Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
This day calleth us to say somewhat of Christ's resurrection. To find Christ's resurrection in the New Testament is no mastery. Out of many places you have thence heard of it heretofore many times, and many times may hereafter out of many places more. If it be but for variety, it will do well not to dwell still on the New, but otherwhiles to see if we can find it in the Old. It will give us good satisfaction to see 'Jesus Christ to-day and yesterday the same;' 'yesterday' to them, 'to-day' to us; to read resurget in Job, He shall rise, as we read resurrexit in John, 'He is risen,' to see their creed and ours differs but in tense, 'shall rise,' and 'is risen,' 'shall' and 'is,' but the Redeemer all one in both. Much ado is made by your antiquities, if an old stone be digged up with any dim letters on it. In this text I find mention of a stone to be graven, so that I shall present you this day with an antiquity, an old stone dug up in the land of Uz, as old as Job's time, and that as old as Moses; with a fair inscription, the characters of it yet legible, to prove the faith of this feast, so ancient that it began not with Christians, the patriarchs had it as many hundred years before Christ as we are after. This text is a monument of it. And it will be never the worse welcome to us that are Gentiles, that it cometh from one that is a Gentile as Job was, and not of Jacob's line. It is stronger for that Moses and Job, the Jew and Gentile believed; Moses put it in his ordinary prayer, the nineteenth Psalm, as it were his Pater noster, and Job here in his creed.
St. Hierome saith of Job: Nullam tan aperte post Christum, quam iste hîc ante Christum de Resurrectione loquitor Christi et suâ. 'No man ever since Christ did so clearly speak of Christ's resurrection and his own, as Job did here before Christ. That his Redeemer liveth, and will rise again.' Which is as much to say as, 'He is the Resurrection and the Life;'- St. John could say no more. It is his hope, he is by it 'regenerate to a lively hope;'- St. Peter could say no more. Enters into such particulars, 'this flesh,' and 'these eyes;'--St. Paul could do no more. There is not in all the Old, nay there is not in all the New, a more pregnant direct place.
There is then in this monument of antiquity, a direct [253/254] prophecy; or if you will, a plain creed, of the substance of this feast, of his Redeemer's rising, and of his hope to rise by Him; the one positive, the other illative. there is a pathetical poem set before it; and there is a close or farewell by way of ipiphoneme after it, no less pathetical.
The two first verses we may well call the parascue, or 'preparation to the feast of passover,' which serve to stir up our regard, as to a mystery or matter of great moment, worthy not only to be written or enrolled in a book, but to be cut in stone; a monument to be made of it, as perpetuam rei memorian, 'Oh that,' &c.
Then followeth in the third, his Redeemer and His rising, His passing over from death to life: 'I know,' &c., and out of it in the last, by way of inference, his own, Et quod ego, &c. set down with words so clear, and so full of caution, as in the Epistle to the Corinthians it is not fuller expressed.
Upon these two, there be two acts here set down, 1. Scio, and 2. Spero. He begins with scio, for use of this knowledge. Graven, that it may be known; known, that it may be our hope. His it was, and ours it must be; reposita, with him, repondenda with us, to be lodged and laid up in our bosoms, against we be laid into the bosom of the earth. Indeed, sculpsit in lapide, is nothing without reponi in sinu, 'Graving in stone will do no good, without laying it up in the bosom.'
Job fearing it should seem, if he have been but slenderly regarded, doth enforce himself to set it down with some solemnity, to make the deeper impression, which I call the parasceue; that we might not reckon of it as a light holyday, but as a high feast. He would have the scio of it stamped in stone, as worthy everlasting remembrance, and the spero of it carefully laid up, as worthy precious account. It is as much as St. Paul had said, 'It is a faithful saying, and by all means worthy to be received;' for the scio, 'faithful,' for the spero, 'worthy all receiving;' for the truth, to be graven in marble, for the comfort to be lodged in the bosom.
For the first, thus he proceedeth. He was dying now, and seeing he must die, one thing he had he would not have die with him. It was that when he had lost all, he kept in his [254/255] bosom still; when all comforters, and comforts forsook him, and, as he saith, his physicians grew of no value, he found comfort in. This he thought it was pity should perish, but though he die, it live. It was certain words; and because they had been cordial to him--had been to him, and might be to others--he desires they might remain to memory; and because writing serves to that end, they might be written.
Which his wish of writing consists of three degrees, is as it were three wishes in one.
1. They be words; and because words be but wind his own proverb--that they might not blow away with the wind, he wisheth they were written. Quis mihi tribuat, 'who will help him to a clerk, to set them down in writing?'
2. But then, he bethinks himself better. They were no common ordinary matter, therefore not to be committed to common ordinary writing. So, they might be rent or lost; they be more worth than so. Therefore now secondly, he mends his wish; he would not have them to be barely written, but registered in a book, enrolled upon record, as public instruments, men's deeds, judicial proceeding; or, as the very word gives it, Acts of parliament, or whatsoever is most authentical.
And yet, upon further advice, he calls back that too, by a third wish. If they were upon record, records will last long, yet even then time will injure. No ink, no parchment, but will decay with time. Now these he would have last for ever: therefore he gives over his scribe, and instead of him wishes for a graver; no parchment will serve, it must be stone, and the hardest stone, the rock. For this paper he must have 'a pen of iron;' that he wisheth too. But here is mention of lead; what is to be done with that? If we believe the Hebrews, that best knew the fashion of their country monuments, when it is graven, the graving may be choked with soil, and the edges of the letters being rough and uneven, may be worn in, or broken and so defaced; to provide for that, the graving he would have filled with lead, that so it might keep smooth and even from defacing, and full from choking up. That it be r[l the last word, that is, last 'for ever,' to the last ages and generations to come, never to be worn, but to hold for ever. If it were the best in the world, [255/256] more cannot be done or wished than this, and this he wisheth, and not coldly, but earnestly, 'Oh that it were, would God it were!' Quis mihi tribuat? Who will do so much? Who? as if he were earnest begging of God and man to have it done.
Now in the name of God, what may this be that all this work is kept about? It is the work of this day. And why would not a book serve for this? Why no remedy but it must be in stone? There want no reasons; let me touch some few. Moses and Job are holden to have lived at one time. Moses' law was graven in stone, we know. This of Job, here is the Gospel, the substance, the chief article of it. No reason the Law in tables of stone, and the Gospel in sheets of paper. Good reason Job as zealous for the Gospel as Moses for the Law. If that wrought in stone, this no less; as firm and durable as it every way. And the same reason is for the iron pen. As the stone for the Law, so the pen for the Prophets. If in the Prophet men's sins be 'written with a pen of iron,' meet the discharge should be written no less deep, with as hard a pen as it; that so the characters of one may match the other at each point.
This for Moses, now for our Redeemer. There it was meet, ut de Petrâ, in petrâ. Petra autem Christus, our Redeemer is 'a Rock;' 'O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer,' saith David, or 'my Redeemer of the Rock,' alluding to this of Job. Kindly it is it should be wrought in the Rock, that is, of the Redeemer Who is the Rock. And so the Resurrection, being a putting on incorruption, would not be written in corruptible stuff, but in that cometh nearest to incorruption, and is least of all subject to corrupt and decay. The words would be immortal, that treat of immortality.
A third, in respect of those works, that are usually wrought of stone, as gravestones, as arches triumphal. The Resurrection is mors mortis, saith Osee, 'O death I will be thy death:' for the death of him that is the death of us all, here is a gravestone allowed, and an epitaph graven on it. Here it is, and so doth Nazianzen call this Scripture, death's epitaph. Either--if as Esay saith, 'death' by Christ's rising be 'swallowed up in victory,'--a trophy of this victory would [256/ 257] remain, and tat, as all victories, in a pyramis of stone; and that, arch-wise on two pillars, 1. one for Christ's, 2. one for our resurrection.
One more: That Job needeth this wish in regard of those who were to receive this doctrine. It will not well be written, there is such unbelief and hardness of heart, yea even in the Disciples, and so generally, in our nature, as enough to do to grave it in us; yet so necessary withal, as where it will not be written, he wishes it graven. Written where it may, but graven where it must. But written or graven, one of them in us all.
This for Job's wish. Shall we now pass to the third verse, and see what these words be, that no paper will serve, but stone; nor pen, but iron; nor ink, but lead? Great expectation is raised with this so stately an entry. The words be Job's, his scio and his spero, touching the two articles of his day, 1. his Redeemer, and His rising; 2. and the train of it, his own rising, and his seeing God. They begin with scio the pillar of this faith, and end with hæc mihi spes, 'the arch of his hope,' ever hope giving the assumption to faith's proposition.
Let us begin with the object of his knowledge. The first is news of a Redeemer. We owe this word to Job, he the first in the Bible who ever named Him so. Of the creation we read in Moses, and God provided well for us that we should no sooner hear of a Creator by Moses, but we should of a Redeemer by Job. For though God by right of creation were, as says Melchisedek, 'owner of heaven and earth,' yet 'the creature being subject to vanity' shewed they were gone, aliened from God. But this is good news, that seeing we were God's and not our own, He would not see that carried away that was His own, but would be content one should redeem it back.
But it is news to hear that Job is at his redeemer, Job with all his innocency, with his so just and holy life, as God Himself bare witness unto it, as Satan himself could not except against it; yet he is not as scio quod Judex, but scio quod Redemptor, does deprecari Judicem, and for all his virtues, a Redeemer will do well though; and he in the number of those who are glad to say scio, to take notice of him.
[257/258] From which his scio, his notice taking, we take a true estimate of Job's estate. For if he look after a Redeemer, then is he either sold for a servant, or carried away for a captive; one of these. For these two only we read of: redeemed from Egypt the house of bondage, or redeemed from Babylon, the land of their captivity. St. Paul confesseth both by himself; 'sold under sin,' and 'led away captive under the law of sin.' Job confesseth as much. Peccavi, quid faciam? sinned he had, and by committing of sin was become servus peccati. Sold by himself, and made subject by sin; and sold by God, and made subject to corruption, from both which he needed a Redeemer. Whether servant or captive, one or both, it falleth out well that both states are redeemable, neither past redemption. 'Sinned,' that he needs a Redeemer; not so sinned, but a Redeemer will serve. God is willing, saith Elihu, to receive a reconciliation, to admit of a Redeemer; if we can get us one to lay down the price, there is hope we may be restored, to see God again. A Redeemer will do it.
Why then, scio quod, he knows of one. Good tidings to all that need to know, there is one presently in being. For then, nunc dimittis may Job say; he may 'depart in peace,' die when he will, his Redeemer lives Who will never see that perish He hath paid the price for, but since He came to redeem that which was lost, will not suffer that to be lost which He hath redeemed.
This of the Redeemer. Now, what he believes of Him. First, live he must, be a living, quick thing; not dead or without life. Silver, gold will not do it; our redemption is personal, not real, to give somewhat and save himself. But such a Redeemer as must answer body for body, and life for life; give Himself for Job, and those He redeems;- so is the nature of the word, so the condition of our redeeming. There is His person.
Of what nature, out of the word Redeemer. Sure if a Redeemer, God. The psalm deduceth at large: 'Man cannot redeem His brother, or give an atonement unto God for him. It cost more to redeem souls, so that he must let that alone for ever.' Then tells he us plainly, 'It is God shall redeem our souls from the hand of hell.' Job saith the [258/259] same in effect: 'In His saints He found folly, and in His Angels pravitatem, somewhat awry;' they both need a Redeemer, themselves. That they want themselves, they cannot perform to others; and if neither Saint nor Angel, then no Redeemer but God.
On the other side, if a Redeemer, man He is to be of necessity. So is the flat law of redemption of persons. He must be frater, or propinquus, 'a brother or next of blood;' else not admitted to redeem a person. That He may be admitted then, He must be flesh of our flesh, and then He may. The very word sheweth it which doth as properly signify, to be 'next of kin,' as 'to redeem.' Upon the point then, both He must be. Man cannot, God may not; but God and man both, may and can.
But what stand we straining the word Redeemer, or the conditions of it, when we have both twain His natures in formal terms, immediately in the verse following, videbo Deum in carne? There is God in plain terms, and His flesh is human flesh, and that is man. I know, in carne, there may be construed two ways, but I know both ways well, and both ways it is taken by the Fathers. 1. 'I, in my flesh, shall see God;'or 2. 'I shall see' Deum in carne, that is, Deum incarnatum, 'God having taken flesh upon Him.' This latter way, I find, St. Augustine taketh it: videbo Deum in carne; quod ad id tempus pertinet cum Christi Deitas habitu carnis induta est. 'I shall see God in my flesh: this pertains to the time, when the Godhead of Christ was clothed with the habit of flesh.' And well both, for one depends on the other; our seeing God in the flesh, upon God's being seen in our flesh. But Deus in carne, are the two matters.
Now His office is redeeming. How discharges He that? How brings He the work of our redemption to pass? Many were His works concurring to it. Job singles out, and makes choice of one among them all, which is the chief of all, the accomplishment of all, and where He showed Himself a complete Redeemer. For then a Redeemer right, when He had brought His work to perfection, and that He did when He rose again.
So I read, 'rise again,' and 'stand.' It is well known, it is the proper word for rising, and not standing. [259/260] The Seventy so turn it, not stºsetai 'shall stand.' but _uaostºsetai 'shall rise again.' The Fathers so read it: Nec dum natus erat Dominus, saith St. Hierome, et Athleta Ecclesiæ Redemptorem suum vidit a mortuis resurgentem, 'He was not yet born, and the Church's champion, Job, saw his Redeemer rising from the dead.' Victurum me certâ fide credo, liberâ voce profiteor. quia Redemptor meus resurget, Qui inter impiorum manus occubuit; 'With assured faith I believe, and with free courage confess, that rise I shall, inasmuch as my Redeemer shall rise, Who is to die by the hands of wicked men,' saith Gregory upon these very words.
'Rise again,' then shall our Redeemer from the dead. There He was then, or He could not rise thence. How came He there? So that here is His death implied evidently, that brought Him thither. Rise He cannot, except first He fall. Fall therefore He must, and be laid up in the earth, before He can rise from thence again. Specially, seeing we find Him first alive in the fore-part of the verse, and then rise again in the latter. For how can that be, unless death come between?
Yea, the Fathers go farther, and from the words, carne mea, set down the very state of His death. In my flesh, that is, say they, such flesh as mine, rent and torn. As to say true, between Christ's flesh when Pilate showed Him with Ecce Homo, and Job's, no great odds. Unum in toto corpore vulnus, 'one resembled somewhat the other,' scarce any skin left on Him no more than Job, postquam pellem Meam contriverunt, might Christ as truly say.
In this case he saw Him brought to the dust, and thence he seeth Him rising again; and so now it is Easter day with Job. For this text this day was fulfilled. Then He rose again, and rising shewed Himself a perfect Redeemer. Then, for till then, though the price were paid, nothing was seen to come back. Now, 'His soul was not left in hell,' and so that came back; 'nor His flesh to see corruption,' and so that came back. And having thus with a mighty hand redeemed and raised Himself, He is able to do as much for us. Quam in Se ostedndit, et in me factorus est, saith Gregory, 'What he shewed in Himself, He will perform in us; and what we see now in this example, then we shall feel in our own reward.'
[260/261] But thus have we in this verse comprised His person, His two natures, Godhead and manhood, His office, His death and His resurrection, and His second coming; for at His first Job saw Him not as Simeon, but at His second shall. What would we more? with a little help, one might make up a full creed.
Very well then, on he goeth,and out of this Scio quod Redemptor he inferreth Scio quod ego, argiung from his Redeemer to himself, Eâdem catenâ revincta est Christi resurrectio, et nostra, 'One chain they are linked with, His and ours;' you cannot stir one end, but the other moveth with it. The sinews of which reason are in this, that the Redeemer doth but represent the person of the redeemed. For a Redeemer is res propter alium, 'all He doth is for another;' lives not, dies not, rises not, to or for Himself, but to or for others; him or them, He undertakes for. His life, death, resurrection, theirs, and the consequence so good; Scio quod Ille, et quod ego. So there is no error in reading as we do, in our Office of the Dead, 'I shall rise again at the last.' Though it be the third person in the text, the first is as infallibly deduced by consequence, as if it were there expressly set down; as sure as He shall rise, so sure He shall raise, for to that He is a Redeemer.
We see the coherence; let us see the benefit, which standeth of these four points. First He shall see God; secondly, see Him in his 'flesh,' and with his 'eyes;' thirdly, in the same flesh, and 'with the same eyes and no other;' fourthly, and he shall see Him, sibi, 'for his own good and benefit.' and all this, non obstante the case he was in, which gave but small likelihood of it.
The first and main benefit his Redeemer will raise him to, is to see God. That he lost when he became aliened; that he recovers, being redeemed. Here begins all misery, to be cast out of His presence; here all happiness, to be restored to the light of His countenance. Visio Dei, all along the Scriptures, is made our chief good; and our felicity still set forth, under that term. In Thy presence is the fulness of joy, saith the Psalm. Ostende nobis Patrem et sufficit, and we will never desire more. A conjecture we may have of the glory of this sight from Moses. He saw Him, and not [261/262] His face neither, and that but a glimpse, and but as He passed by, yet got he so glorious a brightness in his countenance, he was fain to be veiled; no eye could endure to behold him. And a like conjecture of the joy, by the transfiguration. They did but look up at it, they desired never to be any where but there, never to see any sight but that; so were they ravished with the beholding of it.
'See God,' and so he may in spirit, as do the souls of the righteous departed, it skills not for the flesh. Yes, see Him 'in the flesh.' That as proper to this text, and this day, which 'offers more race.' This day Christ rose in the flesh, and this text is 'we shall see Him in the flesh.'' It is meet the flesh partake the redemption wrought in the flesh, and He be seen of flesh, That was seen in the flesh. He will do it for the flesh, it is now His nature, no less than the Godhead; He will not forget it, we may be sure. It was hard the Redeemer should be in the flesh, and the flesh never the better for it.
For the soul is but half; though the better half, yet but half, and the redeeming it is but half a redemption; and if but half, then imperfect. And our Redeemer is God, and God's works are all perfect; if He redeem, He doth it not by halves. His redemption is a complete redemption, certainly. But so it is not, except He redeem the whole man, soul, flesh and all; his soul from hell, his flesh from the grave, both to see God. His redemption is imperfect, till it extend so far. Therefore at His coming again, they are willed 'to lift up their heads, their redemption is at hand,' their full redemption; then full, when both soul and body will enjoy the presence of God.
And what we say of God's work, the same we say of the soul's desire; it is not full neither, without this. Every man, yea the Saints, St. Paul by name, professeth all our desire, Nolumus exspoliari sed supervestiri, 'we would not be stripped of this flesh, but be clothed with glory immortal, upon soul and flesh both;' which desire, being both natural, and having with it the concurrence of God's Spirit, cannot finally be disappointed.
I add farther that it is agreeable, not only to the perfection of His work, but even to His justice, that Job's flesh should [262/263] be admitted, upon the Septuagint's reason in the forepart of the verse, tÕ _nant.loàn taàta that it hath gone through, joined in the good, endured all the evil, as well as the soul. 'For God is not unrighteous, to deprive the labourer of his hire' but with Him it is a righteous thing to reward them jointly that have jointly done service, and not sever them in the rewards that in the labour were not severed. But the flesh hath done her part, either in good or evil; her 'members' have been members either ways. In the good, the flesh hath knelt, prayed, watched, fasted, wasted and wearied itself, to and for God. In the evil it hath done, I need not tell you what; and that, to and for sin. Therefore, even justice would they should share in the reward of the good; and in the evil, take like part of the punishment. This may serve for the flesh.
And sure, the very same may be said, and is no less strong for the third degree; as for the flesh and the eyes, so that the same flesh should participate, and the same eyes, and no other for them. No justice, one flesh should labour, and another reap that it never laboured for. What comfort can it be for the poor body to abridge itself of much pleasure, and to devour much tediousness and many afflictions; and another strange body will step up, come between, and carry away the reward? No, if these eyes of Job's have dropped many a tear, it is reason the tears be wiped from them, not from another pair of new-made eyes. If they have restrained themselves, even by 'covenant,' from straying after objects of lust, it is meet they be rewarded with the view of a better object.
But to say true, so should there be no resurrection indeed, a rising up rather of a new, than a rising again of the old. Job should not rise again, this Job, but another new Job in his place and stead. Therefore is this point ever most stood on, of the rest. St. Paul--not a corruptible or mortal at large, but hoc, 'this corruptible, this mortal.' Yea, our Saviour Himself, solvite Templum hoc, 'this very Temple;' and to show it, was that very one indeed, it pleased Him to retain the print, both of the nails and spear. And Job most plain of all, using not only the word his, as it were pointing with his finger, positive, but by adding 'this and no other,' exclusive too, to express it the more fully above exception.
[263/264] But now these all, 1. seeing God, and 2. in the flesh, and 3. in the same flesh, all are as good as nothing without the fourth. Videbo mihi, a little word, but not to be little regarded. In the translation it is left out sometimes, never in the treaty. To see Him for our good, else all the rest is little worth. For all will see Him, and in the flesh, and in the same flesh, but all not sibi, but many contra se; not to their good at all, but many to their utter destruction.
This very word it is which draweth the diameter between the resurrection of life and the resurrection of condemnation, the right hand and the left, the sheep and the goats. They who see Him sibi, to them Esay saith, 'Arise and sing.' They who contra se, of them St. John saith, Videbunt et plangent, 'See they will and mourn.' Those shall fly as eagles with all speed to the body; these other draw back and shrink into their graves, creep into the clefts and holes to avoid the sight, cry to the hills to fall upon them, and hide them from that sight. One will rapi in occursum, 'be caught up to meet;' the other will converti retrorsum, be tumbled backward into hell, with all the people who forget God.' So that this word is all in all; which God after expounds, videbit faciem Meam in jubilo, 'with joy and jubilee shall he behold my face, as a Redeemer, not as a Revenger; and as it followeth, with hope and not fear in his bosom.
And the very next point was it that revived him, and in very deed the tenor of his speech, so often iterating the same thing, and dwelling so upon it, sheweth as much. Once had been enough, 'I shall see God.' He comes over it again and again, as if he felt some special comfort even by speaking it. Three several times he repeats this seeing, and three other, his person--I, and I myself, and I, and none other but I. And as if he were not enough, he reckons up three parts, his skin, flesh, and eyes; as if being once in, he could not tell how to get out. Blame him not: it seems, he felt some ease of his pains, at least forgat them all the while he was but talking. it did so ravish him; having begun, he knew not how to make an end.
Thus much for the object. Now to his scio, his knowledge first, and then his spero, his hope after. For his knowledge, there be four things I would note out of four words. [264/265] 1. His certainty out of scio; 2. His propriety out of meus; 3. His patient waiting out of tandem; 4. and His valour or constancy in non obstante.
Scio, his certainty; that he did not imagine or conceive it might be, but knew it for certain, even for a principle. 'Who knows,' saith one. Who knoweth, whether men die as beasts? Quis scit? Scio. 'Who knows?' 'I know,' saith Job. Putasne, saith he, chapter 14. 'Think you, one that is dead may rise again?' Think? 'I know it,' saith Job. It was res facta, even this day to His Disciples. It was res certa, to him, many hundred years before. It is much to the praise of his faith; 'so much was not found, no not in Israel.' And we shall not need to trouble ourselves to know how he knew it. Not by any Scripture, he had it not from Moses, but the same way that Moses had it; he looked in the same mirror Abraham did, when he saw the same Person, and the same day, and rejoiced to see it.
Out of scio his certainty, and out of meus his peculiar, as it were. The Redeemer of the world would not serve him, nor St. Paul's maxime fidelium, 'of the faithful chiefly.' This of the Ephesians would not content him; 'That loved us and gave Himself for us:' none but the second Galatians, 'That loved me, and gave Himself for me.' 'My Redeemer;' which they call faith's possessive.
In tandem, the third word, his patient enduring. For patience is not only shewed in suffering the cross, but in waiting also for the promise. It will not be done by and by, this; but tandem, 'at the last' it will. 'He shall rise again at the last:' He shall, and we shall. Qui crediderit ne festinet, 'He that believeth, let him not be in haste.' No: Si moram fecerit, expecta Eum, 'If He stay, stay His leisure.' Tarry His tandem.
And last, all these, Non obstante or tametsi, the resolute courage or valour of his faith, that this he saith being in case he was, small likelihood of it in appearance, seeing and feeling that he saw and felt. There sat he falling away by piecemeal, vivum cadaver. For him then to talk of scio and meus thus, having no better signs and arguments than he had; in the sense of his anger, to believe his favour; brought to [265/266] the day of death, to promise himself so glorious an estate;--this is Abraham's faith, contra spem in spe credere, faith without, nay faith against feeling. His state in sense of misery, want of comfort, his friends dismaying him, for all that he keeps to his scio, and to his meus still. All else, even all he hath, his righteousness too, they may take from him; salutem non auferent, 'his Redeemer they should never get;' non obstante, he would hold him fast.
This for his scio, and now to his spero, which word leadeth us to the use he did, and we are to make of this knowledge, Not, know to know; or to be known, to know; but know, to lodge in our bosoms true hope. It is the general use of all our knowledge of the Scriptures, 'Whatsoever is written for our learning, that we by patience and comfort in the Scriptures may have hope.' Generally of all, but above all of these, of Christ our Redeemer. He is our hope, and His rising, that is caput bonae spei, 'our cape of good hope,' the most hopeful of all other.
The use of hope is to expel fear. No fear, to the fear of death, what shall become of us after our short time here, which makes us never quiet, but in 'the valley of Achor' all our life long: the Resurrection opens us 'a gate of hope.' Therefore this day, Noli timere, say the Angels, nolite timere, saith Christ. That our proper salutation of the day. This a day of hope. And this use made David of it: 'My flesh shall rest in hope,' though he were not in Job's case, but in all his royalty, sometimes have before them the hand-writing on the wall; Numeravit, 'He hath numbered thy days,' and even then they rest on this hope, and read this inscription not unwillingly. The same use do the Apostles 'Who hath regenerated us,' in spe, 'to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Christ'--it is St. Peter. 'Rest in hope,' saith David; 'a lively hope'--Peter; rest in hope of rising and living again.
And the term that Job here gives hope, is worth a note: he calls it 'the kidneys' of the soul. It made the translator miss, that knew not this idiom. For as in that part of the body is bred, and from thence doeth issue, that same generativus humor, whereby we propagate our kind, and live here in a sort after we be dead; in like manner by this hope, saith Job, [266/267] and so saith St. Peter, 'we are begotten anew; we are sown,' saith St. Paul, and of that seed, rise again 'in power, honour and immortality.'
And this is hæc spes, 'this hope.' For hope at large heareth evil, hath no good name. Many our hopes prove vigilantis somnia, 'waking dreams,' we cannot lay them up; and if we would, they are not worth the laying up, no more than our dreams be. That the heathenman made it his happiness, to say, vale spes, 'farewell all hoping.' This is true, where the rest of our hope is vanishing as man, whose breath is in his nostrils; and when that goeth, 'all his thoughts perish.' But this hope is of another nature; non confundet, 'it will not make you ashamed.' There is a reality in it, 'an anchor-hold; it is built on the rock,' it will endure as the rock on which it is built, and on which it is graven here. There will come an end, and his hope will not be cut off, of all other; you may make a depositum of it, lay it up, repone illam, et repone te in illa, you may rest on it, it is spes viva, 'a living hope' in Him That liveth, and will restore us all to life.
Now, the place is much, where we lay it; every thing is best keep in his proper place. Job saith, he bestowed it in his bosom, and would have us to do the like. Of that place he made choice, of none without us, behind us. That we might every carry it about us, ever have it before us and in our sight, ever at hand; not to seek, but ready and easy to be had, when we call for it; and these, for the continual use we are to have of it, in all the dismays and discomforts of our life. Beside, there it will be safely, that being the surest place, as being within the fold of our arms where our strength lieth, and whence hardest to take it from us. And there it will be best cherished in the warmth, and vital heat of the bosom. There the nurse carrieth her child, and the wife is called 'the wife of the bosom.' And what is dearer to us than these two? But above all, there it will be next the heart, for the bosom is but the coffer of the heart, and there Job would have it. As well for that place is the best place, and so best for the best hope, as that there is in this hope a special cordial virtue against the fainting of the heart; as indeed it is cor cordis, 'the very heart of the heart, and whereby the heart itself is more heartened. Job found it so. [267/ 268] So did St. Paul, when he grew out of heart. Put his hand in his bosom, took out this hope, looks upon it, presently saith, propter quod non deficimus. And when Timothy was in the like deliquium, he applies to him--What man! Memento, 'Remember, Christ is risen.' and we shall rise and see God; an amends for all we can suffer--as a special receipt against all cardiack passions.
But, in choosing this place, Job's mind was specially to except to the brain, where commonly men lodge it, and are mistaken; it is not the right place. Scio there if you will, in the brain, it is the place of memory; but spero in the heart, the place of affection, namely fear, and till the heart be less fearful, and the more cheerful for it, it is not where it should be, not laid in the right place. No, not scientia cerebi, knowledge is not the best neither, not in the brain. Scientia sinus, and corde creditur: best, when it hath his rest there, when knowledge in the heart, and hope in the reins, and He that searcheth heart and reins may there find them. Err not then in laying it up in the head, or anywhere, but whither Job carried it, and where he laid it, 'in the bosom.'
To end: because we be speaking of a hope to be laid up in our bosom, it falleth out very fitly, that even at this time, festum spei, the Church offereth us a notable pledge, and earnest of this hope there to bestow; even the holy Eucharist, the flesh wherein our Redeemer was seen and suffered, and paid the price of our redemption; and together with it 'the holy Spirit, whereby we are sealed to the great day of our redemption.' To the laying up of which earnest of our hope, and interest in all these, we are invited at this time, even literally to lodge and lay it up in our bosom. We shall be the nearer our scio, 'if we taste and see by it, how gracious the Lord is;' the nearer our spero, if an earnest or pledge of it be laid up within us; the nearer our redemption, if we have within us the price of it; and the nearer our resurrection--they be His own words; 'He that eateth My flesh and drinketh etc, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.' So dwell we in Him, and He in us; we in Him by our flesh in Him, and He in us by His flesh in us. Thereby drawing life from Him the second, as do death from the first Adam.
But this hope hath this property, saith St. John, it will [268/269] mundify the place where it lieth, 'Every one that hath this hope cleanses himself;' which place by virtue of it we shall so cleanse, ut videatur in carne nostra Deus, 'that the life of Jesus may be manifest in our flesh;' and all men see the virtue of His resurrection to have His work in us, by our rising out of the old dusty conversation to newness of life. His resurrection and the power of it being exemplarily seen in our flesh, our end shall be to 'see Him in our flesh,' and that nobis, not contra nos, for our eternal joy and comfort. And then have we the feast in kind, and as much fruit of it, as either patriarch or apostle can wish us. Which that we may, pray to Him, &c.