosecuting our Saviours death; ut qui pro persecutoribus oraret, Gentiles non excluderet, says Origen, That since he prayed for his Persecutors, the Gentiles, who were at one end of his Persecutions might be partakers of his Prayers. And the counterfet Gospel of Nicodemus tells us what success this Gentile had upon our Saviours most potent Intercession and Prayer for his Enemies. For this Longinus, that name his new Godfathers have given him, having lost the use of one eye long before a little sprinkling of this bloud did light upon it, and restore it again. The miracles and the grace of God made him a Christian, and finally a constant pro∣fession of him that was crucified made him a glorious Martyr: Whether the Sto∣ry be true or false I dispute not;* this Author knew that there was a possibility we might believe it: For 'tis true that St. Hierom said upon the conversion of many Publicans and Harlots, Christus est succinum ad congregandas sibi stipulas & paleas; many who had copious vices were drawn unto Christ, as the Coral and the Jet draw chaff and straws, and things of the least moment about them.
Men and Brethren, to this day Christ is crucified, to this day Armed men and Souldiers bend their fury against the Church of Christ, are about his Cross. For as the Philosopher said that an ill man was the worst of all Beasts, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for he was arm'd with wit and reason to do injustice. So every sinner is not so strong as a Souldier to hurt, nor furnisht with ability to be so bad as he would be, he wants a spear to thrust Christ into the side: as Isaiah said of the Army of Se∣nacharib, which threatned sore against the Temple of the Lord, but fell short of their purpose. The Children are come to the birth, and are not able to bring forth. But when I see Power and Authority make the worst use of it to oppress: when I see a pregnant Wit set it self to scoff and libel: when I hear Eloquence whet her tongue to plead against the innocent, alas, say I, this is robusta iniquitas, this impiety is armed with a Spear, the weapons of malice are girt about it, my Saviour and his poor Members are sure to smart for it: Says the Prophet Ezekiel chap. xxxii. they shall go down to Hell with their Weapons of War, that is with their violent and powerful sins. Transgressors we may be, Souldiers that fight a∣gainst Heaven I hope we will never be. Cast away the weapons of Satan, and put on the armour of light. I have done with the Person, I come to the Violence of∣fered, lanceâ fodit, he pierced him with a Spear.
The hand of Jereboam which was stretched out against the man of God dried up,* and withered: the hand of the Emperor Valens shook with an extreme Palsie, and could not subscribe to the Banishment of Basil the Great, says Theodoret; but the hand of the Persecutor, which aimed at the Body of Christ himself, that was sted∣fast, no infirmity in it, no sinew shrunk. Let these go their way, says Christ of his Disciples, when they were all taken together in the Garden; let not these be ap∣prehended: the Shepherd rather than the Sheep, the Master than the Servants;*In me convertite ferrum; whosoever escapes, his own flesh shall never flinch at tor∣ment. St. Austin asks why his dearest flesh was pierced, and despitefully mangled, but according to the Scriptures, not a bone of him was broken; quia ossa sunt electi, & eorum virtutes, his flesh was the Sacrifice which must be offered upon the Altar of the Cross; but his Elect and their Virtues are understood by his bones, and whatsoever betides himself; yet his Elect, that is his bones, must not be broken. In the Similitude of the Vine, whereunto our Saviour is compared more than once,*Bernard hath thus continued the Allegory; that in Circumcision he was vitis prae∣cisa,Page 508 a Vine that was pruned; and though a little cut, yet no substantial part was wounded. In the captious questions of the Pharisees when they felt his mind, whe∣ther he held it lawful to give Tribute unto Caesar, or not, and the like; there he was Vitis circumfossa, a Vine which was under-digged. But when subtil questions proved too weak to undermine his Wisdom, then he was Vitis perfossa, the last malice was to bore the Vine quite through the heart, that it might utterly wither away, and reflourish no more. Weak inventions, and the devices of them that knew not the Scripture, nor the power of God, for it was impossible that he should be held of death. He laugheth at the shaking of a Spear, as Job says of Levia∣than.
The vulgar Translation reads my Text miles aperuit, that the Souldier opened his side, as if the gate of Paradise was now set open, which was shut before against the Sons of men. We read not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he opened, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 he pierced him. He made a Schism in the body of Christ, and divided one part of it from the other. O la∣bour for the unity of the Church, decline Faction, as you would shun a Serpent in the path. Every division pierceth through the skin of my Saviour, through the side into the heart.* For the divisions of Reuben are great thoughts of heart. But Fodit lanceâ, so St. Hierom reads. He digged into him with a Spear, a word of Hus∣bandry and fructification. The Plowers plowed upon my back, and made long fur∣rows,* meaning the scourging that he suffered. Sputis sicut fimo impinguatus. His face was laid over with Spittle as tilth is spread to fatten the Land. He was drencht in bloud like a field that is watered with wholsom springs. They digg'd into his bo∣dy like as the ground is turned up to make it fruitful. They digged, and there they found a Treasury which had been long hid, the salvation of the Gentiles, says the Father.* That you may see Abner a great Prince in Israel in the hands of Joab, who smote him into the fifth rib, here is Christ wounded with the same kind of cruelty, his side was pierced with a Spear.
I have told you what it is to be a Souldier in Arms against God, and what it is to open and divide the flesh of the Son of God, but what sins are their Spears that are bent against his breast? Producta peccata, sins of long custom and continuance, ex∣tensive impieties, such as St. Paul calls the old man, when a sin waxeth upon us like the gray hairs of our age,* that is a long Spear in Satans Artillery. When Saul did first malign at David he cast a Javelin at him, Jaculum Saulis, that was but short and a hasty fit of anger, but when he would never cease to persecute the man of Gods right hand, then you shall read of Hasta Saulis, a Spear which David took from the head of Saul. Inveterate malice which will not be reconciled, it is Homers〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I may say a Spear of such a length that one end is above ground, and the point in Hell. one fit of Intemperance in Noah, one Oath in Joseph, one Super∣stision in John when he fell down before the Angel, these have their turn, and they return no more. Happy Saints which dasht the Babylonish Children against the wall. But there is a sin which doubles in the mouth of the sinner like that of the Edomites against Sion, Down with it, down with it unto the ground. Like Crucifige, cruci∣fige, Crucifie, crucifie him, as if once would not serve the turn. And there is a treble sin like St. Peters denial three times over. And there is iniquity of four links as Amos said, For three transgressions, and for four I will not turn away my wrath from Da∣mascus, saith the Lord. Seven Devils went out of Mary Magdalen. Ten times the heart of Pharaoh was hardned. Our Saviour puts the case, if one man offend ano∣ther, Septuagies septies, Seventy times seven times. There are sins like the staff of Go∣liah's Spear,* as big as a Weavers Beam. I will tell you what other sins Leo likens unto Spears, and so I will finish this Point. In vain, says he, did the Jews keep their own hands from violence, in vain do they think that they made not the wound, because a Souldier digged his side. Qui venenata vocum spicula, & letalia ver∣borum tela jaciebant; Their teeth were Spears and Arrows, and their tongue a sharp Sword. They shot reproachful speeches like shafts of death as out of a well drawn bow; all blasphemers that revile the Saints are as guilty of this wound as the Soul∣dier that pierced his side with a Spear.
I must now speak of that part of his body whereon the Spear did light; and to use the Fathers Elegancy, Venimus ad cor dulcissimum Iesu, & bonum est nobis esse hic; We are come even unto the place where the heart of Jesus lies, and it is good for us to be here. O sacred Passion! O dearest wound! This is a breach for the righteous to enter in,*This is none other, as Jacob said, but the gate of heaven. Why did the Watchmen smite thee, as the Spouse said? What did direct their arm to touch that place? How Page 509 durst an uncircumcised Souldier dare to enter upon thy heart, even upon the Holy of Holies? Literally all this was done lest they had not finished their work of dam∣nation. For no mortal wound had been given to our Saviour before, as some think, and therefore when Joseph came to beg the body for burial,*Pilate marvelled if he were dead already; the Jews mistrusted some delusion, and to be sure to dispatch him, a Souldier was suborned to thrust a Spear into his side. As who should say, he talked when he was alive of going to his Father, and that from thenceforth we should see him in power and great glory; no matter whither he go so we be rid of him, as Bassianus said of his brother Geta, Sit divus frater meus, dum non sit vivus.* Strike him to the heart, and then let God deliver him if he will have him. Delilah enquired diligently of Samson where his strength lay, that she might maim that part of the body, and leave him weak like another man: So these implacable enemies ransacked every part of the body to let out life. If life be in the bloud of man, the bloud was exhausted many ways. If life be in the brains, as others say, the Crown of thorns was sufficint to offend them; If life be in the heart, there it should have no refuge, for one of the Souldiers pierced his side with a Spear.
Now you that are babes in Christ, like young ones in the nest, implumes pulli, hatcht under the wings of Christ, untill you be fledg'd with feathers of Gold; Be∣hold the tender affection of a true Pelican, hath drawn most precious bloud from his breast to revive his young ones. And all you that will enter into the Ark, and be saved from the wrath to come, behold a door is opened in the side that you may enter in. You that want, and have any thing to wish, this is the beautiful gate of the Temple, lie down here, and ask your Alms. One said of our Saviours hands,*Non possunt claudi ad beneficia, quia in cruce fixae & apertae sunt; Benefits must drop from them, they cannot keep close because they were opened upon the Cross: So in his side a gate is made that will never be closed against thee. Thomas found it open, and so shall I. You have heard of the Marriage of the Lamb,* and that his Beloved hath made her self ready. Behold the time when he made a Wife unto himself, and when the Marriage was celebrated. For as Adam was cast into an heavy sleep, and then God opened his side, and made woman out of the man while he slept. So, says St. Austin, Christ bowed down his head, as if he did but nod,* and sleep upon the Cross; the side of the Bridegroom was then opened, that with bloud and water he might make a Spouse unto himself, which is the body of his Church. Thou hast ra∣vished my heart my Sister, my Spouse, says Christ,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 thou hast ravished my heart; as if we had not robb'd him of his bloud, but of his very heart, so infinite∣ly is he enamoured upon the salvation of his Saints. Vulnerasti cor meum, that inter∣pretation goes current with the Fathers, thou hast wounded my heart my Sister, my Spouse, thou hast wounded my heart. Twice wounded you see: His enemies did wound him, and so did his Beloved. There is a carnal wound, which was done by the violence of the Souldier, there is a spiritual wound which he suffers for compas∣sion of his Elect. Woe worth their malice that rent the wound in his flesh; blessed be his own mercies which made a spiritual wound of love in his heart.
Why was thy side wounded, O mirrour of sufferance, when head, and feet, and hands, and every part of thy body had suffered before? Me thinks He answers, because he would teach us throughly to crucifie the old man in our sinful flesh. It is not enough to look to thy feet, and thy paths: It is not enough to set a watch be∣fore thy lips, to make a Covenant with thine eyes. Open thy heart, dive into the depth of it, there thou shalt find the root of evil and concupiscence.* St. Basil reasons seriously, why our Saviour in his Sermon on the Mount, Mat. v. was more earnest to repress the inward corruption of concupiscence in the heart than the out∣ward disordered actions. As for outward sin, says the Father, it cannot be done without attendance of circumstances, opportunity, and time of execution, and yoke-fellows to draw on iniquity with Cartropes, and bodily labour. But the evil thought of the heart is still born without noise, it is conceived with less labour than breathing, it is fruitful at all seasons, it betrays not a demure look; then it boots not to crucifie, and afflict, and subdue the whole body, unless the grace of God pierce into the bottom of our heart. But let me ask again, (and it is sweet to que∣stion it) Why was thy side wounded O blessed Jesus? Was it not to shew that thou didst not love us in tongue, and in word only, but at the very heart? John the Di∣sciple did but lean upon his breast, and yet he carries the title away from them all, Discipulus amatus, the Disciple whom he loved. The breast was shut when John did Page 510 lean upon it; now his side is opened, his Elect may go into his very bowels; and see how he loved them. The Use is proper for the place we are in, for the world slanders the Court much, or else there is more protestation of good will than sound affection among you. Court holy water is an ancient by-word, your consci∣ences know best whether you deserve it, God and his Christ have given you a most notable example to amend it: It was not enough for our Saviour to stretch out his hands, as if he would embrace us; nor yet to pray earnestly, and forgive us, but to shew what the love of a Christian should be to a Christian, he suffered the precious Casket to be broken open, and let us see his heart.
Yea, I will ask but this once, why was thy side pierced and opened O sweet Re∣deemer? Was it to set up a mark for our devotion? That we may lay our mouth spi∣ritually at it,* and suck at the fountain of eternal life? Thomas touched it with his hand, and it proved to him 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉▪ a demonstration for belief: O taste and try how sweet the Lord is. Let us be called dogs, such dogs as the Canaanitish woman was, full of faith, so we may lick these wounds as the dogs did the sores of Lazarus.*Constantine the Emperour kissed the hollow pit of Paphnusius eye, kissed it often, which had been plucked out for the profession of the Gospel. The Jaylor washed the stripes of Paul and Silas. The wounds of them that suffer for the name of Christ are the wounds of Christ himself; let them be more honourable to us than the most unspotted beauty in the world. To end this Point. We read of bles∣sed souls under the throne of God,* there they are safe and happy; we read of La∣zarus in Abrahams bosome,* there he found refreshment. But I, even I, says Bernard, will direct my soul unto this gaping wound, thither it shall fly, I will take my aim at it; Hora mortis meus slatus intret Iesu tuum latus. A door it is, but a narrow door, cast away the superfluity of sin, and the immoderate care for things of this world. These are great burdens upon our back, and a Camel cannot enter in at the side of Christ; but especially, they that look to pass through a raw and a tender part, must not have the thorns of malice about them lest they tear and offend the wound of Christ. It is a wound of love, and by antipathy would bleed afresh if the mali∣cious should approach unto it.
The fourth and last circumstance of the Souldiers violence is now to be scanned that pierced ejus latus, Christs side when he had given up the Ghost. A carkess be∣reft of life is no more a man, but the image of a man. Now, as some have exprest their malice against their enemies Image, when his person was out of their reach, as the Antiochians brake the Statues of the Empress Pulcheria for anger:* So the Soul∣dier runs his Spear at an Image, at a shadow, at the cold body of him who was stiff and dead. A stout Souldier I wiss, such a one as Aristophanes gibed at, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* he dare kill none but him that is slain already. For with whom doth this Champion fight? The divine nature of Christ is uncapable of a wound negatively, unless he confounded the natures of our Saviour with Eutyches, and thought the Son of God to be passive, to have been scourged and crucified. Which opinion when one of his Sectaries would have propounded to Philarchus an Ortho∣dox man:*Philarchus did thus ingeniously put him off, and told him that he had haste of other business and could not intend him, for even hard before he had re∣ceived Letters that Michael the Archangel was dead. That is a Fable, replies the Eu∣tychian, an Archangel is not subject to frailty and mortality. Is not an Angel, replies Philarchus? And would you perswade me that the Deity of Christ is mutable and obnoxious to change? Ejus latus then did not concern the nature of God; and for the nature of man the part being bereaft of a soul, as well he might have smote his Spear upon the trunk of the Cross.
Well might Isaiah say that he was a Lamb dumb before the Shearers, could any Lamb be more dumb? His teeth were set, his mouth closed up, as the world thought, for ever, and yet is Christ in the hands of the Shearer. I will scourge him, says Pilate, and let him go. What Pilate? Think you that such Adversaries will be answered with a scourging? Though you crucifie him they will not let him go. Who knows what immanity had been shewn if Joseph had not hasted to take down the body? The living, it was wont to be said, the living are they at whom malice shoots, and not the dead, Livor post fata quiescit. Nay such as could never obtain a good report from the world, while they lived among us, fame hath renowned them when they were laid in their graves: As Theodoret said of St. Chrysostom,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 He was more desired after his death than when he dayly lived among them. Our Saviour was not so lucky; his Persecutors are the Page 511 same first and last, both while he breaths, and when his Soul was departed: in his Examination they change his Raiment, and put a Reed in his hand, and then they mock him. As he was drawing on, and at the last gasp of life, they say he call'd upon Elias, as if he had prayed to Saints, and then they mockt him: and when he bowed down his head like fruit which is mellow ripe, and droping off from the Tree, then a Souldier thrust a Spear into his side. Most savage men, they sport themselves with that flesh which is the eternal glory of our nature.
And what cause was in it that Christ would suffer this after passion? what fruit was there of such a Wound? for the School-men say, the Church was not re∣deemed with the bloud which came out of this Wound, neither was it washed clean with this water, quia post mortem non est locus meriti; after the Epilogue of his bloudy Agony, that he cried out all was finished, no part of his Passion, say they, was meritorious. What need we subscribe to so much curiosity? but the fruit even of this Wound was threefold. First to shew that Christ doth compassi∣onate, and hath a fellow-feeling with the Members of his Church unto the ends of the World. Think you that he never was wounded since he was taken down from the Cross; yes, he was a Lamb slain from the beginning of the World, and is a Lamb that will be wounded unto the ends of the World. Why did you not feed me, and cloath me you uncharitable? Matth. xxv. Why do you persecute me Saul? Acts ix. he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of mine eye, Zach. ii. O what a tender thing it is, not only to be in the body, but in the very eye of Christ, in the apple of his eye? are not the bowels as tender as the eye; perchance more tender.* Therefore a Christian Poet said of Savanorola the Martyr, that Christ did beg to have his own Bowels sav'd, that they might not be consumed with fire. Parcite, sunt isto viscera nostra rogo. 2. If they have called the Master Beelzebub, what will they call the Servants? if they have ignominiously abused the dead Body of Christ, then certainly Tyrants will dishonour the dead Bodies of his Servants. But what were Wicklif, or Bucer, or Fagius, the worse for it? We that live feel the indignity done unto them says St. Austin,* but they have no feeling of it themselves: no passion affecteth the dead for this disgrace: but we are they that are affected with compassion. Lysimachus in Tully threatned Theodorus to crucifie him, and to let his body rot upon the Tree; meâ nihil refert, humi ne an sublimis putrescam, says Theodorus; a poor revenge, what is it to me, whether my body rot under ground, or above ground? If Heathen men were so resolute, that accounted the body quite lost, then will we be much more couragious, whose Saviour was so despitefully handled in times past, and who have hope of the Re∣surrection in times to come. 3. The art of patience and sufferance it is instar om∣nium, none so useful as it to them who must take up the Cross: would you be ready for the fiery Trial as Paul was, when he was wrapt up into the third Hea∣vens; whether in the body, or out of the body he knew not? would you pass by your torment in the flesh, as Christ did this wound which he never felt: Consepe∣liamur cum Christo, let us die with Christ, let us be buried with Christ, Colos. ii. 12. If two sleep together they have heat, says Solomon, but how can he be warm that is alone. True, says St. Ambrose, si duo dormiant, if you sleep with Christ,* your faith will be warm, your courage warm: Frigidus est qui non moritur cum Christo, he shall be bitten with frost, he shall be nipt with every storm that doth not sleep, that doth not die with Christ. Give me any other reason if you can,* why the Martyrs went oftner to death with Psalms in their mouths, than with tears in their eyes, but because they were dead unto the World. And what is it to them that are dead, though a Souldier thrust a Spear into their side?
I have done with the first general Part conteining four Circumstances of the Malice of the living. Now let us lay our mouth to the sacred Stream, the bles∣sing which issued from the dead, forthwith came thereout bloud and water. This is the Honey-comb that came out of the Carkass of Samson's Lion▪ this is it, even the price of our sins, which is the bloud of the Lamb. At Evening you say it will be fair weather, for the sky is red, as you shall find it prognosticated, Matth. xvi.* How is it made red? or how doth the day grow clear? rubet coelum Christi sanguine, says St. Austin, our Redeemer hath dipt his bloud upon the Sky, as upon the door posts, Exod. xii. and then the day is clear, the Sun of consolation shines upon us.* When an Offering for sin was offered up, the Priest was commanded to dip his finger in bloud, and to sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, septies sanguis, no less would serve the turn: and think you that Christ did fail in this perfect number? no Page 512 not once, if you will count it. 1. He was circumcised, and there was bloud. 2. He sweat in the Garden not without drops of bloud. 3. He was buffetted up∣on the mouth, that must needs draw bloud: Then the scourgings upon his back, the thorns platted upon his head, the nails driven into his feet and hands; those three likewise could not be without great effusion of bloud. At the seventh and last time a Souldier thrust a Spear into his side, and then came forth a stream of bloud. The heart of man hath entangled it self with seven deadly sins, like the Woman of Samaria, seven had taken her to wife: according to the number of the ca∣pital sins, seven times did Christ lay down the price of a Ransom, seven times the bloud was sprinkled before the Lord: but when I say seven, I do not exclude many more, it is numerus finitus pro infinito. The rich man in the Gospel besought Father Abraham, that he would send Lazarus with his finger dipt in water to cool his tongue. There was a foul mistake in the Petition, to ask for water, why not rather for bloud? 'tis bloud that quencheth the fire, which without it is un∣quenchable.
And yet there is some use of water. O the use of it is excellent and unvaluable, therefore water also came from the side of Jesus. It is a wonder that this dolo∣rous Passion of our Lord did not call for fire to rain upon Jerusalem, as it fell down upon Sodom and Gomorrah; which lest it should be, here was a pipe of water opened to quench the wrath of God. Four great Rivers were little enough to water the Garden of Eden, this little Spout is enough to water all the World: for when all other Interpretations fail us, the Stream that bubbled out of the side of Christ is the water above the Heavens; all Israel drank of the Rock in the Wilderness, every Soul which was a thirst drank. What a copious deflux was that? So all the Israel of God may drink of the spiritual Rock, his Spring is no less abundant, and that spiritual Rock is Christ: A spiritual Rock did Paul say? he was used no better than if he had been a very Rock of Stone.* As Moses struck the Rock with his Staff, so was the Body of Christ with a Spear, and water gushed out apace. Now at several times there was a threefold passage of water in our Saviour, sudoris, lacrymarum, lateris, the one when he sweat in the Garden; the second was the distillation of tears, and the third was this Fountain which was opened in his side. Put the seven Issues of bloud, and the three Issues of water together, and here are ten Drink-offerings according to the number of the Ten Commandments which we have broken.
Divinity is nothing else but a Tractate of admiration; and lo a Miracle, the last of Christ's Miracles before he was buried: as the first Miracle which he wrought was by the Element of Water at Cana in Galilee, so his last Miracle was in Water which came out of his side: for that this was no natural Issue they know full well that have tried Dissections and Anatomies. And where did you ever read that an Apostle urged the truth of that which he recited so far, that he knew his record was true, and that the thing was done that we might believe; I say where did you ever meet with such a Protestation in the Bible, if the thing entreated of were not a Miracle? The sweat was miraculous in the Garden, the bloud was miracu∣lous which streamed afresh from the dead body, so was this gush of water from his side most supernatural: whether some inward part of Christ was resolved in∣to this Element of a sudden, or whether it was newly created for the purpose, let them dispute it, who love to seek that which they can never find. But I am sure the water was miraculous; and far be it from us to think that it was not wa∣ter, as some have doubted, but a spumeous phlegmatick humour. As Christ him∣self is truth, and not appearance, so this humour had not the name and appea∣rance only, but the essence of water. There are three that bear record on earth, says St. John, the Spirit, the Water, and Blood; the Spirit which he gave up when he groan'd his last, and that was a true Spirit; the Bloud that drill'd down from him, and that was true Bloud; the Water that leakt out of his side, and that was very Water. So much of the two Streams severally considered; now I come to the Conjunction, Bloud and Water.
For his love could bring forth no less than Twins, sanguis & aqua: if he would undergo the Law, was it not sufficient that he was circumcised and wounded in the flesh? but he was baptized also in Jordan, there was satisfaction both by Bloud and Water. When he suffered the sharp Agony in the Garden, water alone had been a sign of a terrible conflict with his Father, but there trickled from him bloud and water. When the whip did tear his flesh, and the thorns enter into Page 513 the quick, many do modestly suppose that He mingled tears with bloud; and then at every passion there was bloud and water. John Baptist was the Forerunner of the Bridegroom, he came only in water; the Martyrs were the friends of the Bride∣groom, they came in bloud: Christ is the Bridegroom himself, and he came in bloud and water. When the Spouse was asked what a one her Well-beloved was, Cantic. 4. she answered he was white and ruddy; white in water, and ruddy in bloud: not by water alone, says our Apostle, Ep. 1. chap. 5. that had made but half a Media∣tor; but by water and bloud. Sanguis ejus super nos was the cry of the miscreant people, they condemned him in bloud. Pilate pronounced the Sentence, but washed his hands at it; he condemned him in water. Let them behold whom they have pierced, says Zachary: let his Judg and Accusers behold their fact in one,* in bloud and water.
I told you of the Miracle before; now I will tell you of the Mystery of this work, or rather of the Mysteries, for they are more than one:*aperuit ostium miles unde Sacramenta Ecclesiae manârunt, that's St. Austins observation; the door was open∣ed, and the Sacraments of the Church issued out: What all of them? it seems he knew of no more: the Sacraments of the Church came forth with Bloud and Water: For as the Romanists make Bread serve the people by a Synechdoche for the whole Supper of the Lord, so Bloud by a Synechdoche in this place stands for all that Sacrament. There was Divinity even in the cold stream that flow'd from the side of Christ, and it speaks like the bloud of Abel; as if he had said, away with your Paschal Lamb, cease hereafter the circumcision of the flesh; bloud and water shall take place now, I deliver them to be your Sacraments: you shall be born again by water, and you shall be fed with that Cup which is the New Testament in my bloud: but why bloud? and wherefore water says St. Ambrose?* this question will bring on a second Mystery, aqua ut emundaret, sanguis ut redimeret: wretched Babes we were brought forth into this world, as Elisha brought the Ara∣mites blind into the midst of Samaria among their Enemies. Shall I smite them, my Father? shall I smite them, says the King of Israel? O no, says Elisha, use them friend∣ly, and set bread and water before them. Thus I say we were born obstinati ad pecca∣tum, destinati ad judicium, polluted with iniquity, bound over to condemnation. Shall I smite them says Justice now I have them here? shall I consume them at once? O no says our blessed Master, I will wash away their pollutions with water, and make them white as snow: I will redeem them from condemnation, and lay down bloud for bloud. Here is a strain of curtesie far higher than that of Elisha's, not bread and water, but water and bloud. Moses was sent to deliver Israel out of captivity, he was tractus ex aquis, as his name tells us, sav'd out of a River where he was cast to be drown'd; he came by water: but the deliverance stuck a long time, and could not go forward, Moses's Miracles, Aarons Eloquence, the Plagues upon Pharaoh, all could do no good, until the door-posts were smitten with the bloud of the Lamb. First Moses in water, and then the Lamb in bloud: their Redemption was made perfect in bloud and water. And these two streams at the last cast were enough to drown an Heresie, which Christ knew would spring up like a Tare among the Wheat. That's the third Mystery. Marcion he foresaw would doubt of the truth of his body, whether his substance was flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone, or but an airy phantastique I know not what: Nay surely it had an elementary composition, for here was water; and it had the compositi∣on of the humors, for here was bloud:* so Aquinas and the School Divines consider it, even for this cause as a fountain of providence, that for conviction of Heresie his side was pierced, and &c.
But while I consider these two Blessings as they are Miracles and Mysteries, so they are extra nos, coming from Christ, but not coming to us: but upon some application you shall find them intra nos, lying at every mans conscience: First, that which was bloud and water in Christ must be tears of much anguish for your sins in you, and true compunction of heart. I do not ask for a sullen grief in Nabal, which smothers the heart in desperation, and cannot vent it self in a weeping eye. I do not ask for the weeping eye of a Crocodile, which is not commanded by the compunction of the heart: that were like Gideons Fleece, which was wet when the Floor was dry; but I ask for Mary Magdalens eye melting into tears, and for Da∣vids sinful heart melting in his breast like wax; the one is the root, and the other the fruit of repentance, bloud and water: Quicquid Christus in corpore, mater sustinuit in corde, every stroke that did fall upon the body of Christ did light upon the heart Page 514 of the blessed Virgin Mary. So who can think upon that which she did suffer, but must suffer as much as she did think? my pride, my gluttony, my wantonness, my blasphemy, my oppression, my prophanness; what have you done? do you know whom you have kill'd? O no, Father forgive them. My sins knew not what they did: now they weep for it, now they are prickt in heart, and that's my bloud and water.
Secondly that which was bloud and water in Christ, what is it more in us? amor erga Deum caritas erga proximum; it shall be in me a provocation toward the fulfilling of the whole Law, to love God and my Neighbour. St. Paul speaks of a resistance unto blood; and who is he that is dearer unto me than my bloud but my Redeemer Christ? Our Saviour speaks of giving my Alms away; or if I have nothing else in store, let me give but a Cup of cold water, for his names sake, and it shall not lose a reward. And who are they that must have my water, my alms, yea a plentiful gift from my hands? it is my Brother, my Neighbour; or if you will love him better for God's sake than for your own sake, he is one of the Members of Christ: Martyrdom is welcom for Christs sake, my love shall express it self in any good office for my Brothers sake, Martyrdom and Charity are my bloud and water.
Thirdly, and so you shall have your full doses of these two streams: sanguis va∣let contra iram, aqua contra libidinem. Remember this last Application: all our sensu∣al and brutish affections are drawn into two heads by Philosophy, the irascible part, which is rectified by patience and endurance of evil, and the concupiscible part which is rectified by absteining from that which is an apparent, and a de∣ceitful good: if your stomach fret within you, and malign at tribulation when the Cross of Christ is laid upon you, prick the angry vein to save the Soul, let out the bloud of an impatient heart: if your appetite be intemperate, your con∣cupiscence effeminate, dry up the body by fasting, parch it even like a Bottle that is hung in the smoke. Venus orta mari; drain out those superfluous streams that sur∣charge the body: sufferance of evil, and abstinence from the baits of pleasures, these are my bloud and water. And so much touching the Conjunction of these two streams. Now I come in a word to the Order, first bloud, and then water.
Some may say to the bloud here, as the Midwife did to Pharez, who striv'd to come into the world before Zarah his Brother, Why didst thou make a breach? why art thou the first? Malice, Beloved is ever full of confusion, it heeds not where it begins, nor how it proceeds to vengeance: but blessings are like fruit taken in their season, they descend in their order, as in this place by bloud and water. For do but consider how these two were applied even now to the several vertues of a Christian, and you shall find that bloud hath the preeminence, and deserves the first place: for is not compunction of heart better than sorrowful tears? is not martyrdom for Gods sake better than charity to our Neighbour? is it not a greater conquest to suffer evil patiently, than to abstain from deceitful good? aquâ vocati, sanguine electi; is not Election better than Vocation? If all these Comparisons hold, as I think they do, bloud is preeminent in way of blessing above water. 2. Here were the great Legacies paid unto the World, the two Testaments upon the death of the Testator. The Covenant of the old Testament was continued by Sacrifice, renewed by Circumcision, altogether confirmed by effusion of bloud. Well, the Covenant of the New Testament is established in Baptism, in the Pool of water. O what a comely thing is Order! God kept it in his very death, the Old Law was first drawn drie in the Bloud, and the New Law succeeds it in the stream of Water: and I like his Meditation well that said, our Saviour had first uttered out every drop of bloud from his veins, ut nos ad bibendum de aquâ aeternae vitae invi∣taret, to invite us from thenceforth to drink of the water of everlasting life.
*Our Romish Adversaries stand much upon that which I handle now; for say they, if the two Sacraments had been precisely out of Christs side, then St. John would have made his Relation thus, A Souldier pierced his side, and there came out Water and Bloud: for Baptism is our beginning in the Church, our first milk, and after that, when we know how to examin our selves, as St. Paul says, then we come to the Supper of the Lord; just so as they would have it. Aquinas, a sure man of their own side, compares the Sacraments in this wise: Baptism is a Sacra∣ment of the greatest necessity of the twain, the Supper of the Lord is of more perfection, though not of so much necessity. Well then, since we must aim at perfection, as the Apostle says, why might not Christ give the first place to that Page 515 which makes us perfect, and the second place to that which is first in time, but lag in perfection? nay rather than we should make use of this Text for no more than a yoke of Sacraments, they will allow it to be a Figure of none but of the Supper of the Lord; for their wine is dash'd with water in their Chalice, and this Text is the Authority for it, bloud and water. I am sure the letter of the Scrip∣ture is on our side, that use pure wine in the Eucharist, de fructu geniminis; I do not read that Christ gave his Disciples ought but wine to drink: I deny not but some of the ancient Fathers concur with them; but it is apparent I can make no better excuse: they forsake the Letter, and build upon an Allegory. He that feeds upon the Letter of the Text feeds upon Manna; he that lives by the Alle∣gorie, feeds upon licious Quails. Israel may desire such curious food, but God was better pleased when they were contented with Manna. I have done with the Order
The period of all in a word is the readiness of the Fountain, which could not be stopt for a moment: Forthwith came thereout bloud and water. Love is no delaier, no protractor of time, ready to do good, speedy in execution: good deeds did not hang in our Saviours fingers, as they do with many of us; our hands unclasp to part with any thing, like a lock that's rusty, and goes hard, you can scarce o∣pen it. Abrahams forwardness in entertaining the Angels, and the dispatch that he made, is as much commended as his hospitality, Gen. xviii. Abraham, says the Text, hastened to the Tent to Sarah. 2. Sarah made ready quickly three measures of fine meal. 3. Abraham ran to the Herd for a tender Calf. 4. Abrahams young man did hast to dress it; nemo piger est in domo caritatis, not a slothful person, not a protractor of time in all the House of Charity. Such expedition did our Saviour make to express his love to the World; he yields up his body in the flower of his age, not a wrinkle in his brow, not a grey hair in his head, he made haste to suf∣fer. Judas, says he, what thou doest do it quickly; as who should say, I know thy heart is against me, and that thou wouldest sell me into mine enemies hand, yet for old acquaintance sake do me the curtesie to protract no time, what thou doest do it quick∣ly. There past but a little time from midnight to midday betwixt his Attachment, his Arraignment, and his Execution. This was a Paschal Lamb eaten in haste, as God gave Moses in charge, for the Lord will hasten you out of Egypt. And to come to the instance in my Text, his joynts were stiff and cold, the moisture of his body congealed, long it would be, I should have thought, before a few drops of liquor could come forth, with much violence and chafing the flesh. O but the Testator was dead, his Sacraments are the Seals of his mercy, wherewith he assures his Promises unto us, and he would not have the World stay one whit for their Le∣gacies, capiat qui capere potest, out it gusheth like a torrent, and forthwith came thereout bloud and water.
All you that thirst for the living God be as ready to drink, as he was to give, else we are magis mortui quàm mortuus, as dead as death it self, and past recovery. Repent you, but instantly; make restitution of all things wrongfully gotten, but instantly; be reconciled to your enemies, stick not at it, but instantly; instantly I say, but continue those instants unto your lives end. Our Saviour compared his love towards Jerusalem to a Hen that gathers her Chickens under her wings: let this Comparison be the Pattern of our love to Christ: You know the Hen must not sit for a spurt, and be gone, then her eggs addle, and the Brood is spoiled. Take the application unto your conscience: nourish the good motions of Gods spirit in your heart, sit upon them as the Hen doth upon her Brood, that they may quicken in you by a lively faith. We had need to do it; for as Christ was sudden and made haste to express his love, so he is sudden and will make haste to judgment. Surely I come quickly, they are the close of our Bible. Even so come Lord Jesus, and prepare us for thy second coming, that we who drink at thy mystical Wound here, may be satisfied with thy goodness as out of a River in thy Kingdom of glory. AMEN.