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have their way free and pervious through all places, and can penetrate wheresoever they please.
By this gift of impassibility their bodies are freed from all miseries, which our bodies now suffer; the cold of winter, the heat of summer, infirmities, griefs, tears, and the necessity of eating, which one necessity includes many others: let us but consider what cares and troubles men undergo only to sustain their lives: the labourer spends his days in plowing, sowing, and reaping; the shepherd suffers cold and heat in watching of his flock: what dangers are past in all estates, only to be sure to eat! from all which the gift of impassibility exempts the just. The care of clothing troubles us also little less than that of feeding, and that of preserving the health much more; for as our necessities are doubly increased by sickness, so are our cares; from all which he, who is impassible, is free; and not only from the griefs and pain of this life, but, if he should enter into hell, it would not burn one hair of him. The gift of agility is most great, which easily appears by the troubles and inconveniences of a long journey, which, howsoever we are accommodated, is not performed without much weariness, and oftentimes with danger, both of health and life: a king, though he pass in a coach or litter, after the most easy and commodious way of travelling, must pass over rocks, hills, and rivers, and spend much time; but with the gift of agility, the glorious bodies of the saints, in the twinkling of an eye, can traverse all the heavens, visit the earth, return unto the sun and firmament, and observe what is above the stars, in the empyreal heaven. To this noble gift of agility shall be annexed that of subtilty, by which their glorious bodies shall have their way free and pervious through all places; no impediment shall obstruct their motion; there shall be no enclosure or prison to them: they shall, with greater ease, pass through the middle of a rock, than an arrow through the air: Christ showed the subtilty of his glorious body, while he issued out of his tomb, not opening it; and entered into the hall where the apostles were, the gates being shut.
Finally, the servants of Christ shall be there so replenished with all goods, both of soul and body, that there shall be nothing more for them to desire: what wouldest thou,
then, my body? what is it thou desirest, my soul? in heaven you shall find all you desire: if you are pleased with beauty, there the just shine as the sun; if you are pleased with any delight, there is not only one, but a sea of pleasure, which God keeps in store for the blessed, wherewith it shall quench their thirst; I will then, from henceforth, raise my desires unto that place, where only they can be accomplished; I will not be ambitious after things of the earth, which cannot satisfy me, but I will look after those in heaven, which are only great, only eternal, and can only fill the capacity of my
What an advantageous bargain would it be, if one could buy a kingdom for a straw? Yet so it is; for that which is no more than a straw, we may purchase the kingdom of heaven certainly all the felicity, riches, and earthly delights are no more than a straw, compared with the glory of heaven. How foolish would he be, who, having a basket full of chips, would not give one of them for an hundred weight of gold? This is the vanity of man, who, for earthly goods, will not receive those of heaven.
If men undergo and suffer such hazards for a kingdom, which is momentary, and that not for themselves, but for another; what ought we to do for those eternal riches, which are to be our own, and for the kingdom of heaven, wherein we expect such immense honours, riches, and pleasures? Let us take courage; it is the kingdom of heaven we hope for; joys, riches, and honours eternal, are those which are promised us what pity is it, that for some short pleasure, we should lose joys so great and eternal? Because we will not bear some slight injury here, should be deprived of celestial honour there? For not restoring what we have unjustly taken, should forfeit the Divine riches of heaven? That which the world offers in her best pleasures, is but shells, offals, and parings; but that whereunto God invites, is a full table; for which reason it is called, in Scripture, the great supper, not a dinner; because, after dinner, we use to rise and go about other occasions and employments; but after supper there are no more labours, all is rest and repose: the principal dish, which is served in at this great supper, is the clear vision of God, and all his Divine perfections; after that, a thousand joys of the soul, in all its powers and
faculties; then a thousand pleasures of the senses, with all the endowments of a glorified body: those latter are, as it were, the dessert of this Divine banquet; and if the dessert be such, what shall be the substance of the feast?
My Lord, my God, when shall I see the day, the happy day, in which I shall come and appear in thy heavenly mansion, to eat and drink with thee in thy kingdom, and to sit at thy table; there to behold the majesty of thy glory, which is the only object of my eternal bliss! O thou resplendent Star of the East, let thy eternal light shine in the horizon of my soul, then all these thick vapours of terrene affections will be dispersed. Lord, I have placed all my hopes in eternity; I find no more rest here, in these short moments, than the dove of the deluge did upon the waters. O God, thou art my eternal felicity; to thee be glory, honour, and thanksgiving, for ever, for evermore. Amen.
Considerations of eternal Evils, and of the miserable State of the Damned.
THE evils of hell are truly evils, and so purely such, that they have no mixture of good; in that place of unhappiness, all is eternal sorrow and complaint; there is no room for comfort, there shall not be the least good which may give ease; nor shall there want a concourse of all evils which may add affliction: no good is to be found there, where all goods are wanting; neither can there be want of any evil, where all evils whatsoever are to be found; and by the want of all good, and the collection of all evils, every evil is augmented. In the creation of the world, God gave a praise to every nature, saying, "It was good:" but when all were created and joined together, he said, "they were very good:" because the conjunction of many goods, advances the good of each particular; and, in the same manner, the conjunction of many evils makes them all worse: what shall heaven then
be, where there is a concourse of all goods, and no evils? and what hell, where there are all evils, and no good? Certainly the one must be exceeding good, and the other exceeding evil. In hell there is the pain of loss, and that so rigorous, that, in depriving the damned soul of one only thing, they take from him all good things; for they deprive him of God, in whom they are all comprised: he who is condemned, by human laws, to the loss of his goods, may, if he live, gain others, at least in another kingdom, if he fly thither; but he who is deprived of God, where shall he find another God? and who can fly from hell? God is the greatest good, and it is, therefore, the greatest evil to be deprived of him, because evil is the privation of good; and that is to be esteemed the greatest evil, which is a privation of the greatest good, which is God; and must certainly, therefore, cause more grief and resentment in the damned, than all the punishments and torments of hell besides and in regard there is in hell an eternal privation of God, who is the chief good; the pains of loss, whereby one is deprived for ever of the greatest of all goods, this privation will cause the greatest pain and torment. If the burning of a hand cause an insufferable pain, if a bone displaced or out of joint causeth intolerable grief, how shall he be tormented, and what pains shall he suffer, who is eternally separated from God, who is the chief end for which man was created? I dare confidently say, the loss of heaven, and the omission of glory, is far more bitter than all those pains which are to be suffered in hell: and this is such a loss that the sinner shall be deprived even of the hope of what is good, and shall be left for ever in that profound poverty and necessity, without expectation of remedy or relief; and what greater want can any one have, than to want all things, and even hope of obtaining any thing? We are amazed at the poverty of holy Job, who, from a prince and a rich man, came to lie upon a dunghill, having nothing left but a piece of a broken pot to scrape away the putrefaction from his sores; but even this shall fail the damned, who would take it for a great regale, to have a dunghill for their bed, instead of the burning coals of that eternal fire. The rich glutton in the Gospel, accustomed to drink in cups of crystal, to eat in silver, and to be clothed in silks and curious linen, can tell us how far
this infernal poverty extends, when he demanded not wines of Cadiz, but a little cold water, and that not in cups of gold or crystal, but upon the finger's end of a leper: this rich glutton came to such an extremity, that he would esteem it a great felicity that they would give him one drop of water, although it was from the filthy and loathsome finger of a leper; and yet this was also wanting to him. Let the rich of the world see to what poverty they are like to come; if they trust in their riches, let them know they shall be condemned to the loss of all which is good; let them reflect upon him who was accustomed to be clothed in precious garments, to tread upon carpets, to sleep upon down, to dwell in spacious palaces, now naked, thrown upon burning coals, and packed up in some narrow corner of that infernal dungeon.
And this poverty, or want of all good, of the damned, is accompanied with a most opprobrious infamy and dishonour, when, by public sentence, they shall be deprived, for their enormous offences, of eternal glory, and reprehended in the presence of saints and angels by the Lord of heaven and earth. A most intolerable thing is hell, and most horrible are the torments; yet if one should place a thousand hells before me, nothing could be so horrible unto me, as to be excluded from the honour of glory, to be hated of Christ, and to hear from him these words," I know you not.”
This infamy we may, in some sort, declare, under the example of a mighty king, who, having no heir to succeed him in his kingdom, took up a beautiful boy at the churchdoor, and nourished him as his son, and, in his testament, commanded, that if at ripe years his conditions were virtuous and suitable to his calling, he should be received as lawful king, and seated in his royal throne; but if he proved vicious and unfit for government, they should punish him with infamy, and send him to the gallies: the kingdom obeyed this command, provided him excellent tutors; but he became so untoward and ill inclined, that he would learn nothing, flung away his books, spent his time amongst other boys, in making houses of dirt, and other fooleries; for which his governors chastised him, and advised him of what was fitting, and most imported him; but all did no good, only when they reprehended him, he would weep; not because he