The contrition of a Protestant preacher, converted to be a Catholiqve scholler conteyning certayne meditations vpon the fourth penitentiall psalme, Miserere / composed by Iames Waddesworth, MEDITATION II.
King David Playin a Psaltery
Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam: Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam. Amplius laua me ab iniquitate mea: & à peccato meo munda me.
[Page 6]Haue mercy on me O God, according to thy great mercy: and according to the multitude of thy miserations blotte out mine iniquity. Washe me yet more from my iniquity, & cleanse me from my Sinne.
A SHORTE DIVISION AND EXPLIcation of all these wordes. Sect. 1.
S. Ambrose, saith: Dauid sinned, which Kinges are wonte; but he performed penance, he wepte, Apolog. Dauid. c. 4.he mourned which Kinges are not wonte; he confessed his faulte, he craued pardon; pr [...]strate on the ground he bewayled his wretchednes, he fasted, he prayed, he hath published for euer a testimony of his confession: priuate men are ashamed to doo this; a King is not ashamed to confesse &c: O come my soule: let not Dauid thus condemne vs, nor S. Ambrose thus accuse vs: rather because we haue ouertaken, & ouergone Dauid in sinning,Dyonisi. Charthus. let vs be stayed by S. Ambrose to followe such a king in repenting. Let vs consider our owne misery, and our Lordes mercy: not mercy without misery least we presume; nor misery without mercy, least we despayre▪ Many thinke not how wretched they are by sinne in their hartes, and therfore they sighe not with miserere in their mouthes: but we are readyer to talke or thinke of our worthynes, thē of our sinfulnes: especially we will sooner compare our selues with other men in wisedome, in knowledge, in authority, riches, or such like, with the proude pharisy; then with the hūble publican acknowledge our ignorāce, our faultes and our infirmityes: but what auayle such comparisons? we shall be judged by that which we are in our selues, not by what we seeme to be in respecte of others: a dwarfe is not à gyante, thoughe he stande on the toppe of a steeple or on a mounteyn; a stately towre is not a lowe Cottage,Seneca. thoughe it be placed in the bottome of a valley: consider, o my soule, what thou arte in the vale of misery, not what thou maist seeme on a mounte of vanity:Psal 41. let one depthe call vpon another; out of the depthe of our sinfull misery, o God, we call vpon the depthe of profounde mercy.
2. A deepe wounde must haue a large tente; & abondance of soares must haue many playsters: o graunte vs great mercy for our deepe woundes, and multitude of miserations for our innumerable botches: let them seeke for smaller mercy, whose faultes procede of meaner ignorance;S. Aug. but my sinnes, o lord, haue neede of a strong warriour to redeeme me, and of a skilfull phisition to heale me. All sinners descend from Ierusalē to Ierico, from the highest vertues to the basest vices; they fall among theeues, divells, tentations, & delightes: I allso among these was dangerously wounded in naturall facultyes,Luc 10. S. Greg. Beda venerab. & spoyled generally of spirituall graces: o gracious Samaritan miserere take pity on me, & passe not by me vnregarded. O let the greatnes of thy mercy heale my naturall woundes, and by the multitude of thy miserations repayre my spirituall losses: come nere me, come to me, o compassionate Samaritan; powre in wyne of compunction to cleanse my filthynes & make me feele my misery; powre in oyle of absolution, to heale my soarenes by thy mercy: o great phisitian, here shew the efficacy of thy generall medicin which is great mercy, & declare the variety of thy manifolde skill in multitude of miserations. Thou arte miserator & misericors pitifull in great mercy, & mercifull in multitude of pity; in great mercy hauing the inwarde bowells of compassion; and in multitude of pity shewing the outward actions & fruites of commiseration. I crye with that distressed man in the gospell: if thou wilte, thou canst make me [Page 7]whole: thou canste by the greatnes of thy mercy, thou wilte for the multitude of thy miserations. Haue mercy on me, O God, Psal. 110according to thy great mercy and according to thy miserations blotte out my iniquity; wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sinne.
3. Miserere. Shew mercy on me by blotting out the iniquity of my harte: miserere, by washing away the wickednes of my lippes: miserere, Inno [...]ent 3.by cleansing all the sinnes of my handes. By desire of blotting, of washing, of clensing, I acknowledge my sinnes to be vgly and ill fauored to the eye; to be filthy in the touche; & to be lothsome to the smel: o cleanse this lothsomenes; washe this filthynes; & blotte out this vglynes. Beside these; my sinnes are great in quantity, many in number, and diuerse in kinde: o therfore let my great sinnes finde great mercy, let my many sinnes haue multitude of miserations, and being of sundry sortes, I haue neede to be seuerally washed from my iniquity, and clensed from my sinne; from iniquity of commission, and from sinnes of omission.
THE MISERABLE EFFECTS OF SINNE are declared, according to the Scholmen▪ and some shorte petitions for mercy are made against their misery. Sect. 2.
1. THe misery of sinne in generall is lamentable, therfore let vs all cry miserere; but my sinnes in particuler are abominable, wherfore I must say miserere mei, Hugo Cardinal:haue mercye on mee. He must be allmighty who can be able to helpe our generall and lamentable misery; and to succour me from my abhominable sinnes, he must be one most merrcifull: but who is so mighty in power? and so mercifull in fauor? excepte it be only thou O Lorde, who arte the Creator of the worlde, and the Redeemer of mankinde; wherfore vnto thee, I directe my prayer: haue mercy vpon mee, O God.
2. All sinne is a separation of the soule from God:S. Tho. 3. q. 87. a 1. & Quodlib. 4. q. 11. a. 22. as therfore the soule being separated from our body, we are corporally dead, so when by sinne we are separated from God, then we are dead in soule. Mortall sinne consistes in auersion from God, & doth separate vs totally: veniall sinne doth also separate, thoughe but in parte, yet by remissenes it loseneth the feruor of our affection. In mortall sinne, we are dead therfore miserere haue mercye on a dead man: in venial sinne we are as in a sound or a sicke fleepe, therfore miserere haue mercy on a weake faynte man. In mortall sinne, we receiue a wounde which doth kill vs, therfore miserere as on a man mortally wounded: in veniall sinne we receiue a wounde which doth blemish vs,S. Tho. i [...]. therefore miserere as on a man with many spottes deformed yea, so diuerse are the spottes of veniall sinnes, that thoughe by Gods grace we can euer avoyde any one, or all at someteine, yet not euer at all times all veniall faultes; and of this kinde it is said, the iust man offendeth seauen times a day, naming a certeyn number for an vncerteyne, because more or lesse in many thinges we offend all: & therfore in our penance for them,Possumus vitare singula, sed nō omnia. we must purpose in generall to diminishe them all, & to absteyne as much as we can from euery one in particuler, thoughe we cannot from all in vniuersall; and in our prayers against them, we haue neede to say miserere, o be mercifull to theses frailtyes & blemishes of our life, that in the merites & bloud of our Lord Iesus, we may haue all spottes at our death washed of our faces, & all teares wiped from our eyes.
3. Whersoeuer there is misery, there is neede of mercy:1.2. q. 85. art. 1. art. 2. but there is misery in all sinne, 1. by Corruption of nature, 2. by Deformity of the soule, 3. by Guiltynes of punishment. [Page 8]In nature we had 1. the essence or substance of our Being, 2. An Inclination to vertue. & 3. the gifte of originall iuctice. Our substance indeede and our Being is not corrupted nor diminished; but our vertuous disposition, is by sinne diminished; and we haue quite loste our Originall justice. And thoughe all our Vertuous inclination be not so quite rooted out, but that there remayne in vs certyen seedes of morality, yet according to our custome & practise of sinne, more or lesse we doo lay & caste so many impedimentes as great stones vpon this roote, that thoughe it retayne his nature hidden in the grounde yet (as ouerburdened with sinne) his sprowtes are so suppressed; that seldome & hardely it can bringe forthe true fruite of vertue, vntill throughe Gods grace we remoue these hinderances.1.2. q. 86. a. 1. & 2. The deformity of the soule is caused by the blottes & spottes of sinne; & as spottes are blemishes of some comelynes, so in the soule there is a double beauty blemished by sinne. One is the clearenes of naturall reasō; another is, the brightnes of supernaturall light of wisdome & grace; but euer by sinne we doo blemish eyther one or both of these: which spotte as the shadowe of a body keepeth off the lighte; and as seuerall bodyes giue seuerall shadowes; so seuerall blottes procede of seuerall sinnes: & as long as any body of sinne is betwene vs & these lightes, so long we shall be folowed with these shadowes & spottes, vntill we be illuminated by the brightenes of Gods mercy & grace: for thoughe the action of sinne cease, wherby we did separate our selues from Gods lighte, yet the blemish doth remayne which maketh the shadowe. And as he who is departed into darkenes, from a brighte place, is not presently in lighte agayne, so soone as he ceaseth to go, but he must come backe, or else remayne in the darke; so before we can returne to the lighte which we loste, it is not enoughe to cease from sinne, & so stand still; but we must haue in our Will a contrary motion to that which before we had; to come into the lighte of grace, to proceede in the pathe of goodnes. And these are our miserable deformityes.
4. The misery of our guiltynes vnto punishment must needes folowe, where the faulte is gone before:1.2. q. 872 a. 1. & for as when nature findes his contrary, it labors to suppresse it, so because sinne is opposite to order, it should not be suffered. Wherfore our will being subject to three orderly gouernors, when it transgresseth against any of them, it may be punished by them. It is firste subject to our owne reason: secondly to humane gouernement: and thirdly to the order of Gods authority: and accordingly when we offend against these orders of our reason, of humane, or of deuine lawes, we are to be punished by the remorse and byting of our owne conscience; by mans penaltyes; and by our Lordes chastisements; yea, such is the misery of sinne, that one sinne is the punishment of another; and many times of it selfe; though not directly by it selfe, yet by accident indirectly: first because when by former sinne we caste from vs Gods grace giuen or offred, he then leaueth vs to our owne corrupte weakenes, & to Sathan, & the worldes forcible tentations, whose continual batteryes whiles without grace we cannot resiste,Rom. 1. we doo afterwardes justly fall captiues vnto many sinnes, who by some former faulte did rejecte his grace so vnkindly. 2. there are some sinnes, which are punishments both offormer faultes & of themselues, not only in their effectes (as prodigality hath for his followers, wante, and robberye) but allso in their very actions some are a payne vnto themselues; eyther inwardely; as enuy & anger doo vexe their owne maysters; or outwardly; when men doo passe much labor, perill, or coste, to effecte some sinnes. As Plutarche saith, men adjudged to be crucifyed, or to other tormentes, were forced first to beare their owne crosses, or such other instruments of theyr owne execution; so sinners by sinne it selfe doo here begin their owne payne & damnation;Sap. 5. and so they confessed, who the [Page 9]wiseman saith were in hell, lassati sumus in via iniquitatis: we were tyred & wearyed in our way of iniquity.
5. Wherfore among so many miseryes should we not often crye miserere: haue mercy, in respecte of sinnes punishing themselues, & one another; by outward toyle, danger & losse, by inward feare, remorse, & vexation▪ by depriuing vs of Gods grace & leauing vs to our owne concupiscence: miserere for we are guilty & out of order, against God, against men, & against our owne conscience: miserere to bring backe our Will e [...]ring in darkenes; to cleare our Vnderstanding shadowed with blemishes; to repayre our giftes of grace decayed by frailtyes: miserere haue mercy, by reuiuing the seedes of vertue; & remoouing the hindrances & customes of Vice: miserere restoring vs to justice, which we lost & forfeyted; inclyning & encreasing vs in holynes which we forsooke & diminished: and finally miserere preseruing vs in substance of soule & body, from sufferance of payne, vnto fruition of glory; for in all these, viz: by corruption of nature, by deformity of soule, & by guyltines of punishment, we are all miserable: therfore in all these, o blessed Iesu, miserere, haue mercy.
OTHER WRETCHED EFFECTES OF sinne are declared, out of the Scriptures, & Doctors, by which we are warned from them. Sect. 3.
Prouer. 14. Contra Faustum lib. 22. c. 27. D. Stapleton. manual. peccatorum orat. 1. psal. 72. Esay. 59. Sapien. 14. & psal. 5. Prouer. 15. S. Chrys. hom. 24. in math. Psal. 31 Gen. 2. Psal. 10. Psal. 31. Psal. 108. Eccle. 21. Ioan. 8. Prouer. [...]. 2. pet. 3.
SAlomon saith that sinne maketh people to be miserable: and S. Augustin defyneth sinne to be Deedes, wordes, or desires, which be against the eternall lawe of God; which are made mortall sinne when we adde vnto any of these a full consent of our will with auersion or forsaking of God. Consider then, o my soule, in what estate thou arte, when thou abydest in sinne: If in our lorde be all happynes, and to be in fauour with him be our felicity, o how great wretchednes is it to for [...]ake his loue & to fall into his hate! But Esay said, our sinnes deuide betwene him & vs; and both Salomon & Dauid affirme, that he hateth all who worke iniquity; wherfore. S. Chrysostome said: I judge it to be harder & more intolerable then a thousand hell fyres to be hated of Christe, & to heare him say, I knowe you not; it were better to endure a thousand thumderboltes, then to see his face of mildenes to be turned from vs, or enraged against vs: for the eye which vseth to be fauorable, when it becometh fierce, is most terrible.
2. Alas, o lorde, we haue forsaken thy infinite goodnes & we haue loste thy inestimable fauour; wherfore to free vs from thy hate, & restore vs to thy happynes, miserere haue mercy. Haue mercy not only for the good which by sinne we doo loose, but allso in respecte of the euill which for it we doo suffer; because many are the whippes of a sinner, for sinne the earthe was cursed to bring forthe thornes, the woman cursed to beare children in payne, and man was cursed to eate his bread with labour. Vpon sinners our lorde rayneth snares, fire, brimstone, and the spirites of tempestet are in the portion of his cuppe; his very prayers are turned into sinne, and his table is a snare, vnto him; all wickednes is as a sharpe two edged sworde.
3. But if we be neither mooued with loue of goodnes, nor with feare of wrathe, I knowe not whither we be more miserable, who must suffer the punishment, or blockish who will not see to auoyde the faulte; yet let vs consider the nature of sinne, which is contrary to our nature we were created, & doo desire to enioy liberty; but sinne maketh vs slaues, and the wiseman saith. Euery sinner is bounde in the fetters of his owne sinnes. We naturally abhorre hell, the diuell, & deathe; but sinne caused the [Page 10]very angells offending to be throwne downe from heauen, Homil. 28 in epist ad Roman. In exposit. in epist ad Rom. S. Chrys. in serm. de eleemosyna. Sapiens. 16. T [...]bie 12 Eccles. 30 Homil. in psal. 33. S. August lib. 8. Confes. cap. 5. & medi [...]. c. 4 & to be reserued in the chaynes of hell: S. Augustin saith, that euery sinner selles his [...]oule to the diuel taking for his price the sweetnes of some temporall delighte: nay S. Chrysostome calleth euery sinner a certeyn willing diuell, & a self-willed madnes. And as for death, which we so much feare, the scripture saith, that they which committe sinne doo kill theyr owne soules: we knowe it were horrible, to murder our Father, but to murder thy selfe it is more damnable: wherfore as the wiseman sayd, take mercy on thine owne soule pleasing God, which then we doo, when penitently we say vnto him miserere, haue mercy.
4. What shoulde I say of sinne tormenting the conscience, offending the communion of Sayntes; among men it is a discredite; among Christians it causeth excō munication and S. Basil doth write, that as smoke driueth bees from their hiues, and loth some smells driue pigeons from their houses, so from the custody of our persons, [...]l sauoring sinnes driue away our holy Angells▪ And is not euery inordinate minde a penalty to it selfe (as S. Augustin auoucheth?) for couetousnes gripes, pride swells, enuy consumes, concupiscence inflames, luxury stingeth, gluttony stinketh, dronkennes besotteth, sclander scratcheth, ambition vndermyneth it selfe, iniuryes gette hatred, discorde teareth, anger burneth, lighte heades are neuer quiet, idlenes is wearisome, lazynes combreth, hipocrysie deceiueth his owne harte, & flatterye giues himselfe the lye in his owne throate. O miserable sinnes which make men so wretched, which seldome come alone without seauen worse diuells folowing them, which make our present prayers (not purposing amendment) to be rejected; which cause all our good deedes paste, not to be regarded; which are so hardly cured, because they are not so easily (as we thinke) repented. In time therfore, o lord; with the first worde of this psalme, against all these for-mētioned miseryes, we humbly & hartily, crye miserere, haue mercy.
OF THE NAME AND NATVRE OF GOD: who he his: vvhat we are: and how vnspeakably we are beholding vnto his great goodnes. Sect. 4.
1. O God, who canst not be deceiued, for thou arte wisedome; nor corrupted, for thou arte justice; nor ouercome, for thou arte allmighty; nor escaped, for thou arte euery where present. O God, who by thy omnipotence as thou arte able to punish the careles with terror,Hugo Cardinal. Innocent. 3. Dominica 10. post. Pen. so thou arte able to cure the sorowfull with fauor▪ O God whose property is to haue mercy, in whom there is no difference betwene thy mercy & thy essence, and as the Churche prayeth, who doost manifest thy omnipotency in pity aboue all, and in showing mercy, Miserere mei Deus, O God shew towardes mee, thy omnipotent mercy. O God whose name is shorte, but thy majesty is great; not like men who haue an ell of great names, & not an inche of good nature, or a vayne preface of Titles longer then the whole booke of their true vertues: But thy excellent goodnes is vespeakable, O God, and we name thee to signifye whom we meane in our shallowe capacity, not to expresse what thou arte in thy infinite majesty. Wherfore thoughe I be miserable, yet thou arte powerfull & pitifull to releiue me, for thou arte God; and, thoughe I be wicked, yet thou as God art infinitely gracious, & abundantly mercifull to forgiue me.
2. Miserere mei, haue mercy on mee; not haue mercy on Dauid, as in another psalme O Lord remember Dauid:Psal 131. S. Bonauē nor dare I say, haue mercy on thy seruante; for I haue broken thy commandements: nor haue mercy on the king; for as my name and person is [Page 11]now odious; so to mention my dignity were to aggrauate my offence. O foule sinne which makes me ashamed of mine owne name:Hugo Cardinal. yet I will pointe to my wretched substance, thoughe I dare not declare my guilty person; for the respecte of the partye doth often much encrease the offence. Haue mercy on mee: I acknowledge my faulte, I denye it not with Cayn, I caste it not vpon another as Eue, I excuse it not as Saul, nor with Iudas, do I confesse and yet despayre; but as I condemne my selfe for my sinnes, so I trust in thy goodnes for thy mercy: miserere mei: haue mercy on mee: On mee, who ioyned and coupled so many sinnes in one fardell about fullfilling my desire and pleasure: On mee, who consented to the motions of luste,Innocent 3. Pet. Vega who corrupted messengers to further it, who abused another mans wife to fullfill it, who deuised practises to conceale it, and would haue had my bastarde misbegotten, to be reputed as another mans heyre legitimate. On mee, who added murder to adultery; who repayed iniuryes for requitall of seruice. On mee, who thus wronged a man altogether innocent, & with him procured diuerse others to be slayne who were allso harmeles: On mee, who caused him by fraude to cary letters like Bellerophon contriuing the manner of his owne death: On mee, who receiued the tydinges of his murder with gladnes, and presently with delighte maryed his widowe: On mee, who long lay sleeping in these sinnes without remorse, and if I had not bene rebuked by thy prophet, paraduenture of my selfe I had neuer repented: On mee, whom thou diddest deliuer from the malice of Saul, and yet I my selfe wroughte mischeife against Vrias: On mee, who was aduanced from a shepheard to a kinge, yet towardes mee Nabal was not so vnthankefull, as by this offence I haue bene against thee ingratefull. Finally thou werte wonte to powre thy spiritte of prophecy on mee, in which I vsed to sing psalmes vnto thee; but beholde I haue expelled thy spirite, which was my trusty comforter, and I haue enterteyned the spirite of luste, a trecherous stranger: I haue changed the ioye of the spirite into the delighte of the flesh: I haue forsaken my psalmes and prayers of deuotion: I haue lefte my good-workes and carefull exercise of religion: O haue mercy On mee, who began with much feruor to sequester all my thoughtes from the worlde like a religious man; but since I haue giuen place to some coldenes of desires, and bene content to passe along like another worldly man. On mee therfore, O God, miserere mei, haue mercy on mee.
3. According to thy great mercy, & according to the multitude of thy miserations. Cassiodorus. Genebrardus.Thou O God diddest so loue the worlde that thou gauest thy only sonne being God equall to thy selfe to take our flesh and to taste of our misery, for the redemption of vs men. O great mercy! O multitude of miserations! we of our selues are thy desperate enemyes, yet as S. Peter said.1. Petr. 1▪ According to thy great mercy thou haste regenerated vs vnto the hope throughe Christe of an inheritance incorruptible. In thee therfore O blessed Iesus is conteyned this great mercy; by thee we receiue this multitude of miserations: It were not so much for a man to abase himselfe to become a toade, as it was for thee, being God, to become man: this was great mercy; but it was a multitude of miserations to endure our miseryes, to suffer tormentes, and to vndergoe death for distressed enimies: herein saith S. Paul, God doth commend his charity vnto vs, seeing when we were yet sinners Christ dyed for vs.Rom. 5.
4. It is mercy to giue vs food, & rayment: it is more mercy to continue vs life: it was yet more to create vs, being nothing: and it was greater mercy to affoarde vs the vse of all his creatures both in necessity, for which we owe him thankes, and in delighte, which requireth prayse. Before we were, we merited nothing;1. tim. 4. but if now God still shew mercy, after we haue shewed our selues vnthankfull to such a Lord, is [Page 12]not this great mercy? to giue his soone to redeeme a rebellious seruant; nay to redeeme his enemye out of bondage, is it not a multitude of miserations? To see water run downe the hill it is no marueill; nor being powred on euen playne grounde, to see it run on euery side euery way; but it were a wonder to see a riuer run vp a monteyn. So, to giue rewarde vnto deserte it is our Lordes naturall iustice: to bestowe benefites on them who haue neither done good nor hurte, it is his euerflowing goodnes: but to doo so well vnto vs, who haue demerited so ill against him, what can I call it but his miraculous great mercy; nay, that is not enoughe; it hath in it an infinite multitude of miserations. It was admirable humility for God to become man: it was patience without a paterne, being man, to suffer so much of men for men: but to performe all this for men, who worse then beastes, were become his reuolted enemyes, this was great mercie, in this was multitude of miserations.
5. It is mercie to forgiue our offences: they are miserations to releiue our necessityes. both great and with multitudes, in all kind of continued and discreet quantityes: vnmeasurable mercyes; because so great: and innumerable miserations, because so many. And not alone, seuerally, a magnitude of great mercie, and a multitude of many miserations, but allso intermi [...]te, great multitudes of many mercyes, and many magnitudes of great miserations.
SVNDRY EXCELLENT OBSERVATIONS of S. Bernarde, applyed to this meditation of our Lordes great mercyes, and multitude of miserations. Sect. 4.
Serm. de triplici [...]nisericor. & 4. miserat. & Serm. de sept. misericor. & carū fragmentis.
SAynt Bernard in seuerall places describeth the greatnes & multitude of these mercies and miserations. As there be sinnes, so there be mercies, some small, some great, and some in a meane betwene both. The firste mercy expecteth a sinner, not punishhing presently: the second giueth a penitent harte, which freeth vs from smaller sinnes paste, & by our daily compunction deliuereth vs from present veniall trangressions. But thirdly, for great crimes paste we haue neede of great contrition, and against mortall sinnes which may followe, we haue neede of great caution: these are harde matters; wherfore this thirde great mercy is necessary for all great sinners, to lament faultes passed, & to preuent followable offences.
2. The multitude of his miserations are: 1. somtimes in bitternes of any sorte of greife; which withdraweth our minde from our vsuall delightes of ordinary sinne. 2. somtimes, by remouing the occasions of our wonted sinnes. 3. somtime by giuing vs grace of resistance, that thoughe we be tempted, yet we withstand our motions & ouercome our affections.Pet. Riba▪ de [...]eyra in eius vita. 4. somtimes, not so much taking away the outward occasions, as alltogether healing our inwarde affection; and herin consisted the absolute perfection of our blessed Lady and S. Ihon Baptiste, preserued from all sinne; and in one particuler, S. Thomas of Aquine had his loynes so girded by an Angell, that there neuer after came into his desire any fleshly thoughte: and so somtimes some other haue one or other affection so mortifyed, by meanes of Gods especiall grace, that not only they doo not followe them, no nor so much as any wit feel them.
3. O blessed IESV in the goodnes of thy great mercy thou haste preserued me from many sinnes, into which of my selfe I woulde haue fallen: o continue the multitude of thy miserations, sending any greife of harte which may holde me from any delighte [Page 13]of sinne. O take away occasions of sinnes; giue me power to resiste tentations; or so heale my affections, that neither in euill they doo molest me, nor in good become weary; eyther driue away my buffeter, or giue me thy sufficient grace to be a conqueror. O gracious God, in thy great mercy thou diddest a long time expect my repētance: o continue the multitude of thy miserations; in thy long sufferance to permitte me time and grace of satisfaction and amendement. O holy Iesu in thy great mercy thou diddest touche my harte with some sorowe for my great sinne; O continue the multitude of thy miserations against all my faultes, to shew me their lothsomnes as soares; to make me some what feele their smarte, as woundes; and both to desire & to obteyne hope that they shall be cured.
4. O swete Iesu in thy great mercy thou hast giuen me strength to arise from sinne and error; to come vnto thy truthe and Catholique Churche, and hitherto to continue in thy seruice, quia fecit magna qui potens est: thou hast done great thinges for me who arte mighty, and abounding in great mercy: o continue the multitude of thy miserations against the multitude of myne enimyes which daily seeke my downefall and destruction. 1. against myne owne flesh, from whom I can neither flye, nor put him to flyghte; neither may I kill this foe, but rather norishe him to liue, thoughe not to reigne nor to rule in me. 2. against this alluring worlde, flattering with pleasures, entising with honors, and deceiuing with riches. Our flesh is an enemye within vs: the worlde is an enemye round about vs: these twoo are to many: but alas, I see a vehement winde blustring from the northe: o lorde helpe me in thy multitude of miserations, or I shall perish in the great danger of this storme: beholde, it is Satan, the hammer of the worlde, a serpent more subtile then all beastes, a dragon more cruell & insatiable then any monster; he is an enemy whom we cannot easily discerne, how then shall wee certeinly avoyde him? his arrowes are shotte closely, and his snares hidde secrettly, how shall we escape them? somtime he assaltes openly with violence, somtime priuily with fraudes, allwayes cruelly with malice: of our selues we are not able to resiste him, much lesse to ouercome; but thankes be to God who giueth vs victory, throughe Christe our lorde, faciens potentiam in brachio suo, strenghthening vs with power in his arme.
5. O bountifull God, in thy great mercy thou hast enabled vs to performe good workes which may merite heauen: o continue the multitude of thy miserations, enduing me with grace, still to abhorre the wickednes of my sinne which is paste, to despise the present vanity of this worlde, and earnestly to desire the futu [...]e happynes of heauen: O comfortable Iesu in thy great mercy thou haste quieted my harte with a good hope of eternall life; o continue the multitude of thy miserations, that neither the scarsity of my owne merites, nor the vnworthynes of my selfe, nor the estimation of heauens inestimable valew, may caste me downe from the heighte of my hope; because it is hūbly and firmely rooted in the charity of thy adoption, in the verity of thy promise, and in the ability of thy performance. I knowe in whom I haue beleeued; and I am sure, that in his exceeding great charity there shalbe no defecte, and as he did promise it in his great mercy, so in the multitude of his miserations he will performe it. O God, we haue neede of thy great mercy to supply the defectes of our great necessityes; and we desire the multitude of thy miserations for our defence against the multitudes of our mighty enemyes; and therfore I will euer repeate this effectuall prayer. Haue mercy on mee O God, according to thy great mercy, & according to the multitude of thy miserations.
WHAT MERCY IS, AND OF THE EFfects. Also how sinnes are blotted out by multitudes. Sect. 5.
[...]eciuit. Dei. l. 9.
1. MErcy in latin is called misericordia, which according to S. Augustin is a compassion in our harte of another creatures misery; & so it is, misericordia, quasi miserans Cor. Somtime it is a foolish womanish pity, & then it is only a passion in the sensitiue parte; but being grounded on reason, it is a vertue in the will in which laste sorte it is in God;S. Tho. 2.2. q. [...]0. a. 2.3.4. but no way as a passion. And it is in him as in a Superior to an inferior; either as munificence to releiue our wantes; or as clemencie to forgiue our faultes: not as among men by affection feeling our freindes misery, as if it were our owne, for how can any misery touch him who is all happy? hauing all which he willeth, & willes nothing which is euill. Nor can he haue any feeling of our misery by occasion of feare, as olde men, & wise men, who consider the dangers & incertainties of all euentes: nor as timorous & feeble minded people, who doubte in pusillanimity least vpon any occasion they shoulde fall into like misery: no such mercy is in our Lorde, vpon any of these considerations; for he is neither subiect to humane affection, nor to feare, nor any way in hazarde of changeable infelicity.
2. And among men thoughe charity be the greatest of all vertues, because it vnites & ioynes vs as inferiors to God our beste & highest Superior; yet in God who is aboue all creatures, vpon which he powreth out all the godnes they haue, & receiues nothing from any other to himselfe, in him mercy is the greatest of all vertues; & to him therfore the Churche saith it is proper, more then to any; & herein his omnipotency most to be manifested.In orat. in ter psal. gradual. pro defunct. For thoughe the vertues & attributes of God be in himselfe equall, yet in their effectes & operations towardes his creatures, one may appeare more or lesse then another: & so here S. Augustin saith, that mercy & miserations be all one: & S. Bernarde calls miserations, the daughters of mercy; which are diuerse in sundry streames, & yet all one water of the same founteyn, as in a garden-water potte, the water within is all one in substance with those many spinning streames yssuing out of those seuerall holes.
3. Aristotle said, that no place of the worlde is alltogether empty, eyther of ayre, or some what else;Non datur vacuū Psal. 32. yet he could not tell wherof it was full, so well as Dauid, who said All the worlde is full of the mercy of our Lord. Another philosopher being asked what was greatest of all? answered Locus, place is greatest: for place which conteyneth all, is greater then those thinges which are conteyned: but Dauid would haue said, it is our Lordes mercy, which is aboue all his workes: & so all places giues place as inferior to his mercy, & takes place within it, as lesser then his mercy. In heauen his mercye shynes in glory: on earthe he raynes mercy both on the iuste & iniuste: his mercy is in purgatory where sowles are purifyed & prepared for heauen: yea, euen in hell there is some parte of his mercy; for as he rewardes his Angells & Sayntes, much aboue their merites, so punisheth the diuells, & the damned, both lesse then their demerites, and not so much as he is able.
4. These are thy mercyes, O God, which none can deny: but we humbly desire releife & pardon according to thy great mercy, & to blotte out our iniquity in the multitude of thy miserations: thy justice, o lord, reacheth vnto the heighte of mounteynes; thy truthe vnto the clowdes; thy great mercye to the heauens; and the multitude of [Page 15]thy miserations is aboue all thy workes. O let vs taste of these mercyes, sent downe from thee to vs, and deriued by vs to others, that we may learne to be mercifull as thou arte mercifull. And so in thy day of iustice & iudgment, if we haue bene mercifull we shall obteyne mercy; when it shall not be so much recounted that Abel was murdred for his good sacrifice; that Noah tooke care to saue the olde world;Chrysol. in serm. judicij. that Abrahā was faithfull: that Moses deliuered the lawe; that Elias went vp to heauē in a charyot; that S. Peter was crucified with his head downeward; that S. Paul was beheaded; that S. Laurence was broyled; or S. Edmonde our English king a martyr shotte full of arrowes; as it shall be there demāded what workes of mercy euery one hath performed; especially in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, or visiting the sicke & imprisoned. O teach vs to be mercifull in such smal matters, that we may find great mercy, at thy handes, and in euery one of thy fingers multitude of miserations. Great mercy, o God, because thou arte great, and it fittes thee not to giue little: great mercy, because our necessityes haue neede of great supplyes: our offences are great;Hugo Cardinal. & our punishments deserue to be great; therfore what can we aske lesse then great mercy?
5. And according to the multitude of thy miserations blotte out my iniquity: O thou who doost forgiue very often, euen seauenty times seuen times: we are many offenders, and are guilty of exceeding many sinnes, in many thinges offending all, & euery day, & many times a day; o shew the multitude of thy miserations, Theophil. Innocent. 3. Esay. 43. Ierem. 17.vpon such multitudes of offences, of times, & of persons; pardoning so many sinners, for so many crimes, & so many times repeated. O blotte them out, as thou hast said by the Prophet Esay, that thou arte he who blotteth out our iniquityes for thine owne sake. And Ieremy saith, our sinnes are grauen in a harde Adamante stone with an yron pen: who can blotte out such a recorde? euen thou only, o mighty redeemer, who by thy handes nayled to the crosse wert blotting out all handewrytinges against vs:Colos. 2. Psal. 68. O raze and blotte out, we entreate thee, all the sinnes & accusations which Satan writes against vs: O blotte them out, not to be read; and scrape them out as, blottes, not to be seene; for otherwise they will blotte our names out of thé booke of the liuing. Del [...], put out, or take away from thy sighte, or vewe, all spottes from our soule, all memory from thy booke, all byting wormes from our conscience, all sinnefull appetites from our affections, & all vnlawfull consent from our desires. O blotte out all malice, or frailty, from our will; and out of our vnderstanding all error & blindnes. In the vertue of thy precious bloud; and by the sacramēt of extreme Vnctiō we beseech thee, blotte out at our death all the sinnefull delightes of our eyes, all the follyes of our eares, all vanityes of our smelling, all the iniquityes of our tōgue, all the voluptuousnes of our touche, or of our taste, all vnserchable or secret sinne of our hartes, all the idlenes or wickednes of our handes, all the forwardnes of our feete to committe euill, & all the slackenes or crookednes of our wayes vnto good. O Iesu helpe vs by wyping out our blottes now to cleāse our soules, & euer by great mercy to forgiue our sinnes.
OF THE GREAT CARE VVE MVST VSE to purge all sinne: and that we our selues must doo herin some diligence, not standing idle to leaue all vnto Christe. Sect. 6.
1. WAsh me yet more from mine iniquity! & cleanse me from my sinne. O lorde I haue so much offended, that me thinkes I cannot well enoughe expresse my guiltynes, nor enoughe begge remedye, nor can I tell, when I haue enoughe repented. [Page 16]Amplius laua me, wash me yet more, both from the filthynes, and allso the stinkingnes of all wickednes:Inn [...]cē. 3. wash me, from iniquity which is filthy; and cleanse me from sinne which stinketh: from sinne against God, & from iniquity eyther against my neighbor or against my selfe, yet more, both from the heynousnes of that which is paste, that I be perfectly cured; and least I should fall agayne, from the dangerousnes of that which may come. Let not the prophet complayne against me, saying, O how vile arte thou become iterating thy wayes!Ierem. 1. all sinne in my soule is like lothsome stinking durte on my innermost or fayrest garment, or like deadly poyson in my vsuall drinking cuppe: It is not enoughe with one water to take away the moste or the worste,Petrus Vega. but rynse, & rubbe, & washe the cuppe agayne & agayne, with nettles, with salte, with ashes▪ water after water; let vs be sure there be neither sauour nor danger of poyson lefte behinde. It is true that in our contrition & Gods absolution, all the guilte of all sinne is totally forgiuen, yet our healed conscience which was wounded; as a burnte childe is afrayde of any fire: as hauing weake stomackes, if we spye the least remaynder of our former filthynes, or taste the smallest sauour of our wonted poyson; O let vs crye (not for distruste, but for better security) amplius laua me, washe me yet more.
2. Allso, when we doo bewayle any greater crime, let vs withall wash the spotres of any lesser faultes: yet more, euen our smallest offences, which being many amounte vnto much:S. Greg. yet more, not only from all the guilte and eternall punishment, but allso from purgatory or any payne temporall, yet more, both inwardly from sinfull thoughtes as well as outwardly from bad wordes or deedes, yet more then others, for I haue offended more then others, yet more, not only by these cerimoniall figures, and externall signes, but allso by the true precious bloud of our perfect redeemer.
3. I haue sinned against God, against men, against my selfe, & against other creatures; therfore o lord,Hugo Cardinal. miserere, dele, laua, munda; haue mercy on faultes against thee, blotte out accusatiōs of men, wash away the spottes of mine owne soule, and cleanse my abuses & corruptions of thy creatures, O was he my soule, which thou diddest make pure in my creation; O cleanse my body, which thou diddest sanctifye by thy incarnation; O blotte out my faultes against the lawe which condemneth; haue mercy according to thy grace giuen by the gospell which acquitteth. And all these, yet more, as very filthy clothes must be boyled & bucked in sharpe lee, washed, rubbed, wringed, beaten, shaken, & bleached: for as Seneca said, they who are accustomed to sinne non tant [...]m inquinati, sed infecti sunt, they are not only defiled but infected, which is more hardly cleansed.Epist. 85.
4. There is 1. a washing of Baptisme. 2. of repentance. 3. of martyrdome: of the firste,Zachar. 13. Zachary prophecyed, there shalbe a founte eyn open to the house of Dauid, and to the inhabitantes of Ierusalem for the washing of a sinner: sinne this water of Baptisme I haue bene abhominably polluted, O wash me yet more, in the second water of repentance, which is Naamans Iordan, interpreted a descending, or a riuer of iudgement, signifying our humility or judgement of our selues.3. reg. 5. Or if it be thy blessed will, O God, washe me in the thirde water, yet more by martyrdome, that I may be somewhat like those in the Apocalyps who washed their ctoles in the bloud of the lambe.
5. And thoughe we doo somewhat towardes these purifications, yet more must be done by our lorde Iesus:Apoc. 7. the beginninge, proceding, & finihing, must be his grace working & our will consenting: our obedient diligence must be answerable to his ca [...]ling & guiding inspirations: the inwarde spi [...]ite & grace is his, the outwarde labour must be ours Ouer & besides all which we can doo, yet more, he must wash vs; other wise as Ieremy said, If thou wash thee with Niter, and multiply vnto thy selfe the [Page 17]herbe Borith yet thou arte d [...]filed in thy iniquity before me: the Septuagint call it the herbe Toan which S. Ierome saith is the Fullers herbe, and the Chaldey paraphraste interpretes it Soape: so that thoughe we washe with water; yet more our lord must cleanse vs with his soape. All our owne Niter and Borith, our penances voluntary, or our vnuoluntary afflictions, are to small purpose of themselues alone, yet more o lord giue them vertue and accepte them in the merites and passion of our Sauiour, without whom all our actions are nothing worthe vnto saluation.
6. And yet we may not be idle christians, laying all vpon the shoulders of Christe; for thoughe he be able yet he will not beare all: such be all carnall libertines, Caluinistes, & such others, who will no fasting dayes; no whipping of themselues; no hayre clothes; no harde beddes; no pilgrimages; no stricte exercise of religion; no corporall penances, whiles they be in healthe, thoughe they be able to endure them without hurte (for in case of apparent or very probable damage to our necessary healthe, they are rather forbidden then imposed) But these without sicknes or other cause will neither faste, nor absteyne from flesh, no not in lent, nor scarse vpon Good fridaye; they will performe no stricte obedience to the publique orders & decrees of the Churche, but when & how it please themselues: and this they call their christian liberty: wherin not withstanding Christe practised the contrary: in all thinges he obeyed the lawe, thoughe he were not bound: these are bound, & yet will not obey. He himselfe hath commanded that whosoeuer obeyeth not the churche should be accompted as a heathē: and did he himselfe liue in any such liberty? his whole life was rather full of bodily labor & wante, in fasting, watching, & prayers, in many greifes, tormentes, & much vnrest. O holy Iesu we must come after thee in some such sorte, if we will come vnto thee as we oughte: we truste not in our bodely workes alone without thee▪ but we worke them in thy loue after thy exāple: to suffer with thee, that we may be glorifyed with thee. We confesse, and rejoyce, because thy merites are alone all sufficient; but we know that thou wilte not haue vs partakers of those merites by such liberty, but by obedient labor. Is the disciple more at liberty then the maister? he wroughte for vs till he sweat droppes of water & bloud; shall we stand idle or at liberty to doo nothing but beleuee? yes, we will beleeue; for that is our foundation: & yet more we will worke, & be obedient to his churche in euery religious action. For of thē he hath said, he that heareth you heareth me, & he that despiseth you despiseth me.
WE MVST DAILY PROCEDE IN ZEALE against all sinne: and in particuler against the sensualities of the fleshe. Sect. 7.
1. MAny men when they are sicke and growe neare to their death, doo begin to eate greedily: so shoulde a good christian more hūger for righteousnes when his death is more neare, and in his spirituall hunger and deuotion pray and desire Amplius, yet more. Or as he that hath bene sicke, and beginnes to amend, if he be perfectly cured, he will bee exceding hungry: otherwise, it is a signe that all bad humors are not expelled or digested. So if we waxe negligent in our reasonable penances or spirituall exercises, we haue cause to feare that all sinne is not well purged, or mortifyed: wherfore in any such queazynes, or lazynes, let vs returne to say with Dauid Amplius, yet more: O lord, let me hunger after iustice yet more; for my last howre now approcheth nearer then when firste I did beleeue; and al [...]so that I may redeeme the time and so recouer strength, Amplius laua me, Purge me yet more.
2. In perticuler this faulte of the fleshe, against which Dauid prayeth is pec [...]liarly called a fyre, and filthynes: and therfore aboue all other vices it is most proper a [...]ai [...]st this to praye for more water. Yet more water of contrition against this filthy sinne, to washe it more and more water of mortification against this burning sinne, to quenche it more. Yet more, o lorde, enable vs in our bodyes to extinguish these coales, and yet more in our hartes to purifie this filthe: for if w [...] doo but thinke of it with delighte, we begin to burne; and if we doo consent to such a thoughte, yet it is so filthy that we are ashamed to publish or to speake it, vnlese we be past shame. Achilles being washed ouer all his body, excepte only the plantes of his feete, could not be wounded whersoeuer he had bene washed; and yet at laste (he kneeling) a poisoned arrowe was shotte into his foote, and so killed. So not only the principall partes of our body, but amplius laua me, yet more, lord, washe euen the soales of our feete, as well as our heade, our handes, our eyes, our eares, all our senses, and all our facultyes of soule and body: for if we leaue any parte vnwashed, there the diuell will watche to haue vs wounded. Especially let vs beware of this poisoned arrowe of luste; which is purposely called vncleannes, because there is no filthynes of sinne like the lothesomnes of luste, which cleanes to such a carnall soule, as the poxe to the bones; and he that hath bene once so filthy, will hardly cease to be still more filthy. Wherfore on the contrary, if we become once cleane Amplius laua me, let vs be yet more cleane: and as the swanne, after those actions, will not eate till he get into the water to bathe him,Pli. l. 8. cap. 16. nor the lyonesse returne to her companion vntill she be all washed, after copulation with the parde: so much more haste and care shoulde we haue to b [...] cleansed from this filthy vice; and not be content with a l [...]ttle wa [...]er, but euer labou [...] and praye to be washed yet mor [...].
AN ACT OF CONTRITION.
O My Lord Iesus-Christ very God and Man, my Creatour & Redeemer, thou being whome thou art, and for that I loue thee aboue all thinges, it greiueth me from the bottome of my hart, that I haue offended thy diuine Maiesty. And I firmely purpose neuer to sinne any more; and to fly all occasions of offending thee. And to confesse and fulfill the pennance which shalbe enioyned me for the same. And for loue of thee, I do freely pardon all my enemies. And do offer my life, wordes, and workes in satisfaction for my sinnes. Wherefore I most humbly intreate thee, trusting in thy infinite goodnes and mercy, that by the merits of thy most pretious bloud and passion, thou wouldest pardon me, and giue me grace to amend my life, and to perseuere therin vntill death. Amen.
A PRAYER OF THE AVTHOVR TO OVR BLESSED LADY.
O Most pious Virgin Mary, Mother of God: I desire th [...]e by the great loue thou bearest to thy deare Sonne my Lord & Sauiour Iesus-Christ: That thou wouldest vouchsafe to obtaine for me true sorrow for my sinnes, a perfect keeping of all my Senses, an humble Resignatiō of my selfe, & the exercise all those vertues wherewith thou didst so highly please thy diuine Sonne. I also most humbly request thee to direct my wayes in those pathes which may be most agreable to the will of thy Sonne, & profitable for the saluation of my Soule. Amen, sweet Iesus.