Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

at the foot of the cross, and dwells in discipline, shall be feasted at the eternal supper of the Lamb. And ever remember this, that beastly pleasures, and lying lips, and a deceitful tongue, and a heart that sendeth forth proud things, are no good dispositions to a blessed resurrection.

Ού καλόν αρμονίην αναλυέμες ανθρώποιο. .

• It is not good, that in the body we live a life of dissolution, for that is no good harmony with that purpose of glory which God designs the body.'

Και τάχα δ' εκ γαίης ελπίζομεν ες φάος ελθείν

Λείψαν' άπoιχομένων· οπίσω δε θεοί τελέθονται, , said Phocylides k; for we hope that from our beds of darkness we shall rise into regions of light, and shall become like unto God :" they shall partake of a resurrection to life; and what this can infer is very obvious : for if it be so hard to believe a resurrection from one death, let us not be dead in trespasses and sins; for a resurrection from two deaths will be harder to be believed, and harder to be effected. But if any of you have lost the life of grace, and so forfeited all your title to a life of glory, betake yourselves to an early and an entire piety, that when, by this first resurrection, you have made this way plain before your face, you may with confidence expect a happy resurrection from your graves : for if it be possible that the Spirit, when it is dead in sin, can arise to a life of righteousness; much more it is easy to suppose, that the body, after death, is capable of being restored again : and this is a consequent of St. Paul's argument: “ If, when ye were enemies, ye were reconciled hy his death, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life ';” plainly declaring, that it is a harder and more wonderful thing for a wicked man to become the friend of God, than for one that is so, to be carried up to heaven and partake of his glory. The first resurrection is certainly the greater miracle: but he that hath risen once, may rise again; and this is as sure as that he that dies once, may die again, and die for ever. But he who partakes of the death of Christ by mortification, and of his resurrection by holiness of life and a holy faith, shall, according to the expression of the

[blocks in formation]

prophet Isaiah, “ Enter into his chamber of death m;" when Nature and God's decree “ shall shut the doors upon him, and there he shall be hidden for a little moment:" but then shall they that dwell in dust, awake and sing, with Christ's dead body shall they arise ; all shall rise, but “ every man in his own order; Christ, the first fruits, then they that are Christ's at his coming." Amen.

I have now done with my meditation of the resurrection ; but we have had a new and a sadder subject to consider. It is glorious and brave when a Christian contemplates those glories, which stand at the foot of the account of all God's servants; but when we consider, that before all, or any thing of this happens, every Christian must twice ' exuere hominem,''put off the old man,' and then lie down in dust, and the dishonours of the grave; it is 'vinum myrrhatum,' there is 'myrrh put into our wine;' it is wholesome, but it will allay all our pleasures of that glorious expectation: but no man can escape it. After that the great Cyrus had ruled long in a mighty empire, yet there came a message from heaven, not so sad it may be, yet as decretory as the handwriting on the wall that arrested his successor Darius, Evpreváčou, w Küpe non ràp eis Seous ä wel, “ Prepare thyself, o Cyrus, and then go unto the gods *;" he laid aside his tire and his beauteous diadem, and covered his face with a cloth, and in a single linen laid his honoured head in a poor humble grave: and none of us all can avoid this sentence: for if wit and learning, great fame and great experience ; if wise notices of things, and an honourable fortune; if courage and skill, if prelacy and an honourable age, if any thing that could give greatness and immunity to a wise and prudent man, could have been put in bar against a sad day, and have gone for good plea, this sad scene of sorrows had not been the entertainment of this assembly. But tell me, Where are those great masters, who while they lived, flourished in their studies ? “ Jam eorum præbendas alii possident, et nescio utrum de iis cogitant;" “ other men have got their prebends and their dignities, and who knows whether ever they remember them or no ?” While they lived, they seemed nothing; when they are dead, every man for a while speaks

m Isai. xxvi. 20.

* Cyrop, viii. 7. 2. Schneider.

of them what they please; and afterwards they are as if they had not been. But the piety of the Christian church hath made some little provision towards an artificial immortality for brave and worthy persons; and the friendships which our dead contracted while they were alive, require us to continue a fair memory as long as we can; but they expire in monthly minds, or at most in a faint and declining anniversary;

έπει φίλος, όςτις εταίρου Μέμνηται κταμένoιο και άχνυται ουκ έτ' έοντος. And we have great reason so to do in this present sad accident of the death of our late most reverend primate, whose death the church of Ireland hath very great reason to deplore ; and we have great obligation to remember his very many worthy deeds, done for this poor afflicted and despised church. St. Paul made an excellent funeral oration, as it were instituting a feast of all saints, who all died “having obtained a good report":” and that excellent preacher made a sermon of their commemoration. For since good men, while they are alive, have their conversation in heaven; when they are in heaven, it is also fit that they should, in their good names, live upon earth. And as their great examples are an excellent sermon to the living, and the praising them, when envy and flattery can have no interest to interpose, as it is the best and most vigorous sermon and incentive to great things; so to conceal what good God hath wrought by them, is great unthankfulness to God and to good men.

When Dorcas died, the apostle came to see the dead corpse, and the friends of the deceased expressed their grief and their love, by shewing the coats that she, whilst she lived, wrought with her own hands: she was a good needlewoman and a good housewife, and did good to mankind in her little way, and that itself ought not to be forgotten; and the apostle himself was not displeased with their little sermons, and that suqnulo mos which the women made upon that sad interview. But if we may have the same liberty to record the worthy things of this our most venerable father and brother, and if there remains no more of that envy which

* Hebrews, xi. 39.

usually obscures the splendour of living heroes; if you can with your charitable, though weeping eyes, behold the great gifts of God with which he adorned this great prelate, and not object the failings of humanity to the participation of the graces of the Spirit, or think that God's gifts are the less because they are born in earthen vessels, πάντες γαρ κλυτά δωρα κερασσάμενοι φορέoυσιν, for all men bear mortality about them, and the cabinet is not so beauteous as the diamond that shines within its bosom; then we may, without interruption pay this duty to piety, and friendship, and thankfulness; and deplore our sad loss by telling a true and sad story of this great man, whom God hath lately taken from our eyes,

He was bred in Cambridge, in Sidney College, under Mr. Hulet, a grave and a worthy man; and he shewed himself not only a fruitful plant by his great progress in his studies, but made him another return of gratitude, taking care to provide a good employment for him in Ireland, where he then began to be greatly interested. It was spoken as an honour to Augustus Cæsar, that he gave his tutor an honourable funeral; and Marcus Antoninus erected a statue unto his; and Gratian the emperor made his master Ausonius to be consul: and our worthy primate, knowing the obligation which they pass upon us, who do obstetricare gravidæ animæ,'' help the parturient soul to bring forth fruits according to its seminal powers, was careful not only to reward the industry of such persons, so useful to the church in the cultivating 'infantes palmarum,'' young plants, whose joints are to be stretched and made straight; but to demonstrate that his scholar knew how to value learning, when he knew so well how to reward the teacher.

Having passed the course of his studies in the university, and done his exercise with that applause which is usually the reward of pregnant wit and hard study, he was removed into Yorkshire, where first, in the city of York, he was an assiduous preacher ; but, by the disposition of the Divine Providence, he happened to be engaged at Northallerton in disputation with three pragmatical Romish p.iests of the Jesuits' order, whom he so much worsted in the conference, and so shamefully disadvantaged by the evidence of truth, represented wisely and learnedly, that the famous primate of

York, Archbishop Matthews, a learned and an excellent prelate, and a most worthy preacher, hearing of that triumph, sent for him, and made him his chaplain; in whose service he continued till t.e death of the primate, but, in that time had given so much testimony of his dexterity in the conduct of ecclesiastical and civil affairs, that he grew dear to his master. In that employment he was made prebendary of York, and then of Rippon, the dean of which church having made him his sub-dean, he managed the affairs of that church so well, that he soon acquired a greater fame, and entered into the possession of many hearts, and admiration to those many more that knew him. There and at his parsonage he continued long to do the duty of a learned and good preacher, and by his wisdom, eloquence, and deportment, so gained the affections of the nobility, gentry, and commons of that country, that as at his return thither upon the blessed restoration of his most sacred majesty, he knew himself obliged enough, and was so kind as to give them a visit; so they, by their coming in great numbers to meet him, their joyful reception of him, their great caressing of him when he was there, their forward hopes to enjoy him as their bishop, their trouble at his departure, their unwillingness to let him go away, gave signal testimonies that they were wise and kind enough to understand and value his great worth.

But while he lived there, he was like a diamond in the dust, or Lucius Quinctius at the plough; his low fortune covered a most valuable person, till he became observed by Sir Thomas Wentworth, Lord President of York, whom we all knew for his great excellencies, and his great but glorious misfortunes. This rare person espied the great abilities of Doctor Bramhall, and made him his chaplain, and brought him into Ireland, as one who, he believed, would prove the most fit instrument to serve in that design, which, for two years before his arrival here, he had greatly meditated and resolved, the reformation of religion, and the reparation of the broken fortunes of the church. The complaints were many, the abuses great, the causes of the church vastly numerous; but as fast as they were brought in, so fast they were by the Lord Deputy referred back to Dr. Bramhall, who by his indefatigable pains, great sagacity, perpetual watchfulness, daily and hourly consultations, reduced things to a

« ForrigeFortsett »