A Sermon on the Gunpowder plot, preached by Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Chichester and formerly Chaplin to Queen Elizabeth I, at Whitehall, London on 5 November 1606, one year after the plot failed.
This day was meant to be the day of all our deaths; and many were appointed as Sheep to the Slaughter, nay, worse than so. There was a thing doing on it, if it had been done, we all had been undone. And the very same day wherein that appointment was disappointed by God, and we all saved, that we might not die but live, and declare the praise of the Lord: the Lord of whose doing, that marvellous deed was, of whose making, this joyful day is, that we celebrate.
This merciful and gracious Lord hath so done His marvellous works, that they ought to be had, and kept in remembrance. Of keeping remembrance, many wayes there be: Among the rest, this is one, of making days; set solemn days to preserve memorable acts, that they be not eaten out, by them, but ever revived, with the return of the Year, and kept still fresh in continual memory.
God himself taught us this way. In remembrance of the great delivery from the destroying Angell, He himself ordained the day of the Passover yearly to be kept. The Church, by Him, taught, took the same way. In remembrance of the disappointing of Haman’s bloody lots, they were likewise appointed the days of Purim, yearly to be kept. The like memorable mercy did He vouchsafe us. The destroyer passed over our dwellings, this day: It is our Passe-over. Haman and his Fellowes had set the dice on us, and we by this time had been all in peeces: It is our Purim day.
We have therefore well done and upon good warrant, to tread in the same steps, and by law to provide, that this Day should not die, nor the memorial thereof perish, from our selves or from our seed, but be consecrated to perpetual memory, by a yearly acknowledgement to be made of it through all generations. In accomplishment of which order, we are now here in the presence of God, on this day, that He first, by His Act of doing, hath made, and we secondly, by our act of decreeing, have made before Him, His holy Angels, and men, to confess this His goodness, and our selves eternally bound to Him for it. And, being to confess it, with what words of Scripture can we better or fitter do it, that those we have read out of this Psalme? Sure, I could think of none fitter, but even thus to say, A Domino Factum [This is the Lord], &c.
The treaty whereof may well be comprised in three points: 1. The Deed or doing: 2. The Day, and 3. The Duty. The Deed, in these: This is the Lord,s &c. The Day, in these: This is the day, &c. The Duty in the rest, Let us, &c. The other two reduced to the Day, which is the centre of both. The doing is the cause; The Duty is the consequent: from the day groweth the duty.
To proceed orderly, we are, to begin with, the day. For though it stand after the deed, yet to us, it is first: our knowledge is a posteriori. The effect ever first, where it is the ground of the rest. Of the day then first.
- That such days there be, and how they come to be such.
- Then of the doing, that maketh them: wherein that this of Davids was; and that ours is no lesse, rather more.
- Then of the duty, how to do it, by rejoicing, and being glad, for so, guadium erit plenum [joy will be full], these two make it full. How to take order, that we may long and often do it, by saying our Hosanna, and Benedictus, for, gaudium rostrum nemo tolles a nobis [no one shall take from us this joy], those will make, that our joy no man shall take from us.
This is the day! This why, are not all days made by Him? is there any days not made by Him? Why then say we, This is the day the Lord have made? Divide the days into natural and civil, the natural, some are clear and some are cloudy; the civill, some are lucky days, and some are dismal! Be they fair or foul, glad or sad; (as the Poet calleth him) the Great Diespiter, the Father of days have made them both. How say we then of someone day, above his fellow, This is the day etc.?
No difference at all, in the days, or in the months themselves: by nature, they are one. No more in November than another month, nor in the fifth, than in the fifteenth. All is, in God’s making, for, as in the Creation, we see, all are the works, and yet a plain difference between them for all that, in the manner of making: Some are made Six, Let there be light, a firmament, dry Land; Some, with Faciamus with more ado, greater forecast, and framing, as man, that master-piece of His works, of whom therefore in a different sense, it may be said: This is the Creature which God have made (suppose, after a more excellent manner.) In the very same manner, it is with days; All are His making, all equal in that’ but, that letteth not, but He may bestow a special Faciamus upon someone day more than other; and so that day, by special prerogative, said To be indeed a day, that God have made.
Now, for God making, it fares with days, as it does with years. Some years God crowns with His goodness, maketh it more seasonable, healthful, fruitfull, than others. And so for days, God leaves a more sensible impression of His favour, upon someone, more than many besides, by doing upon it some marvellous work. And , such a day on which God vouchsafeth some special factum est [it is done], some great and public benefit, notable for the time present, memorable for the time to come, in that case, of that Day (as if God had said Faciamus diem hunc [Let’s make this day], showed some workmanship, done some special cost on it) it may with an accent, with an emphasis be said, this verily is a day which God have made, in comparison of which, the rest are as if they were not, or at least were not of His making.
As for black and dismal days, days of sorrow and sad accidents; they are and may be counted for no days: Nights rather, as having the shadow of death upon them; or, if days, such as his were, which Satan had marr’d than which God had made. And for common and ordinary days, wherein as there is no harm, so not any notable good, we rather say, they are gone forth from God in the course of nature (as it were) with a fiat, then made by Him; especially, with a faciamus. So, evil days no days, or days marr’d: and common days, days; but no made days: Only those made, that crowned with some extraordinary great Favour, and thereby get a dignity, and exaltation above the rest: exempted out of the ordinary course of the Calendar with an Hic est. Such, in the Law, was the Day in the Passover, made by God, the head of the year. Such, in the Gospel, of Christs Resurrection, made by God, Dies Dominicus; and to it, do all the Fathers apply this verse. And we had this day, our Passe-over, and we had a Resurrection or as Isaac had. But, I forbeare to goe further in the generall. By this that have been said, we may see, there be days of which it may be safely said, This the day, &c. and in what sense, it may be said. Such there be then, that this of ours, one of them; that if it be, we may so hold it, and doe the duties that pertain to it.
David’s day here, was one certainly, distante Spiritu [a different spirit]; and they, that are like it, to be held for such: so that, if ours be as this was, it is certainly dying a Deo factus. Now then (to take our rule from the former verse) Factum Domini facit diem Domini [It makes the day of the Lord]. It is Gods deed, that maketh it God’s day; and, the greater the Deed, the more God’s day. There must be first, Factum est [It is done], some doing: and secondly, it must be a Domino [Master], He the doer: and thirdly, that somewhat must be somewhat marvellous: and fourthly, not, in itself, so; but, in our eyes. These four go to it; these four make any day a day of God’s making. Let us see then these four; First, in David’s here, and then in our own; and if we find them all, boldly pronounce, This is the day, &c.
First, the factum est, in David’s; what was done, set down at large in the forepart of the Psalme. It was a deliverance: all the Psalme runneth on nothing else. Every deliverance is from a danger, and, by the danger, we take measure of the deliverance. The greater that, the greater the Delivery from it: and the greater the delivery, the greater the day, and the more likely to be of Gods own manufacture. His danger first: what should have been done. He was in great distress. Three several times, with great passion, he repeats it, that his Enemies: came about him; compassed him round: compassed and kept him in on every side: were, no swarm of bees so thick: That they gave a terrible lift or thrust at him, to overthrow him, and very near it they were. And at last, as if he were newly crept out of his grave, out of the very jaws of death and despair, he breaks forth and saith, I was very near my death, near it I was, but non moriar [I do not die], die I will not now, for this time, but live a little longer to declare the works of the Lord. This, was his danger and, a shrewd one (it seemeth) it was. From this danger, he was delivered. This, the factum est.
But, man might do all this; and so it be man’s day, for anything is said yet Though it were great, it maketh it not God’s unless God, God and not man, but God Himself was the doer of it: and, if He the Doer, He denominates the Day. This then was not any mans, nor any Princes doing, but GODs alone, His might, His mercy, that brought it to passe: Not any arm of flesh, but Gods might, not of any merit of his, but of His own mere mercy. This was done by His might: Thrice he tells us of it, It was the right hand of the Lord, that brought this mighty thing to passe. This was done by His mercy. His ever-enduring mercy: four times he tells us, it was that, did it. With that, he begins and makes it the key of the song. Then, as we have factum est, so we have A Domine: The deed and the doer both.
Gods doings are many and not all of one size. The Prophet Zachary speaketh of a day of Small things, and, even in those small, must we learn to see God, or we shall never see Him in greater. Yet, so dim is our sight, that unless they are great, commonly we see Him not: nay unless it be greate usque ad miracalum, so great, that marvellous withall, we count it not worth a day, nor worthy God: unless it be such. But, if it be such, then it is God’s, Qui facit mirabilis solus, Who only workes great marvells: then, man is shut out, and God’s must the day be. A Domino factum, & mirabile [This is the Lord’s and it is amazing].
And yet this is not enough. The truth is, all that God doth, all His works are wonderful: Magna, sed ideo parva quia afitata. Great, wonders, all: but, not wonderfull; seem small to us, because they be usual: His miracles are no more marvellous, than His ordinary works, but that, we see the one daily, and the other, not. Therefore he addeth [in our eyes] for a full period: His doings, all marvellous in themselves; but, not marvellous, in our eyes, unless they be rare, and the like not seen before: But then they be; and then we say, Digitus Dei est, it is the finger of God, nay, the right hand of God, that brought this mighty thing to passe. Then we give the day for God’s, without more ado. Now then, we have all that goeth to it: 1, A Deliverance wrought; 2, wrought, by God, 3, a wonderful deliverance, 4, and that, even in our eyes, These make David’s day, a day of Gods making.
Will these be found in ours, and then ours shall be so too? They will, all of them certainly; and that, in a higher degree, in a greater measure; match David’s day, and overmatch it in all. 1. We were delivered, and from a danger, that is clear. How great? Boldly, I dare say, from a greater than Davids. Thus I show it, and go no further than the Psalm itself.
David called upon God in his danger; he knew of it, therefore, We did not: we imagined no such thing; but that all had been safe, and we might have gone to the Parliament, as secure as ever. The danger never dreamt of, that is the danger.
His was, by compassing and hemming in, that is above ground, and may be discerned from a watchtower. Ours was by undermining, digging deep underground, that none could discern.
One cannot be beset, but he may have hope to break through, at some part. But here, from this, no way, no means, no possibility of escaping. The danger not to be discerned, not to be escaped, that is the danger.
His were a swarm of bees they buzz and make a noise when they come. Ours, a brood of vipers, mordentes in silentio [silent as death], still, not so much as a hiss, till the deadly blow had been given.
His was but of himself alone, so he saith, I was in trouble, They came about me, kept me in, thrust sore at me. But one person, Davids alone. Ours of a far greater extent; David, and his three Estates with him.
Now, though David himself were valued by them at ten thousand of themselves yet he and they too, must needs be more, than He alone. Not only King David had gone but Queene Esther too: and not only they, but Salomon the young Prince, and Nathan his brother. Nor these were not all. The Scriptures recount, David had Jehosaphat for his Chancellour, Adoran his Treasurer, Seraja his Secretary, Sadoc and Abiathar, and twenty-two more, the chief of the Priests, Admo his judge, Joab his Generall; all had bone. His forty-eight Worthies or Nobles, all they too. The Principal of all the Tribes in the kingdom: all they too; and many more than these; no man knoweth how many. It is out of the question, it had exceeded this of Davids here.
One more. His danger was from a man. He goeth no further, I will not fear what man doth unto me. This of ours was not: merely mans, I deny it, it was the devil himself. The instruments (not as his, a swarm of bees, but) a swarm of Locusts, out of the infernal pit. Not men, no not Heathen men: Their Stories; nay their Tragedies can show none near it. Their Poets could never fain any so prodigiously impious. Not men; No, not Savage wild men: the Hunnes, the Heruli, The Turcilingi, noted for inhumanity, never so inhumane: Even among those barbarous people, this fact would be accounted barbarous. How then? Beasts: There were at Ephesus, beasts in the shape of men, and brutishness is the worst, Philosophie could imagine of our nature. This is more than brutish, What Tiger, though never so inraged, would have made the like havoc? Then, if the like, neither in the nature of men nor beasts to be found (it is so unnatural) we must not look to pattern it upon the earth, we must to hell, thence it was certainly, even from the devil. He was a murderer from the beginning and will be so to the ending. In every sin of blood, he have a claw, but, all his claws, in such an one as this: wherein so much blood as would have made it rain blood, so many baskets of heads, so many pieces of rent bodies cast up and down, and scattered all over the face of the earth. Never such a day; all Joels signs of a fearful day, blood, and fire and the vapour of smoke. As he is a murderer, so we see by his renting and tearing the poor possessed child, he is cruel, and in this, all his cruelties should have met together. Pharoahs and Herods killing innocent and harmless children, yet, they spared the Mother: Esau’s cruelty, smiting mother, children and all. Nebuzaradens not sparing the King, nor his Lord: Haman’s not sparing Esther, nor her Ladies. Edom’s cruelty, not sparing the Sanctuary nor the walls, down with them to the ground. His own smiting the four corners and bringing down the house upon the heads of Jobs children. Put to all the cruelties, in Jeremiah’s Lamentations, the not honouring the faces of Nobles, Priests, Judges, the making so many widows and orphans; the voice in Rama of Rachel comfortless. Cruelty, more cruel to them, it spared and left behind, than to those, it took away. It maketh me to stand repeating these; That every age, or land, but that our age, and this land should foster or breed such monsters!
That you may know it for that perfectly, consider but the wickedness of it, as it were in full opposition to God, and you must needs say, it could not be His doing: God forbid. You shall not touch mine Anointed. You shall not pull up the good corn, rather let the tares stand. You shall not doe evil that good may come of it. But, here is Satan flat contrary, in despite of Law, Prophets, Psalm, Epistle and Gospel. Hoc est Christum cum Paule conculare, to throw down Abraham and Moses, and David, and Paul, and CHRIST, and GOD, and all, and trample upon them all.
One more yet: That this abomination of desolation (so calleth Daniel, so calleth our Saviour, the uttermost extremity of all that bad is. so may we this truly) that this abomination of desolation took up his standing in the holy place.
An abomination: so it is, abhorred of all flesh, hatred and detested of all, that but hear it named: yea, they themselves say, they should have abhorred it, if it had taken effect. It is an abomination.
Every abomination does not forthwith make desolate. This had. If ever a desolate kingdom upon earth, such had this been, after that terrible blow. Neither root nor branch left, all swept away. Strangers called in, murtherers exalted; the very dissolution and desolation of all ensued.
But this, that this so abominable and desolatory a plot, stood in the holy place, this is the pitch of all. For, there it stood, and thence it came abroad. Undertaken with a holy oath, bound with the holy Sacrament warranted for a holy Act, tending to the advancement of a holy Religion, and by holy persons, called by a most holy name, the name of Jesus. That these holy religious persons, even the chief of all religious persons gave not only absolution, but resolution, that all this was well done; that it was by them justified as lawfull, sanctified as meritorious, and should have been glorified long yer this, and canonized, as a very good and holy act, and we had had orations out of the Conclave in commendation of it. These good Fathers they were Davids bees here, came hither, only to bring us, honey, right honey they, not to sting anybody: or they came into the land, only for edification, not to pull down, or to destroy anything. We see their practice, they begun with rejecting this Stone, as one that favoured Heretics at least, and therefore excommunicate, and therefore deposed, and therefore exposed, to any that could handle a spade well, to make a mine to blow him up, Him, and all his Estates with him to attend him: But then, this shrining it setting it in the holy place, so roughly and odious, making such a treason as this a religious, missal, sacramental treason; hallowing it with orison, oath and Eucharist, this passeth all the rest. I say no more, but as our Savior concluded, when you see such abominations so standing, qui legit intelligat, nay qui videt. God send them, that see it, and had like to have smelt of it, to learn that, they should by it: and so I leave it.
Tell me now if this were not His doing, and if it should not have been a day of His making, the Devils own making.
This should have been done; this, the danger: what was done. This, the factum fuisset, what the factum est? All these were undone, and blown over, all the undermining disappointed; all this murder, and cruelty, and desolation defeated. The mine is discovered, the snare is broken and we are delivered. All these, the King, Queene, Prince, Nobles, Bishops, Judges, both Houses alive, all: not a hair of any of their heads perished; not so much as the smell of fire on any their garments. Give thanks o Israel, unto the Lord thy God in the congregation from the bottom of their heart; here is little Benjamin thy ruler, the princes of Juda &c. that they are here and do see them here and that the Stone these Builders refused, is still the Head-stone of the corner. That should have been done; this was done: and we all, that are here this day, are a witness of it; Witness above all exception of this factum est.
But by whom, whose doing? Truly, not mans doing this; it was the Lords. A Demone factum est illud, or fictum est illud. It was the Devils doing, or devising. A Domino factum est hoc, This was God’s doing. The blow was the Devils. The ward was Gods. Not man, but the Devil, devised it: Not man, but God defeated it. He, that sate in heaven all this while, and from hence looked down and saw all this doing of the devil and his lims, in that mercy of his, which is overall his works, to save the effusion of so much blood, to preserve the soules of so many innocents, to keep this Land from so foul a confusion, to show still some token, some sensible token upon us for good, that they which hate us may see it, and be ashamed; but especially, that that, was so lately united, might not so soon be dissolved, He took the matter into his own hand. And, if ever God showed, that He had a hook in the Leviathans nose, that the Devil can go no further than his chain, if ever that there is in him more power to help than in Satan to hurt; in this, he did it. And, as the devil’s claws to be seen in the former; so God’s right hand, in this mighty thinking and all the fingers of it.
To show it was He. He held his peace and kept silence, sat still, and let it go on, till it came near, even to the very period, to the day of the lot; so near, that we may truly say as the Lord liveth, uno tantum gradu, nos morsque dividimur, there was but a step between death and us. We were upon the point of going to the hill, all was prepared, the train, the match, the fire,wood, and all, and we ready to be the sacrifice, and even then and there, In monte providebat Dominus, God provided for our safety, even in that very place, where we should have been the burnt offering; from heaven, stayed the blow. It was the Lords doing.
When treachery has his course like water, and creeps along like a snail then to make it like the untimely birth of a woman, never to see the sun: but, as in that, priusquam intelligerent spine, or even the thornes gate heat, (or the powder, fire) then, saith he there, dicit homo, Utique est Deus, Men shall say, verily, there is a God, and this was His doing.
And not only, that it was bewrayed, but that he made them the bewrayers of it themselves, and even according to the place made things with feathers to disclose it: When their own tongues make them to fall: all that consider it, shall be amazed; and then all men shall say, this God have done; for they shall perceive it plainly, it is His work. They shall be changed in confession, they shall swear, they shall take the Sacrament not to doe it, and yet, contrary to all this, it shall come out by themselves. Was not this Gods doing?
Yet further, to show it was so: This which was written, was so written, as diverse of profound wisdome, knew not what to make of it. But then comes God again and puts a very divination, a very oracle, in the Kings lips, and his mouth missed not the matter; made him, as Joseph, the revealer of secrets, to read the riddle: giving him wisdome to make both explications, what they would doe and application, where it was they would do it. This was God certainly. This, Pharaoh would say, none could unless he were filled with the Spirit of the holy God. It was A domino factum.
Lastly, as that, when it was come forth they were not reclaimed, not then when they saw, the hand of God was gone out against them, and that it was even God they strove withall: no, but even then, from hidden treachery, fell to open rebellion and even perished in it perished there, and perished eternally: as this I say did. So, that God cast their own powder in their faces, powdered them and disfigured them with it and that their quarters stand now in pieces, as they meant, ours should: It is the case of Psalm 109, And hereby shall they know, that is in thy hand, and then the Lord have done it. How? in that, they are thus clothed with their own shame, and even covered with their own confusion; that they fall as fast as they rise; are still confounded, and still thy servants rejoice. These five show, it was God’s hand. It was the Lord, that made the day, it was the day, that the Lord made. Be thou exalted Lord in thine own strength. It was thy right hand, that brought this mighty thing to passe.
This will not serve the turn. His doing makes it not the Day. His doing a miracle, that makes it, and that is too. I take no thought, to prove this point: by the Law, the Prophets, the Gospel. To put them to it; Moses: enquire now of the days, that were before us, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, if there came to passe such a thing as this, whether any such like thing have been heard, and, if we cannot suit it or for such another by it, we must needs yield it for one. By the Prophets, Goe to the isles and behold, send to Kedar and take diligent heed, and see if you can possibly finde the like: if not, confess it for marvellous. Come hither and behold, how marvellous God is! and what is that? that such, as are rebellious, are not able to exalt themselves. We need not goe so far, we have it here to see. We may say to him, Come hither. By the Gospel: for, so doe they acknowledge our Saviours for miracles: Sure we have seen strange things today. We never saw it on this fashion. The like was never seen in Israel. Therefore marvellous certainly. It is now no miracle, no strange thing, to have a King delivered: every other year, we see it, and therefore wonder not at it. But to see King, Queene, their seed and all their estates delivered, that is mirabile [wonderful], that is a new thing created on the earth, I conclude: as, that was the Devils doing, and was monstrous in our eyes. so, this is God’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. And again, upon all these marks, that, as this was a day, the devil would have marred, so this is a day, that the Lord made.
Marvellous then it is: yet hath it not his full Christendom, unless it be so in our eyes. For the time it was, and that fits us well, When God turned away the captivity of his people; then were we like to them that dream. No man, but stood in a maze, as if he knew not well, whether he saw it making or reams of it, it was so strange.
And let me go further. Not, in ours only for that which followeth there, is true of other nations; The Lord hath done great things for them: and we are too blame, if we answer them not, with the echo there following, Yea indeed, the Lord hath done great things for us. for which wee have cause to rejoice. If strangers think it strange, and say, and write, A feculo inauditum, The like was never heard before. If it were marvellous in their eyes, It were very marvellous if it should not be so, in our eyes too.
I add, they that were in (?) of it, in their eyes, it is so; and that of the Apostle, may aptly be applied to them. Behold ye despisers, and wonder, and vanish, for God hath wrought a work in your days, a work which you yourselves that were the doers, shall scarce believe, when it shall be told that even astonished themselves, to see it goe forward so long, and suddenly cast down. Nay, I go further, to make it a miracle consummate. I doubt not, but it was strange news, even in Hell itself, insomuch as even that place had never hatched the like monster before. You see the welcome they in Hell gave him of Assur, What art thou come, that makes the earth to tremble, and dost shake whole kingdoms? And yet it is well known all his shaking was but in a metaphor. He never made it shake actually as these would have done: and therefore this of greater admiration, and more wonderful in their eyes. And ours are very dimme, if in all other it be, and be not so in ours.
Then if such days there be, if this of ours be one of them, if the fore-part of the verse doe, then must the latter also belong to us: If this, the day, the Lord have made then, this, the day, wherein we to rejoice. When He makes, we to make; and our rejoicing in it, is our making of it.
To rejoice, no hard request, nor heavy yoke, let it not be grievous to us. We love to do it, we seek all means to doe it in all cases else: then to assay to doe it here. This the Prophet would not require nor make it the office of the day, but that upon such days, God himself calls us to joy.
And even as, when God calleth us to mourning, by black days, of famine or war, or the like; then to fall to feasting or revelling, is that that highly displeases God: so, when God, by good days, calleth us to joy; then to droop, and not to accommodate our selves to seasons of his sending, is that which pleases him never a whit.
What? droops you today? No-lite, at no hand to do it, Dies enim festus est, it is a festival day: what then? why it is essential, it is the nature of every Feast omnio-gaudere, by any meanes in any wise therein to rejoice. And Nehemias promise is to encourage us, that if the strength of the Lord bee our joy, the very joy of the Lord shall be our strength.
To conclude: Sure I am, that if the plot had prevailed, it would have been a high Feast in Gath and a day of Jubilee in Ascalon; The daughters of the uncircumcised would have made it a day in triumph. Let us not be behind them then, but show as much joy for our saving, as they would certainly have done, for our perishing.
Exultemus & Laetemur. God loveth our joy should be full; it is not full, except we have both these, the body and the soul of joy: the joy outward of the body, and the gladness inward of the soul. Both he will have: for; if one be wanting, it is but semiplenum; halfe full.
And he beginneth with Exultemus, the outward: not to ourselves within, which we call gaudere in sinu, joy of the bosom but such, so exuberant, as the streames of it may overflow, and the beames of it shine and show forth, in an outward sensible exultation. It is a day, so would he have us rejoice, that, as by day-light it might be seen in our face, habit and gesture: Seen and heard both: Therefore hee faith the voice of joy is in the dwellings of the righteous. And in the dwelling it does well: But yet, that would not serve his turn; but, open me the gates of righteousness, that is, the Church-door (his house would not hold him) thither will I go in, and there, in the congregation, in the great congregation, give thanks to the Lord. And that so great a congregation, that it may constitute diem solemnem in condensis usque ad Cornua altaris, that they may stand so thick in the Church, as to fill it from the entry of the door, to the very edge of the Altar.
This same joy that is neither seen nor heard, there is some leven of malignitie in it; he cannot skill of it. He will have it seen in the countenance, heard in the voice; not only preaching but singing forth His praise. And that, not with voices alone, but with instruments, and not instruments of the Quire alone, but an instrument of the steeple too, bels and all, that so it may be Hosanna in altissimus in the very highest key we have. This for exultemus.
But, many a close Hypocrite may do all this, and many a counterfeit Schemei and Sheba did all this, to David; got them a fleering forced countenance, taken-on joy. And therefore the other, that God will have his joy, not be the joy of the countenance alone, a clear face and a cloudy overcast heart, he will have the gladness of the heart too, of the inner man: Cor meum & caro mee; the heart, as well as the flesh, to be joyful. The joy of the soul is the soul of joy, not a body without a soul, which is but a carcase. Strange children may dissemble with me dissemble a gladness, for fear of being noted and yet within, in heart, you wot what. But, God calleth for his defontibus Israel, which we read, from the ground of the heart. That is the true fountain of joy, that our lips may be fair, when we sing unto Him, and so may our souls which he hath delivered. Nay, he delivered both: and therefore, both the body to rejoice, and the soul to be glad. This does Laetemur adde, to exaultemus [Let us add to singing].
If then we be agreed that we will do both, I come to the last, how to order our joy, that it may please Him, for whom it is undertaken. It is not every joy, that He liketh. Merry they were, and joyful that kept their Kings day by taking in boule after boule till they were sick again. So they that Malachi speaks of, there came nothing of their feasts but dung that is, all in the bellie and bellie-cheere. So they, that sate down to eat and drink and rose up to play, and there was all, that is the Calves feast, a Calfe can do as much. But with none of these was God pleased, and as good no joy, as not to the purpose, as not to please him.
That it may be to the purpose, that God may take pleasure in it, it must begin at Hosanna, at Aperite mihi porta Iusitia, at the Temple door, there must it goe in, it must bless, and be blessed in the house of the Lord. I will first make joyful in my house of Prayer (it is God by Esay: ) the stream of our joy, must come from the spring head of Religion.
Well then, to the Church we have come. So far onward. When we are there, what is to be done? Somewhat we must say, we must not stand mute. There to stand still, that, the Prophet cannot skill of. That then, we may say something, hee here frames, he here endites a versicle, which after grew into such request, as no feast ever without it, without an Hosanna: it grew so familiar, as the very children were perfect in it. The sum and substance whereof is no more, but that God would still save, still prosper, still bless him that in His name, is come unto us King David himself, whom all in the house and all of the House of the Lord bless in His name.
And to very good purpose does he do this for, joy hath no fault, but that it is too short, it will not last, it will be taken from us too soon. It is ever a barre, in all joy, tolletur a vebis, subject to the worme, that Jonas gourd was. It standeth us therefore in hand, to begin with Hosanna, so to joy, as that we may long joy to pray for the continuance, that it bee not taken from us: ever remembering, the true temper of joy, is not without the mixture of some fear. For, this day, wee see what it is, a joyful day: we knew not what the next day will be and if not what the next day, what the next year much lesse. What will come, we know not; what our sins call for to come, that we know; even that God should call to judgement, if not by fire, by somewhat else. If it be but for this, it concerns us nearly, to say our Hosanna, that the next year be as this. It is our wisdom therefore, to make the meanes, for the continuance of it, that God would still stablish the good work, He this day wrought in us; still bless us, with the continuance of the same blessings.
And this that we may doe, not faintly but cheerfully with the lifting up of our soules therefore, as far as art or spirit can do it, he hath quickened his Hosanna, that he may put spirit and life in us to follow him in it, with all fervour and affection: four times twice with Anna, and twice with Nr, either of them before, and after, but eight words, and four of them interjections: all to make it passionate, and that, so as nothing can be devised more forcible, and so, as it is hard, in any other tongue, to expresse it; which made the Evangelist let it alone, and retain the Hebrew word still. But, this, as near as I can it soundeth. Now good Lord save us yet still now good Lord prosper us yet still. Be to us as the last year, so this, and all the years to come, Jesus a Saviour, yesterday and today and the same forever.
And three things does he thus earnestly pray for, and teaches us to do the like.
1. to save, 2. prosper, and 3. bless:
- To save: that should be first with us; it is commonly last. We have least sense of our souls. To save us, with the true saving health; it importeth the salvation of the Soule; properly to that it belongeth, and hath joyned to it Hosanna in the Gospel to show it is a high and heavenly salvation.
- Then, to prosper, If He but grant us the former alone, to have our souls saved though without prosperity, though with the days of adversity, it is sors sanctorum [fate of the holy], the lot of many a Saint of his, of farre more worth than we: Even so, we are bound, to thank Him, if even so, we may be but saved. But, if he add also prosperity of the outward, to the saving of the inward man, that not so much as a leave of us shall wither, but look what we doe shall prosper, and that, whatsoever men of evil counsels do, shall not prosper against us, if He not only vouchsafe us Hosanna in excelsis [In the highest], but Hosanna de profundis [From the Depths] too, from deepe cellers, deepe vaults, those that dig deepe to undermine our prosperity, If he add the shadow of his wings, to shelter us from perils to the light of his countenance to save us from our sins, then have we great cause to rejoice yet more and, both with exultemus from without, and laetemur from within, to magnify his mercie, and to say with the Prophet, Praised be the Lord, that not only taketh care for the safety, but taketh pleasure in the prosperity of his servants.
- Lastly, because both these and one and the other, our future salvation, by the continuance of His Religion and truth among us, and our present prosperity meet upon the head-stone of the corner, depend both, first, upon the name of the Lord, and next upon him, that in his name, and with his name, is come unto us the King. So, do both the Evangelists S. Luke and S. John supply, and, where we read, Blessed be he, there they read Blessed be the King that cometh, so that neither of them sure, unless he be safe, that he would bless him, and make him blest, that in His blessed name, is come amongst us. The building will be as mount Sion, so the corner stone be fast; so the two walls, that meet, never fall asunder. If otherwise: but I will not so much as put the case but as we pray, so trust, it shall never be removed, but stand tall for ever.
This then we all with that are now in House of the Lord, and we that are of the house of the Lord, do now and ever, in the Temple and out of it, morning and evening, night and day, wish and pray both, that he would continue forth his goodness, and bless with length of days, with strength of health, with increase of all honour, and happiness, with terror in the eyes of his enemies, with grace in the eyes of his subjects, with whatsoever David, or Salomon or any King, that ever was happy, was blessed with; Him, that in the Name of the Lord is come to us, and hath now these four years stayed with us, that he may be blessed in that name, wherein he is come, and by the Lord, in whose Name he is come, many and many years yet to come.
And, when we have put this incense in our phials, and bound this sacrifice with cords to the altar fast, we bless you and dismiss you, to eat your bread with joy, and to drink your wine with a cheerful heart: for God accepteth your work, your joy shall please Him: this Hosanna shall sanctify all the joy, shall follow it.
To end then. This Day, which the Lord hath thus made fo marvellously, so marvellously, and mercifully, let us rejoice in the Maker, for the making of it, by His doing on it that deed, that is so marvellous in our eyes, in all eyes returning to the beginning of the Psalme, and saying with the Prophet: O give thanks to the Lord, for he is gracious, &c Let Israel, let the house of Aron, yea, let all that fear the Lord, confess that His mercies endureth forever.
Who only does great wonders. Who remembered us when we were in danger, and have delivered us from our enemies, with a mighty hand and stretched out arm. And, as for them, have turned their device upon their own head. And have made this day, to us a day of joy and gladness. To this God of Gods, the Lord of heaven, glorious in holiness, fearful in power, doing wonders, be, &c.