Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Respondit Jesus et dixit eis Solvite Templum hoc, et in tribus diebus excitabo illud.
He 'answered and said' this to the Pharisees, who sought a 'sign' of Him the verse next before. A sign they should have. Themselves should minister Him the occasion to shew a sign, the like was never shewn. For destroy Him they should, His body so, and He within three days would raise it again from death to life.
But this answer of His is a figurative speech, and runs under the terms of the Temple. The reason whereof was, they were then in the Temple; there, fell out this question. And as it appeareth in the verses before, much ado there had been between them, and that a long time, about the temple.
Now His manner still was-the place, the time, the matter in hand, ever to frame the tenor and terms of His speech, according to them. And so, now being in the temple, He takes His terms from thence, even from the temple.
But He doth, as I may say, solvere Templum hoc, loose and undo this term for us; for within a verse we are told, this [344/345] Temple is no other than 'the Temple of His body.' Now the rest follows of itself. The solvite is a taking Him in sunder, His soul from His body; the excitabo is the setting them together, and raising them up again. And both these 'within three days,' the only word in the text wherein there is no figure.
And this now was His sign, and a great sign it was. Great, even in their sense if it had been but of the pile of building, as they took the Temple. But greater far, another manner sign in His sense, in the true.
For, as for that temple, Zerubbabel and Herod had raised it, and other great persons as great buildings as that. But the Temple of the body, if that were once down, all the temple-builders that ever were, with all their care and cost could never get it up more. Therefore in His, in Christ's sense, it is far the greater sign, than as they fancied it.
Indeed, so great a sign as he that was in hell fire could not devise, nor did not desire a greater. If but Lazarus, 'if but one come from the dead,' then, then regard him; that sign out of question. Why here is one come from the dead, and this day come, and a greater than Lazarus. I trust then we will regard Him, we will regard this sign, and not be worse than he in hell was. Let us then regard it.
The ground of the sign, and of all here, Templum hoc. About it two main acts, they shew forth themselves; the of it down in solvite, the raising of it up in excitabo. These in figure. Answerable to these, this Temple is Christ's body. The razing it down, is Christ crucified and slain. The raising it up, is Christ restored to life.
Of which two, to divide it by the persons, solvite is their part, excitabo His. That, His Passion by their act-solvite; This, His Resurrection by His own,-excitabo.
Now this He saith shall be done, and said farther shall not be long in doing, no longer than three days. And within the compass of the time limited He did it; for this is now the third day, and to day by sun-rising it was done.
So upon the matter, there come to be handled these four points: I. That Christ's body is Templum hoc. II. The dissolution of it by death, in solvite. III. The rearing it up again by His resurrection, in excitabo. IV. The time to do it, three days.
[345/346] By which circumstance of three days, and this day the third of them, cometh this time to claim a kind of property in this passage of Scripture. And that, two ways.
For first, at this feast were these words here spoken; you may see they were so, at the thirteenth verse before, at the feast of Easter.
And secondly, at this feast again were they fulfilled after; the solvite three days since, the excitabo this very day. So at this feast promise, and at the very same the accomplishment of it. The accomplishment once, the memorial ever.
Being then at this very time thus spoken and don; spoken here now, done three years after; being, I say, spoken and done, and at this time very time spoken and done, never so fit as now.
Solvite Templum hoc. Templum hoc, we begin with. It is a borrowed term, but we cannot miss the sense of it; for both are set down here to our hand, the wrong sense and the right. The wrong, the next verse of all, for the material Temple. So the Pharisees took it and mistook it. The right, the next verse after, for the 'Temple of His body.' So they should have taken it, for so He meant it. Ipse autem dicebat, &c. 'But He spoke of the Temple of His body.' And He knew His own meaning best, and reason would should be His own interpreter.
And this meaning of His it had been no hard matter for them to have hit on, but they came but by a birding, but to catch from Him some advantage, and so were willing to mistake Him. As this they caught as an advantage we see, and laid it up for a rainy days, and three years after out they came with it, and framed an indictment upon it, as if He had meant to have destroyed their Temple.
But was it likely, or could it once be imagined, He meant to destroy it? It was God's house. And 'the zeal of God's house,' but even a verse before 'consumed Him.' And doth His zeal now, like the zeal of our times, consume God's house? What, and that so quickly? but a verse between? But even very now He purged it, and did He purge it to have it pulled down? That were presposterous. Now it was purged, pull it down? No, pull it down, when it was polluted; now it is cleansed, let it stand. To reform Churches, and then seek to dissolve them, will be counted [346/347] among the errors of our age. Christ was far from it. He that would not see it abused, would never endure to have it destroyed; specially not when He had reformed the abuses; and yet more specially, not even presently upon it, they might be sure.
But that which must needs lead them to the right meaning was, that these words, Templum hoc, He could not say them, but by the manner of His uttering them, by His very gesture, at the delivery of this particular hoc, they must needs know what temple it was He intended. It was easy to mark whether He carried His hand, or cast His eye up to the fabric of it, or whether He bare them to His body; which one thing only was enough to have resolved them of this point, and to quit our Saviour of equivocation.
We will then waive theirs as the wrong meaning, and take it, as he wishes, who 'leant on His breast,' and best knew His mind, of 'the Temple of His body.'
But what resemblance is there between a body and a temple? or how can a body be so termed? Well enough; for I ask, why is it a Temple? What makes it so? Is it not because it is Domus Patris Mei, as He said a little before, because God dwelleth there? For as that wherein man dwells is a house, so that wherein God, as a Temple properly. That I say wherein, be it place or be it body. So come we to have two sorts of temples; temples of flesh and bone, as well as temples of lime and stone. For if our bodies be termed houses, because our souls, tenant-wise, abide and dwell in them; if because our souls dwell they be houses; if God do so they be temples: why not? Why not? why 'know you not this,' saith the Apostle, 'that your very bodies, if the Spirit of God abide in them,' eo ipso, 'Temples they be,'-such as they be? But then they be so especially, when actually we employ them in the service of God. For being in His temple, and there serving Him, then if ever they be Templa in Templo, 'living temples in a temple without life.' A body may be a temple, even this of ours.
And if ours, these of ours I say, in which the Spirit of God dwelleth only by some gift or grace, with how much better right, better infinitely. His body, Christ's, 'in Whom the [347/348] whole Godhead, in all fullness of it, dwelt corporally!' 'Corporally' I say, and not spiritually alone as in us; by nature, by personal union, not as in us by grace, and by participation of it only. Again, if ours which we suffer often to be polluted with sin, that many times they stand shut up, and no service in them for a long season together, how much more His that never was defiled with any the least sin, never shut but continually taken up, and wholly employed in His Father's service? His above all exception, His without all comparison certainly. Alas ours but tabernacles under goatskins; His the true, the marble, the cedar temple indeed.
But a Temple at large will not serve. It must be Templum hoc, that very Temple they took it for. And so we to proceed yet further, and to seek a congruity of His body with the material Temple it was taken for, to which there is no doubt His intent was to resemble it.
The Rabbins, in their speculative divinity. do much busy themselves to shew that in the Temple there was a model of the whole world, and that all the spheres in Heaven, and all the elements in earth were recapitulate in it. They were wide. The Fathers took the right, and bestowed their time and travail more to the point, to shew how the temple and all that was in it was nothing else but a compendious representation of Christ, for Whom and in Whose honour was that and all other true Temples. And this they did by warrant from the Apostle, who in Heb. 9 aimeth at some such thing.
Now the point of congruity they found were four: 1. Whether you look to the composition or parts of it; 2. Or, to the furniture, and vessels of it; 3. Or, to what was done in it; 4. Or, to what was done to it, that is, what first and last befell it. In all which they hold, that Templum hoc might more truly be affirmed of Him who was in the Temple, than of the Temple He was in.
The last of the four, what was done to that Temple, what befel it, and so what befel the Temple of Christ's body, that I take to be the most proper to this text, and to that we have in hand. For to go through all four, would take up a whole sermon. So I take myself to the congruity only.
[348/349] Mark then what befell either: by that will you best find that fata utriusque Templi, the destinies of both Temples' were alike.
They began alike. The first news of the Temple was heard 'at Ephratah,' which is 'Bethlehem.' So was it of Him, for 'there was He born.'
Like in their beginnings, and in the ends no less. I appeal to this text, and content me with those two He insists on himself. Both were destroyed, both were reared again, that in all things His Body and His Temple might be suitable.
That temple was destroyed by the Chaldees: 'down with it even unto the ground.' Imitated by them here: down with it, even into the ground. For they never left it, till they had Him there, past excitabo, as they thought, past rising any more. But as the temple after it was so razed had an excitabo, was raised up by Zerubbabel, so was this too. Solvite took place, but there came an excitabo after, that made amends for it. And as 'the glory of the second house was greater than the first,' so the estate He rose to, far more glorious than that He was in before.
And mark I pray you, if these two were not to be seen as brim in the little glasses about it, as in the great mirror itself. For the Temple was as a great mirror, and the furniture as so many little glasses round about it. Take but the ark, the epitome as it were of the Temple. The two tables in it, the type of the true 'treasures of wisdom and knowledge' hid in Him, they were broken first-there is solvite; but they were new hewn and written over again,-there is excitabo. 'The pot of manna,' a perfect resemblance of Him (the urna or the vessel being made of earth, so earthly; the manna, the contents of it, being from Heaven, so Heavenly;) the manna, we know, would not keep past two days at the most-there is solvite; but being put into the urna, the third day it came again to itself, and kept in the pot without putrifying ever after-there is excitabo. Aaron's rod, the type of His priesthood and of the rule of souls annexed to it, that rod was quite dead and dry, but revived again and 'blossomed,' yea 'brought forth ripe almonds.' In every and in each of them, His destiny Whom they represented, solvite and excitabo in all.
[349/350] But the end is all in all; and in respect of that, of the end, well said Ambrose of His body, Vere Templum in quo nostrorum est purificatio peccatorum, 'Truly a Temple He, no Temple ever so truly, as wherein was offered up the true propitiation for, and the true purification of our sins,' and of us from them; which is the end of all temples that ever were or shall be, and was but shadowed in all besides, but in this truly performed.
There, the only true holocaust of His entire obedience which burnt in Him bright and clear, from the first to the last, all his life long.
There, the only true 'trespass-offering' of His death and passion, the solvite of this Temple, satisfactory to the full, for all the trespasses and transgressions of the whole world.
There, the 'meat and drink-offering' of His blessed Body and most precious Blood.
And the exta of this sacrifice, the fat of the entrails of it, that is the love wherewith He did it, 'the desire,' the longing desire He had to it; that, that, was the perfect offering, that set at one all things both in 'Heaven and earth.' That whatever was sub figura in Templo illo, was really and in truth exhibited in Templo hoc.
And judge now whether the sign were not well laid by our Saviour in the Temple, which was itself a sign of Him. And whether as He said in a place, Ecce major Templo hîc, so He might not have said Ecce majus Templum hîc, 'when He was in the Temple; behold, a greater, a truer Temple now in the Temple,' than the Temple itself.
Now to the second main point, solvite. 2. The saying it first, the executing it after. The solvite, and the solutum est.
1. First, by solvite, that is, dissolving, is meant death. Cupio dissolvi-you know what that is; and Tempus dissultionis meae instat, 'the time of my dissolution,' that is, my death, 'is at hand.' For death is a very dissolution, a loosing the cement the soul and body are held together with. Which two, as a frame or fabric, are compaginate at first; and after, as the timber from the lime, or the lime from the stone, so are they taken in sunder again. But death is not this way only a loosing, but a farther than this. For upon the loosing the soul from the body, and life from both, there follows an [350/351] universal loosing of all the bonds and knots here; of the father from the son, and otherwhile of the son from the father first; of man from wife, of friend from friend of prince from people:-so great a solvite is death, makes all that is fast loose, makes all knots fly in sunder.
2. And all this is natural death. But a farther matter there is in solvite. For that is against nature, alius solventibus, by the hands of other that are the solventes, them to whom this is spoken. This Temple drops not down for age or weakness, dissolves not of itself; others, they to whom solvite is here said, they pull it down. It is then no natural but a violent death, this. Well therefore turned solvite, 'destroy it,' there is no destruction but with force or violence.
3. So violent though on theirs, as voluntary yet on His part. Not against His will quite, not by constraint; for He Himself Who is to be dissolved, He it is doth here say solvite. He could have avoided it, if He would; He would not; in sign He would not, we see, Himself saith, solvite. And solvite He must have said, He must have said it, or they could not have done it. It had passed all their cunning and strength to have undone this knot ever, but that He gave way to it.
4. Gave way to it, I say, that we take not this solvite otherwise than He meant it. It is not of the nature of a charge, this, nor we so to conceive it. Very expedient it is that we know the nature of solvite Templum.
Solvite Templum is no commandment, be sure, in no sense; He commands not any Temple, not that they themselves meant, to be destroyed; it were sacrilege that, and no better. And sacrilege the Apostle ranks with idolatry, as being full out as evil, if not worse than it.
But indeed worse; for what idolatry but pollutes, sacrilege pulls quite down. And easier it is to new-hallow a Temple polluted, than to build one anew out of an heap of stones.
And it but to spoil a Church be sacrilege, as it is granted, yet that leaves somewhat, at least the walls and the roof, so it be not lead; to leave nothing, but 'down with it,' is the cry of Edom, the worst cry, the worst sacrilege of all, and never given in charge by God to any, we may be sure.
For God Himself said to David with His own mouth, 'Whereas it was in thine heart to build Me an house, thou [351/352] didst well that thou were so minded.' 'Didst well?' well done, to think of building? then a sensu contrario, evil done to think of dissolving. And that which is evil Christ will never enjoin.
1. To whom this is spoken. Distingue tempora is a good rule; so is distingue personnas. Distinguish the persons then, give every one his own, it will make you love solvite Templum, the worse, as long as you know it. Solvite? To whom is this spoken? Who be they? The Pharisees. To them is this speech directed. That is made their work, work for a Pharisee, to dissolve Churches. And so it was. For as hot and holy as they seemed, with their broad phylacteries and 'long prayers,' our Saviour saith, 'they loved the gold of the Temple better than the Temple.' So do their posterity to this day. To the Pharisees then with them, to their marrows, that would fain hear solvite given in charge. The other Person is Christ; Christ's word and work, both is excitabo; excitator Templorum He, a raiser of them, a raiser of them when they be down, we see here. They will not let them stand when they be up. Christ, He sets them up for His part; when you will have them down, you must bespeak some Pharisee, and they will do it, leviter rogati. For as His speech to them is solvite et excitabo, so theirs to Him may seem to be, excita et solvemus. Set up as many as He will, they will down with them; first with Templum hoc, then with Templum illud, and so one after another, if they may have their will; they lack but one give the solvite to them, and to set them on work. Distinque personnas then, and they to whom solvite is said, are but bad persons certainly, and fit for a bad business.
2. Will you mark again, what is meant here by it, by destroying the Temple? What but even the killing of Christ? Now the suiting and sorting of these two thus hath but any evil aspect neither, but this worse than the former though. And I wish but this one point well printed in all men's mind. Sovlite Templum, quid vult dicere? Solvite Templum is est, occidite Christum; that he that goes about 'to dissolve [352/353] the Church, it is all one as if he went about to make away Christ.' One of these is implied under the other. Enough, I think, to take off the edge of any who are glad to hear, and ready to catch solvite Templum out of Christ's mouth, but quite besides His meaning. For His meaning was, and it was one special end of Christ's comparing His body to the Temple, to show, He would have us so to make account of the Temple, and so to use it, as we would His own very body; and to be as far from destroying one, as we would be from the other. This may suffice, to let you know the nature of solvite Templum once for all, that you be not mistaken in it.
3. Of solvite Templum I say. But now, to come to solvite Templum hoc, to 'the Temple of His Body.' Concerning it, that it should enter into any man's heart to think, Christ would open His mouth to command or to counsel His own making away, that is the committing the most horrible and foul murder that ever was-God forbid! It was a sin out of measure sinful, that, if ever any were. And give me any religion rather than that, that draweth God into the society of sin; makes Him or makes Christ, either Author or Adviser, Commander or Counsellor, of aught that is evil. Any I say rather than that.
1. How then? if no command, what is it? All that can be made of it, saith the ancient Fathers, is but either a prediction in the style of the Prophets, 'Come down Babel,' that is, Babel will be brought down; so solvite, 'you will destroy,' to warn them what He saw they were now casting about, and whither their malice would carry them in the end, even to be 'the destroyers and murders' of the Son of God.
2. Either this, or at most but a permission, which in all tongues is ever made in this mood, in the imperative. So we use to say, Go to, do and you will, or do what you will with my body, when we but sufferance for all that, and no command at all. For all the world this solvite to them, as fac cito to Judas after. Quod facis, 'that which you are resolved to do,' and have taken earnest upon it, fac, 'do it,' and fac cito 'do it out of the way,' which yet, it is well known, was nothing but a permission, and not a jot more.
2. But should such, so foul as evil as that, be permitted though? No, nor that neither, simply; it is not a bare permission, [353/354] but one qualified, and that with two limitations. Will you mark then? 1. For first, He would not suffer any evil at all, least of all that, but that out of the evil He was able, able and willing both, to draw a far greater good. Greater for good, I say, than that was for evil. And that was solutionem peccati ex solutione Templi.
For we are not to think, that He would thus down with it, and up with it again, only to shew them feats and tricks as it were to be wondered at, and for no other end. No, the end was the destroying of sin by the destroying this Temple. It went hard, et væ tibi atrocitas peccati nostri, 'and woe to the heinousness of our sins,' for the dissolving whereof neither the Priest might be suffered to live, nor the Temple to stand but the Priest be slain, and the Temple be pulled down, Priest and Temple and all be destroyed. But sin was so riveted into our nature; and again, our nature so incorporate into His, as no dissolving the one without the dissolution of the other. No way to overwhelm sin quite, but by the fall of this Temple. The ruin of it like that of Samson's. That the destruction of the Philistines, this 'the dissolving of all the works of the devil.' It is St. John's own terms, ut solveret opera diaboli.
2. But neither was this enough, yet, neither would He for all this have at any hand let it go down, but that withal He meant to have it up again presently. Never have said solvite, but with an excitabo straight upon it; which is a full amends, so that the Temple loses nothing by the loosing.
The world with us hath seen a solvite, without any excitabo; down with this, but nothing raised in the stead. But that is none of His; solvite without excitabo, none of Christ's. We see with one breath He undertakes it shall up again, and that in a short time; there is amends for solvite.
And so now with these two limitations, under these two conditions- 1. one, of a greater good by it, the other, of another as good or better in lieu of it-may solvite be said permissive; and otherwise not, by any warrant from Christ or from His example.
And thus you have heard what He saith. Will ye now see what they did, what became of this solvite of His. Solvite, saith He, and when time came they did it. But He said [354/355] solvite, that is loose, and they cried crucifige at the time, that is, fasten, fasten Him to the cross, but that fastening was His loosing, for it lost Him and cost Him His life, which was the solutum est of this solvite.
For indeed, solutum est Templum hoc, this Temple of His body, the Spirit from the flesh, the flesh from the blood was loosed quite. The roof of it, His head, loosed with thorns, the foundation, His feet, with nails. The side aisles as it were, His hands both, likewise. And His body as the body of the Temple, and His heart in the midst of His body as the Sanctum Sanctorum, with the spear loosed all. What He said they did, and did it home.
Nay, they went beyond their commission, and did more than solvere. A thing may be loosed gently, without any rigour; they loosed Him not, but rudely they rent and rived Him, one part from another, with all extremity; left not one piece of the continuum whole together. With their whips they loosed not, but tore His skin and flesh all over; with their hammers and nails they did not solvere, but fodere His hands and feet; with the wreath of thorns they loosed not, but gored His head round about; and with the spear point rived the very heart of Him, as if He had said to them, Dilaniate, and not solvite. For as if it had come e laniena, it was not corpus solutum, but lacerum, 'His body not loosed, but mangled and broken,' corpus quod frangitur; and His blood not easily let out, but spilt and poured out, sanguis qui funditur, even like water upon the ground. Well is it turned 'destroy;' it is more like a destruction than a solution, more than solvite it was sure.
Now will ye remember? This was a Temple of flesh and bone, not one of lime and stone. Yet the ragged ruins of one of them demolished will pity a man's heart to see them, and make him say, alas poor stones, what have these done! Yet the stones neither feel their beating down, nor see the deformed plight they lie in. But He sic solutus est ut Se solvi sentiret, 'the solution of His skin, flesh hands, feet and head, He was sensible of all;' He saw the deformity, He felt the pains of them all.
So saw and so felt as with the very sight and sense, before it came, there befell Him another solvite, a strange one; [355/356] solutus est in sudorem, the orifices of the veins all over the texture of His body were loosed, and all His blood let loose, that He was all over in a strange sweat, stood full of great drops of blood-a solvite never heard of nor read of, but in Him only.
And yet another solvite. For, that solvite Templum hoc might every way be true, in all senses verified, what time the veil of His flesh rent, that His soul was loosed and departed, at the very same instant 'the veil of the material Temple, that split also in two from the top to the bottom,' as it were for company, or in sympathy with Him; that it was literally true, this solvite, and of the Temple that they meant. And so, two solvites of both Temples together at once.
One more yet, and I have done with solvite, and that is a solvite in a manner of all, of the great Temple of Heaven and earth. For the very face of Heaven, then all black and dark at noon-day yet no eclipse, the moon was at the full, the earth quaking, the stones renting, the graves opening as they then did, showed plainly there was then toward some universal solvite, some great dissolution, as the philosopher then said, either of the frame of nature, or of the God of nature.
Cast you eye thither, look upon that, and there you shall see solvite Templum hoc plainly, and wha tit means. And it had been enough, if they had had any grace, even to have pointed them to the time when this solvite Templum hoc was fulfilled by them. And this for both solvite and solutum est, their part, which was His Passion, by their act.
Now, to answer them two, to excitabo and excitavit, His part, His resurrection, by his own.
And first to excitabo. Hitherto we are not come, but now we come to the sign, for the sign is in excitabo.
Et excitabo, 'And I will raise it up.' Which is spoken, as it were, by way of triumph over all they could or should do to Him. Go to, 'dissolve it, destroy it,' down with it; when you have done your worst, it will be in vain, excitabo illud, my power will triumph over your malice; I shall raise it, 'I shall up with it again.'
But to loose and to raise, these two are not opposite; rather, to loose and to set together again. Raising is opposed to [356/357] falling, and resurrection to ruin, properly. But it comes all to one. Upon the dissolving of any frame, straight down it drops. This goodly Temple of our body, on the decking and trimming whereof so much is daily wasted, loose the soul from it but a moment, and down it falls, and there it lies like a log we all know. In opposition to this fall, it is said He will raise. But He will do both; as it was loosed ere it fell, so will He set it together ere He raise it again.
Excitabo illud. Three points there are in it. 1. the act, 2. and the Person, in excitabo, and 3. the thing itself in illud.
1. The act. The word He useth for it, egerî, in propriety is a raising from sleep; and sleep, we know, is far from destruction. It is to show us first what a strange metamorphosis He would make in death, turn it but into a requiescet, and a requiescet in spe, and there is all. So made He His own, so will He make ours. This day 'Christ is risen again, the first fruits of them who sleep;' and the rest 'that sleep in the dust,' when their time comes, will do the like.
2. To shew secondly, they should miss of their purpose quite. They reckoned indeed to destroy Him; they were deceived, they made Him but ready for a night's rest or two. They made full account, death had devoured and digested Him too; they were deceived, it was not so, death had but swallowed Him down, as the whale did Jonah, upon the third day to cast Him up again.
3. To shew, thirdly, not only that this He would do, but with what ease He would do it. With no more difficulty than one is waked up after a night's rest; with no more ado than a knot that is but loose and untied, is tied again.
Besides the act, we are to look to the Person in excitabo. It is not, destroy you, and some other will raise it; but I, even I myself, and none but Myself, will do it; nec alienâ virtute and propriâ, 'and none by none others beside, but by Mine own proper virtue and power.' An argument of Hid divine nature. For none ever did, none ever could do that. Raised some were, but not any by himself or by his own power, but by a power imparted to some prophet by God for that time and turn; Christ, by none imparted from any other, but by His own from Himself. And let it not stumble any, that elsewhere the Father is said to raise and exalt Him; [357/358] that is all one. Both will stand well. The same power the Father doth it by, by the same does it He. There is but one power of both; of both, or either of them, it is alike truly verified. This for the Person.
Now for the thing, illud. Templum hoc before, and illud here, hoc and illud are not two, but one and the same. Not solvite hoc, et suscitabo aliud; 'down with this, and I shall up with another in the stead.' No; but idem illud, 'the very same again.' The very same you destroy, that and no other will I rear up again. With us, with the world, it is not so; when we fall to dissolve a frame of government, suppose of the Church, it is not solvite hoc, et excitabo illus;-no, but excitabo aliud. We raise not the same but another, quite another, nothing like it, a new one never heard of before. But let them keep their aliud, and give us illud again. Illud we love, it is Christ's excitabo, that; and if we follow Christ in His raising, the same again, or not at all.
But though illud be the same again in substance, yet not in quality the same for all that; but so far different, as in that respect it may seem aliud, 'another,' quite. At least, well may it be now called illud, as it were with an emphasis, as qualified far beyond that it was before, when it was but Templum hoc. And to say truth, if it be but the same just, and no whit better, as good save His labour for His travel, if nothing won by it.
But if, though the same yet not in the same, but in a far better estate than before; 'cedar for mulberry, marble for brick,' as the Prophet speaks; then ye say somewhat, and then we will be content to have it taken down.
And such was the estate of this Temple after the raising; and such was it to be, 'for the glory of the second house was much greater than of the first.' Which increase or bettering is implied in the word excitabo. It is I told you, a rising up after sleep. Now in the morning after sleep, the body riseth more fresh and full of vigour, than it was over night when it lay down. The Apostle speaks it more plainly: Templum hoc, saith he, at the loosing it was 'in weakness, dishonour, mortality;' Templum illud, at the raising it, is 'in power and honour, and to immortality.'
[358/359] And sure, one special reason of the dissolving this Temple was, that, as then it was, solvite might be said of it, it was dissoluble. But being now raised again, it is faster wrought, indissoluble now; no solvite to be said, not to be loosed ever any more. This for excitabo illus. Now for the last point, of the time, The sign is in that too.
And when this? Within what time? 'Within three days.' Which words seemed to affect them most; all their exception lay to them. He looked not like one that would build Churches. But let that pass, were He never so likely, He takes too small a time for so great a work as they thought. But if we agree once of His power to raise from death, the time will slide, we shall never stick at it much, but agree of that quickly. He that can raise from the dead-ten thousand Churches will be built one after another, before one be raised thence-to Him That is able to do that, forty-six hours are as good as forty-six years, all one. Nay, even forty-six minutes, but that it was held fit He should lie longer in His grave than so, that there might be the surer certainty of His death. Otherwise, years, days, or minutes, to him are all alike. The sign is in both, but to say truth in excitabo, rather than in the three days. For to the power of excitabo, nullum tempus occurrit.
But why three days just? Neither more or less? Because, elsewhere He saith, no other time but Jonas' that should serve Him. No other than Moses' time, forty days, in His fasting. No other than Jonas' time, three, in His rising. Content to keep time with His Prophets before Him. Far from the humour of some, that must vary-no remedy. If Jonas three, they must four, or three and a half at least. If Moses forty, they must be a day under or over, have a number, have a trick by themselves beyond others still, else all is nothing worth. Far from them I say, and to make us far from them; by His example to keep us to that which others before us have well and orderly kept.
Now to the excitavit of this excitabo. Thus He said it should be, et fuit sic, 'and so it was.' He would raise it-dixit; and He did raise it-factum est. His dissolution lasted no longer than His limitation beforehand set. That was not post tres, but in tribus; not 'after, but within the compass of [359/360] three days.' And He came within His time, for this is but the third day, and this day by the break of day was this Temple up again.
This then being the day, not only of excitabo but of excitavit illus, of the setting it up, accordingly we this day to celebrate the encænia, or new dedicating of this Temple. A dedication was ever a feast of joy, and that great joy. Every town had their wake in memory of the dedicating of their Church. That we then hold it as a feast of joy, that we be glad in it; as glad, no more glad to see it up again this day, than the third day since we were sorry to see it down in the dust. To solvite, 'down with it,' Edom's cry, belongs Jeremy's Lamentation; to excitabo, this day's work, Zachary's joyful shout or acclamation, gratiam gratiae, 'grace upon grace,' and joy upon joy, and thanks upon thanks. Grace, joy and thanks with an emphasis, for it is now illud with an emphasis indeed.
But our joy will quickly quail, if we no good by it. I ask then, what is all this to us? And I answer with the Apostle, Multum per omnem modum. 1. For first, this solvite of His is a solvite to us; a loosing us, not only from our sins, 'the cords of our sins' here, as Solomon calls them, but the chains, 'the everlasting chains of darkness' and of hell, there due to them, and to us for them.
2. Then this excitabo is not to end in Him. What we believe He did for that Temple of His body natural, the same we faithfully trust He will do farther for another Temple, the Temple of His body mystical. For His mystical as much as for His natural, for whose sake He gave His natural body thus to be dissolved. Of which mystical body we are parts, and the whole cannot be without his parts; every of us members of this Body for his part, every one living stones of this spiritual temple. Dissipentur illa, restaurabit denuo, saith Origen, 'scattered we may be, He will gather us again;' loosed, He will knit us up again. 'After two days He will revive us and in the third day raise us, and we shall live in His sight,' saith the prophet Osee, of us all.
And this is to us all matter of great joy. For to this solvite in the end we must all come; statutum est hominibus, [360/361] 'there is an act passed' for the dissolution of these our earthy tabernacles. Loosed they will be, spirit from flesh, flesh from bone, each bone from other-no avoiding it.
All our care to be this, how to come to a good excitabo. Good I say, for excitabo we shall never need to take thought for; we shall come to that, whether we care for it or no. But to a good excitabo, such a one as He, as Christ, as this Temple is come to, that is, to a joyful resurrection as we call it. That is worth our care, for in the end that will be worth all.
That shall we come to, if we can take order that while we be here, before we go hence, our bodies, we get them templified as I may say, procure they be framed after the similitude of a temple, this temple in the text; for it it be solvite Templum, at the dissolution a Temple, a Temple it will rise again, there is no doubt of that.
Our bodies, as we use the matter-many of us, are from temples; rather prostibula than Templa, 'brothel houses, brokers' shops, wine-casks, or I wot not, rather than Temples.' Or if Temples the wrong way, of Ceres, Bacchus, Venus; or, to keep the Scripture phrase, of Chemosh, Ashtoreth, Baal-peor, and not Domis Patris Mei, as this here He speaks of.
But if this be the fruit of our life, and we have no other but this, to fill and farce our bodies, to make them shrines of pride, and to maintain them in this excess, to make a money-change of all besides, Commonwealth, Church and all, I know not well what to say to it, I doubt at their rising they will rather make blocks for hell fire, than be made 'pillars in the Temple of God, in the holy places made without hands,' 'in the holy places made without hands.'
Otherwise, if they prove to be Temples here, let no man doubt then, let them be loosed when or how they will, He who raised this Temple, so they be temples, will raise them likewise; and that, to the same glorious estate Himself was raised too.
A course then must be taken, that while we are here, we do solvere templa hæc, 'dissolve these Temples' of Chemosh and Ashtoreth, and upon the dissolution of them we raise them up very temples to the true and living God; that we down [361/362] with Beth-aven, 'this house or shop of vanity,' as by nature they are, and up with Bethel, 'God's house,' as by grace they may be.
For a solvite and excitabo we are to pass here in this life, and this, this excitabo, is the first resurrection here to be passed. 'He that hath his part in this first, he will not fail but have it in the second.'
If then Temples they would be, that we so make them, for to make them so is the excitabo of this life.
And so shall we make them, even Temples; and no way sooner, than if we love this place, the Temple, well, and love to resort to it, and to be much in it. By being much in it, we shall even turn into it. And sure, if ever we have aliquid Templi, 'anything of a Temple' in us, then it is when we are duly and devoutly occupied and employed, they and we, in His worship and service. Then are we Temples.
But to be Temples is not all, we are further to be Templum hoc, this Temple; and this was the Temple of His Body. And that are we, if at any time, then certainly when as if we were Temples in very deed, we prepare to receive, not the Ark of His presence, but Himself, that He may come into us and be in us; which is at what time we present ourselves to receive His blessed Body and Blood; that Body and that Blood which for our sakes was dissolved, dissolved three days since when it suffered for our sins. And this day raised again, when it 'rose for our justification.'
Which when we do, that is, receive this Body or this Temple, for Templum hoc and Hoc est Corpus Meum are now come to be one, for both Templum hoc and corpus hoc are in Templum corporis Sui; and when the temples of our body are in this Temple, and the Temple of His Body in the temples of ours, then are there three Temples in one, a Trinity, the perfect number of all. Then if ever are we, not Temples only, but Templa corporis Sui 'Temples of His body,' and this Scripture fulfilled in us.
This are we then to receive. Now at no time is this act of receiving so proper, so in season, as this very day-so has Christ's Church thought it, and so practised it ever-the very day of this excitabo, the day of His rising, and by means of it, of our rising; our raising first, to the life of righteousness, [362/363] to the estate of Temples here in this world, and after, of our raising again to the second, the life of glory and bliss, of glorious temples in the world to come, which is the excitabo when all is done. What time they and we shall be loosed as now from sin, so then from corruption; and raised and restored, as now to the estate of grace, so then to the state of glory, and glorious liberty of the sons of God. To which happy and blessed estate, may He raise us all in the end, That this day was raised for us, &c.!