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feast naí éoxnv the number of interpreters for Pentecost, the number of feasts for September. For as God delighted in the number of seven, the seventh day was holy, the seventh year, the seventh seven year; so he shewed it in the seventh month, which reserves his number still, September; the first day whereof was the sabbath of trumpets, the tenth dies expiationum, and on the fifteenth began the feast of tabernacles for seven days. It is an idleness to seek that which we are never the better when we have found. What if Easter? what if Tabernacles? what if Pentecost? what loss, what gain is this ? Magna nos molestia Johannes liberasset si unum adjecisset verbum ; “ John had eased us of much trouble, if he had added but one word,” saith Maldonat. But for us, God give them sorrow that love it: this is one of St. Paul's dlatapatpußai, "vain disputations,” that he forbids his Timothy: yea, (which is the subject thereof) one of them which he calls μωράς και απαιδεύτoυς ζητήσεις, “ foolish and unlearned questions,” 2 Tim. ii. 23. quantum mali facit nimia subtilitas ; “ how much mischief is done by too much subtility!" saith Seneca. These are some idle cloisterers that have nothing to do but to pick straws in divinity; like to Appian the grammarian, that with long discourse would pick out of Homer's first verse of his Iliads, and the first word uñuiv, the number of the books of Iliads and Odysseys; or like Didymus xarkévtepos, that spent some of his four thousand books, about which was Homer's country, who was Æneas's true mother

, what the age of Hecuba, how long it was betwixt Homer and Orpheus; or those wise critics of whom Seneca speaks, that spent whole volumes whether Homer or Hesiod were the elder: Non profuturam scientium tradunt ; “they vent an unprofitable skill,” as he said. Let us be content with the learned ignorance of what God hath concealed; and know, that what he hath concealed will not avail us to know. Rather let us inquire why Christ would go up to the feast

. I find two silken cords that drew him up thither; 1. His obedience. 2. His desire of manifesting his glory.

First, It was a general law, all males must appear thrice a-year before the Lord. Behold, he was the God whom they went up to worship at the feast, yet he goes up to worship. He began his life in obedience, when he came in his mother's belly to Bethlehem at the taxation of Augustus, and so be continues it. He knew his due. “Of whom do the kings

of

the earth receive tribute ? of their own or of strangers ? then their sons are free." Yet he that would pay tribute to Cæsar, will also pay this tribute of obedience to his Father. He that was above the law, yields to the law: Legi satisfacere voluit, etsi non sub lege ; " He would satisfy the law, though he were not under the law.” The Spirit of God says, “He learned obedience in that he suffered.” Surely also he taught obedience in that he died. This was his apérov éoti to John Baptist, “ It becomes us to fulfil all righteousness.” He will not abate his Father one ceremony. It was dangerous to go up to that Jerusalem which he had left before for their malice; yet now he will up again. His obedience drew him up to that bloody feast, wherein himself was sacrificed; how much more now that he might sacrifice? What can we plead to have learned of Christ, if not his first lesson, obedience? The same proclamation that Gideon made to Israel, he makes still to us, “As ye see me do, so do ye :” whatsoever therefore God enjoins us, either immediately by himself, or mediately by his deputies, if we will be Christians, we must so observe, as those that know themselves bound to tread in his steps, that said, “ In the volume of thy book it is written of me, I desired to do thy will, O God,” Psal. xl. 6. “I will have obedience, (saith God,) and not sacrifice ;" but where sacrifice is obedience, he will have obedience in sacrificing: therefore Christ went up to the feast.

The second motive was the manifestation of his glory: if we be the light of the world, which are so much snuff, what is he that is the Father of lights? It was not for him to be set under the bushel of Nazareth, but upon the table of Jerusalem: thither, and then was the confluence of all the tribes ; many a time had Christ passed by this man before, when the streets were empty (for there he lay many years) yet heals him not till now. He, that sometimes modestly steals a miracle with a vide ne cui dixeris,“ see thou tell no man,” that no man might know it, at other times does wonders upon the scaffold of the world, that no man might be ignorant, and bids proclaiın it on the house-tops. It was fit the world should be thus publicly convinced, and either won by belief, or lost by inexcusableness. Good, the more common it is, the better : "I will praise thee” (saith David,) in ecclesia magna,“ in the great congregation;" glory is not got in corners : no man, say the envious kinsmen of Christ, kceps close and would be famous ;

us.

no, nor that would have God celebrated. The best opportunities must be taken in glorifying him. He, that would be crucified at the feast, that his death and resurrection might be more famous, will, at the feast, do miracles, that his divine power might be approved openly. Christ is flos campi, non horti ; " the flower of the field, and not of the garden,” saith Bernard. God cannot abide to have his graces smothered in

“I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart," saith the Psalmist. Absalom, when he would be insigniter improbus, “notoriously wicked,” does his villany publicly in the eyes of the sun, under no curtain but heaven. He that would do notable service to God, must do it conspicuously. Nicodemus gained well by Christ, but Christ got nothing by him, so long as, like a night-bird, he never came to him but with owls and bats. Then he began to be a profitable disciple, when he durst oppose the Pharisees in their condemnation of Christ, though indefinitely: but most, when in the night of his death the light of his faith brought him openly to take down the sacred corpse before all the gazing multitude, and to embalm it. When we confess God's name, with the Psalmist, before kings; when kings, defenders of the faith, profess their religion in public and everlasting monuments to all nations, to all times, this is glorious to God, and in God to them. It is no matter how close evils be, nor how public

This is enough for the chronography; the topography follows. I will not here stand to shew you the ignorance of the vulgar translation, in joining probatica and piscina together, against their own fair Vatican copy, with other ancient: nor spend time to discuss whether åyopa or múan be here understood for the substantive of mpoßatikń ; it is most likely to be that sheep-gate spoken of in Ezra; nor to shew how ill piscina in the Latin answers the Greek kolup ßropa; ours turn it a pool, better than any Latin word can express it: nor to shew you, as I might, how many public pools were in Jerusalem : nor to discuss the use of this pool, whether it were for washing the beasts to be sacrificed, or to wash the entrails of the sacrifice, whence I remeinber Jerom fetches the virtue of the water, and in his time thought he discerned some redness, as if the blood spilt four hundred years before could still retain its first tincture in a liquid substance; besides, that it would be a strange swimming pool that were brewed with

good is.

blood, and this was kolvußnopa. This conceit arises from the error of the construction, in mismatching kouußño pa with TT poßatuń. Neither will I argue whether it should be Bethsida, or Bethzida, or Bethsheda, or Bethesda. If either you or myself knew not how to be rid of time, we might easily wear out as many hours in this pool, as this poor impotent man did years. But it is edification that we affect, and not curiosity. This pool had five porches. Neither will I run here with St. Austin into allegories, that this pool was the people of the Jews, aquæ, multæ, populus multus ; and these five porches, the Law in the five books of Moses ; nor stand to confute Adricomius, which, out of Josephus, would persuade us, that these five porches were built by Solomon, and that this was stagnum Solomonis for the use of the temple. The following words shew the use of the porches; for the receipt of “ impotent, sick, blind, halt, withered, that waited for the moving of the water.” It should seem it was walled about to keep it from cattle, and these five vaulted entrances were made by some benefactors for the more convenience of attendance. Here was the mercy of God seconded by the charity of men: if God will give cure, they will give harbour. Surely it is a good matter to put our hands to God's, and to further good works with conveniency of enjoying them.

Jerusalem was grown a city of blood, to the persecution of the Prophets, to a wilful despite of what belonged to her peace, to a profanation of God's temple, to a mere formality in God's services : and yet here were public works of charity in the midst of her streets. We may not always judge of the truth of piety by charitable actions. Judas disbursed the money for Christ, there was no traitor but he. The poor traveller that was robbed and wounded betwixt Jerusalem and 'Jericho, was passed over, first by the Priest, then by the Levite, at last the Samaritan came and relieved him: his religion was naught, yet his act was good; the Priest's and Levite's religion good, their uncharity ill. Novatus himself was a martyr, yet a schismatic. Faith is the soul, and good works are the breath, saith St. James: but as you see in a pair of bellows, there is a forced breath without life, so in those that are puffed up with the wind of ostentation, there may be charitable works without faith. The church of Rome, unto her four famous orders of Jacobins, Franciscans, Augustines, and Carinelites, bath added a fifth of Jesuits; and like another Jerusalem, for those five leprous and lazarly orders, bath built five porches, that if the water of any state be stirred, they may put in for a share. How many cells and convents hath she raised for these miserable cripples! and now she thinks, though she exalt herself above all that is called God, though she dispense with and against God, though she fall down before every block and wafer, though she kill kings, and equivocate with magistrates, she is the only city of God. Digna est, nam struxit synagogam ; “She is worthy, for she hath built a synagogue.” Are we more orthodox, and shall not we be as charitable? I am ashamed to think of rich noblemen and merchants, that die and give nothing to our five porches of Bethesda. What shall we say? have they made their mammon their God? instead of making friends with their mammon to God? Even when they die, will they not (like Ambrose's good usurers) part with that which they cannot hold, that they may get that which they cannot lose? Can they begin their will, In Dei nomine, Amen; and give nothing to God? Is he only a witness and not a legatee? Can we bequeath our souls to Christ in heaven, and give nothing to his limbs on earth? and if they will not give, yet will they not lend to God? “He that gives to the poor,” fæeneratur Deo, "lends to God.” Will they put out to any but God? and then, when instead of giving security, he receives with one hand, and pays with another, receives our bequest and gives us glory! O damnable niggardness of vain men, that shames the gospel, and loses heaven! Let me shew you a Bethesda that wants porches. What truer house of effusion than the church of God, which sheds forth waters of com

of life! Behold some of the porches of this Bethesda so far from building, that they are pulled down. It is a wonder if the demolished stones of God's house have not built some of yours, and if some of you have not your rich suits guarded with souls. There were wont to be reckoned three wonders of England, ecclesia, fæmina, lana; "the churches, the women, the wool.” Fæmina may pass still, who may justly challenge wonder for their vanity, if not their person. As for lana, if it be wonderful alone, I am sure it is ill-joined with ecclesia : the church is fleeced, and hath nothing left but a bare pelt upon her back. And as for ecclesia, either men have said with the Babylonians, “ Down with it, down with it, even to the ground; or else in respect of the maintenance with Judas, ut quid perditio hæc? i why was this waste ?"

fort, yea

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