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he will abate by his Spirit; and as for those remainders thereof, by which we are yet behind, and rebel against his grace, he "will cast all of them into the depth of the sea';" that is, He will remove them utterly away from us ", he will drown" them in everlasting forgetfulness; he will not only blot them out, that they may not be, but he will not remember them neither, which is in some sort to make them even not to have been. And which yet makes the assurance of all this the stronger, the ground of it all is only in God himself, his covenant and mercy. Now though our condition alters, yet his mercy is still the same P: if the root of the covenant were in us, then as we change, that also would vary too; but the root is in God's own grace, whose mercy is therefore without repentance in himself, because it is without reason or merit in us.
Now lastly, This footstool under Christ's feet, in regard of his enemies, noteth unto us four things: First, The extreme shame and confusion which they shall everlastingly suffer, the utter abasing and bringing down of all that exalteth itself against Christ. In victories amongst men, the part conquered goes many times off upon some honourable terms; at the very worst, when they are led captives, yet they go like men still: but to be made a stool for the conqueror to insult over, to lick the dust' like a serpent, and move out of holes like the worms of the earth, to be so low as not to have any farther degree of calamity, or dishonour left unto which a man may be debased; this is the extremity of shame. It is to be noted for the greatest indignity which Bajazet the Grand Seignior ever suffered, when Tamerlane' his adversary trampled upon his neck;-and of Valerian', that cruel persecutor of the church, that he was trod under foot by Sapores the Persian king, and after flayed like a beast. It notes the extremest degree of revenge, which hath no mixture of mercy or compassion in it: so that by this we see the enemies of Christ and his kingdom shall be put to utter and everlasting shame: that as the faithful, in
1 Mic. vii. 19, 20. m Psalm ciii. 12. n Quod in profundum tur, penitus non exstat. Theodoret. o Isa. xliii. 25, xliv. 22. q Isa. ii. 11. Psalm 1xxii. 9. Micah vii. 17. Isa. xlix. 23. stantini toties perterruit urbem, Sub Tamberlano sella canisque fuit. Victor et Eutropius.
maris abjiciP Mal. iii. 6. • Qui Cont Aurel.
that great day of their redemption, shall lift up their heads, and have boldness in the presence of the Lamb; so the wicked " shall fall flat upon their faces, and cleave unto the dust, when the books shall be unsealed, and the consciences of men opened, and the witnesses produced, and the secrets of uncleanness revealed on the house-top, and the mouths of the wicked, who here for a little while dispute against the ways of Christ, and cavil at his commands, shall be everlastingly stopped; when men shall be like a deprehended thief, (as the prophet speaks) then shall their faces be as a flame, full of trembling, confusion, and astonishment. The very best that are, find shame enough in sin: how much more they who give themselves over unto vile and dishonourable affections?
Secondly, Hereby is noted the burden which wicked men must bear. The footstool beareth the weight of the body; so must the enemies of Christ bear the weight of his heavy and everlasting wrath upon their souls. Sin in the committing seems very light, no bigger than the cloud which the prophet showed his servant; but at last it gathers into such a tempest, as, if the soul make not haste, it will be swept away, and overwhelmed by it. Weighty bodies do, with much difference, affect the sense according to the difference of places wherein they are. That vessel or piece of timber, which when it is on the water, may be easily drawn with the hand of a man, on the land cannot be stirred with much greater strength: So it is with sin upon the conscience: in the time of committing it, nothing more easy,-but, in the time of judging it, nothing more unsupportable. A wild ass in the time of her lusting traverseth her ways, with much petulancy, and snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; no man can turn her: but "in her month," that is, when she is burdened with her foal, she then feeleth the event of her former lustfulness, and will easily be overtaken. So the wicked in sin, however for the time they may bear it out with much mirth, and cheer up their hearts in the days of their pleasure; yet when sin is come to the birth, and so fully finished, that it is now ready to bring forth death unto the soul,- they shall then find, that it is but like the roll which the prophet swallowed, sweet to the palate, but bitter in the belly; like
a cup of deadly poison, pleasant in the mouth, but torment in the bowels. On whomsoever the Son of Man shall fall with the weight of his heavy displeasure, he will grind him to powder. That must needs be a heavy burden, which men would most joyfully exchange for the weight of rocks and mountains to lie everlastingly upon their backs. And yet the wicked at that great day shall all in vain beg of the mountains and rocks to fall upon them, and to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb; shall choose rather to live eternally under the weight of the heaviest creature in the world, than under the fury of him that sitteth upon the throne".
Thirdly, Herein likewise is noted the relation of a just and equal recompense unto ungodly men. The Lord useth often to fit punishments to the quality and measure of the sins committed. He that on the earth denied a crumb of bread, in Hell was denied a drop of water. Man who, being in honour, would needs affect to be as God, was thereby debased to become like the beasts that perish. Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire, and perished by strange fire from the Lord. Sodom and Gomorrah burnt in unnatural lusts, and they were drowned in an unnatural tempest of fire. That apostate in St. Cyprian, who opened his mouth against Christ in blasphemy, was immediately smitten with dumbness, that he could not open it unto Christ for mercy. Eutropius the eunuch, when he persuaded the emperor to take from malefactors the benefit of refuge at the altars, did therein prevent his own mercy, and beg away the advantage of an escape from himself, the privilege whereof he did afterwards in vain lay hold on. And thus will Christ deal with his enemies at the last day. Here they trample upon Christ, in his word, in his ways, in his members. They make the saints bow down for them to go over, and make them as the pavements on the ground. They tread under foot the blood of the covenant, and the sanctuary of the Lord, and put Christ to shame here: and there their own measure shall be returned into their own bosom : they shall
z Matth. xxi. 44.
Revel. vi. 16. Β Ὁ τῆς κολάσεως τρόπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας μeμíμnra. Chrys. Hom. 20 ad Pop. Antioch. c Inde pœna cœpit unde cœpit et crimen. Cyprian. de Lapsis. d Socrat. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 5. et Sozom. lib. 8, cap. 7. g Isa. lxiii. 18. Revel. xi. 2. h Heb. vi. 6.
e Isa. li. 23. f Heb. x. 29.
be constrained to confess as Adonibezek, "I have done, so God hath requited me." Yea, this they shall suffer from the meanest of Christ's members, whom they here insulted over. They shall then as witnesses, and, as it were, co-assessors with Christ, judge the very wicked angels, and tread them under their feet. "They shall take them captives whose captives they were, and shall rule over their oppressors." All they that despised them, shall bow themselves at the soles of their feet. They who gathered themselves against Sion, and said, "Let her be defiled ", and let our eye see it, shall themselves be gathered as sheaves into the floor, and the daughter of Sion shall arise and thresh them with horns of iron, and with hoofs of brass. Then (saith the church) she that is mine enemy, shall see it; and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? Mine eyes shall behold her; now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets." Even so let all thine enemies perish, O Lord; but let them which love thee, be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might.
Lastly, Herein we may note the great power and wisdom of Christ, in turning the malice and mischief of his enemies unto his own use and advantage; and in so ordering wicked men, that though they intend nothing but extirpation and ruin to his kingdom, yet they shall be useful unto him, and, against their own wills, serviceable to those glorious ends, in the accomplishing whereof he shall be admired by all those that believe. As, in a great house, there is necessary use of vessels of dishonour, destinated unto sordid and mean, but yet daily services; so, in the great house of God, wicked men are his utensils and household instruments, as footstools and staves, and vessels wherein there is no pleasure, though of them there may be good use. The Assyrian' was the rod of his anger, his axe wherewith he pruned, and his saw
Rom. xvi. 20.
i Judg. i. 7. k1 Cor. vi. 2, 3. m Isai. xiv. 2. n Mic. iv. 11, 12, 13. o Mic. vii. 10. P Voluntas humana, perverse utendo bonis, fit mala; ille ordinatè etiam malis utendo, permanet bonus. Aug. Epist. 120. Sicut ergo ipsi benignitate, et patientia, id est, bonis Dei malè utuntur, dum non corriguntur; sic contra, Deus etiam malis corum bene utitur, non solum ad justitiam suam, quâ eis digna in fine retribuet, sed etiam ad exercitationem et profectum Sanctorum suorum, ut ex ipsa etiam malorum perversitate, boni proficiaut, et probentur, et manifestentur. Idem, Epist. 141. q 2 Tim. ii. 20. rlsai. x. 5, 6, 7.
wherewith he threatened, his people. Pharaoh was a vessel fitted to show the glory and power of his name. It is necessary, saith our Saviour', that offences come; and there must be heresies ", saith the apostle. Because, as a skilful physician ordereth poisonful and destructive ingredients unto useful services; so the Lord, by his wisdom, doth make use of wicked men's persons and purposes to his own most righteous and wonderful ends, secretly and mightily directing their wicked designs, to the magnifying of his own power and providence, and to the furthering of his people in faith and godliness.
• Rom. ix. 17. t Matth. xviii. 7.
u 1 Cor. xi. 19.
* Isa. xxxvii. 28, 29.