Encaenia. The Feast of Dedication. Celebrated at Lincolnes lnne, in a Sermon there upon Ascension day, I623. At the Dedication of a new Chappell there, Consecrated by the Right Reverend Father in God, the Bishop of London. Preached by John Donne, Deane of St. Paul s.
To the MASTERS OF THE BENCH, and the rest of the Honourable Societie of LINCOLNES INNE.
It pleased you to exercise your interest in me, and to expresse your favour to mee, in inviting mee to preach this Sermon: and it hath pleased you to doe both over againe, in inviting me to publish it. To this latter service I was the more inclinable, because, though in it I had no occasion to handle any matter of Controversie between us, and those of the Romane Perswasion, yet the whole body and frame of the Sermon, is opposed against one pestilent calumny of theirs, that wee have cast off all distinction of places, and of dayes, and all outward meanes of assisting the devotion of the Congregation. For this use, I am not sorry that it is made publique, for I shall never bee sorry to appeare plainly, and openly, and directly, without disguise or modification, in the vindicating of our Church from the imputations and calumnies of that Adversary. If it had no publique use, yet I should satisfie my selfe in this, that it is done in obedience to that, which you may call your Request, but I shall call your Commandement upon
Your very humble Servant in Christ Jesus.
THE PRAYER BEFORE THE SERMON
0 Eternall, and most gracious God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and in him, of all those that are his, As thou diddest make him so much ours, as that he became like us, in all things, sinne onely excepted, make us so much his, as that we may be like him, even with out the exception of sinne, that all our sinnes may bee buryed in his wounds, and drowned in his Blood. And as this day wee celebrate his Ascension to thee, bee pleased to accept our endeavour of conforming ourselves to his patterne, in raysing this place for our Ascension to him. Leane upon these Pinnacles, 0 Lord, as thou diddest upon Jacobs Ladder, and hearken after us. Bee this thine Arke, and let thy Dove, thy blessed Spirit, come in and out, at these Windowes: and let a full pot of thy Manna, a good measure of thy Word, and an effectual} preaching thereof, bee evermore preserved, and evermore bee distributed in this place. Let the Leprosie of Superstition never enter within these Walles, nor the hand of Sacriledge ever fall upon them. And in these walles, to them that love Profit and Gaine, manifest thou thy selfe as a Treasure, and fill them so; To them that love Pleasure, manifest thy selfe, as Marrow and Fatnesse, and fill them so; And to them that love Preferment, manifest thy selfe, as a Kingdome, and fill them so; that so thou mayest bee all unto all; give thy selfe wholly to us all, and make us all wholly thine. Accept our humble thanks for all, &c.
John 10.22. AND IT WAS AT JERUSALEM, THE FEAST OF THE DEDICATION; AND IT WAS WINTER; AND JESUS WALKED IN THE TEMPLE IN SALOMONS PORCH.
SAINT Basil in a Sermon upon the 114. Psalme, upon the like occasion as drawes us together now, The consecration of a Church, makes this the reason and the excuse of his late comming thither to doe that Service, that he stayd by the way, to consecrate another Church: I hope every person heere hath done so; consecrated himselfe, who is a Temple of the Holy Ghost; before hee came to assist, or to testifie the consecration of this place of the Service of God. Nostra festivitas haec est, quia de Ecclesia nostra; sayes Saint Bernard. This Festivall belongs to us, because it is the consecration of that place, which is ours, Magis autem nostra, quia de nobis ipsis: But it is more properly our Festivall, because it is the consecration of our selves to Gods service. For, Sanctce Animce propter inhabitantem Spiritum; your Soules are holy, by the inhabitation of Gods holy spirit, who dwells in them. Sancta corpora propter inhabitantem animam; Your Bodies are holy, by the inhabitation of those sanctified Soules. Sancta parietes, propter Corpora Sanctorum. These walles are holy, because the Saints of God meet here within these walls to glorifie him. But yet these places are not onely consecrated and sanctified by your comming; but to bee sanctified also for your comming; that so, as the Congregation sanctifies the place, the place may sanctifie the Congregation too. They must accompany one another; holy persons and holy places; If men would wash sheep in the Baptisterie, in the Font, those sheep were not christned. If prophane men, or idolatrous men, pray here after their way, their prayers are not sanctified by the place. Neither if it be after polluted, doth the place retain that sanctitie, which is this day to be derived upon it, and to bee imprinted in it.
Our Text settles us upon both these considerations, The holy place, and the holy person. It was the Feast of the Dedication: there’s the holinesse of the place; And the holy person, was holinesse it selfe in the person of Christ Jesus, who walked in the Temple in Salomons Porch. These two will bee our two parts: And the first of these wee shall make up of these pieces. First, we shall see a lawfull use of Feasts, of Festival dayes. And then of other Feasts, then were instituted by God himselfe; divers were so; this was not. And thirdly, not only a festivall solemnizing of some one thing, at some one time, for the present, but an Anniversary returning to that solemnitie every yeare; And lastly, in that first part, this Festivall in particular, The Feast of the Dedication of the Temple: that sanctified the place, that shall determine that part. In the second part, The holinesse of the person, we shall carry your thoughts no farther, but upon this, That even this holy person Jesus himselfe, would have recourse to this place, thus dedicated, thus sanctified: And upon this, that hee would doe that especially at such times, as hee might countenance and authorise the Ordinances and Institutions of the Church, which had appointed this Festivall. And this, sayes the Text, he did in the Winter: First, Etsi Hiems, though it were Winter, hee came, and walked in the Porch, a little inconvenience kept him not off: And, Quia Hiems, because it was Winter, he walked in the Porch which was covered, not in the Temple which was open. So that heere with modestie, and without scandall he condemned not the favouring of a mans health, even in the Temple, And it was at Jerusalem, the Feast of the Dedication; and it was Winter; and Jesus walked in the Temple in Salomons Porch.
In our first part, Holy Places, wee looke first upon the times of our meeting there, Holy dayes. The root of all those is the Sabboth, that God planted himselfe, even in himselfe, in his owne rest, from the Creation. But the root, and those branches which grow from that root, are of the same nature, and the same name: And therefore as well of the flower, as of the root of a Rose, or of a Violet, we would say, This is a Violet, this is a Rose: so as well to other Feasts of Gods institution, as to the first Sabboth, God gives that name; hee cals those severall Feasts which he instituted, Sabboths; enjoynes the same things to be done upon them, inflicts the same punishments upon them that breake them. So that there is one Moralitie, that is the soule of all Sabbaths, of all Festivalls; howsoever all Sabbaths have a cere monial} part in them, yet there is a Morall part that inanimates them all; they are elemented of Ceremonie, but they are animated with Moralitie. And that Moralitie is in them all, Rest: for if Adam could name creatures according to their nature, God could name his Sabboth according to the nature of it, and Sabboth is Rest. It is a Rest of two kindes; our rest, and Gods rest. Our rest is the cessation from labour on those dayes; Gods rest, is our sanctifying of the day: for so in the religious sacrifice of Noah, when bee was come out of the Arke, God is said to have smelt, Odorem quietis, the savour of rest: upon those dayes we rest from serving the world, and God rests in our serving of him. And as God takes a tenth part of our goods, in Tythes, but yet he takes more too, he takes Sacrifices, so though he take a seventh part of our time in the Sabboth, yet he takes more too, he appoints other Sabboths, other Festivalls, that he niay have more glory, and we more Rest: for all wherin those two concurre, are Sabboths. Vacate & videte quoniam ego sum Dominus sayes God. First vacate, rest from your bodily labours, distinguish the day, and then videte, come hither into the Lords presence, and worship the Lord your God, sanctifie the day: And in all the Sabboths there is still a Cessate, and a Humiliate animas, bodily rest, and spirituall sanctifying of the day. Holy dayes then, that is, dayes seposed for holy uses, and for the outward and publike service of God, are in Nature, and in that Morall Law which is written in the heart of man. That such dayes there must be is Morall; and this is Morall too, that all things in the service of God bee done in order; and this also, that obedience be given to Superiours, in those things wherein they are Superiors. And therfore it was to the Jewes, as well Morall, to observe the certaine dayes which God had determined, as to observe any at all. Not that Gods commandement limitting the dayes, infused a Moralitie into those particular dayes: for Moralitie is perpetuall; and if that had been Morall, it must have been so before, and it must bee so still; Gods determining the dayes did not infuse, not induce a Moralitie there, but it awakened a former Moralitie, that is, an obedience to the commandement, for that time, which God had appoynted that for them; for this Obedience, and Order is perpetuall, and so, Morall.
We depart therefore from that error, which those ancient Heretiques, the Ebionites begun, and some laboured to refresh in Saint Gregories time, and which continues in practise in some places of the world still; To observe both the Jewes Sabbath, and the Christians Satterday, and Sunday too; because the Sabboth is called Pactum sempiternum: for to that any of Saint Augustines Answeres will serve; either that it is called ever lasting, because it signified an everlasting rest; (where be pleased to note by the way, that Holy dayes, Sabbaths, are not onely instituted for Order, but they have their Mystery, and their Signification; for Holy dayes, (as the Text calls them there) and New Moones, and the Sabboth, were but shadowes of things to come:) or else the Sabboth was called everlasting to them, because it bound them everlastingly, and they might never intermit it, as some other ceremonies they might. But their Sabboths bind not us; we depart from them who thinke so; and so we doe from them, who think we are bound to no Festivalls at all, or at least to none but the Sabboth. For God requires as much service from us, as from the Jewes, and to them hee enlarged his Sabboths, and made them divers. But those were of Gods immediat institution: but all that the Jewes observed were not so; and thats our next consideration, Festivalls instituted by the Church.
At first, when God was alone, it is but Faciamus, let us, us the Trinity make man. This was, when God was, as we may say, in Ccelibatu. But after God hath taken his spouse, maried the Church, then it is Capite nobis vulpes, doe you take the little Foxes, you the Church; for our vines have grapes; the vines are ours; yours and mine, sayes Christ to the Church: and therfore do you looke to them, as well as I. The Tables of the law God himselfe writ, and gave them written to Moses: he left none of that to him; not a power to make other Lawes like those lawes: but for the Tabernacle, which concern’d the outward worship of God, that was to be made by Moses, luxta similitudinem, according to the paterne which God had shewed him. God hath given the Church a paterne of Holy dayes, in those Sabboths which hee himselfe instituted, and according to the paterne, the Church hath instituted more: and Recte festa Ecclesite colunt, qui se Ecclesite filios recognoscunt: They who disdaine not the name of sonnes of the Church, refuse not to celebrate the daies which are of the Churches institution. There was no immediate commandement of God for that Holy day, which Mordechai, by his letters establish’d; but yet the Jewes undertook to do as Mordechai had written to them. There was no such commandement for this Holy day, in the Text; and yet that was observed, as long as they had any beeing. And where the reason remaines, the practise may; The Jewes did, we may institute new Holy dayes. And not onely transitory daies, for a present thanks giving for a present benefit, but Anniversaries, perpetual memorials of Gods deliverances. And thats our next step.
Both the Holy dayes, which we named before, which were instituted without special Commaundement from God, were so. That of Mordechai, he commanded to be kept every yeare for two dayes, and this in the Text, Judas Maccabeus commanded to be kept yearely for eight dayes, which was more then was appoynted to any of the Holy dayes, instituted by God himselfe, for the Festival} alone. According to which paterne, one Bishop of Rome, ordained that the Festivals of the Dedication of Churches should bee yearely celebrated in those places; and another extended the Festival} to eight dayes; at least at the first dedication thereof, if not every yeare: that God might not onely be put into the possession of the place, but setled in it. God by Moses made the children of Israel a Song, because, as hee sayes, how soever they did by the Law, they would never forget that Song, and that Song should be his witnesse against them. Therefore would God have us institute solemne memorialls of his great deliverances, that if when those dayes come about, we doe not glorifie him, that might aggravate our condemnation. Every fift of August, the Lord rises up, to hearken whether we meet to glorifie him, for his great deliverance of his Majesty, before he blest us with his presence in this Kingdome: and when he finds us zealous in our thankes for that, he gives us farther blessings. Certainly he is up as early every .fift of November, to hearken if we meet to glorifie him for that deliverance still; and if hee should finde our zeale lesse then heretofore, hee would wonder why. Gods principall, his radicall Holy day, the Sabboth, had a weekly returne; his other Sabbaths, instituted by himselfe, and those which were instituted by those paternes, that of Mordechai, that of the Maccabees, and those of the Christian Church, They all return once a yeare. God would keepe his Courts once a yeare, and see whether wee make our apparances as heeretofore; that if not, hee may know it. Feastes in general. Feastes instituted by the Church alone, Feasts in their yearely returne and observation, have their use, and particularly those Feasts of the Dedication of Churches, which was properly and literally the Feast of this Text. It was the Feast of Dedication.
As it diminishes not, prejudices not Gods Eternitie, that wee give him his Quando, certaine times of Invocation, God is not the lesse yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever, because wee meet here to day, and not yesterday, so it diminishes not, prejudices not Gods Vbiquitie and Omnipresence, that wee give him his Vbi, certaine places for Invocation. Thats not the lesse true, that the most High dwells not in Temples made with handes, though God accept at our hands our dedication of certaine places to his service, and manifest his working more effectually, more energetically in those places, then in any other. For when we pray, Our Father which art in Heaven, It is not (sayes Saint Chrysostome) that wee deny him to bee heere, where wee kneele when we say that Prayer, but it is that we acknowl edge him to be there, where he can graunt, and accomplish our prayer. It is as Origen hath very well expressed it, Vt in melioribus mundi requiramus Deum: That still wee looke for God in the best places; looke for him, as he heares our petitions, here, in the best places of this world, in his House, in the Church; looke for him as he graunts our petition, in the best place of the next world, at the right hand, and in the bosome of the Father. When Moses sayes that the word of God is not beyond Sea, he addes, It is not so beyond Sea, as that thou must not have it without sending thither. When he sayes there, it is not in heaven, he adds, not so in heaven, as that one must goe up, before hee can have it. The word of God, is beyond Sea, the true word, truly preached in many true Churches there, but yet we have it here, within these Seas too; God is in Heaven, but yet hee is here, within these walles too. And therefore the impietie of the Manicheans exceeded all the Gentiles, who concluded the God of the Old Testament to be an impotent, an unperfect God, because hee commaunded Moses first to make him a Tabernacle, and then Salomon to make him a Temple, as though he needed a House. God does not need a house, but man does need, that God should have a House.
And therefore the first question, that Christs first Disciples asked of him, was Magister, ubi habitas, they would know his standing house, where he hath promised to bee always within, and where at the ringing of the Bell, some body comes to answere you, to take your errand, to offer your Prayers to God, to returne his pleasure in the preaching of his Word to you. The many and heavy Lawes, with which sacred and secular stories abound, against the prophanation of places, appropriated to Gods service, and that religious custome, that passed almost through all civill Nations, that an oath, which was the bond between man, and man, had the stronger Obligation, if that were taken in the Church, in the presence of God, (for such was the practise of Rome towards her enemies, Tango aras mediosque ignes, to make their vowes of hostility in the Church, and at time of divine Service, ( and such is their practise still, they seale their Treasons in the Sacrament) such was Romes practise towards others, and such was the practise of others towards Rome, (for so Anniball sayes, that his father Amilcar swore him at the Altar, that he should never bee reconciled to Rome,) And such is your practise still, as often as you meet here, you renew your band to God, that you will never bee reconciled to the Superstitions of Rome) all these, and all such as these, and such as these are infinite, heap up testimonies, that even in Nature there is a disposition to apply, and appropriate certaine places to Gods service. And this impression in nature is illustrated in the Law, as the time, so the place is distinguished, Yee shall keepe my Sabboths, there is the time, and you shall reverence my Sanctuary, there is the place. But that they may be reverenced, that they may bee Sanctuaries, they are to be sanctified; and thats the Enccenia, the Dedication.
Even in those things which accrue unto God, and become his, by another title, then as he is Lord of all, by Creation, that is, by appropriation, by dedication to his use and Service, There is a Lay Dedication, and an Ecclesiasticall Dedication. I hope the distinction of Laytie, and Clergie, the words, scandalize no man. Luther, and Calvin too might have just cause to decline the words, as they did; when so much was overattributed to that Clergie which they intend, as that they were so Sors Domini, the Lords portion, as that the world had no portion in them, and yet they had the greatest portion of the world; and howe little soever they had to doe with God, yet no State, no King might have any thing to doe with them. But, as long as we declare, that by the Layetie we intend the people glorifying God in their secular callings, and by the Clergie, persons seposed by his ordinance, for spiritual functions, The Layetie no farther remoov’d then the Clergie, The Clergie no farther entitled then the Layetie, in the blood of Christ Jesus, neither in the effusion of that blood upon the Crosse, nor in the participation of that blood in the Sacrament, and that an equall care in Clergie, and Layetie, of doing the duties of their severall callings, gives them an equall interest in the joyes, and glory of heaven, I hope no man is scandaliz’d with the names. The Lay Dedication then is, the voluntary surrendring of this piece of ground thus built, to God. For we must say, as Saint Peter said to Ananias, Whiles it remain’d, was that not your owne? and now, when that is raised (saving that there was Dedicatio lntentionalis, a purpose from the beginning to appropriate it, to this holy use) might you not, till this houre, have made this roome your Hall, if you would? But this is your Dedication, that you have cheerfully pursued your first holy purposes, and deliver now into the hands of this servant of God, the Right Reverend Father the Bishop of this See, a place to be presented to God for you, by him, not misbecomming the Majestie of the great God, who is pleased to dwell thus amongst us. What was spent in Salomons Temple is not told us. What was prepared, before it was begun, is such a summe, as certainly, if all the Christian Kings tl1at are, would send in all that they have, at once, to any one service, all would not equall that summe. They gave there, till they who had the overseeing therof, complain’d of the abundance, and proclaim’d an abstinence. Yet there was one, who gave more then all they; for Christ sayes the poore widdow gave more then all the rest, because she gave all she had. There is a way of giving more then she gave; and I, who by your favours was no stranger to the beginning of this work, and an often refresher of it to your memories, and a poore assistant in laying the first stone, the materiall stone, as I am now, a poore assistant again in this laying of this first formall Stone, the Word and Sacrament, and shall ever desire to be so in the service of this place, I, I say, can truly testifie, that you (speaking of the whole Societie together of the publike stock, the publike treasury, the publike revenue) you gave more then the widow, who gave all, for you gave more then all._A stranger shall not entermeddle with our joy, as Salomon saies: strangers shall not know, how ill we were provided for such a work, when we begun it, nor with what difficulties we have wrastled in the way; but strangers shall know to Gods glory, that you have perfected a work of full three times as much charge, as you proposed for it at beginning: so bountifully doth God blesse, and prosper intentions to his glory, with enlarging your hearts within, and opening the hearts of others, abroad. And this is your Dedication, and that which without prejudice, and for distinction, wee call a Lay Dedication, though from religious hearts, and hands.
There is another Dedication; that we have call’d Ecclesiasticall, appointed by God, so as God speaks in the ordinances, and in the practise of his Church. Hereditary Kings are begotten and conceiv’d the naturall way; but that body which is so begotten of the blood of Kings, is not a King, no nor a man, till there bee a Soule infused by God. Here is a House, a Child conceiv’d (wee may say borne) of Christian parents, of persons religiously disposed to Gods glory; but yet, that was to receive another influence, an inanimation, a quickening, by another Consecration. Oportet denuo nasci, holds even in the children of Christian parents; when they are borne, they must be borne again by Baptisme: when this place is thus given by you, for God, oportet denuo dari, it must be given againe to God, by him, who receives it of you. It must; there seems a necessitie to be implied, because even in Nature, there was a consecration of holy places; Jacob in his journey, before the Law, consecrated even that stone, which he set up, in intention to build God a House there. In the time of the Law, this Feast of Dedication, was in practise; first in the Tabernacle; that and all that appertain’d to it, was annointed, and sanctified: So was Salomons Temple after; so was that which was reedified after their return from Babylon, and so was this in the Text, after the Heathen had defiled and profan’ d the Altar thereof, and a new one was erected by Judas Maccabeus. Thus in Nature, thus in Law, and thus far thus in the Gospell too: that as sure as wee are that the people of God had materiall Churches in the Apostles first times, so sure we are, that those places had a Sanctitie in them. If that place of Saint Paul, Despise yee the Church of God? be to be understood of the locall, of the materiall Church, and not of the Congregation, you see there is a rebuke for the prophanation of the place, and consequently a sanctity in the place. But assoone as the Church came evidently by the favour of Princes, to have liberty to make lawes, and power to see them practised, it was never pretermitted to consecrate the places. Before that, we find an ordinance by Pope Hyginus (he was within 150. after Christ, and the eighth Bishop of that See after Saint Peter) even of particulars in the Consecrations. But after, Athanasius in his Apologie to Constantius, makes that protestation for all Christians, That they never meet in any Church, till it bee consecrated: And Constantine the Emperour least hee should be at any time unprovided of such a place, (as we read in. the Ecclesiasticall story) in all his warres, carried about with him a Tabernacle which was consecrated: In Nature, in the Law, In the Gospel, in Precept, in Practise, these Consecrations are established.
This they did. But to what use did they consecrate them? not to one use only; and therfore it is a frivolous contention, whether Churches be for preaching, or for praying. But if Consecration be a kind of Christning of the Church, and that at the Christning it have a name, wee know what name God hath appoynted for his House, Domus mea, Domus orationis vocabitur. My House shall bee called the House of Prayer. And how impudent and inexcusable a falshood is that in Bellarmine, That the Lutherans and Calvinistes doe admit Churches for Sermons and Sacraments, Sed reprehendunt quod fiant ad orandum, They dislike that they should be for Prayer: when as Calvin himselfe, (who may seeme to bee more subject to this reprehension then Luther) (for there is no such Liturgie in the Calvinists Churches, as in the Lutheran) yet in that very place which Bellarmine cites, sayes Conceptce preces in Ecclesia Deo gratae; and for singing in Churches, (which in that place of Calvin cannot be only meant of Psalmes, for it was of that manner of singing, which being formerly in use in the Easterne churches, S. Ambrose, in his time, brought into the Church of Millan, and so it was derivd over the Western churches, which was the modulation and singing of Versicles and Antiphons and the like) this singing, sayes Calvin, was in use amongst the Apostles themselves, Et sanctissimum & saluberrimum est institutum.
It was a most holy and most profitable Institution. Still consider Consecration to be a Christning of the place; and though we find them often called Templa propter Sacrificia, for our sacrifices of praier, and of praise, and of the merits of Christ, and often called Ecclesice ad conciones, Churches, in respect of congregations, for preaching, and often call’d Martyria, for preserving with respect, and honor the bodies of Martyrs, and other Saints of God there buried, and often, often, by other names, Dominica, Basilica, and the like, yet the name that God gave to his house, is not Concionatorium, nor Sacramen tarium, but Oratorium, the House of Prayer. And therefore without prejudice to the other functions too, ,(for as there is a vae vpon me, Si non Euangelizavero, If I preach not my selfe, so may that vae be multiplied upon any, who would draw that holy ordinance of God into a disestimation, or into a slacknesse,) let us never intermit that dutie, to present our selves to God in these places, though in these places there bee then, no other Service, but Common prayer. For then doth the House answere to that name, which God hath given it, if it be a house of Prayer.
Thus then were these places to receive a double Dedication; a Dedication, which was a Donation from the Patron, a Dedication which was a consecration from the Bishop, for to his person, and to that ranke in the Hierarchy of the Church, the most ancient Canons limited it; and to those purposes, which wee have spoken of; of which, Prayer is so farre from being none, as that there is none above it. A little should be said, (before wee shut up this part) of the manner, the forme of Consecrations. In which, in the Primitive Church, assoone as Consecrations came into free use, they were full of Ceremonies. And many of those Ceremonies deriv’d from the Jewes: and not unlawfull, for that. The Ceremonies of the Jewes, which had their foundation in the prefiguration of Chnst, and were types of him, were unlawfull after Christ was come; because the use of them, then, implyed a deniall or a doubt of his being come. But those Ceremonies, which, though the Jewes used them, had their foundation in Nature, as bowing of the knee, lifting up the eyes, and hands, and many, very many others, which either testified their devotion that did them, or exalted their devotion that sawe them done, are not therefore excluded the Church, because they were in use amongst the Jewes. That Pope whom we named before, Hyginus, the eighth after Saint Peter, he instituted, Ne Basilica sine Missa consecretur. That no Church bee consecrated without a Masse. If this must binde us, to a Masse of the present Romane Church, it were hard; and yet not very hard truely; for they are easily had. But that word, Masse, is in Saint Ambrose, in Saint Augustine, in some very ancient Councels; and surely intends nothing, to this purpose, but the Service, the Common Prayer of the Church, then in use, there. And when the Bishop Panigarola sayes in his Sermon vpon Whitsunday, that the Holy Ghost found the blessed Virgin and the Apostles at Masse, I presume hee meanes no more, then that they were mett at such publique Prayer, as at those times they might make. Sure Pope Clemens, and Pope Hyginus meane the same thing, when one sayes Missa consecretur, and the other Divinis Precibus: One sayes, Let the Consecration bee with a Masse, the other, with Divine Service; the Liturgie, the Divine Service was then the Masse. In a word, a constant forme of Consecrations, wee finde none that goes through our Ritualls: the Ceremonies were still more or lesse, as they were more or lesse obnoxious, or might bee subject to scandalize, or to be mis-interpreted. And therefore I am not heere either to direct, or so much as to remember, that which appertaines to the manner of these Consecrations; onely in concur ring in that, which is the Soule of all, humble and heartie prayer, that God will heare his Servants in this place, I shall not offend to say, that I am sure my zeale is inferiour to none. And more I say not of the first Part, The Holy place; and but a little more, of the other; though at first it were proposed for an equall part, The Holy Person, That at the Feast of the Dedication, lesus walked in the Temple in Salomons Porch.
In this second part, wee did not spread the words, nor shed our considerations upon many particulars: the first was, that even Jesus himselfe had recourse to this Holy place. In the new Jerusalem, in Heaven, there is no Temple. I saw no Temple there sayes Saint John: for the Lord God Almightie, and the l.Ambe are the Temple of it. In Heaven, where there is no danger of falling, there is no need of assistance. Heere the Temple is called Gnazar, that is Auxilium: A Helper: the strongest that is, needs the helpe of the Church: And it is called Sanctificium, by Saint Hierom, a place that is not onely made holy by Consecration, but that makes others holy by GOD in it. And therefore Christ himselfe, whose person and presence might consecrate the Sanctum Sanctorum, would yet make his often repayre to this Holy place; not that hee needed this subsidie of Locall holinesse in himselfe, but that his example might bring others who did neede it; and those who did not; and, that even his owne Preaching might have the benefite and the blessing of Gods Ordinance in that place, hee says of himselfe, Quotidie apud vos sedebam docens in Templo, and Semper docui in Synagoga, & in Templo; as in the Actes, the Angell that had delivered the Apostles out of prison, sends them to Church, Stantes in Templo loqttimini plebi. The Apostles were sent to preach, but to preach in the Temple, in the place appro priated and consecrated for that holy use and employment.
He came to this place, and he came at those times, which no immediate command of God, but the Church had instituted. Facta. sunt Enccenia, sayes the Text; It was the Feast of the Dedication. Wee know what Dedication this was; That of Salomon was much greater; A Temple built where none was before; That of Esdras at the returne was much greater then this, An intire reedification of that demolished Temple, where it was before. This was but a zealous restoring of an Altar in the Temple: which having beene prophaned by the Gentiles, the Jewes themselves threw downe, and erected a new, and dedicated that. Salomons Dedication is called a Feast, a Holy day: by the very same name thatthe Feast of unleavened bread, and the Feast of the Tabernacle is called so often in Scripture, which is Kag. The Dedication of Ezra is sufficiently declared to bee a solemne Feast too. But neither of these Feastes, though of farre greater Dedications, were Anniversarie; neither commanded to be kept every yeare; and yet this, which was so much lesser then the others, the Church had put under that Obligation, to bee kept every yeare; and Christ himselfe contemnes not, condemnes not, disputes not the in stitution of the Church. But as for matter of doctrine hee sends even his owne Disciples, to them who sate in Moses Chayre, so for matter of Ceremony, he brings even his owne person, to the celebrating, to the authorizing, to the countenancing of the Institutions of the Church, and rests in that.
Now it was Winter, sayes the Text: Christ came etsi Hyems, though it were Winter; so small an inconvenience kept him not off. Beloved, it is not alway colder upon Sunday, then upon Satterday; nor at any time colder in the Chappell, then in Westminster Hall. A thrust keepes some off in Summer; and colde in Winter: and there are more of both these in other places, where for all that, they are more content to be. Remember that Peter was warming himselfe, and hee denyed Christ. They who love a warme bed, let it bee a warme Studie, let it bee a warme profit, better then this place, they deny CHRIST in his Institution. That therefore which CHRIST sayes, Pray that your flight bee not in the Winter, nor upon the Sabbath; we may apply thus, Pray that upon the Sabbath (I tolde you at first, what were Sabboths,) the Winter make you not £lie, not abstaine from this place. Put off thy shooes, sayes God to Moses, for the place is holy ground. When Gods ordinance by his Church call you to this holy place, put off those shoes, all those earthly respects, of ease or profit, Christ came, Etsi Hyems.
But then, Quia Hyems, Because it was Winter, Hee did walke in Salomons Porch, which was covered, not in Atrio, in that part of the Temple, which was open, and expos’d to the weather. We doe not say, that infirme and weak men, may not favour themselves, in a due care of their health, in these places. That he who is not able to raise himselfe, must alwayes stand at the Gospell, or bow the knee at the name of Jesus, or stay some whole houres, altogether uncovered heere, if that increase infirmities of that kinde. And yet Courts of Princes, are strange Bethesdaes; how quickly they recover any man that is brought into that Poole? How much a little change of ayre does? and how well they can stand, and stand bare many houres, in the Privy Chamber, that would melt and flowe out into Rhumes, and Catarrs, in a long Gospell heere? But, Citra Scandalum, a man may favour himselfe in these places: but yet this excuses not the irreverent manner which hath overtaken us in all these places; That any Master may thinke himselfe to have the same libertie heere, as in his owne house, or that that Servant, that never puts on his hat in his Masters presence all the weeke, on Sunday, when hee and his Master are in Gods presence, should have his hat on perchance before his Masters. Christ shall make Master and Servant equall; but not yet; not heere; nor ever, equall to himselfe, how ever they become equall to one another. Gods service is not a continuall Martyrdome, that a man must bee heere, and here in such a posture, and such a manner, though hee dye for it; but Gods House is no Ordinary neither; where any man may pretend to doe what he will, and every man may doe, what any man does. Christ slept in a storme; I dare not make that generall; let all doe so. Christ favoured himselfe in the Church; I dare not make that generall neither: to make all places equall, or all persons equall in any place.
Tis time to end. Saint Basill himselfe, as acceptable as hee was to his Auditory, in his second Sermon upon the 14. Psalme, takes knowledge that hee had preached an houre, and therefore broke off: I see it is a Compasse, that all Ages have thought sufficient. But as we have contracted the consideration of great Temples, to this lesser Chappell, so let us contract the Chappell to our selves: Et facta sint Enccenia nostra, let this be the Feast of the Dedication of our selves to God. Christ calls himselfe a Temple, Solvite templum hoc: Destroy this Temple. And Saint Paul calls us so twice; Know ye not that ye are the Temples of the Holy Ghost? Facta sint Enccenia nostra: Enccenia signifies Renovationem, a renewing: and Saint Augustine sayes that in his time, Si quis nova tunica indueretur, Encceniare diceretur. If any man put on a new garment, hee called it by that name, Enccenia sua. Much more is it so, if wee renew in our selves the Image of God, and put off the Olde man, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. This is truly Encceniare, to dedicate, to renew Our selves: and so Nazianzen in a Sermon, or Oration, upon the like occasion as this, calls, Conversionem nostram, Enccenia, our turning to God, in a true repentance, or renewing, our dedication. Let mee charge your memories, but with this note more, That when God forbad David the building of an House, Because hee was a man of blood, at that time David had not embrued his hands in Vriahs blood; nor shed any blood, but lawfully in just warres; yet even that made him uncapable of this favour to provide God a house. Some callings are in their nature more obnoxious, and more exposed to sinne, then others are: accompanied with more tentations; and so retard us more in holy duties. And therefore as there are particular sinnes that attend certaine places, certaine ages, certaine complexions, and certaine vocations, let us watch our selves in all those, and remember that not only the highest degrees of those sinns, but any thing that conduces therunto, prophanes the Consecration, and Dedication of this Temple, our selves, to the service of God; it annihilates our repentance, and frustrates our former reconciliations to him. Almighty God worke in you a perfit dedication of your selves at this time; that so, receiving it from hands dedicated to God, hee whose holy Office this is, may present accept ably this House to God in your behalfes, and establish an assurance to you, that God will be alwayes present with you and your Succession in this place. Amen.