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the effect of his love, and can descend only upon them that love him: that by his love it is, that we receive the holy Jesus, and by his love we receive the Holy Spirit, and by his love we feel peace and joy within our spirits, and by his love we receive the mysterious sacrament. And what can be greater, than that from the goodness and love of God we receive Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, and adoption, and the inheritance of sons, and to be co-heirs with Jesus, and to have pardon of our sins, and a divine nature, and restraining grace, and the grace of sanctification, and rest and peace within us, and a certain expectation of glory? Who can choose but love him, who, when we had provoked him exceedingly, sent his Son to die for us, that we might live with him; who does so desire to pardon us and save us, that he hath appointed his holy Son continually to intercede for us? that his love is so great, that he offers us great kindness, and entreats us to be happy, and makes many decrees in heaven concerning the interest of our soul, and the very provision and support of our persons, that he sends an angel to attend upon every of his servants, and to be their guard and their guide in all their dangers and hostilities: that for our sakes he restrains the devil, and put his mightiness in fetters and restraints, and chastises his malice with decrees of grace and safety: that he it is, who makes all the creatures serve us, and takes care of our sleeps, and preserves all plants and elements, all minerals and vegetables, all beasts and birds, all fishes and insects, for food to us and for ornament, for physic and instruction, for variety and wonder, for delight and for religion: that as God is all good in himself, and all good to us, so sin is directly contrary to God, to reason, to religion, to safety and pleasure, and felicity: that it is a great dishonour to a man's spirit to have been made a fool by a weak temptation and an empty lust; and to have rejected God, who is so rich, so wise, so good, and so excellent, so delicious, and so profitable to us: that all the repentance in the world of excellent men does end in contrition, or a sorrow for sins proceeding from the love of God; because they that are in the state of grace, do not fear hell violently, and so long as they remain in God's favour, although they suffer the infirmities of men, yet they are God's portion; and therefore all the repentance of just and holy men, which is cer
tainly the best, is a repentance not for lower ends, but because they are the friends of God, and they are full of indigr nation, that they have done an act against the honour of their patron, and their dearest Lord and Father: that it is a huge imperfection and a state of weakness to need to be moved with fear or temporal respects; and they that are so, as yet are either immerged in the affections of the world or of themselves; and those men that bear such a character, are not yet esteemed laudable persons, or men of good natures, or the sons of virtue: that no repentance can be lasting that relies upon any thing but the love of God; for temporal motives may cease, and contrary contingencies may arise, and fear of hell may be expelled by natural or acquired hardnesses, and is always the least, when we have most need of it. and most cause for it; for the more habitual our sins are, the more cauterised our conscience is, the less is the fear of hell, and yet our danger is much the greater: that although fear of hell or other temporal motives may be the first inlet to a repentance, yet repentance, in that constitution and under those circumstances, cannot obtain pardon, because there is in that no union with God, no adhesion to Christ, no endearment of passion or of spirit, no similitude or conformity to the great instrument of our peace, our glorious Mediator: for as yet a man is turned from his sin, but not converted to God; the first and last of our returns to God being love, and nothing but love: for obedience is the first part of love, and fruition is the last; and because he that does not love God, cannot obey him, therefore he that does not love him, cannot enjoy him.
Now that this may be reduced to practice, the sick man may be advertised, that in the actions of repentance, he separate low, temporal, sensual and self-ends from his thoughts, and so do his repentance, that he may still reflect honour upon God; that he confess his justice in punishing, that he acknowledge himself to have deserved the worst of evils; that he heartily believe and profess, that if he perish finally, yet that God ought to be glorified by that sad event, and that he hath truly merited so intolerable a calamity: that he also be put to make acts of election and preference, professing that he would willingly endure all temporal evils, rather than be in the disfavour of God or in the state of sin; for. by this last instance, he will be quitted from the suspicion "of leaving sin for temporal respects, because he, by an act of imagination or feigned presence of the object to him, entertains the temporal evil, that he may leave the sin; and therefore, unless he be a hypocrite, does not leave the sin to be quit of the temporal evil. And as for the other motive of leaving sin out of the fear of hell, because that is an evangelical motive conveyed to us by the Spirit of God, and is immediate to the love of God; if the schoolmen had pleased, they might have reckoned it as the handmaid, and of the retinue of contrition: but the more the considerations are sublimed above this, of the greater effect and the more immediate to pardon will be the repentance.
8. Let the sick persons do frequent actions of repentance, by way of prayer for all those sins, which are spiritual, and in which no restitution or satisfaction material can be made, and whose contrary acts cannot in kind be exercised. For penitential prayers, in some cases, are the only instances of repentance that can be. An envious man, if he gives God hearty thanks for the advancement of his brother, hath done an act of mortification of his envy, as directly as corporal austerities are an act of chastity, and an enemy to uncleanness: and if I have seduced a person, that is dead or absent, if I cannot restore him to sober counsels by my discourse and undeceiving him, I can only repent of that, by way of prayer: and intemperance is no way to be rescinded or punished by a dying man but by hearty prayers. Prayers are a great help in all cases; in some they are proper acts of virtue, and direct enemies to sin: but although alone and in long continuance they alone can cure some one or some few little habits, yet they can never alone change the state of the man; and therefore are intended to be a suppletory to the imperfections of other acts: and, by that reason, are the proper and most pertinent employment of a clinic or deathbed penitent.
9. In those sins, whose proper cure is mortification corporal, the sick man is to supply that part of his repentance by a patient submission to the rod of sickness: for sickness does the work of penances, or sharp afflictions and dry diet, perfectly well: to which if we also put our wills, and make it our act by an after-election, by confessing the justice of God, by bearing it sweetly, by begging it maty be medicinal, there is nothing wanting to the perfection of this part, but that God confirm onr patience, and hear our prayers. When the guilty man runs to punishment0, the injured person is prevented, and hath no whither to go but to forgiveness.
10. I have learned but of one suppletory more for the perfection and proper exercise of a sick man's repentance; but it is such an one, as will go a great way in the abolition of our past sins, and making our peace with God, even after a less severe life; and that is, that the sick man do some heroical actions in the matter of charity, or religion, of justice, or severity. There is a story of an infamous thief, who, having begged his pardon of the emperor Mauricius, was yet put into the hospital of St. Samson, where he so plentifully bewailed his sins, in the last agonies of his death, that the physician who attended found him unexpectedly dead, and over his face a handkerchief bathed in tears; and soon after somebody or other pretended to a revelation of this man's beatitude. It was a rare grief that was noted in this man, which begot in that age a confidence of his being saved; and that confidence (as things then went) was quickly called a revelation. But it was a stranger severity, which is related by Thomas Cantipratanus concerning a young gentleman condemned for robbery and violence, who had so deep a sense of his sin, that he was not content with a single death, but begged to be tormented, and cut in pieces joint by joint, with intermedial senses, that he might by such a smart signify a greater sorrow. Some have given great estates to the poor and to religion; some have built colleges for holy persons; many have suffered martyrdom: and though those that died under the conduct of the Maccabees, in defence of their country and religion, had pendants on their breasts consecrated to the idols of the Jamnenses; yet that they gave their lives in such a cause with so great a duty (the biggest things they could do or give), it was esteemed to prevail hugely towards the pardon and acceptation of their persons. An heroic action of virtue is a huge compendium of religion: for if it be attained to by the usual measures and progress of a Christian from inclination to act, from act to habit, from habit to abode, from abode to reigning, from reigning to perfect possession, from possession to extraordinary emanations, that is, to heroic actions, then it must needs do the work of man, by being so great towards the work of God ; but if a man comes thither per saltum, or on a sudden (which is seldom seen), then it supposes the man always well inclined, but abused by accident or hope, by confidence or ignorance; then it supposes the man for the present in a great fear of evil, and a passionate desire of pardon: it supposes his apprehensions great, and his time little; and what the event of that will be, no man can tell; but it is certain, that to some purposes God will account for our religion on our death-bed, not by the measures of our time, but the eminency of affection (as said Celestine the Firstd); that is, supposing the man in the state of grace, or in the revealed possibility of salvation, then an heroical act hath the reward of a longer series of good actions, in an even and ordinary course of virtue.
t Quid debent laesi facere, ubi rei ad pcenam eonfugiunt? VOL. IV. I I
11. In what can remain for the perfecting of a sick man's repentance, he is to be helped by the ministries of a spiritual guide.
Acts of Repentance, by Way of Prayer and Ejaculation, to be used especially by Old Men in their Age, and by all Men in their Sickness.
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and rebelled; and thou hast not pardoned. Thou hast covered with anger and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. O cover not thyself with a cloud; but let our prayer pass through. Lam. iii. 40—44.
I have sinned: what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee,
d Vera ad Deum conversio in ultimis positorum mente potius est sstimanda
(ptam tempore Col. P. ep. ii. c. 9. Vera conversio scil. ab infidelitate ad lidetn
Christi per baptismum.