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 III.
King David Playin a Psaltery
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco, & peccatum meum contra me est semper. Tibi soli peccaui, & malum coram te feci, vt iustificeris in sermonibus tuis, & vincas cum iudicaris.
For I knowe mine owne iniquity, & my sinne is alwayes against me. Vnto thee alone I haue sinned, & haue committed euill before thee, that thou maist be iustifyed in thy wordes, and maist ouercome when thou arte iudged.
HOW WE MVST MARKE, ABHORRE, and beware sinne, as a trecherous and a dangerous enemye. Sect. 1.
1. IF the black More looke vpon himselfe, he cannot chuse but say that he is blacke: and if we looke vpon our owne soules, will not our cōscience conuince vs that we are lothesome? vnles as the Mores doo painte their Angells foule and blacke like themselues, & the diuells fayre and white like christians; so we will peruerte the true opinion of vertue calling it vice, and falsely esteeme foule vice to be fayre vertue. Or if we doo confesse sinne to be sinne, yet it is not enoughe to acknowledge our sinne to be foule and filthy; [Page 19]but allso we must marke how he standes against vs like an enemy: as Dauid here saith he knowes him; and obserues that he alwayes standes against him.
2. Ego cognosco, I knowe my sinne. And sinne is knowne by sundry otkens. 1. as a whore, eyther by an impudent face: or by her wanton eyes: or by fylching and couetous handes: or by affected flattring speeche,Cassiod. Hugo Cardinal P [...]ou. 5. & 6. & 7. & Eccle. 26. for some one or other of these markes Solomon hath set downe wherby to knowe a bad woman. And such is all sinne, which entreth eyther with flattring promises of pleasure, profite, or honor: or else with a bolde forhead passeth all shame: or neglecting all thinges else doth cheifly seeke delightes: or despising other men doth most aduance his owne propertyes: and doth neuer fayle to robbe or begge from thy soule some jewell or other ornament of grace; yea, to steale thy soule it selfe from God, and all goodnee. 2. Or sinne is knowne like a monstar, which maruells not at it selfe, whiles all others stand wondring at his deformity. 3. or it is knowne like a twoo hande sworde by his sharpe edges & long blade: for all mortall sinne doth euer separate by Gods excommunication, which kills a farre of with a long reache, and deuides a sunder entire bodyes, and cuttes off whole lymnes at one bloue, 4. And laste of all, if sinne be not discouered by any of these, yet fley from him as from the face of a serpent whose stinge hath once put vs to a long time of great payne▪ Num. 13.and if a man were freed from such payne & danger, were it not good to take marke & care how to knowe his like, least agayne we should suffer the like? and therfore it were conuenient to set vp his perfecte figure in the place of our vsuall abode, ouer against our eye, for an remembrance of our passed tormentes, & for a warming of our future perill.
3. Thus, O my soule, let vs alwayes place the remembrance of sinne, before vs, or against vs, In the day let vs thinke of him, & dreame of him in the nighte, as alwayes against vs, that so me may knowe him to beware of him & euer to kepe him from vs.Eccle. 21. S. Aug. Theod. Thus if we knowe sinne, our lorde will not knowe him, and if we set him against vs, to mooue our selues to voluntary penance, our lorde will spare vs from greater vengeance: for as vnto a Physitian if we would be cured, we offer him his hyre; so vnto God, saith S. Augustin, we must offer him sacrifice of some satisfaction,S. Aug. if by our Lord Iesus we will obteyne full remission, we call vpon God, but consider, saith S. Augustin, that we call vpon one who is juste, & who hates all sinne: call vpon his mercy, but not to neglecte his justice. His mercy pardons an offendor eternally, but his justice will temporally punish the offence: and therfore as we beseech him to remitte the guilte, because we knowe & acknowledge it; so because we doo voluntarily set some temporall punishment against vs, therfore o lord doo not thou allso punish vs temporally.
4. And if we doo thus, we shall haue his justice satisfyed, & double mercy obteyned: one mercy changeth eternall payne into temporall; and againe temporall punishment, of many yeares paraduenture & much smarte, is changed by his second mercy into some shorte & easy penance justly imposed, or voluntarity assumed: or into some deuout Iubiley, or other religious indulgence; which are all grounded on the merites of our Sauiour; but that these may be applyed, we proforme our diligence to knowe our iniquity in the contrition of our harte, & to haue, our sinne alwayes against vs, in some mortification of our bodye.
5. They must be alwayes ouer against vs or before vs: not behinde our backes: for when our sinnes be as forgotten at our backes, then they haue aduantage to murder vs sodenly, or to make vs yeild fearfully: but if we turne face vpon them or put them before vs, we doo so much sooner destroye them, or put them to flighte. Sometime, [Page 20]O lorde,S. Bonauen. Psal. 37. Gen. 4 Psal. 18. Psal. 128. Psal. 21. Psal. 48. Psal. 70. & 81. Iob. 16. Psal. 21. & 87. sinne is aboue vs in power & multitudes, as else where Dauid saith, my sinnes are gone ouer my head. 2. somtime they are vnder vs by repentance & mortification, as it is said to Cayn, his appetite shoulde be vnder him. 3. somtime they are hidden within vs by hipocrisye, wherfore we praye to be cleansed from our hidden sinnes. 4. somtime they are before vs, to be chastized; as in this texte. 5. somtime they are neglected behind vs, and then as in another psalme it is said, they rayse large buyldinges vpon our backes. 6. somtime they are at our righte hande, when we sinne mortally with a highe hand, and then Dauid especially desireth to haue his soule deliuered out of the hande of a dogge, and in another place, out of the hande of hell. 7. somtime they are at our lefte hande when we sinne of infirmity; and so allso he diuerse times prayeth to be freed from the hande of a sinner. 8. sōtime sinne is roūd about vs to accuse or to affrighte vs, so Iob said that he was compassed about with speares; & Dauid complaynes that they come about him as bulls of Basan, and as many water flouddes. O blessed Iesu succor vs in the middest of these flouddes: defend vs against these speares: o free vs from sinne of all handes; on the righte hande, or the lefte, deadly or veniall breake downe their heauy boystrous building on our backes, whiles we forget or neglecte them: o drawe out into our view the secret or hypocriticall s [...]nnes of our harte: and if they haue by custome or by number gotte ouer our heads in tyranicall dominion, o bring them downe vnder our feete by thy grace of contrite mortification: or howsoeuer in any sorte they doo practise against vs, let vs beware their danger by keping them alwayes before vs.
THAT EVERY ONE MVST ACKNOVVLEDGE his owne faultes, and laying his hande vpon his owne harte, rather accuse himselfe, then censure any other. Sect. 2.
1. ANd obserue that we must be carefull to knowe and to keepe in our fighte, as Dauid here saith, iniquitatem [...]eā, & pecca [...]ū me [...]m, my iniquitie, and sinne which is mine: not other mens faultes. As Dauid firste gaue sharpe sentence against the riche man, which had taken the poore mans only sheepe, not imagining he spake against himselfe: for in another mans person we consider the offence more duely in his owne nature, not so much dazeled with affection & partiality, as when it concernes our selues: wheras it were a safer course, in seing other mens badnes, to judge or feare our selues worse; and in our owne goodnes, to esteeme other men better. Thus, let vs set against our view those which be our owne sinnes, that as Nathan enforced Dauid to vse his owne tongue for the knife wherwith to launce and open his owne soare, so we may by viewing our owne sinnes, not so much looke to take out a moate of our brothers eye, as to remedye the beame which we haue in our owne. Like wise physitiās firste haue a care to cure our selves; for as the wise mā said, the foote of a foole doth easilie enter into the house of his neighbor: and a foole standeth prying by the windowe into the house, Eccles. 21but a man prudent will stande at the dore without. O how few such prudent m [...]n! we are allmoste all prying fooles, marking others, and not obseruing our selues. Like some soldyers who being an hundred of their owne nation, and but ten strangers, if any faulte or losse happen, they say presently it was the strangers defaulte, not one of vs were to blame; but if any excellent exployte be performed, where there were a thousand strangers and scarse one hundred of them [Page 21]yet there they alone did moste, all the strangers did nothing so much: So in matters of vice & vertue, we will diminishe others due prayse to extoll our selues, at least secretly in our owne opinion: or in the middest of offences we will scarse acknowledge one faulte to be alltogether our owne: or if we doo; it shall be but in some small matter, or some generall fashion▪ yea, somtime saying in generall that we are sinners to seme therby so much more holy; wherin as pride of humility or humble pride is most dangerous, so this seeming sanctity by a feyned selfe accusation, is moste odious.
2. Of S. Ihon Baptiste, twice it is sayd, that he confessed & denyed not, when the phariseys would needes haue pressed him to say of himselfe that he was the Messias: he confessed himselfe vnworthy that estimation, and denyed not to Christe his due honor. But we contrarily d [...]tracte from others, and attribute to our selues; wheras we shoulde not deny worthynes to others, and confesse vnworthynes in our selues. Eyther to be silent of our good deedes; or at least neuer to speake of them for our owne prayse, but only to glorifye God or to edifye our neighbor by them▪ euermore to heare of our owne faultes & imperfections patiently, acknowledge them (where just occasion is) vnfeignedly, or in serious humility to thinke of them with greife, as alwayes set against vs with our marke vpon their foreheades that as soone as we see them, we may sorowfully (and willingly, thoughe secretly) acknowledge that pride is mine, that dullnes in deuotion is mine, such couetousnes is mine, such vaynglory is mine, such pelting anger is mine, such friuolous contention is mine, such paltry lyes are mine, such waspish impatience is mine, such is my distraction in prayer, my lazines or sleepynes is such, my property it is to deale timorously or not hartily, my selfeloue it is to esteeme too well of my selfe; too much delighte in meate & drinke is mine, to many carnall thoughtes are mine; mine are idle imaginations & foolish conceiptes, my faulte it is to lay blame on others & excuse mine; all the good, o lorde, which I haue, or doo, it is thine; and mine are innumerable & vnserchable euills.
3. Goodnes is thine, by identity, by creation, by communication, or by complete action; but is mine only by participation, eyther infused, or applyed, or exercised.S. Bonauē Allso by priuate mystery. S. Ihons Baptisme was called his: by peculiar promise, o lorde, thou arte called the God of Abraham, & so likweise arte our God: iustice is only thine, as the giuer, yet as receiuers it is likewise ours: grace is thine as the owner, and ours as the farmers: the heauens and all creatures are thine as the Author, & ours as possessors: Only of euill and sinne, euery one may iustly say, it is mine, as possessor and author; it is mine as farmer and owner; it is mine as receiuer and giuer; it is mine by open bargayne, & by secret conueyance it is mine: it is mine by practise; by application; by coniunction; by participation; by infection; by defection; by custome; by counsell; commaunde; consent; prouoking; praysing; by not discouering; not hindring; not punishing; or by not reprehending when I mighte and oughte▪ By all, or by some of these titles & propertyes euery one must knowe his owne faulte & set thē against himselfe saying: it is mine.
4. In a common assembly of a city, said Socrates,Stobaeus in serm. 21. if the cryer shoulde will all the merchantes to stande vp; so they would, and no other: if all the goldesmithes, all the mercers, grocers, drapers, tāners, taylers, &c. were seuerally required to stāde a parte, euery trade by it selfe, they would doo it orderly: but if the cozening vnconscionable sellers shoulde be commanded by the Mayor himselfe to come stand by him: no man woulde stirre: yet contrarily if the basest sergeant should in the Mayors name will all the honest iuste dealing men to remooue all to one side: it is like that all would [Page 22]go apace, & thruste harde, not to stande nere the middest, least he should be thoughte to remayne nere the dishonest side. Thus men are not so vnwilling to shew their trades, how meane soeuer, as to acknowledge their faultes, how small soeuer: because all men would seme innocent or iuste, no man will talke with Dauid of my iniquity & my sinne. But as in worldly matters, we gladly talke of my ancestors, my landes, my Lordships, my houses, my tenantes, my dignityes, my credite, my authority, or of any thing wherof we can vante, all that is mine: so also in spirituall thinges, or matters perteyning to the minde & vnderstanding, we are willing to speake of anything wherof we may somewhat glory, either openly with a full mouthe, or with halfe a mouthe nicely; or at least in thoughte secretly call it mine, as my deuotion, my fasting, my losses, or constancy for religion; my knowledge, my discretion, &c. of these, or other such like, we doo willingly talke, somtime to the end we may insinuate how, or which of them is mine; yea somtime we doo them because afterwarde we may boast, such a good deede was mine; like the gleade or kyte which mountes vpwarde to heauen, but alwayes his eye is looking downewarde to the earthe, where to espye some cary on or garbage on the grounde; and so we doo often seeme to flie vpward to heauen in our intentions, whiles we fixe our eye much more vpon the action to call it mine, In fine; thus any good, we doo readily call it mine, thoughe it be as Batillus chalenged Virgillis verses for his owne; but we disclayme all euill, thoughe it be like him who talking much, yet denyed stoutly that he had any tongue.
IT IS NECESSARY TO REMEMber harmes of sinne, therby learning to amend and take heede. Sect. 3.
1. THis is our corrupte inclination to deny our faultes and to boaste of our worthynes: neuertheles, o my soule, be thou carefull to knowe my iniquity, & be diligent to haue my sinne alwayes against me. that so it may moderate thy mirthe, & diminish thy delightes in thy meditations often to thinke of it with inwarde greife, in time of tribulation to suffer chastizement for it with outward sorowe: alwayes to keepe it in thine eye, to humble thee; or to warne the [...], let him euer plucke thee by the sleeue.Gen. 20. As Abimelech hauing taken Sara, & being warned in a vision not to touche her, for she was [...]brahams wife; he set her free, and giuing her a 1000. peeces of syluer to buy vayles for herselfe & her women to couer their faces,Vega. he saith, remember whithersoeuer thou go that thou werte taken, as if he meante; being fayre & going with thy face open, men are more easily entangled in thy beauty, wherfore buy vayles to couer thine eyes, & remember thou werte taken & broughte in danger of sinne, by this faulte of open shewing thy face: So likewise with vs, by what occasion soeuer we haue bene taken or put in hazarde of any sinne, let vs remember, and set our former occasions & faultes alwayes against vs, that wee may against another time beware to be taken by any such like occasion in any such sinne.
2. Thus S. Gregory vseth a strange petition; but in this sense a very good speache; prosit mihi Domine quod peccaui (according to our english phrase after our meate) much good may it doo me, o Lorde, that I haue sinned: as if he should say out of the euill which I haue committed by my faulte, let me drawe good by thy mercy: let it make me more humble & gentle towardes others, lesse trusting to my selfe, & most dutifull [Page 23]towardes thee, both to prayse thy mercy which pardoneth me, and to desire thy grace to vpholde me. Neuertheles, these seme strange speeches, to be against me, In ps. 37▪& yet to doo me good: as also that speech of Origen seemes strange, who calleth Dauid, a very good sinner: a sinner, & yet very good: to doo vs good, & yet to be against vs, how can this be? surely in this pointe we must imitate our lordes goodnes, who drawes good out of euill, & causeth the most wicked men & vilest diuells to serue his purpose for good: so we must make mithridate or tr [...]acl [...] against poysō, euen of most poysonous vipers: the more we haue bene sinners, by consideration therof to mooue our selues to be so much more good: such a one is a good sinner, & such a good sinner was the good theefe on the crosse, whom we therfore call the good theefe, & many ancyent Fathers call him Sanctum latronem, holie theefe, not holie because he had bene a wicked theefe, but because he be [...]ame so zealous a penitent. Such good sinners were Zacheus. S Mary Magdalen. S. Mathew▪ S. Peter. S. Paul▪ S. Augustin.P [...]. Rib [...]deneyra flos SS. S. Mary of Egipte S. Anastase the Necromancer, & diuerse others, & such a good sinner was Dauid in this place, who therfore sette his sinne alwayes against himselfe, to the end it might doo him much good: & so may we, by considering often the greatnes of our sinne, & how they haue bene much euill.
3. And as Agesilaus (being resolued to passe with an army throughe his neighbors cuntry) sent not to aske leaue for passage,Plutar. in vit. but only to demande how they would haue him to passe? whither with his pike trayled along? or set on end? that is, whither peceably? or by force? for passe he woulde & muste. So our sinnes must be set against vs, either to condemne vs being not amended, or being repented to admonish vs: since therfore we must passe their pikes, is it not better to make our selues free from vnauoidable aduersaryes? then to adde rancor to cruell hostility. And as an olde shippe which lyes wracked on some shelfe, remaynes for a sea marke, that no more shoulde folowe her in that course: so the danger, horror, & misery, of our passed sinnes set against vs, or before vs, may preserue vs from followig sinnes which will offer themselues vnto vs: Thus let our sinnes be against vs, to reprehend vs for the faulte, or before vs, to remember vs of the punishment.
DIVERSE INTERPRETATIONS OF THESE wordes, Tibi soli: vnto thee alone &c. Sect. 4.
1. ANd the more to make vs abhorre our sinnes, let vs recounte thē with all the lewde & lothsom circum [...]tances, as Da [...]id addeth▪ Innocē. 3.To thee only haue I sinned & committed euill before thee. I am king, or a person of dignity: thou arte God of greatest maiesty: for such a person to offend against such a God, is a heynous crime: the higher my seate, the greater my faulte: the more glorious thy presence, the fowler my offence. I haue sinned before thee: not of ignorance, for I know my iniquity: nor of negligence, for my sinne is alwayes against me: but against my waking conscience, euen before thee. Thoughe not of malice and despite, determinately against thee; yet by vnreuerent neglecte wittingly and willingly, euen before thee. Woulde a man abuse another, whiles he knowes the Iudge lookes vpon him? But who woulde before his face offend the Iudge himselfe? yet such are we in all our sinnes.
2. We sinne, o lorde, before thee, Hugo Cardinal.who as a wise iudge knowest and seest all our enormi [...]yes, and arte neuer deceiued. We sinne vnto thee, as a iust iudge who haste auctority to [Page 24]punish our wickednes, nor wilte be corrupted, but arte euer iustifyed in thy wordes. And we sinne vnto thee alone as a moste powerfull Iudge, aboue whom only there is no appeale, from whom only there is no escape; and against whom only there is no resistance for thou doost ouercome when thou arte iudged.
3. We are said to offend vnto a man vnder whose power and auctority we are subiect to be punished,Glossae, Incognitus. thoughe our offēce be not so against him that we iniury him. And he that robbeth a traueler, committes euill against him from whom he taketh his mony; and yet is not properly said to sinne vnto him, but vnto the Iudge vnder whose power he is to receiue his punishment. So that we may sinne vnto a man and not against h [...]: and allso against a man but not vnto him. And so Iudges must consider offences as done vnto the lawe, or vnto them for publique iustice,Titelma. not as done against them according to their particuler respectes and priuate affections. Neither may priuate men who receiue iniuryes done against them, therfore become their owne Iudges to reuenge, for it perteynes not vnto them.
4 Tibi soli: vnto thee alone. Some hebrew wryters thinke that the murder of Vrias, and the adultery of Bersabee were vnknowne among men,Genebrar. Rabbi Kimbi. Rabbi Ioseph. Rabbi Saadias. and therfore he saith as of secret sinnes, vnto thee alone I haue offended. Others suppose that Vrias being now dead, he meaneth that he can make satisfaction to no other aliue (as he desired) but to thee alone. And one doth expounde it thus: to thee alone I crye peccaui, lamenting my guiltynes, of whom alone I looke for miserere acquitting punishment: For thoughe we go to the preist as thy officer, yet by him we come vnto thee alone as the Author.
5. We haue sinned vnto thee, o lord, as our Iudge who must chastize vs. Vnto thee alone who only arte without all faulte, and therfore without any checke maist seuerely procede against vs.Hugo Cardinal. Iob. 25. All men are culpable of somewhat vnto thee, thoughe they seme vprighte vnto men: wherfore thou alone maist pronounce a stricte sentence: And seing the enuy of Satan, and the malice of the Iewes can finde nothing in thee; therfore thou alone at euery sinner maist caste the first stone. It is true, o lord, we haue by our sinnes iniuryed many men,S. Aug. and scandalized more, yet vnto thee alone we haue sinned as vnto a punisher and a Iudge who hath in himselfe no faulte to be amended: For it is proper vnto thee alone, to be iustified in all thy wordes, and euer to ouercome when thou arte iudged.
WHEN WE COMMITTE SINNE BEFORE our Lord: and that he seeth not as man seeth. Sect. 5.
1. ET malum coram te feci. I haue committed euill before thee. Euen in thy presence: for thou knowest and seest all. I haue sinned vnto thee throughe disobedience: and before thee by impudence. Is it not a greater faulte against the king, which is done in his pallace, or in his presence, then in his absence, or in a village? And they whose busynesses and their liues are most in or about churches, in monasteryes, or religious places, whose cheife furniture of housholde are Breuiaryes, Beades, disciplines, sackclothes, or bookes of deuotion; they whose principall studyes or intentions are directed to Diuinity; and alsoe all men when they receiue spirituall inspirations of God; or whosoeuer pretend to serue God in any fraternity somewat more then others; are not all these nearher to our lordes presence more then others? and therfore more bound then others to walke euer as in his presence, and not to committe euill before him.
2. The very diuell accounted it a greiuous sinne which is committed in any speciall sorte before our lorde; and so he said of Iob, that if he were afflicted in body he woulde blaspheme [Page 25]God to his face. And therfore the lawes of men doo prohibite the benefite of Sanctuary vnto them who haue committed their faulte in the very churche. So our lorde complayned in Ezekiel of the abhominations which the house of Israel committeth. Here. Namely in his temple before him. And so sinneth the preacher in the pulpe [...],Ez [...]k. 8. when he speakes out of malice or for vaynglory: so sinneth the preist at the altar, when he is irreuerent in his action, or careles in his deuotion: so sinneth his Helper at masse, when he is negligent: so sinne his Hearers, when they are not sufficiently attent, but either vndecent in gesture, pratling in wordes, or in bad or vayne thoughtes witingly wandring: when we rūne ouer our howres, or our, beades or our prayers, with more needeles speede, then any good heede, o how doo we sinne before him.
3. All such sinners are like Cayn, who althoughe he remayned in the presence of God, yet (as S. Ambrose noteth) the texte saith of him that he went out from the face of our lorde, not only by loosing his fauor as hauing committed murder,Gen. 3. Apol. Dauid 1. cap. 14. but especially because hauing committed this euill before him, yet he sottishly supposed to be hidde from him. Worse are all such then the heathen grecians, who called God, Theos, because he beholdeth all thinges: and as they said in a prouerbe, Against euill he hath a reuenging eye. And worse then the superstitious Egiptians,Ciril. Alexan. l. 9. contra Iul. who (as S. Cyril writeth) did signifie the Allseeing prouidence of almighty God by the hieroglifique of a scepter hauing a fayre eye on his toppe: noting that as his scepter commandeth all, so his eye beholdeth all. O therfore let vs take heede how we committe euill before him, for we can neither auoyde the eye of his knowledge, nor escape the rodde of is aucthority. Especially when we go about any parte of his religious seruice, let vs seriously suppose we come more particulerly into his presence: then let vs consider him present, as one of greatest maiesty: and then let vs consider him present, as one of the Best goodnes ▪ on the other side then let vs acknowledge our selues before him, as exceeding vnworthy creatures: and allso then let vs acknowledge our selues before him as maruelous wicked and malicious enemyes: that so we may reuerenc [...] and feare his majesty as Greatest; and with hope and loue, praye vnto his Goodnes as Best: especially humbling and confounding our selues before him, as wonderfull lewde enemyes, and vnworthy base creatures.
4. Yet herein let vs take comforte, o my soule, as well as feare, for as he is the Greatest to be feared; so he is the Best, to be loued: And as he seeth all▪ so he seeth not,Luc. 9. as man seeth: his giftes of nature are admirable; but any one gifte of his grace (as S. Thomas saith) is of more value then all his giftes of nature in the whole worlde: therfore we will doo reuerence before thy majesty; and before thy Goodnes we will sing prayses, o lordè: thou seest not as man seeth: neither imperfectly to be deceiued, taking good for euill; nor partially to be corrupted by fauor or affection: thine eye is not cruell in malice, but mercifull euen in justice: if we seeke to hide our faultes, thou seest and doost punish: if we humble our selues, as Dauid here▪ before thee, then thou beholdest vs with pity.
5. If we sinne before men: many wil say; why doth not fire come downe from heauen to chastize such wickednes: But as Calicratidas hauing a prisoner whom his enemyes hated and a great summe of mony desidered to be deliuered vnto them, to the end they mighte torment and kill him as they desidered, thoughe Calicratidas wanted mony to pay his army, yet he would not sell his captiue to their malice: wherupon saith Cleander (who was a Capteyn of his counsell) surely if I were Calicratidas I woulde sell this prisoner for this mony: the other wittily replyed. In sooth so woulde I, if I were Cleand: insinuating the difference betweene a base couetous minde, and a noble generous spirite. In the same maner because our lorde is not of ignoble disposition like Cleander, but much mor [...] heroycall then Calicratidas, therfore with a munificent kingly minde he suffers our faultes, [Page 26]& rewardes vs with benefites, when men would haue deliuered vs to the diuell: he granteth pardon to much euill committed before him, where men woulde take sharp vengeance for one worde of reproche, thoughe spoken behinde their backes. And in this sense Iob pleadeth vnto his pitifull eye, saying: Are thine eyes of fleth? or d [...]ost thou see as a man seeth? Iob. 10.that thou shouldest seeke my iniquity, and searche out my sinne. so let vs say: o lord, we hope well to finde fauour in thy face, for thine eyes are not vnmercifull, nor doo they exaggerate our faultes, as men being offended: rather, thoughe it doo aggrauate my sinne, to haue bene committed before thee, yet this doth cō forte my soule, because I doo knowe thee a most heroycall lorde and a gracious God▪ full of pity, not like malicious men reuengefull in cruelty.
OF DIVERSE WAYES BY WHICH OVR lorde is justifyed; and may be said to ouercome when he is judged. Sect. 6.
1. VT iustificeris in sermonibus tuis & vincas cum iudicaris. That thou maist be iustfyed in thy wordes, & maist ouercome when thou arte iudged. They that desire any benefite of kinges vse to alledge their passed merites, or future ability in his seruice: but of thee,Genebra. O God, I aske mercy without merite, only for mercy sake. I suffer misery: I abhorre my iniquity: I see & confesse my sinnes therfore haue mercy. I haue principally-offended thee; and thou hast promised pardon, and passed thy worde to forgiue euery penitent: therfore haue mercy, that so thou maict be iustifyed in thy wordes, and if any woulde doubte of the truthe of these promises, that allso thou mayst ouercome such when thou arte iudged in their mistrustfull discourses.
2. If directly thou shalte auouch that I & all men are sinners, absolutely thou shalte ouercome in this plea: all mē who dare trauerse their enditemēt, shalbe found lyers, & thou shalte be iustifyed. Or thus: my sinne may be an occasion of thy greater bounty and iustification, not causally, but consequently; thy iustification reckoned for an effecte;Titelma. not my sinne accompted for a cause: so here is placed this coniunction, vt, that, which is allso vsed by our Sauiour in the same sense, saying, sitt downe in the laste place that he coming who inuited thee,Luc. 14. may say freind sitte vp higher: where he meaneth not to teach fayned humility, to sit lowest to the end to be aduāced, for such counterfet humility were indeede worse then ordinary pride: but our Sauior foretelleth that so it will folowe & succede, that if we be sincerely humble, we shall certeinly be exalted: not to be so intended by vs, but it will be so órdeyned of God. And so.S. Basil. Theodo. Rom. 3. S. Paul alledgeth these wordes, concluding that our wickednes doth more manifest & commend the iustice of God. And so we may say: I haue sinned, o lorde before thee, & vnto thee; and by how much more my sinnes are greater, by so much the more thou haste occasion to magnifie thy mercy in my pardon, to testifye to all the worlde the truthe of thy promises, and against any mistrustfull or murmuring censurer, to prooue thy selfe an vndoubted & a gracious Iudge.
3. psal. 131.3. O lorde thou haste sworne vnto thy seruante Dauid, that of the fruite of his loynes. thou wouldest set the Messias on his throne althoughe I haue sinned greiuously, because I haue hartily repented, yet let it appeare that thou hast forgiuen my sinnes, and wilte still accomplishe thy former promises; that so in respecte of doubtefull weakelinges thou maist be iustifyed in the assurance of thy worde; and maist ouercome all misdeeming enemyes, in their enuious imaginations; who otherwise will iudge me [Page 27]as a reprobate, or blaspheme thee as a promise breaker.
4. Or else we may construe it thus: o lorde thou haste threatned temporall & publique punishment against me: some paraduenture knowing me to be great in thy fauor,Iacobus Sadoletus in hunc psal. & yet ignorante of my great sinnes, if they should see me so afflicted, & not knowe howe I haue offended, it may be they woulde wonder, or murmure, or take some other scandall, wherfore be it knowne to all the worlde that I haue sinned, and hauing demerited all those punishments which shall come vpon me, let it appeare that I am faulty, and thou arte iuste; both iustifyed in thy wordes, accomplishing what thou haste threatned, and allso maist ouercome in proofe, that thou haste threatned & punished me duely, if any shoulde judge or censure thee rashly: Thus▪ o my soule let vs humble our selues for our sinnes, and giue glory to God in his iustice: thus said S▪ Augustin. A penitent must not only feare our lord as a Iudge, but allso loue him for being iustice. And thus, if we be truly contrite (which is a sorowe because we haue offended God whom we doo loue aboue all) then will we in this sorowe of loue, neither refuse our punishment, nor excuse our faultes, nor complayne of our lordes seuerity: rather with Dauid here, we will publish our sinnes, and be iealous of Gods honor▪ least any shoulde thinke that he vseth against vs too much rigor: this is to loue our lorde with all our harte and all our soule, to prefer his loue before our owne affections, and to neglect our owne reputacion for aduancement of his name: by this we shall heale in our selues the enormityes of our sinnes, and make some small recompence vnto God (as much as we can) for all those iniuryes.
5. If we giue any disgrace or reproche to our neighbor, or lifte vp our hande, or a weapon, as if we woulde strike a magistrate, thoughe we doo not hereby hurte their persons really; yet in respecte of their dignity & credite we are said by these to offer iniuryes: so say deuines; Deus non leditur in externis bonis: To God himselfe all our sinnes can doo no harme, and yet by euery least sinne we committe an indignity against his maiesty: for we on our partes doo diminish his honor; eyther neglecting, or reiecting his aucthority, whensoeuer we trangresse what soeuer he hath commanded. Wherfore thoughe wee doo not harme his person, yet for his diminished honor, we are bound to our possible & best restitution. But what better restitution▪ and for vs, what more possible recompence! then playnly to accuse our selues as most worthy of his punishment, and clearly to iustifye him in all his procedinges. For to yeild him these dutyes, Iob inquired, saying: I haue sinned: what shall I doo vnto thee? O keeper of men. In my sinnes, o lord, I beholde twoo enormityes: the woundes which they haue giuen mee; and the dishonor they haue done vnto thee: o let vs be more carefull to repayre thy honor, then to cure our owne payne; firste, what shall I doo vnto thee? and so nexte I will haue care of my selfe: for if our lord be once satisfyed, I am sure we shall presenly be discharged. O let our repentance (by helpe of thy grace, & contrition) come once to his perfection; for such penitence is complete: but vntill this, althoughe it may be very good, yet it is imperfecte; this is an heroycall acte of contrition, more to desire the exaltation of Gods honor, then the release of our punishments: and when in zeale of his honor we confesse & confound our selues sincerely, with sorowe of our harte rootes, or with willing shame of our faces, acknowledging or otherwise chastizing our offences; then is our gracious lorde much more enclined to pardon all our guilte, then we can be ready so to confesse our faulte.
6. O come let vs say with Dauid, and say it like Dauid, with an entire harte: we haue sinned, O God, to thee alone, who arte aboue all. And we haue committed euill before [Page 28]thee; whose maiesty is greatest; whose Goodnes is infinite; and whose presence is most holy. We doo confesse to haue deserued all these punishments which it shall please thee to lay vpon vs, that thou maist be iustifyed in thy wordes, if any shoulde suppose our offences smaller then our chastizements. And so that thou maist ouercome when thou arte iudged, if any shoulde deeme thy corrections greater then our faultes.