Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
SERMONS OF THE NATIVITY.
PREACHED UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1613.
Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Saturday, the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXIII.
Transcribed by Dr Marianne Dorman
St. John viii:56
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Abraham pater vester exultavit ut videret diem Meum: vidit, et gavisus est.
Here is joy, joy at a sight, at the sight of a day, and that day Christ's. It is Christ who calleth it here, diem Meum, O^His day;O and no day so properly His, as His birth-day. So the text comes full upon the day.
But to deduce it point by point.
First, Christ hath a day proper to Him, which in express terms He calls here diem Meum, O^My day.O
Secondly, this day to be seen as a day of joy. Double joy: 1. Exultavit, and 2. Gavisus est, both in the text.
And thirdly, which is somewhat strange, it was so to the patriarch Abraham. Him we find here doing that which we now are about; seeing and rejoicing at the sight of Christ's day; taking notice of it, and taking joy in it.
Lastly, all this nothing displeasing to our Saviour Christ for it is spoken by Him to the praise of Abraham that did it, and to the dislike of the Jews that did it not. To them is this speech; Christ tells them of Abraham's doing it, and blames them for not doing the like.
And what are we now disposing ourselves to do, but even the very same that is in the text here to rejoice to see Christ's day. [118/119]
And a three-fold warrant we have in this verse to do as we do. 1. The Patriarch's doing it. 2. Christ's allowance of the doing of it. 3. And His dislike of the Jews for not doing it.
We have Abraham for our example; we do but as He did. In his time, Christ's day was a day of joy; and a day of joy is a feast, and so holden by him we see. Which falls out much to our content. For the same feasts, the same religion. So we find by this, that he and we are of one religion. One in substance, which is Christ; one in circumstance, which is His day. Christ Himself, Abraham's joy; nay, His day Abraham's joy too. The same Meum, that is, Christ; the same diem, that is Christmas.
Then, which is another degree, Abraham's example approved of by Christ, and that after somewhat a strange manner; for it is not here if you mark it, Exultavit ut videret Me, but ut videret diem Meum. He makes His day the object of all this exultation and joy. His day, I say, and not Himself, commends Him, that He rejoiced at the sight not of Himself, but of it. Verily, this speech of His is much to the honour of His day; and the very solemnity of the feast, and all the joy and gladness thereon, may well be thought to have been founded upon this speech of His. Always, if Exultavit ut viderit, were a praise to Him; we may be sure, Exultavit cum videret, can be no dispraise to us.
Add thirdly, Abraham's example approved by Christ. Not so approved as He leaves it at liberty, they that will may do the like; but that He reproves them that do it not. For He blames the Jews here for not doing herein as Abraham; O^Your father Abraham did it, you did it not.O Which is against them that have a spleen at this feast; that think they can joy in Him well enough, and set His day by; nay, and abrogate it quite; and in so doing they joy in Him all the better. Nay, love Him, love His feast. Joy not in it, nor in Him neither.
You shall see how they are mistaken. Therefore they do so they tell us, lest O^observing days and timesO they should seem to Judaize. It falls out quite contrary. For who are they whom Christ here blameth? Are they not Jews? And wherefore blameth He them? for not doing as Abraham. And what did Abraham? rejoice on His day. [119/120] So upon the point it will fall out that not to rejoice on His day, that is indeed to Judaize, and they little better than these Jews that follow them in it.
Nay, here is another thing yet will grieve them more. Jews they shall be, but none of Abraham's children; no more than these were. Observe it well. It is the occasion of this speech, the very issue Christ takes with them. Pater noster Abraham was still in their mouths: if, saith Christ, you were his children, (mark that if) ye would patrissare; desire what he desired, and joy what he joyed in. Now, My day he so highly esteemed, as glad he was that he might see it. Now then, how are these Abraham's children that have nothing of Abraham in them? Before, at the fortieth verse, O^Ye seek to kill Me for telling the truth. This did not Abraham,O and ye do it. Do that he did not, do not that he didNhow can these be AbrahamOs sons? Verily, as it is in Esay, Abraham nescivit nos; O^Abraham would never know them for his.O None of his sons, these. Those are his sons that do as he did. And here now come in we. They Jews, but not Abraham's children; we Abraham's children, but not Jews; for as He did, so do we. There is joy with us at the sight of His day; we renew our joy so often as by the revolution of the year it cometh about. And for this very point we find ourselves the nearer to Abraham, even for the joy of His day. Always sure we are, since 1. Abraham did it, and 2. Christ allowed it, and 3. disallowed the contrary;Nby these three we have good warrant to do as we do. To make it a time of joy. And so, a time of joy God make it to us!
Thus it stands for the order. There be in the text three acts specified, from one issuingNfrom Abraham all. All directed to one mark; falling all upon one object. That object is diem Meum, O^My day.O Of that then first. The three acts be, 1. Exultavit ut videret; 2. Vidit; and 3. Gavisus est. 1. First, would be glad ut videret, O^that he might see;O that is, was desirous to see it. 2. Then, had his desire, [120/121] O^did see it.O 3. And lastly, seeing it, O^took joyO of his sight.
Of which three the first and last, desiderium and gaudium, O^desireO and O^joy,O are two affections attending upon love, and are ever sure signs of it. Desire, when we want and have not what we love. And joy, when we now possess, or as the term is, enjoy it. The middle which is sight, that pertains to faith; faith's light it was he saw it by. So here is fides per charitatem operanas, Abraham's faith right.
But I keep the order in the text, I change it notNit cannot be mended. All goes by a right line. 1. Desire first, that is the way to see. 2. Seeing next, that brings joy. 3. And joy is the end, and a good end it is to end in joy.
These three with reference; first, to Abraham, and then after, to ourselves.
To find our mark first, that all this desire to see, all this joy when it is diem Meum O^Christ's day.O Christ is God and Man, Son to both. His day as the Son of God, or as the Son of Man, Son to both. His day as the Son of God, or as the Son of man, which of these?
Not as the Son of GodNas the Son of God He has no day. Day and night are parts of time; and egressus Ejus O^His goings out are from all eternity.O 2. If we would improperly call it a day, no day to be seen: O^The light of it is inaccessible,O not to be approached to; it would strike any man blind to behold it. 3. If we could see it, and him in His Deity, yet there is small joy, to see Christ so; small joy to see Him, but by the light of this day. All the desire was that He might be; all the joy, that He was to be seen as the Son of man. As the Son of man then; His day, so.
But as the Son of man He hath more days than one: so He saith, O^They shall desire to see one day of the Son of man; one of many, any one of them. But this here notes some one eminent day, above the rest. It is a day with a double article, tu^n yNmu`ran O^that day,O O^that same day;O That if any one day Mine more than other, I would by special prerogative call, tu^n ?mu^n O^Mine indeed.O
Now, there be but two such eminent days to stand for this: 1. the first, and 2. the last. First, of His Genesis; or last, of His exodus; genesis, His coming into the world; or [121/122] Exodus, His going out. That is, the first of His Nativity, or of the last of His Passion. Which of these?
Not of His Passion. First, that was none of His. For he saith to them that took Him, H3/4c est hora vestra, O^Yours;ONso theirs it was, not His. Secondly, it was His day; nay, it was no day either, but tenebrarum, as he there addeth: so, night rather than day. But thirdly, without all question, no day of joy. The Heavens are darkened, the earth quaking, the stones renting, every one going their ways, O^beating their breasts for sorrow.O That was no sight to rejoice at, that no day to rejoice in.
Then is it of necessity to be His birth-day; that was a day, the angel calls it to-day; O^To-day is born.O And His day it was, for every man claims a kind of property in His birthday. Men, in the day of the beginning of their life. As kings, in the days of the beginning of their reigns; as cities, their palilia when the trench is first cast; as Churches, their enc3/4nia when they are first dedicate; so men their genu`qlia, when they first come into the world. It is too plain, this. His day then; and sure, a day of joy. withall. Joy in Heaven, joy in earth. In Heaven for a day of O^glory to God on high;O in earth, for a day of `peace here below, and for good-will towards men'Nas ever, no more than ever was any. The Angel so proclaimed it a day of O^joy to all people;O and proclaimed, why? Quia hodie natus est. And this omni populo, as appears now by this text, was not only all people then in being, or after to be; but as Leo well expresseth it, in pr3/4teritas se refudit 3/4tates, O^the joy of it went back up to the ages past,O up even to Abraham's time, two thousand years and more before ever it came. I know well, this day may be taken for the whole time of His life; but it must be by a figure them. And no man but seeth, that a day doth more literally and properly signify a day, than the time of one's whole time of His life; but it must be by a figure then. And no man but seeth, that a day had his beginning on a day; and that day, even for that very beginning, may well challenge a better right, and nearer property in this word O^dayO than any longer time whatsoever; as the very day whereon He was first seen, first shewed to the world, as the Son of man; as the very day whereon the first-fruits of all the joy then, and ever since. Sure I am the Fathers fix it all [122/123] upon one day, and upon this day by name. So Iren3/4us, Augustine, Cyril set it down, that this day it was. This day then be it, the day of His birth. So have ye the object.
Now to the three acts; and first, of desire. Exultavit ut; that ut is desire. Glad and fain, ut, O^that' he might see; that is, he desired, he longed much to see it. Gaudere ut and vellem ut expound one another. This day then is dies desiderii or desierabilis. To be desired, even of Abraham; and if of him, of all. Of the cause, first, Why? and then, of the manner, How he desired it.
The Cause; why should Abraham so desire to see this day, two thousand years and more after his days were at an end, and he in his grave? What was it to him? How was he concerned in it? We say, Omnia bonum appetunt -what good had he by it? We say again, Indigentia desiderii parens -what need had he of it that he should so desire it? Yes, Christ's birth he needed; he had good by; and consequently, His birth-day.
Ye remember Job's Easter; that in all his heaviness this was spes in sinu, his O^only comfort and joy,O that well yet ? O^his Redeemer should rise againO one day. The joy of Job's Easter, the same is the joy of Abraham's Christmas; even that a day should come, wherein his Redeemer should come into the world. For Abraham's case was not such, but that a Redeemer he stood in need of, and One he had. You may read it totidrm verbis, O^Thus saith He that redeems Abraham.O That PartyNHim, he needed; and Him he desired. And desired His day for His sake; diem for Meum; the day, for Him Who was born on the day.
Will ye hear it from his own mouth? Thus he setteth down his own case. That very time when he had this day first shewed him, the first glimpse of it; thus complains he there of his need, and complaining implies his desire; O^And lo, I am but dust ashes.O O^DustO is plain; it refers us to pulvis es, et in pulverem; he was that by nature, by his very creation. But why O^ashes?O how come they in? Ashes he was not made of, that is not natural; that, sure, refers to somewhat else. Ashes, we know, come of fire; without it they are not madeNever presuppose a fire precedent. So that, besides death to resolve him into [123/124] dust, he saw a fire to turn him into ashes. He saw it in his vision: O^When the sun was down, and it was night, and a great fear or horror fell upon him, he saw clibanum fumantem, a fiery furnace.O Blame him not, if after such a night he desired to see day, and this very day; dies contra noctem, O^a day to visit him form on high,O after so fearful a night as this. But this was but a vision of the night. But when all days and nights should be at an end, he saw there was yet a day to succeed that day, which Enoch taught the world, wherein the O^Lord should come with thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon sinners.O Which day, it seems, Abraham took notice of. For speaking to God in the same chapter, he calleth Him by this title, O^Judge of the world.O Of which day visible sign he had before his eyes, waking, in the consuming of the five cities immediately after. No marvel then, though he desired dies contra diem, O^a day that should quit him of the fear of that day.O Inasmuch then as dust he was, and ashes he was to be; dust by creation, ashes by condemnation, and both these he confesseth himself liable unto; he needed One, as to restore the ruins of the first, so to prevent the danger of the second. Being in need, he desired; desiring, he was glad to hear of; but more glad would be to see that day that should bring Him into the world. And O, when will that day be? And sure, the sun must go down with us too; and what fear we shall then be in, or whether we shall see the furnace, I know not; but sure I am, that joyful it will be then to have a comfortable sight and apprehension of the benefit and beginning of this day. When the world shall bid us good night, then, as St. Augustine expresseth it, videre in nocte s3/4culi diem Christi.
This for the cause why Abraham himself should desire this ut, to see this day; why, but for this day Abraham had been but ashes of the furnace.Which sheweth it is a benefit to see this day, and as a benefit desired by him; and as a benefit, and no small benefit, vouchsafed himNthe sight of this day. Now for his manner how, how greatly he desired it. We may take measure of the greatness of the day by the greatness of his desire. It was no O^day of small things,O for exulvatit ut is no small desire; there is vigour, there is both passion and action in it. The nature of the word exultavit is, [124/125] O^he did even fetch a spring for joyO that he should see it. And it is not exiliit neither, but exultavit. And that is a frequentative; and so he did it more than once. To give a spring, and not once but often; this was much, if all be well considered. For one to do it, one in years, fast upon an hundred as Abraham then was, for such an one to do it, it was very much.
1. Much. First, that he should not contain his affection; not keep it in, but out it must; even break forth into an external actNinto a bodily gesture, that all that stood by must see him do it.
2. Into a bodily gesture, I say. But then again, that into such a bodily gesture; a gesture on this fashion. It must needs be he was greatly, yea strangely affected with it, that it made him forget his gravity, and put a kind of indecorum upon his age, at those years to fall on springing. All men will easily know that such as he was, staid, discreet, grave men will never be so exceeding moved as to be brought to fetch a spring, but upon some very exceeding great occasion.
3. Thirdly; to do all this but only in desire and nothing but desire, is yet more strange than the rest. In the fruition, to joy is kindly; but in the desire, altogether unusual. Exultavit cum videret, may well be understood; exultavit ut vidret, not so well. For desire of itself is a restless thing, unquiet, and complaining; but a very affliction of the soul. It makes men, yea the very creature itself saith the Apostle, ingemiscere, (which is far from exultare,) O^to groan for grief,O not to spring for joy; sad rather how great a good is the good of this day that not in the enjoying, but even in the desiring and that against the nature of desire, did put old father Abraham into this passion; and brought from him this act, the act of exultation, and made him even young again.
But I will tell you yet of another as strange. For the same word you will observe is used of the Baptist, while he was yet but an embyro and in his mother's belly. That at the interview and voice of the blessed Virgin Mary, he then a babe O^gave a spring in the womb of Elizabeth his mother.O So that we see both old and young, Abraham and John Baptist, from the eldest in years to the child unborn, it concerns all. [125/126] All need it, all are bound to be glad of it, all is for the joy and honour of this day.
And this for his first act and first joy, joy of desire, for there be two. There is another in the last word crh. As there be two sights, 1. ut videret and 2. et vidit so two joys answerable; either hath this joy. And this first is but John Baptist's forerunner to the second. For all this is but the Apostle's spe gaudentes yet; but the joy of hope only anticipating the other before it come, and joying as it were that it shall joy when that joyful time shall be.
And with this we must begin, even with desire, and seek to possess our souls of it. This carrieth the next, the eye. For where the desire is, there will the eye be also; and where it is not, no prospect thitherward, no window open that way. Therefore set that, as the needle point, right, and all the rest will follow. For the truth is, therefore we joy not because we desire not. True it is, and pity it is; millions there be never have true sight of Him. Why? they have no desire to Him. We must then begin there with desire, with ut videret, or we shall never come to et vidit. And for our comfort, the very desire of this day or of any good thing else, if it be true and uncounterfeit, a first degree it is, and it is not lightly to be accounted of. It is not nothing to sayNif one can say and say it true, exultarem et viderem. For of this desire, exultarem ut is, among other one character. Three there be besides; and lightly they go together, and they be succedanea as we call them to any good thing which we have not but wish that we had, or that we might have. As, if we cannot repent, cannot abstain, cannot believe, or live as we ought, these come in place, and express yet how we stand inwardly affected toward themNeven these four: 1. exultarem or gaudium si; 2. vellem ut; 3. metuo ne; 4. doleo quod non. Gauderem si, O^glad I would be if it were;O vellum it, O^and I heartily wish that it were;O metuo ne, O^but sure I doubt it be not;O and doleo quod non, O^sorry I am that it is not.O Characters they be all; and if they be hearty and true, a sign it is the flax smoketh yet. Ex linum fumigans, so gracious He is, O^the flax if it do but smoke, He will not quench it.O But of all the rest, specially if it be this. For there is vigour and vehemency in exultarem ut. It [126/127] is a fervent desire, a kind of hunger and thirst ,a desiderio desideravi, this exultarem ut, I would do anything, I would give anything to have a sight of it. And such a desire shall never be frustrate; it shall see certainly.
Of exultate ut videas, the reward shall be videre ut exultes; of desiring that we see not, to see that we desire. We have Abraham, the Father, in the text; take Zachee, the son, for an example of it too. He, out of a desire to see Christ at His coming to Jericho, O^and could not for the press,O exultavit, O^gave a spring,O O^got him up into a tree,O so as to have a sight of Him. It was so well taken, this very desire, as he not only saw Him, but received Him to his house. And our Saviour pronounceth, this text was fulfilled in him; O^He was even thereby become the son of Abraham.O For howsoever in things temporal it may be and is oft defeated, in things pertaining to Christ and His sight, exultavit ut videret shall ever end, as here it doth. in et vidit. And so we pass to the next point of et vidit.
It is here first directly avouched, the Patriarchs (and Abraham by name) they did not only desire to see this day, but see it they did. See it, though they did but see it and salute it pnuNaLw O^afar off;O or, ?j ?n katnptpJ O^as in a perspective glass;O yet see it they did. It is but vidit, vidit in genere. Any sight, any descrying will serve to verify the text. I say not they did precisely know the very day of the month, I would not so be understood. But this day they did; they knew and saw in genere such a day there should come; and then come when it would, or what day of the year it would, all joy they wished to that day for the joy it was to bring them. This was enough for them in their estate; and more particular notice had they of the month and day, this I am sure, they would never have scraped it out of their Kalendar.
O^He saw it.O But then, if you ask how he saw it? Sure not as they were mistaken in the text) as if Abraham could not see His day, unless Christ had been in the flesh in the days of Abraham. That is one kind of seeing indeed. For so Simeon saw, O^for mine eyes have seen.O But this text must be true; vidit Abraham. Then another there is beside. This is sure; what Simeon saw, the same saw Abraham. What Simeon saw I say, but not as Simeon saw. The same Christ [127/128] both, and the same day, though not both in the same manner.
But let me tell you, this of Abraham's was the better. And if Simeon had not seen Him in the same manner Abraham did, for all his viderunt oculi he had been never the nearer. No more than were the Jews here that hurled stone at Him, and so saw Him; but to no benefit, no matter of exultation at all; of condemnation, rather.
Then. if not with his eyes, how? Yes; with his eyes too, though not of the body, Which to conceive, we are to take notice that there is in every man of us two men: (Plato had seen so much and set it down, and it is thought the Apostle took it from him;) 1. an outward, and 2. an inward man. Now if there be an inward man, we must allow him senses as a man; he must have eyes. So he hath; O^having the eyes of your understanding lightened. Here are eyes; by them did Abraham, and even by them and by no other do we see Him.
Those eyes may have beside, but see Him not for want of light. By what light saw he? He was a Prophet, and as a Prophet he might in the Spirit and have the vision clearly represented before him, in luce Propheti3/4. But without all question a O^faithfulO man he was, and so certain it is he saw it in lumine fidei, O^the light of faith,O which O^faith is the clearness or evidence of things not seen;O (ye know the place;) not seenNnay even of things invisible. In the 27th verse of the same chapter it is said, O^Moses was as if he had seen the Invisible.O By faith, that was; and in Abraham O^the father of the faithful,O the same faith was. Both saw by the same light, and by it Christ was as verily present unto them, as if they had seen Him this day in the manger with the shepherds; or with Simeon had had Him in their arms and beheld Him. Thus he, and thus we. For it is all the light he had, or we have to see Him by.
But where was this, and when? the text is enough, so it was, if we rest not in that but would know what the Fathers have conceived of the place and time. This they hold; that he saw His birth at the valley of Mamre; and he saw His Passion in the mount of Moriah. But this day he saw at Mamre. Then was Christ in Person there, one of the Three; then made Abraham the confession we before spake of. [128/129] Then is twice mention made of the time of life, which is this time, if every any. Then Isaac was delivered as a gage, and then was his first feast of joy; down went his fat heifer; so all met at the time just.
And so certainly he then saw it there, as after we see he sware his servant on his thigh. His thigh became ad sancta Dei evangelia; he bade his servant O^lay his hand on his thigh, and swear by the God of Heaven.O Et quid vult Deus Coeli ad femur Abrah3/4? O^What hath the God of Heaven to do with Abraham;O thigh?O saith St. Augustine; and his answer is, nisi quia, O^but only because he saw certainly the Son of God was from thence to take flesh'Nsemen Abrah3/4 de femore Abrah3/4, and so to make us this blessed day. And this of Christ's visus; and now of Abraham's gavisus, the end of his sight and desire both.
He that was glad he should see it, must needs be glad when he did see it. If exultavit ut videret, then ut vidit, ut exultavit! when he saw, how glad a man was he now his desire was accomplished! And O^the desire accomplished,O saith Solomon, O^is a tree of life;O and O^the tree of lifeO we know O^is in the midst,O is the very centre of all the joys of Paradise. Now we cannot possibly take a view of these joys better than out of the promise, which was the very list or brief of all he was either to see or to joy in.
We begin with the blessed joy of Benedicentur omnes gentes in semine tuo. Benedicentur, O^shall be blessed.O And that is of two sorts. 1. Blessed from; and 2. blessed with: and either hath his joys.
Blessed from, from pulvis et cinis, O^dust of the grave and ashes of the furnace.O His soul blessed from the clibanus fuman which he saw. Moreover also O^his flesh should rest in hope,O hope of rising again from the dust. Else how could God be called O^the God of Abraham?' O^God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.O Abraham then being dead should live again, and then Nunc dimittis may he say no less than Simeon. These two joys first. And these two fit well the words of joy in the verse. 1. Exultavit, that is a motion of the body, for the body's deliverance from dust. 2.Gavisus, that is a fruit of the spirit, for the spirit's redemption from the furnace. These are his two first joys. [129/130]
Then two more, in blessed with or concerning. Concerning first his two gages, Isaac and Canaan: Isaac, of Christ; Canaan, of the Kingdom of Heaven. And this joy was surely great; and if the joy of the pledge or gage were great, far greater was the joy of the inheritance itself which he so greatly desire. For both he was, saith the Apostle, and O^he bare himself like a stranger here upon earth;O shewing thereby that he sought for another, a better, O^an abiding City, whose Builder is God,O and that in Heaven. For that it was no earthly thing which was the object of his joy, nothing but heaven, thence it may appear, that when God promised him, O^his seed should be as the dust of the earth,O it never moved him; it was no object that of his faith or desire, not so much as a credibit follows upon it. But after, in the fifteenth chapter, when God bade him look up, and told him, O^they should be as the stars of heaven;O then presently follows, Credidit Abraham Deo, he caught hold of that; O^believed,O that straight, and O^it was counted to him for righteousness;O even that his faith touching no dust of the earth, but touching no dust of the earth, but touching Heaven and Heavenly blessings. And these are the two nest joys of blessed with; and these two answer the two sights; ut videret the pledge, and et vidit the inheritance.
Now these four, had they been granted to himself and to his own house, well might it have been gavisus with him; how much more then, that it should by him have his extent and stretch to omnes famili3/4, omnes gentes, O^all kindreds, all nations of the earth;O be gaudium omni populo, O^be a day of joy to both hemispheres,O the joy of generality; that all the world should be the better for him? And this his fifth, the joy of omnes gentes.
And glad might he have been to have received all these by whomsoever, yea though a mere stranger. That all these then should come to him, not by any strange party but by one to come out of his own bowels; that his seed should be his Saviour, and out of his root should rise his Redeemer; all this joy should grow from the fruit of his own body; that He That nusquam angelos, O^in no wise them,' would take on Him O^the seed of Abraham;ONthis may I doubt not be reckoned for the sixth, even the joy of in semine tuo.
Now to in semine Abrah3/4 add in sinui Abrah3/4, and so have [130/131] we seven complete; that O^his bosomO should be the receptacle of all that should enter into bliss. Whosoever there entertained, in sinu Abrah3/4, and make us partakers of His Heavenly joys there. But we must begin with in semine to-day, that after in his good time in sinu may follow. And this for gavisus est, and for Abraham.
Now to ourselves. And the first point is, whether we will be out with the Jews, or in with Abraham, in the fellowship of this day's joy. In with Abraham we sure. If all be well weighed, we have greater cause to desire the day than he; we have more need of it I am sure. Dust as he, but more in danger to be made ashes than he by Manasses' argument in his prayer. The benefit of His day and the like, they do nothing so much concern the just such as Abraham, as they do sinful Manasses and such as he. And such are we; and ever the more sinner, the more it imports him to love the dawning of this day. Greater cause we have than he.
And for our sight, we have that clearer than he by much. For though we see as he, and he as we, both by the light of faith; yet he in the faith of prophecy yet to come, we in the faith of history now past; and there is great odds between these two. We have heard the record of human writers many, but of Divine all, that this day is come and gone; even of such as saw Him with the eyes both of the inward and outward man.
The greater cause and the better sight: then is our joy also to abound, and be above his. So it should be. And we would seem as if it so were; we multiply the days, and where he had but one we hold twelve together, as if we would exceed him twelve to one in this joy. Being then so bound, joy agreeth well with us at this time. The text invites us to it, the while strain from the first word to the last. It begins with exultavit, and ends in gavisus est.
Only, that from whence we take our joy, from thence we take the rules of it, which be three. 1. One of the two parts, exultavit and gavisus est. 2. One of the end, diem Meum, And 3. the last of our pattern, sicut Abraham pater noster, to express it as he did.
Here be two sorts; 1. One, exultation, a motion [131/132] of the body. 2. The other joy, a fruit of the spirit: I am for both. I speak not against exultavit; let the body have his part. Reason would the body and the flesh should be allowed their parts, since all the joy is for corpus aptasi Mihi, and that Verbum caro factum est. O^the Word is become flesh;O that Christ hath gotten Him a body. But let not exultavit be all, whole and sole. Then we joy but by halves; we lose half our joy, and the better half; for the joy of the spirit is the better part, when all is done. The flesh fades daily; so do the joys of it: O^the spirit is the better part that shall not be taken from us.O That of the spirit should exceed the joy of the outward man, as far as et vidit to which it is joined doth exceed ut videret. It should so. Well, in the meanwhile I would they might but part equally; at least, not to stay so long, as we leave little or nothing for the spirit's part. Sure somewhat would be done, some special use of this feast that may tarry by us, when these of the flesh we shall either have forgotten, or remember but with small joy. Time will come, that one lesson in this kind, learned this day and laid up well, will do us more pleasure than all the sports we shall see the whole twelve days after; that we come not behind Abraham in half.
Our next caveat would be that look this our joy be for diem Meum, and that our joy in diem be for Meum. For Meum is here the substantive, it is Christ; and diem but an accident or adjective of it. That is, that we joy in it, as it is HisNChrist's, but as it is somewhat else; that is, as it is a time of cheer and feasting, as it is a time of sports and revelling. Exultavit ut videretNwhat? why that we shall now fare well. Look you, that is it, as it is dies epuli, not Christi. This is not diem for Meum: in very deed, this is to desire Him for the day, not the day for Him. Christ's day is not desired for Christ, Christ is the least part of His own [132/133] feast. If it be but matter of the belly, the Jews here could have been entreated to have kept this day so as dies epuli. For before, at the sixth chapter, when their bellied were filled, then and never but then, O^This is the Prophet, This is He that should come into the world.O This was all they then made, all that many now do make of Christ's coming into the world;Nthat they may fill their bellies. Never care for benedicentur no more than Esau, but for bene vescentur; and if bene vestientur too, then all is well.
Or, if it be but shows and matter of sight, Herod he was glad to see Christ too. And it is the same word which is here, glad, and very glad, liaf ?crh. But why was it? Because O^he hoped to have seen him done some strange feats. This pertaineth rather to Sarah's laughter and Abraham's joy. Take heed that we change not Abraham's joy into Sarah's laughter.
Now last, sicut Abraham. He is propounded here to us as our pattern; we express our joy as he did upon the day of his sight at the plain of Mamre. So we shall begin right. Two things he did; first, he got them, the Three, to turn in to him. The same would Christ do to us this day. That our joy may be suitable, to turn in hither. The beginning of the joy of His day would be in His House; so the place and the time would agree well. So He saith Himself, L3/4tificabo cos in domo Mea; the first thing I will do, O^I will make them joyful in Mine house.O Then first, to satisfy us with the pleasures of His house, wherewith God He knows we are soon satisfied. Well, this is done; here we are, and much ado to and long it is first, but here we are.
The next was, when they were turned in Abraham said, O^Let me set somewhat before you,O ideo enim declinñstis, O^or even for this are ye turned in hither;O and so made his feast. There is indeed no solemn entertainment or joy without a feast. Christ will be in all respects as courteous as Abraham. He saith, Let Me set something before you too, for therefore are you turned in hither; He invites us to His feast. His Church so does in His name; even this day prepares and sets Christ's feast before us, wherein He offers Himself to us. Not as the object of one sense onlyNof sight, as to Abraham in the text; [133/134] but as the object of two, sight and taste; gustate et videte, both. And we may not take the one and leave the other, but since both be offered, receive both. For we are come hither for this cause; here then show your joy in His feast-day by partaking His feast on His day, the only feast of all the rest for which the soul is the better. Thus shall we with joy keep this day aright.
And here now, one day calls another; this day of His calls to mind another day of His, called so in twenty places O^His day,O and called O^that dayO in plain reference to this. So to joy this day, as that day we may joy also. As this His day, because it is the day of His first coming; so that His likewise, because it is the day of His coming again. A day, howsoever we do with this, which we must all see; Abraham, the Jews, we, and all. Only, that we see that day with joy; that we so demean ourselves in this, as that also may prove a festival with us, even O^the last and greatest day of the feastO now begun in this. All will be, how to make that a day of joy to us when we see it; to have that day rise clear and cheerful to us, will be the joy of all joys. For here first as O^we see but in partO so we can joy but in part. As our sight, so our joy, imperfect. But there O^we shall see as we are seen;O our sight being perfect, so shall our joy be; perfect sight, and perfect joy. And besides, that is another manner of day than this or any day here, a day that shall never go down; no more shall the joy of it. And it shall not endure for twelve days, or be a feast of a fortnight; but shall be from month to month, from jubilee to jubilee, for ever and ever. To the joy of which feast, or to the feast of which joy, by &c.