Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
SERMONS OF THE NATIVITY.
PREACHED UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1622.
Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Thursday, the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXXIII.
Transcribed by Dr Marianne Dorman
That in the dispensations of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven and which are on earth even in Him.
In dispensatione plenitudinis temporum, instaurare omnia, in Christo, quae in caelis, et quae in terra sunt, in Ipso.
Seeing the text is of seasons, it would not be out of season itself. And though it be never out of season to speak of Christ, yet even Christ hath His seasons. O^Your time is always,O saith He, so is not Mine; I have My seasons. One of which seasons is this, the season of His birth, whereby all were O^recapitulate in Heaven and earth,O which is the season of the text. And so, this is text of the season.
There is for the most part in each text some one predominate word. That word in this is the word nakefalai-?sasqai O^gathering,O here turned O^gathering together into one again.O To know the nature and full force of it, we may consider it three ways; 1. as it is properly taken; 2. as it is extended; 3. as it is derived.
1. As it is taken properly. So it signfies O^to make the foot of an account.O We call it the foot, because we write it below at the foot. They of old writ their above, over the head, and so called it kefalaion (in capite libri Scriptum est de me) the sum in the top. [265/266]
2. As it is extended. So it is O^the short recapitulation of a long chapter,O the compendium of a book or of some discourse. These are all like the foot of an account, and are usually called the sum of all that hath been said.
3. As it is derived. So shall we have the native sense of it. It comes of kefalaion, and that of kefalh Greek for O^a head.O Best expressed in the word O^recapitulate;O that is, to reduce all to a head. Each of these is a gathering together into one, as we read. Which of the three you take, nay take them all three, you cannot do amiss. They be all true, all tend to edify. Christ is the 1. sum of our account, 2. the shutting up our discourse, 3. O^the Head of the bodyO mystical whereto this gathering here is. We shall make no good audit without Him; no, nor good apology. Whatsoever be the premises, with Christ we must conclude. As we do the year with Christmas, so conclude all with in Christo.
The old division isNut res, ita tempora rerum. Here it holds, here are both seasons and things; things for seasons, and seasons for things.
I. Two parts here be. 1. Seasons, first; seasons, more than one. 2. Here is a fulness of them. 3. Here is a dispensation of that fulness. 4. And that by God; O^that He,O that is God ? O^that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might.O This is the first part.
II. The O^things.O For first, here are O^all things; things in Heaven, things on earthONall in both. 2. Of these, a collection or gathering them all together; or rather, a recollection or gathering them all together; or rather, a recollection or gathering them together again. 3. A gathering them all into one; all into one kefalaion, one O^sum;O or all to one kefalu^, one O^head.O And these two are one, and that one is Christ.
You observe, that as the things answer the seasons, and the seasons them, so doth the fulness answer the gathering, and the gathering it. 1. To fill the seasons, to make a fulness of them, here is a gathering. 2. A gathering whereof? Of all in Heaven, and all on earthNa great gathering sure, and able to fill the seasons full up to the brim. 3. But this is not a gathering at the first hand, but a gathering again, that is, a-new at second-hand. 4. A gathering whereto? O^To oneONone, either one sum, or one head, both are in the body of the word, and these two are one, and that one is Christ. 5. A gathering, how? [266/267] that is in the word too: by way of contracting or recapitulation. 6. And when? When God dispensed it; and that is at Christ's birth. 7. Now last, what we are the better by this gathering, what fruit we gather by or from it, what our share is in this sum, which is summa dividenda. 8. And then how we may be the better for it, if we divide as God, and when God did it. 9. As God, gather things in Heaven first. 10. When God, and that is this season of the year, the gathering time with God and with us. So shall we dispense the season well.
Find the things, they will bring you to the season; find the fulness of things, you will find the fullness of seasons. Find the gathering, you will find the fulness; find Christ, and you will find the gathering, for the gathering is full and whole in Christ. So, upon the point, find Christ and find all. And this is the first day we can find Him; for this day was He born, and so first to be found by us.
We have heretofore dealt with O^the fulness of time;O and now are we to deal with the fulness of season. Time and season are two, and have in all tongues two different words to shew they differ. In Hebrew zmz and t[ in Greek, crnnoj and kairILj; in Latin, tempus and tempestivum.
And differ they do as much as a time, and a good time. It is time alway, all the year long; so is it not season, but when the good time is. Time is taken at large, any time. Season not so, but is applied to that with which it suits, or for which it serves best. Here it is applied to gathering, the season of gathering.
These seasons be kaiphn in the plural; for, ut res, ita tempora verum, O^as the things to be gathered are many, so are the seasons wherein they are to gathered, many likewise.O Each, his several season to be gathered in.
Now as O^the thingsO have their autumn of maturity, so tempora, O^the seasonsO have their fulness, and when the things are ripe and ready to be gathered, there is the season full.
Now of these seasons and their fulness there is O^a dispensation,O an oeconomia, the word in the text, which is a word of husbandry; a great part whereof consisteth in the skill of seasons, of taking them when they come, allotting the thing to the season, and the season to it. [267/268]
Which dispensation is here ascribed to God; that He, that is, that God O^in Whose hands our times are,O saith the Psalm, and our seasons, both. He that can make them full by giving us kindly seasons, or empty by making them unseasonable, and having made them full is to dispose of them of very right. There is none of these but is sensible in the course of the year, in things upon earth.
But are there seasons for the things on earth and their fullness, and are there not also seasons for the things in heaven, and for the filling of them? All for the relief of the bodily wants here below, none for the supply of spiritual necessities above? All for the body and never a season for the soul? If we allow them for the world, shall we not to the Church, the nakefalaELwsij O^abridgementO of the world? If it be sensible in the natural things, though not so easily discerned, yet it is as certain in the main revolution of annus magnus, O^the great periodical year,O of the world's endurance.
It can never enter into any man to think that the great Oeconomus O^Steward of this great household,O the world, should so far forget Himself, but if for all matters He O^had appointed a season,O then for the greatest matter. If for every purpose under heaven, then for the highest purpose of all, that as we see concerns all the things in heaven and earth both. Above salus populi this salus mundi, O^the saving the whole world.O Shall not these have their seasons, and the seasons their fulness there, and that fulness the due dispensation of all other most worthy of God, the greatest work of the greatest Person? Set this down then to begin with: there are seasons, as in our common year of twelve months, so in the great year, whereof every day is a year by Daniel's, nay, O^a thousand years,O by St. Peter's calculation.
And which be the season, and when, in the common year? Our Saviour sets them down. 1. The season O^when the earth bringeth forth the blade.O 2. when O^the stalk;O 3. when O^the ear;O 4. when O^the full corn in the ear.O And when the ear is full, and full ripe, the season is full; then is the season of fulness, the fulness of season. Then O^the reaper fills his hand, and he that bindeth up the sheaves his bosom.O O^Then are the barns filled with plenty, [268/269] and the presses run over with new wine.O And when all is full, then to gathering we go.
Such like seasons do we find in anno magno. 1. The time of nature, all in the blade; 2. of Moses, in the stalk; 3. of the Prophets, in the ear. 4. And when the full corn? When but at this great gathering here mentioned? When all in Heaven, and all in earth gathered, that I think was the fulness of things, plenitudo rerum; and the fulness of seasons, plenitudo temporum, may be allowed for it.
This sets us over the second part, from the seasons to the things; from the fulness of seasons to the gathering of things. And first, whereof, of what things? Of to pnta, O^even all.O O^All;O and to show the extent of it, subdivided O^into all in heaven, all in earth;O and that I trow is O^all.O It was not amiss he should thus sever them, and express things in Heaven by name; else we should little have thought of gathering things there so high. No farther than earth, we; there is all our gathering, and there only. The Apostle points up to HeavenNsursum corda, O^to lift up our hearts, to set our affections on things there above,O to gather them. There is a gathering of them also.
Of which gathering into one, I know not what the things in Heaven haveNthe things in earth I am sure have good cause to be glad. In heaven is all good, and nothing but good. In earth to say the least, there is much evil. Yet upon the reckoning, Heaven is like to come by the loss; we on earth are sensibly gainers by it. It is a good hearing for us, that both these shall be thus gathered together. For if Heaven and earth be so gathered, it is that Heaven may advance earth higher; and no meaning, that earth should draw it down hither. Magis dignum semper ad se trahit minus dignum, is the old rule.
But well: between them both here is a great gathering toward, well expressed by the Apostle in the terms of a sum. For it is summa summarum, O^a sum indeed;O Heaven and earth, and the fulness of them both.
All these to be gathered, and well. Gathering God favours, for it ends in unity, to gather into one; and unity God loves, Himself being principalis unitas. God favours it sure, Himself is the gatherer. Scattering God favours not; that tends [269/270] to division, and division upon division. Gathering is good for us; unity preserves, division destroys. Divisum est, be it house or be it kingdom, ever ends in desolabitur. God O^delights not in destruction,O O^would have none to perish.O The kite, he scatters; the hen, how fain would she gather!
But stay awhile, and take with us what kind of gathering. It is not kefalaELwsij, O^a gathering;O but nakefalaELwsij, O^a gathering together again.O We must not lose pIL, there is force in it. It is not a collection but a recollection. Re imports it is a new collection again, the second time. You see it in recal, return, reduce; that is, to call, turn, bring back again.
Now our rule is, no ever presupposeth po. :Anakefalai-wsij presupposeth 1apokfalaiwsij: that is, a returning to implies a departing from: O^a gathering together again,O a scattering in sunder before; O^a dispensation,O a dissipation. So a dissipation, a departure, a scattering there had been.
Yet one degree more. :ApIL that is O^from,O ever implies sEa, that is a former being O^with.O One cannot be said to be gone from, that was never with; or to fall out, that was never in: one cannot be said to be so again, that was never so before. So then together we were first, and in sunder we fell after. Which falling in sunder required an no to bring us together again, to restore us to that the second time that we had before lost, to our former estate. It is St. Peter's word O^restoring,O the same with St. Paul's O^gathering together againO here.
Now these three set forth unto us our threefold estate. 1. O^Together,O snu^, our first original, which we had in Adam, while he stood with God together. 2. O^In sunder,O pIL- there came our misery, by Adam's not keeping his first estate, but scattering from God. 3. But then comes no about, and makes all well again, by bringing us where we were at first. There was a former capitulationNthe articles were broken: then came this recapitulation here anew. An account was cast, but it was miscast, and so it is here cast new over again.
But when all is done, no, is it we must hold by. The first is gone, all perished by being scattered from. All must be recovered by being gathered to again. Our separation, our ruin, our reparation, our no, our O^gathering again;O [270/271] and not ours alone, but salus mundi, O^all in Heaven all in earth.O
But this we may see by the way, 1. what case all were in: 2, what case all are in still, that lie loose and ungathered, and whom #o hath not recollected again.
We see what and how gathered. Now quo? the next point is, whereto? Into one. Every thing that is gathered is so. But there is more ones than one. One heap, as of stones' one flock, as of sheep; one pile, as of the materials of a building. All are good; but to take the word in the native sense, the gathering here is either to one keqlaion, O^one sum,O as many numbers; or to go nearer, to one kefalu^, O^one head,O as many membersNand that is it the Apostle pursueth to the chapter's end. Both these, sum and head, are in the body of the word k
flaion, and they both serve and suit well. The body: the head is as it were the sum of all; all 1. sense, 2. motion, 3. speech, 4. understanding, all recapitualte into the head. This head or sum fitteth it best. For to speak properly, many heaps, flocks, piles there may be; head there can be but one. De ratione capitis est, unum esse. And so of a sum, but one true sum, were there never so many so divers ways cast.
So then into one, that is not enough; it is not co-aduntion will serve. It is recapitulation, and in that word there is caput; it is nakefalaELwsij, and in that word there is kefalu^, such a reducing all to one, as that one be the head. A headless gathering the Apostle cannot skill of. And indeed, say there were an entire body, and every member in his right place, and all strictly knit together, yet if the head should hap to be away, as good the members all in sunder, for all were to no purpose. So, a head or nothing.
This gathering then, you see, is to the chief member, to the member who wears the crown. Thither, upward, the true gathering goes. There is an union downwards, as of Samson's foxes, that were together by the tails; that is not the right, but by the head. The oxen that plough are joined together by the head; the foxes that are tied by the tails, they set all on fire. The unity of the head God send us! that is the true unity. [271/272]
And yet are we not where we should. We may gather upwards too, and make a head, and not the right head. That to a head is not enough, if it fall out to be a wrong head, suppose Romely's son. Humano capiti, &c. Do but paint, saith the Poet, any body with a wrong head, it will but move laughter and scorn. The right, the own head it would be. A strange head will not suit, nor do us any stead. The right head then.
And which is the right head he adds? Recapitulati in ChristoNit is Christ. there, lo, is the right head now. To That let all gather.
And now we are arrived at Christ, we are where we should, our gathering is at the best. All in heaven, all in earth, gathered together, together againNagain into one, one sum whereof Christ is the foot, one body whereof Christ is the Head. Gather then, and be gathered to Him; gather then, and be gathered with Him. O^He that gathereth not with Him scattereth.O
And so were all, all scattered without Christ, till He came with his no, and got them again together. The seasons were all empty, the things all on heaps.
Things in Heaven from things in earthNAngels with O^drawn swords at men.O Things on earth from things in Heaven; men at but the sight of an angel ready to fall down dead. The members from the head, the head from the members, the members one from another: neither union with the head, nor among themlseves. Peccata vestra, it was sin that divided between God and them, and divided once and divided ever, divided in semper divisibilia, O^till they were quite past all division;O no longer divided now, but even scattered. The case of the world then.
Scattered in point of religion. God scattered all over O^as many gods as cities.O All the hosts of Heaven, all the beasts and creeping things of the earth.
Scattered in point of morality or moral philosophy. I know not how many scattered opinions Augustine reckons de Summo Bono, the chief point of all.
The Jews scattered from the Gentiles, and the Gentiles from the JewsNa main wall between.
The Gentiles scattered from themselves grossly; all in [272/273] fractions, they. Nothing of a body, never a head; and yet many heads, but never a right one among them all.
No, not the Jews themselves; for O^the Tabernacle of DavidO was then set down, and the ruins of it scattered into many sects, as the prophet Amos complains, and St. James allegeth it out of him. In a word, the whole world was then but a mass of errors, a chaos of confusion, Tohu and Bohu O^empty and voidO of all saving grace or truth. Well likened to them who were scattered at the tower of Babel, where no man understood another; or to the people who were O^scattered all over the land of Egypt to gather stubble, to pick up straws.O All then wandering hither and thither, and seeking death O^in the error of their life.O By all which you see what need the[re] was of this gathering, this nakefalaELwsij.
Now then if, O^for the divisions of Reuben, there were great thoughts of heart,O as it is in DeborahOs song, for but one tribe scattered from the rest, shall there be no thought or course taken from the rest, shall there be no thought or course taken for these, such, so general, so many, not divisions but plain dispersions, scatterings all abroad? Great pity that all these should lie thus loose and ungathered, as if they were not worth the taking up. He That in John 6. Took order for the broken meat, for the fragments, willed them to be gathered, ua mE` ti pnlhtai, O^that nothing might be lostO ? no, not of them, He certainly were no good OEconomus if He would let all these be lost for lack of gathering.
But could not this gathering be absque Christo, in some other? It appears no. Seasons there were more than one, but all empty; proffers were made in them, but nothing full, nor an thing near full. A season of the Law written. Then the Priests and Levites but the gathering little the fuller for them.
A season of the Law written. Then the Priests and Levites; but the gathering little the fuller for them.
Then came all the Prophets, to no great purpose, thus neither; some few proselytes they made, that was all. But in the end, all these, as they in the parable of the wounded man, O^passed by, looked on him,O but let him lie; little was done till the good Samaritan came. The things in Heaven and earth, the generality of them so, in not much better case for all these, could not be recapitulate in the Patriarchs, [273/274] Moses, the Prophets. So that to this plunge it was come, that the Psalmist even asked God, O^Wherefore hast Thou made all men for nought?O It was for Him to come, Qui venturus erat.
It was time, more than time, when that which was the only known way; when one was scattered from God, how to gather him to God again, which was, O^Let Him smell a sacrificeONwhen that grew out of season, when that failed. And that it did. O^Sacrifice, burnt-offering, burnt offerings for sin,O (sin that made all the scattering,) noluisti, that is plain, O^Thou wouldst notONit is Christ now speakethNthen said I, O^Lo, I come.O I, of Whom it is written, ?n lefalidi, O^in the top or front of the book, that I should fulfil Thy will,O and gather these together again; O^lo, I come to do it.O
By this Ecce venio of His a way was found, those who were thus distracted and scattered before, how to bring them together again. What way was that? It follows in the same place what He meant by Ecce venio. He goes it over again; O^No sacrifice Thou wouldst;ONno: corpus autem aptasi, O^but a body hast Thou ordained Me.O The incorporating Christ, the ordaining Him a body, that is the O^new and living way, through the veil, that is His flesh.O With that He comes this day, and gathers all again.
How, or in what manner that? The manner is set down in the word, by way of recapitulation. We are not to conceive there was such O^a great sheet,O as St. Peter saw, O^let down from Heaven,O and that all these were put into it and so gathered. No, it was recapitulando, O^by reducing to less room,O as we do many diffused matters to a few heads, as we contract great maps to a small compass, as great plots to a small module; for that is properly to recapitulate. These are two words in the verse set it out well; 1.plE`rwma 2. and keflaion. PE`rwma, this fulness will come into a little keflaion, as the particulars of many leaves come into a total of not half a line.
If then we to proceed by way of recapitulation, then are we to reduce all to heads. So let us reduce these things to these two heads; 1. First, Heaven, and all in it, to God; earth, and all in it, to man. Gather these two into one, and there is the nakefalaELwsij in short. To conceive it the [274/275] better, you shall understand this was on a good way one-ward, before. You have heard man called the little world, the nakefalaELwsij of the great one, a compendium of all the creatures. And so he is of both. He participates with the Angels, and so with things in Heaven, by his soul; he participates with the elements, and so with things on earth, by his body. The poet had it by the end; Fertur Prometheus, &c. That to the making of man's body there went a piece of every of the creatures. So there was in man a kind of recapitulation before.
But that was not full, yet lacked there one thing. All in heaven recapitulate into One, that is God; all in earth recapitulate into one, that is man. Gather these two now, and all are gathered, all the things in either. And now at this last great recollection of God and man, and in them of Heaven and earth, and in them of all in Heaven and earth, are all recapitulate into the unity of One entire Person. And how? Not so as they were gathered at first; not as the kefalaELwsij, O^the first gathering,O so the nakefalaELwsij, O^the second gathering.O When things were at the best, God and man were two in number; now God and man are but one Christ. So the gathering nearer than before, so surer than before, so every way better than before.
In man there was one-ward an abidgement of all the rest. Gather God and him into one, and so you have all. There is nothing, not anything, in heaven or earth left out. Heaven is in and earth, the creatures in Heaven and earth, the Creator of Heaven and earth. All are in now; all reconciled, as it were, in one mass, all cast into one sum; recapitulated indeed truly and properly.
Herein is the fulness, that God Himself comes into this keflaion. The Apostle, where the Psalm saith, O^He hath put all things in subjection under His feet;O ? O^it is manifest,O saith the Apostle, O^that He was excepted That so put them under.O But here it is manifest, say we, that He is not excepted That did gather; but He the very Collector is in this collection Himself and all. [275/276]
For O^God was in Christ reconciling the world.O O^The world,O that is all things, all in Heave, all in earth. And in Christ did O^dwell the fulness of the Godhead bodily,O when He did so O^reconcile them in the body of His flesh.O In a word, certain it is that by virtue of this recapitulation we are one with Christ, Christ as man. God is one with ChristNChrist as God. So in Christ God and man are one. And there is good hope they who are one, will soon be at one; where unity is, union will be had with no great ado.
And even besides this there is yet another recapitulation; that well might it have that name. For if you mark it, it is not recapitation, but recapitulation; and that comes of capitulum which is a diminutive. So was it.Verbum in principio, O^the eternal,O mighty, great O^WordO became Verbum abbreviatum, as the Apostle saith, to bring this to pass. He That O^the Heavens are but His span,O abbreviate into a child of a span long; He that Caput, O^the HeadO of men and Angels, principalities, and powers, became Capitulum; He that Kefalg, K
flaion, O^a little diminutive Head.O Head? Nay, became the Foot, Pes computu the text is, O^the Foot, the lowest part of the account,O and of the lowest account.
And now, because we are in seasons, we speak of seasons. When was this, at what season of the year? when was it that He was so capite minutus? Sure never less, never so little, never so minorated, so minimated, I am sure, as now. When was Ecce venio fulfilled? We may know that by all the four Sundays in Advent now past, that to-day it is Ecce venio, His coming the Psalm expounds by ordaining Him a body; a body there was ordained Him in the womb, but to things are when they appear. That though the Word was made flesh before, yet God was not O^manifested in the flesh,O came not and O^dwelt among us,O visibly to be seen till this day. So that if you ask of in Christo, what or when? In Christo nato, then was this gathering of things in Heaven and earth.
And in a sign it was then, look there comes a choir of Angels down, there comes a new star forth to represent the things in Heaven, there comes together a sort of shepherds, and there is gathering to them a troop of great princes from the East to represent the things on earth, which consist, as these do, of high and low, noble and base, wise and simple; [276/277] all to celebrate, and make show of this gathering. of this great plE`rwma into this small keflaion. And in their Heavenly hymn there is mention of this gathering; in excelsis, and in terris set together, as if all in both were now in full and perfect harmony.
Now when the seasons had travailed with, at last brought forth Him That was the best thing they had, or should ever bring forth, then were they at the best. When O^Him in Whom it pleased the Father all fulness should dwell,O then were they at the full. The gathering of the seasons so full as it made plenitud temporum. And so have we brought both parts, seasons and things together.
The sum is at the foot, the oration at the period, the building at the head-stone, the tide at the full; O^the fulness of the GentilesO are come into His Church, O^which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.O
But why God in the dispensation of the season did so order that at such a year of the world, such a month of the year, such a day of the month, this should fall out just, this is more than I dare take upon me to define. But this I may, that the Christian world hath ever observed divers good congruities of this feast with this text.
The text is of a recapitulation; the feast is so. Twelve months recapitulate to twelve days. Six for the old, in six days was the creation of the old. And when O^the old things are past,O as many for the new; for O^behold all things are new,O and O^if any be in Christ he is a new creature.O Both these recapitulate in one season equally divided. Equally divided between both, yet so as the days of the last are set before the first, that so erunt novissimi primi is verified even of the season, and the last first there also.
The text is of gathering, and that falls fit with the season, and giveth us great cause to admire the high wisdom of God in the dispensation of seasons; that now at this season, when we gather nothing, when nothing grows to be gathered, there should be a gathering yet and a great one; no, the greatest gathering that ever was or will be; and so by that means, the poorest and emptiest season in nature become the fullest and richest in grace. [277/278]
Now we do ourselves in effect express as much as this comes to. For we also make it a season of gathering together, of neighbourly meetings and invitations. Wherein we come together, and both ourselves have, and we make each other partakers of, what we have gathered all the year before.
In which sense also we may call it the season of dispensation; in that we then dispense the blessings God hath sent us, and that is in good house-keeping and hospitality.
And if you will, of fulness too. For the most part do then use to be better filled, and with better fare that are not so full again all the year beside. That one may truly say, there is more fulness in this season than any other. And so it is the season of fulness then; for the O^hungry are then filled with good things,O then of all the season of the year.
And last, there is in the text, and it is the main word in the text nakefalaELwsij, which in the primitive sense is the making the foot of an account; which agreeth well with the foot of the year, for at the foot of the leaf sums used to be set. Set it at the head, or set it at the foot, it is the foot of the old, and the head of the new, and so the fittest season to celebrate it in. For be it head, or be it foot, Christ it is. So recapitulation or gathering, fulness or dispensation, or summing all up, the text is seasonable.
But these I have spoke of are of things on earth, Were it not to be wished, we would endeavour to have some fruition, and to gather some fruit for the Heavenly part from this gathering, this summing up of Christ's?
Christ is but keflaion, O^a short sum;O but there is in Him plE`rwma, O^a fulness of all.O Christ is but the contents of a chapter, some three or four lines, but a great long chapter follows, long and large. For what shall you see in this Shulamite, but chorus castrorum, legions, whole armies of good things to gather. Such, so great a sum, as twelve days will not serve to cast them up. But yet somewhat let us gather, that the seasons being full, we ourselves be not sent empty away.
The time fails; I will therefore name but one, and that the main word of the text nakefalaELwsij, which referreth properly to O^the making up an account.O The Fathers taking the verse into their considerations, pitch upon it; [278/279] as St. Jerome, who thinks it chosen of purpose to that end. But the word and thing both we may have good use of, seeing we all are to be accountants, redde rationem said to us all, seeing to an account we must all come.
And thus he followeth it, goes no farther than the text for the particulars of our account, make them consist of qu3/4 on Coelis and qu3/4 in terris. Which two, as they are principally taken for the creatures in both, so may they also, and not amiss, be taken for the things done in them both; specially our gatherings in them referring to either.
Things in Heaven to stand for our good deeds, our alms. fasts, and prayers, that O^ascend up thitherONthe Angel tells Cornelius soNand O^will receive us up thither into everlasting tabernacles.O Of which, gather we as many as we can all our life long.
As for these on earth, we gather but too fast; meaning our evil deeds, which smell of the earth whence they are, and where they were done.
Now when we come to give up our account, it should seem by the word no, we had cast them once before and cast them false, that we must to it again, and see if we can find our sums right. There is no danger but in casting our qu3/4 in Coelis, our good., lest we cast them over; and our qu3/4 in terris, our bad, lest them we cast under. The other way the error is nothing so perilous.
Our qu3/4 in Caelis, our good, howsoever our new auditors cast them so as they find God in their debt, for that we have laid out more than ever God required, I doubt will not prove so at the audit. But of our qu3/4 in terris, our evil, there is no great fear of overcasting them, their sum will rise but too high if we deceive not ourselves.
But whether it be of both, we shall find ourselves wrong in both, if they be not recapitulate in Christo. For our qu3/4 in Coelis; having done all we can, Christ bids us say, servi inutiles sumus; and so we must say then, and what account can be made of inutile? Having suffered all we can, non sunt condign3/4, saith St. Paul; so both come not home. The good Centurion, he that O^built the Synagogue,O nay then St. John Baptist himself, both cast themselves to a non sum dignus, even the best of our nature. That when we have [279/280] done we must begin again, and cast and cast till we be weary, unless we cast in Christ; fail still, unless our total of qu3/4 in Coelis be recapitulate in Christo.
But then come to the other account of qu3/4 in terris; to that there is our fulness, and the fulness of our seasons. Many a broken reckoning shall we find there, such surd numbers, such fractions we shall meet with, we shall not tell how or when to get through, we shall want counters. They are so infinite and intricate withal, that I fear we shall be found in a mighty arrear, a huge debt of thousands and O^ten thousands of talents;O we shall not tell which way to turn us, nor which way to satisfy it, though all we have were sold, and we ourselves too. To balance this account, Christ is most needeful; for, summuis conjunctis, O^cast both these together,O and Job being our auditor, he finds we shall not be able to O^answer God one for a thousandO that He can charge us with. Sine me nihil potestis facere, if ever, we shall find in this most true. For gather Heaven and earth, and all that is in them altogether, and leave Him out, they will never be able to make our discharge, not the best auditor of them all.
But He out of the fulness of His satisfaction can relieve us that way, to take off, or strike off, a great part of our onus. And He can cast in of the fulness of His merits to make up that is found minus habens, or defective in ours that way. For the short is, He is both Pes and Caput computi; the Kefalu^, and the Keflaion; He is called both in the text. His #akefalaELwsij must help us if ever we come to our audit.
But forseen, that this be no hindrance to our gathering. No: gathering we must be still those of Heaven, spiritual; and turn as much of our earthly as we can into them. And still order the matter so, as O^while we have time we be doing good.O We shall but evil sum up all in Christ, if we have no particulars to raise our sum of, if we have nothing but what is out of Christ to recapitulate in Christ. To gather, I say, else are we like to have but an empty season of it.
And even to begin now to imitate God in His time, when, and in His order how. His time. This is the time, God made His in; now we to take the same time to fall on gathering. His order: this is the order God made His by; He began with Heavenly things, we to keep the same [280/281] order, follow His method, begin where He begins, begin with the things that have the priority of place in the text, begin with them; make Regnum Ejus our primum qu3/4rite, and the things that pertain to it. And not pervert God's order, and be so wholly given to the fulness of the things on earth, that we fall to them first. Nay, I pray God it be not first, and last and all. We shall the better dispense the season, if we gather to prayers, to God's word; if we begin with them, if with the dispensation of His holy mysteries gather to that specially.
For there we do not gather to Christ or of Christ, but we gather Christ Himself; and gathering Him we shall gather the tree and fruit and all upon it. For as there is a recapitulation of all in heaven and earth in Christ, so there is a recapitulation of all in Christ in the holy Sacrament. You may see it clearly: there is in Christ the Word eternal for things in Heaven; there is also flesh for things on earth. 1. Semblably, the Sacrament consisteth of a heavenly and a terrene part, (it is Irenaeus' own words); the HeavenlyNthere the word too, abstract of the other; the earthlyNthe element.
2. And in the elements, you may observe there is a fulness of the seasons of the natural year; of the corn-flour or harvest in the one, bread; of the wine-press or vintage in the other, wine. And in the Heavenly, of the O^wheat-cornO whereto He compareth HimselfNbread, even O^the living Bread that came down from Heaven;O the true Manna, whereof we may gather each his gomer. And again, of Him, the true Vine as He calls HimselfNthe blood of the grapes of that Vine. Both these issuing out of this day's recapitulation, both in corpus autem aptasi Mihi of this day.
3.And the gathering or vintage of these two in the blessed Eucharist, is as I may say a kind of hypostatical union of the sign and the things signified, so united together as are the two natures of Christ. And even from this Sacramental union do the Fathers borrow their resemblance, to illustrate by it the personal union in Christ; I name Theodoret for the Greek, and Gelasius for the Latin Church, that insist upon it both, and press it against Eutchyes, That even as in the Eucharist neither part is evacuate or turned into the other, but abide each still in his former nature and substance, no more is either of Christ's natures annulled, or one of them converted into the other, [281/282] as Eutchyes held, but each nature remaineth still full and whole in His own kind. And backwards; as the two natures in Christ, so the signum and signatum in the Sacrament e converso. And this latter device, of the substance of the bread and wine to be flown away and gone, and in the room of it a remainder of nothing else but accidents to stay behind, was to them not known, and had it been true, had made for Eutyches and against them. And this for the likeness of union in both.
4. Now for the word O^gathering together in one.O It is well known the Holy Eucharist itself is called, synaxis, by no name more usual in all antiquity, that is a O^collection or gathering.O For so it is in itself; for at the celebration of it, though we gather to prayer and preaching, yet that is the principal gathering the Church has, which is itself called a O^collectionO too by the same name from the chief; for O^where the body is there the eagles will be gathered,O and so one Synaxis begets another.
5. And last, there is a O^dispensation'Nthat word in it too, that most clearly. For it is our office, we are styled by the Apostle O^dispensers of the mysteries of God;O and in and by them, of all the benefits that came to mankind by this dispensation in the fullness of season of all that are recapitulate in Christ.
1. Which benefits are too many to deal with. One will serve as the sum of all that the very end of the Sacrament is to gather again to God and His favour, if it happen, as often it doth, we scatter and stray from Him. And to gather us as close and near as alimentum alito, that is as near as near may be.
2. And as to gather us to God, so likewise each to other mutually, expressed lively in the symbols of many grains into the one, and many grapes into the other. The Apostle is plain that we are all O^one bread and one body, so many as are partakers of one bread,O so moulding us as it were into one loaf altogether. The gathering to God refers still to things in Heaven, this other to men to the things in earth here. All under one head by the common faith; all into one body [282/283] mystical by mutual charity. So shall we well enter into the dispensing of this season, to begin with.
And even thus to be recollected at this feast by the Holy Communion into that blessed union, is the highest perfection we can in this life aspire unto. We then are at the highest pitch, at the very best we shall ever attain to on earth, what time we newly come from it; gathered to Christ, and by Christ to God; stated in all whatsoever He has gathered here laid up against His next coming. With which gathering here in this world we must content and stay ourselves, and wait for the consummation of all at His coming again. For there is an ecce venio yet to come.
This gathering thus here begun, it is to take end and to have the full accomplishment at the last and great gathering of all, which will be of the quick and of the dead. When He will O^send His Angels, and they will gather His elect from all the corners of the earth,O will O^gather the wheat into the barn, and the tares to the fire.O And then, and never till then, will be the fullness indeed, when God will be not, as now He is, somewhat in every one, but O^all in all.O Et tempus non erit amplius, O^and there will be neither time,O nor season O^anymore.O No fulness then but the fullness of eternity, and in it the fullness of all joy. To which, in the several seasons of our being O^gathered to our fathers,O He vouchsafe to bring us; that as the year, so the fulness of our lives may end in a Christmas, a merry joyful feast, as that is! And so God make this to us, in Him. &c.