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 V.
King David Playin a Psaltery
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti, incerta & oculta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
For beholde thou hast loued truthe: and thou hast manifested vnto me the doubtfull and secret thinges of thy wisdome.
DIVERSE DEVOVTE INTERPRETATlONS of these wordes. And an humble thankesgiuing of the Author for his vndeserued conuersion. Sect. 1.
THere is a threefolde Truthe.
1. of life, against hypocrisie: in which they are faulty who are clad in the wolle of sheepe, whiles they dissemble the malice of wolues.Hugo Cardinal. Math. 7. Thren. 3. Prouerb. 20. 2. in Truthe of doctrine, against heresie, which sercheth out false and foolish deuices. 3. In Truthe of justice, against partiall accepting of persons; which is an abomination vnto God. O founteyn and author of Truthe, deliuer my soule from all these lyes, of partialitie, of heresie, and of hipocrisie▪ let my life be true in deuotion of harty actions, rather then in any ostentation of wordes, or seming labor of lippes: let my doctrine be true, guided by thy holy spirite and in euery title submitted to thy Catholique churche, rather then in trusting to myne owne witte, or relying on any others priuate conceyte: let my vprighte dealing be true, respecting others as I would be vsed my selfe; neither bending for feare, nor leaning for affection: for beholde, o lord, it is euident in all thinges, thou louest truthe.
2. Wherfore in my particuler Cases of conscience; in my priuate sinnes, and other doubtes what should I doo? some men are ignorant, some men are negligent, some excuse all, and some doo much extenuate their faultes: but I knowe my iniquities, against ignorance; I haue my sinne alwaies against me, and I will set my selfe alwayes against sinne, without negligence: I may not defend my faulte, but I doo accuse my selfe to haue sinned aboue all vnto thee, and before thee to haue committed euill. Nor woulde I extenuate, but aggrauate my offences, fearing least they be worse then I suppose: for I knowe thou shalbe be iustified in thy wordes and wilte ouercome when thou arte iudged. Beholde therfore I spare not to discouer euē my natural infirmityes, I was conceiued in iniquityes. And all this playnnes I vse in confession with sincerity: for thou louest truthe.
3. Allso thou louest truth, not alone in confession, but as well in satisfaction: for so thou giuest prerogatiue to mercie that yet thou wouldest kepe truth; S. Aug.thou doost pardon him that confesseth yet if he punish himselfe: So is obserued, both mercie & truthe; mercie, because the man is freed; truth, because the sinne is punished. O blessed S. Augustin, it appeareth thou werte a Catholique penitent; somtime punishing thy body; not a carnall protestante euer pampering thy fleshe: thou doost require some sharpe satisfaction, after an entire confession; but these will not vndergoe the blushing of confession, much lesse endure the rigor of satisfaction: they are content with the liberty of their ghospell and an easy faithe, and therfore they refuse the necessity of satisfaction and all harde truthe. But thoughe our Lordes truthe haue harde sayinges, yet we must repent [Page 47]O let vs not abhorre these truthes, which to flesh and bloud doo breede hatred, for thou o lord, louest truth.
4. Thy prophet Nathan promised my sinnes should be translated from me;Titelma. wherfore I haue great hope of pardon; and doo relye on all thy promises for thou louest truth, and doubtles wilte performe. I allso haue some comforte in this respecte; because thoughe I committed a fowle faulte in matter of vice,Geneb. yet in poyntes of faith I haue not swarued from that Truthe which thou doost loue. I haue caste thy grace, and loue, out of my will; but yet in my vnderstanding, I haue reteyned thy truthe: It is naughte, and too bad, to haue one dore barred against thee, as a vicious Israelite; but it is wor [...]e like a heathē or an hetetique to shutte thee out with a doble barre, or with two gates, vidz: neither to beleeue righte, nor to liue well.
5. Or peraduenture, thoughe the wicked Beleeuer be somewhat easier to be conuerte [...], yet remayning obstinate he is in danger to be worse punished. Wherfore Euthymius supposeth Dauid to say thus: In my former wordes lamenting my naturall frailty, I mighte seeme to extenuate my faulte: ô no: I reuoke any excuse: rather,Euthi [...]. o lord, I accuse my selfe according to truthe. I was great in thy fauor, or as thy Sec [...]etary thou diddest manifest vnto me the secret and doubtfull thinges of thy wisdome. O how many hidden prophecyes hast thou reuealed to me, which I haue published to others? but the more I consider these fauors, the greater I acknowledge my offences: more abhominable is the treason of a Secretary, then any falsehood of an enemy.
6. Thus I doo deeply & sincerely in all truthe accuse my selfe: yet I cannot tell whether herin it were presumption for me to intreate thy reconciliation & mercy, because I was once thy inward freind & fauorite. To remember passed iniuryes doth prouoke a malicious minde to reuenge: and contrarily, why should it not mooue thy mercifull nature to pity him sooner whom thou diddest once loue, I will plead earnestly, yet with humility: I will acknowledge my faultes to be so much more detestable, because being once so gracious in thy secret and especiall loue, I was so graceles as to deserue thy iuste & open hate. Among men great loue is often changed into great hate, as the best wyne into the sharpest vineger: but thou o lord seest not as men see, neither so variable to be soone changed, nor so inflexible to be hardly reconciled. As it increaseth my faulte to haue abused such gracious fauor; so the remembrance of this fauor loste by my faulte, doth so much more afflicte my harte: as my sinne is greater, so my losse is greater, my payne is greater; and my sorowe is great [...]r: O let these entreate by the greatnes of thy loue, that hauing bene a secret freind of thy priuy chamber, thou wouldest not leaue me as a base sclaue to the despite of the publique worlde: I hope thy honor will not permitte it; and that thy great fauor will not be so much diminished.
7. Thus may they pray, who haue fallen from especiall fauors, that from their depe fall they may be raysed: and they who are admitted into secret grace, ought allso to praye, that from so dangerous a fall they may be preserued. And in particuler, thou (o my soule) must acknowledge thy selfe vnworthy of those graces which thou haste receiued; which if they be small in comparison of those which our lord can giue, or others doo receiue, yet are they many and great, and more then any way thou diddest deserue. Or how can the sunne send much lighte or plenty of beames into a howse which hath but small windowes? O my soule, if thou desire more lighte, set open all thy windowes. O holy spirite of truth [...] and secret wisdome, shyne yet more into my harte, to shew me all necessary truthe which thou doost loue, and still to manifest vnto me the secret & doubtfull thinges of thy wisdome.
8. O let me see and consider how great mercyes I haue receiued, that I may be thākfull: how I did merite nothing, or rather how much I did demerite that I may be humble: and how vnprofitably I doo vse them; that I may be ashamed. I fled from catholique truthe which thou louest, and yet thou diddest so loue me, that thou diddest make me loue thy catholique truth which I declined: now I loue this truthe, which hath giuen me knowledge of thee; and how am I bound to loue thee, who diddest bring me to this knowledge of truthe? O what sweete secrets be in this loue? they are doubtfull to such as neuer tasted them, because secret: and to such they are secret, because they loue not thee, who doost manifest the secrets of they wisdome to none but such as doo embrace the truthe which thou doost loue. This is thy wisdome, not to caste spirituall pearles before ea [...]thly swyne; nor to hide thy heauenty treasures from weake sucklinges, or simple harted soules.
9. But how shall I prayse thy goodnes▪ o lord, and in particuler to my selfe: In the gospell it is said, thou wouldest not suffer diuells to enter into swyne but with me thou haste cast diuells out of a swyne. Doo I debase my selfe to say so? Beholde o lorde, thou louest truthe. I knowe no swyne so filthy and so degenerate from his kinde, as I was, being a Protestante, from they truthe: If, S. Mary Magdalene had seauen diuells of vices; how many had I of heresyes; Vnto her many sinnes were forgiuen, because she loued much? O lord I haue loued but a little, & how many sinnes hast thou forgiuen me? thy wisdome hath reuealed my doubtes, and manifested vnto me thy secrets; I fondly doubted where was no cause of doubte; but I am resolued by thy wisdome: I was compassed with lighte, and yet I did not discerne lighte, because I wanted harty loue vnto thy catholique truthe. For I firste loued not thee: but thou diddest preuent me with thy loue, prosecute me with thy grace, and so finally diddest imparte vnto me, the secrets of thy wisdome, which are the mysteryes of thy catholique faith which now I doo beleeue: thou haste not dealte thus with euery sinner, nor vnto thousandes better then my selfe hast thou manifested as vnto me, the secret and doubtfull thinges of thy wisdome.
10. O infinite, incomprehensible bounty! what did thy majesty beholde in my basenes? nothing verely but thine owne loue, wherwith thou haddest disposed & prepared my harte to be vnpartiallie desirous of truthe: this desire, and this loue, thou diddest first giue me, & afterwarde by these thou diddest draw me nearer vnto thee O swete Iesu who doost neither accepte nor rewarde any thing which thy selfe haste not first giuen: thou haste giuen me loue of truthe, and manifested vnto me the doubtfull & secret thinges of thy wisdome: I doe enterteyne them as pledges & earnest pence of m [...] hope & election: o let me so keepe and euer reteyne them, that I may neuer be ashamed nor confounded in them. Let them be meanes of thy better seruice, and no way occasions of my greater condemnacion: I haue tasted of thy loue: I am acquaynted with thy secrets: I am partaker of thy mysteryes: let me rather dye then fayle or be faynte-harted; and sooner torne in peices then become ingratefull. I was most vnworthy to receiue them; and seing of meere mercy thou hast bestowed these talentes vpon me, I desire to retaine them with much thankefullnes, and throughe thy grace with some gaynes of merite. O blessed Sauiour accepte what thou haste giuen: O holy virgin, and all the Angells and Sayntes of heauen giue continuall thankes & prayse vnto our lord God for me. who am not able to thinke much lesse to declare, how I owe my selfe.