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of immortality, hath required of him such a duty, as shall put man to labour, and present to God a service of a free and difficult obedience. For therefore God hath given us laws, which come cross and are restraints to our natural inclinations, that we may part with something in the service of God, which we value. For although this is nothing in respect of God, yet to man it is the greatest he can do. What thanks were it to man to obey God in such things, which he would do, though he were not commanded? But to leave all our own desires, and to take up objects of God's propounding, contrary to our own, and desires against our nature, this is that, which God designed as a sacrifice of ourselves to himn. And, therefore, God hath made many of his laws ta be prohibitions in the matter of natural pleasure, and restraints of our sensitive appetite. Now, this being become the matter of Divine laws, that we should, in many parts and degrees, abstain from what pleases our senses, by this supervening accident it happens, that we are very hardly weaned from sin, but most easily tempted to a vice. And then we think we have reason to lay the fault upon original sin, and natural aversation from goodness, when this inclination to vice is but accidental, and occasional upon the matter and sanction of the laws. Our nature is not contrary to virtue, for the laws of nature and right reason do not only oblige us, but incline us to it b; but the instances of some virtues are made to come cross to our nature, that is, to our natural appetites; by reason of which it comes to pass, that (as St. Paul says)
we are by nature the children of wrath," meaning, that, by our natural inclinations, we are disposed to contradict those laws which lay fetters upon them, we are apt to satisfy the lusts of the flesh; for in these he there instances.
6. But in things intellectual and spiritual, where neither the one nor the other satisfy the sensual part, we are indifferent to virtue or to vice; and, when we do amiss, it is, wholly, and in all degrees, inexcusably our own fault. In the old law, when it was a duty to swear by the God of Israel in solemn causes, men were apt enough to swear by him only;
6 Τοιούτος μεν ούν και τους λογικούς γένεσι ενοσιόυμενος όρκος, μή παραβαίνειν υπ' αυτών (5ü] Boogie Sértas vópous. Hierog.
• Eplies. ii. 3.
and that sometimes the Israelites did swear by the queen of Heaven, it was by the ill example and desires to comply with the neighbour nations, whose daughters they sometimes married, or whose arms they feared, or whose friendship they desired, or with whom they did negotiate. It is indifferent to us to love our fathers and to love strangers, according as we are determined by custom or education. Nay, for so much of it as is natural and original, we are more inclined to love them than to disrepute them; and if we disobey them, it is when any injunction of theirs comes cross to our natural desires and purposes. But if, from our infancy, we be told concerning a stranger, that he is our father, we frame our affections to nature, and our nature to custom and education, and are as apt to love him who is not, and yet is said to be, as him, who is said not to be, and yet indeed is, our natural father.
7. And in sensual things, if God had commanded polygamy or promiscuous concubinate, or unlimited eatings and drinkings, it is not to be supposed but that we should have been ready enough to have obeyed God in all such impositions : and the sons of Israel never murmured, when God bade them borrow jewels and ear-rings, and spoil the Egyptians. But because God restrained these desires, our duties are the harder, because they are fetters to our liberty, and contradictions to those natural inclinations, which also are made more active by evil custom and unhandsome educations. From which premises we shall observe, in order to practice, that sin creeps upon us in our education so tacitly and undiscernibly“, that we mistake the cause of it, and yet so prevalently and effectually, that we judge it to be our very nature, and charge it upon Adam, to lessen the imputation upon us, or to increase the license or the confidence, when every one of us is the Adam, the “man of sin," and the parent of our own impurities. For it is notorious, that our own iniquities do so discompose our naturals, and evil customs and examples do so encourage impiety, and the law of God
• Non enim nos tarditatis natura damnavit, sed ultrà nobis quod oportebat indulsimus : ità non tam ingenio nos illi soperârunt quàm proposito. Quintil.
Ξενοκράτης φησίν, ευδαίμονα έιναι τον την ψυχήν έχοντα σπουδαίαν, ταύτην γαρ εκάστο livat daljeova.-- Arist. ii. Top. c. 3.
“Ηράκλειτος έφη, ώς ήθος ανθρώπου δαίμων.---Stob. Serm. 250.
enjoins such virtues, which do violence to nature, that our proclivity to sin is occasioned by the accident, and is caused by ourselves; whatever mischief Adam did to us, we do more to ourselves. We are taught to be revengeful in our cradles, and are taught to strike our neighbour, as a means to still our frowardness, and to satisfy our wranglings. Our nurses teach us to know the greatness of our birth, or the riches of our inheritance; or they learn us to be proud, or to be impatient, before they learn us to know God, or to say our prayers. And then, because the use of reason comes at no definite time, but insensibly and divisibly, we are permitted such acts with impunity too long ; deferring to repute them to be sins, till the habit is grown strong, natural, and masculine. And because from the infancy it began in inclinations, and tender overtures, and slighter actions, Adam is laid in the fault, and original sin did all: and this clearly we therefore confess', that our faults may seem the less, and the misery be pretended natural, that it may be thought to be irremediable, and therefore we not engaged to endeavour a cure; so that the confession of our original sin is no imitation of Christ's humility in suffering circumcision, but too often an act of pride, carelessness, ignorance, and security.
8. At the circumcision, his parents imposed the holy name told to the Virgin by the angel, “ his name was called Jesus ;” a name above every name. For, in old times, God was known by names of power, of nature, of majesty. But his name of mercy was reserved till now, when God did purpose to pour out the whole treasure of his mercy by the mediation and ministry of his holy Son. And because God
Neglectis urenda filix ipvascitur agris.-Horat. 1. s. iii. 37. Antè palatum eorum quàm os instituimus. Gaudemus, si quid licentiùs dixerint. Verba ne Alexandrinis quidem permittenda deliciis risu et osculo excipimus. Fit ex his consuetudo, deinde nalura. Discunt hæc miseri, antequam sciunt vitia esse.
:-Quintil. lib. i. c. 2. Tanta est corruptela malæ consuetudinis, ut ab ea tanquam igniculi extinguantur à natura dati, exorianturque et confirmentur contraria vitia.-Cicero, 3. T. Q. 2.
Ειώθασι γάρ οι πλείστοι των ανθρώπων, ουχ δυτως επαινείν και τιμήν τους εκ των πατέρων των ευδοκιμόυντων γεγονότας, ως τους εκ των δυσκόλων και χαλεπών, ήνπες φαίνωνTai undev öpuoia tois yoveus W ÖYTES. ---Isocrates Ep. ad Timoth. p. 746. ed. Lange.
gave to the holy Babe the name, in which the treasures of mercy were deposited, and exalted “this name above all names,” we are taught that the purpose of his counsel was, to exalt and magnify his mercy above all his other works ; he being delighted with this excellent demonstration of it, in the mission, and manifestation, and crucifixion, of his Son; he hath changed the ineffable name into a name utterable by man, and desirable by all the world; the majesty is all arrayed in robes of mercy, the tetragrammatons, or adorable mystery of the patriarchs, is made fit for pronunciation and expression, when it becometh the name of the Lord's Christ. And if Jehovah be full of majesty and terror, the name Jesus is full of sweetness and mercy. It is God clothed with circumstances of facility, and opportunities of approximation. The great and highest name of God could not be pronounced truly, till it came to be finished with a guttural, that made up the name given by this angel to the holy Child ; nor God received or entertained by men, till he was made human and sensible, by the adoption of a sensitive nature, like vowels pronunciable by the intertexture of a consonant. Thus was his person made tangible, and his name utterable, and his mercy brought home to our necessities, and the mystery made explicate, at the circumcision of this holy Babe.
9. But now God's mercy was at full sea, now was the time when God made no reserves to the effusion of his mercy. For to the patriarchs, and persons of eminent sanctity and employment in the elder ages of the world, God, according to the degrees of his manifestation or present purpose, would give them one letter of this ineffable name. For the reward, that Abraham had in the change of his name, was, that he had the honour done him to have one of the letters of Jehovah put
into it; and so had Joshua, when he was a type of Christ, and the prince of the Israelitish armies : and when God took away one of these letters, it was a curse. But
& Nomen enim Jesn Hebraicè prolatum nibil aliud est nisi Tergaygáupater vocatum per Schin. Videat, cui auimus est, multa de mysterio hujus nominis apud Galatinum. Ad eundem sensum fuit vaticinium Sibyllæ :
Δή τότε γας μεγάλοιo Θεού τους ανθρώποισιν
Τέσσαρα φωνήεντα φέρων, το δ' άφωνον εν αυτώ,
now he communicated all the whole name to this holy Child, and put a letter more to it, to signify that he was the glory of God, “ the express image of his Father's person,” God eternal; and then manifested to the world in his humanity, that all the intelligent world, who expected beatitude, and had treasured all their hopes in the ineffable name of God, might find them all, with ample returns, in this name of Jesus, which God “ hath exalted above every name,” even above that, by which God, in the Old Testament, did represent the greatest awfulness of his majesty. This miraculous name is above all the powers of magical enchantments, the nightly rites of sorcerers, the secrets of Memphis, the drugs of Thessaly, the silent and mysterious murmurs of the wise Chaldees, and the spells of Zoroastres. This is the name, at which the devils did tremble, and pay their enforced and involuntary adorations, by confessing the Divinity, and quitting their possessions and usurped habitations. If our prayers be made in this name, God opens the windows of heaven, and rains down benediction : at the mention of this name, the blessed apostles, and Hermione, the daughter of St. Philip, and Philotheus, the son of Theophila, and St. Hilarion, and St. Paul the Eremite, and innumerable other lights, who followed hard after the Sun of Righteousness, wrought great and prodigious miracles : “ Signs and wonders and healings were done by the name of the holy Child Jesus.” This is the name, which we should engrave in our hearts, and write upon our foreheads, and pronounce with our most harmonious accents, and rest our faith upon, and place our hopes in, and love, with the overflowings of charity, and joy, and adoration. And as the revelation of this name satisfied the hopes of all the world, so it must determine our worshippings, and the addresses of our exterior and interior religion; it being that name, whereby God and God's mercies are made presential to us, and proportionate objects of our religion and affections.
Most holy and ever-blessed Jesu, who art infinite in essence,
glorious in mercy, mysterious in thy communications, affable and presential in the descents of thy humanity;