Listen from the Dean’s Stall
From Midway the Choir
From the Pulpit
From Midway between the Stalls and the Altar
From the South Aisle
The Annotated Script
Guide to the color coding: The words in black are the words spoken. The words in red are the directions printed in the Book of Common Prayer for the conduct of the service, hence the name rubrics for these directions. The words in blue are the annotations.
DAYLY THROUGHOUT THE YERE.
This is the script for Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday 1624 used to make recordings of this service found elsewhere on this website. Where there are choices to be made in the Rite, only the choices made for these recordings are included. To see the full text of the Rite, consult the Book of Common Prayer in its 1550 or 1604 editions. The easiest way to do this is to consult the edition of the 1559 Prayer Book edited by John E. Booty and published by the University Press of Virginia for the Folger Shakespeare Library, either in the first edition of 1976 or the second edition, with a new Foreword by Judith Maltby, published in 2005.
At the beginning both of Morning Prayer, and lykewyse of Evening Prayer, the Minister shall reade with a lowde voyce, some one of these sentences of the Scriptures that folowe. And then he shall say that, which is written after the said sentences.
Evening Prayer begins with the Officiant’s inviting the congregation to order and setting the tone for the particular occasion by proclaming a verse chosen from a collection of biblical verses found at the beginning of Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer.
The Priest shal saie.
To thee, O Lorde God belongeth mercies and forgivenes: for we have gone away from thee, and have not harkened to thy voice, whereby we myght walke in thy lawes, whiche thou hast appoincted for us.
The officiant then invites the congregation to confess their sins “with a humble, lowly, penitent and obedient heart.” The General Confession then follows, leading to the Absolution “and remission of their sins.”
DERELY beloved Brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sondry places, to acknowledge and confesse our manifolde sinnes and wickednes, and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face of almighty God our heavenly father, but confesse them with an humble, lowly, penitent and obedient harte to the ende that we may obtaine forgevenes of the same by his infinite goodnesse and mercie. And although we ought at all tymes humbly to acknowledge our synnes before God, yet ought we moste chiefly so to doe, when we assemble and mete toguether, to rendre thankes for the greate benefites that we have received at his handes, to sette furth his moste worthie praise, to heare his moste holye worde, and to aske those thynges whiche be requisite and necessarie, aswel for the bodye as the soule. wherfore I praye and beseche you, as many as be here presente, to accompany me wyth a pure harte and humble voice, unto the throne of the heauenly grace, saying after me.
A generall confession, to be made* of the whole congregacion after the minister, knelyng.
ALMIGHTIE and most merciful father, we have erred and straied from thy waies, lyke lost shepee we have folowed to much the devises and desires of our owne hartes. We have offended against thy holy lawes: We have left undone those thinges whiche we ought to have done, and we have done those thinges which we ought not to have done, and there is no health in us. But thou, O Lorde, have mercy upon us miserable offendours. Spare thou them O God, whiche confesse their faultes. Restore thou them that be penitent, accordyng to thy promises declared unto mankynde, in Christe Jesu our Lorde. And graunt, O most merciful father, for his sake, that we may hereafter lyve a godly, ryghtuous, and sobre life, to the glory of thy holy name. Amen.
The absolution, or remission of sins, to be pronounced by the Minister alone.
ALMIGHTY God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which de sireth not the deathe of a sinner, but rather that he maye turne from his wickednesse and lyve: and hath geven power and commaundement to hys Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people beyng penitent, the absolution and remission of their synnes: he pardoneth and absolveth all them which truly repent, and unfeinedly beleve his holy gospel. Wherefore we beseche him to graunt us true repentaunce and hys holy spirite, that those thynges may please hym, whych we doe at thys present, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy so that at the last we may come to his eternall ioye, through Jesus Christe our lorde.
The people shal aunswere.
The Lord’s Prayer follows the pronouncing of Absolution. The opening responses then follow, in the form of an interchange between the Officiant and the congregation. The opening “O Lord, open thou our lips; / and our mouth shall show forth thy praise,” is based on Psalm 51. Then follows “O God, make speed to save us” with the response “O Lord, make haste to help us”, a loose translation of the Latin Deus, in adjutorium meum intende which begins every service in the Hour services of the Medieval Church, followed by the Gloria Patri in English.
Then shall the Minister beginne the Lordes Prayer wyth a loude voice.
Priest + Choir
OUR Father, whiche arte in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kyngdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Geve us this day our dayly breade. And forgeve us our trespasses, as we forgeve them that trespasse against us. And lead us not into temptacion. But deliver us from evil. Amene.
Preces and Responses by William Smith
O Lord open thou our lippes.
Aunswere.And our mouth shall shewe furth thy prayse.
Priest.O God make spede to save us.
Aunswere.Lord, make haste to helpe us.
Praise ye the Lord.
The recitation of a portion of the Book of Psalms then follows. Cranmer divided the Psalter into 60 sections. One of these sections is assigned for use at Morning Prayer; another, at Evening Prayer, for each of 30 days. The divisions are assigned consecutively, so that the Psalms are read through from Psalm 1 to Psalm 150 over the course of 30 days. If a month has more than 30 days, the Psalms assigned for Day 30 are repeated on day 31. For February, the Psalms assigned for days 1 through 28 are recited; for a Leap Year, in February the Psalm assigned for days 1 through 29 are assigned. However, for today, (Easter Sunday 1624), the Prayer Book assigns a special selections from the Psalter, so they are used instead of the Psalms usually assigned on this day.
Psalm 113 to Plainchant
RAISE the Lord, ye servants : O praise the Name of the Lord.
2. Blessed be the Name of the Lord : from this time forth for evermore.
3. The Lord’s Name is praised : from the rising up of the sun unto the going down of the same.
4. The Lord is high above all heathen : and his glory above the heavens.
5. Who is like unto the Lord our God, that hath his dwelling so high : and yet humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and earth?
6. He taketh up the simple out of the dust : and lifteth the poor out of the mire;
7. That he may set him with the princes : even with the princes of his people.
8. He maketh the barren woman to keep house : and to be a joyful mother of children.
Glory be to the father, and to the sonne: and to the holy ghoste. As it was in the beginninge, is nowe, and ever shal be : worlde wythout ende. Amen.
Psalm 114 by William Byrd
HEN Israel came out of Egypt : and the house of Jacob from among the strange people,
2. Judah was his sanctuary : and Israel his dominion.
3. The sea saw that, and fled : Jordan was driven back.
4. The mountains skipped like rams : and the little hills like young sheep.
5. What aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest : and thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?
6. Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams : and ye little hills, like young sheep?
7. Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord : at the presence of the God of Jacob;
8. Who turned the hard rock into a standing water : and the flint-stone into a springing well.
Glory be to the father, and to the sonne: and to the holy ghoste. As it was in the beginninge, is nowe, and ever shal be : worlde wythout ende. Amen.
Psalm 118 to Plainchant
GIVE thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious : because his mercy endureth for ever.
2. Let Israel now confess that he is gracious : and that his mercy endureth for ever.
3. Let the house of Aaron now confess : that his mercy endureth for ever.
4. Yea, let them now that fear the Lord confess : that his mercy endureth for ever.
5. I called upon the Lord in trouble : and the Lord heard me at large.
6. The Lord is on my side : I will not fear what man doeth unto me.
7. The Lord taketh my part with them that help me : therefore shall I see my desire upon mine enemies.
8. It is better to trust in the Lord : than to put any confidence in man.
9. It is better to trust in the Lord : than to put any confidence in princes.
10. All nations compassed me round about : but in the Name of the Lord will I destroy them.
11. They kept me in on every side, they kept me in, I say, on every side : but in the Name of the Lord will I destroy them.
12. They came about me like bees, and are extinct even as the fire among the thorns : for in the Name of the Lord I will destroy them.
13. Thou hast thrust sore at me, that I might fall : but the Lord was my help.
14. The Lord is my strength, and my song : and is become my salvation.
15. The voice of joy and health is in the dwellings of the righteous : the right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass.
16. The right hand of the Lord hath the pre-eminence : the right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass.
17. I shall not die, but live : and declare the works of the Lord.
18. The Lord hath chastened and corrected me : but he hath not given me over unto death.
19. Open me the gates of righteousness : that I may go into them, and give thanks unto the Lord.
20. This is the gate of the Lord : the righteous shall enter into it.
21. I will thank thee, for thou hast heard me : and art become my salvation.
22. The same stone which the builders refused : is become the head-stone in the corner.
23. This is the Lord’s doing : and it is marvellous in our eyes.
24. This is the day which the Lord hath made : we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25. Help me now, O Lord : O Lord, send us now prosperity.
26. Blessed be he that cometh in the Name of the Lord : we have wished you good luck , ye that are of the house of the Lord.
27. God is the Lord who hath shewed us light : bind the sacrifice with cords, yea, even unto the horns of the altar.
28. Thou art my God, and I will thank thee : thou art my God, and I will praise thee.
29. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious : and his mercy endureth for ever.
Glory be to the father, and to the sonne: and to the holy ghoste. As it was in the beginninge, is nowe, and ever shal be : worlde wythout ende. Amen.
An organ voluntary is inserted here, following the pattern described by James Clifford in his The divine services and anthems usually sung in His Majesties chappell and in all cathedrals and collegiate choires in England and Ireland (London, 1664).
Cranmer, in his introduction to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, explained that one major purpose of the Prayer Book Offices was to provide course readings of the Bible, reading through from the beginning to the end of each Book. To achieve this, Cranmer followed the organization of the Bible into Books with chapters and assigned one chapter of a Book of the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) and one chapter of a book of the New Testament for reading at Morning Prayer and at Evening Prayer for each day of the year. As a result, excpt for some omissions (such as most of the Book of Relevation), the early modern Church read the Old Testament through once a year and the New Testament through three times a year. Together with the monthly recitation of the entire Book of Psalms, this practice was Cranmer’s chief way of responding to his fellow Reformers’ emphasis on Scripture. To make the Bible available for use in Church worship, the Great Bible was, initially, published only in folio, intended to be placed on its own lectern in each church and cathedral. For this day — Easter Sunday 1624 — however, special radings assigned for this day are used instead of the ones that would otherwise be assigned.
The 14th Chapter of Exodus
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.
And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.
And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
Here endeth the 14th Chapter of Exodus
At Morning and Evening Prayer, after each of the lessons from the Bible, a canticle or hymn is sung. At Evening Prayer, these are usually the Canticle Magnificat from the Gospel of Luke after the Old Testament reading and the canticle Nunc Dimittis, also from the Gospel of Luke, after the New Testament reading. Psalm 98, Cantata domino, is provided as a potential alternative to the Magnificat; Psalm 67 (Deus misereatur) is provided as an alternative to the Nunc Dimittis.
Magnificat (Second Service) by Orlando Gibbons
MY soule doeth magnifie the Lorde.
And my sprit hath rejoysed in god my saviour.
For he hath regarded the loweliries of his handmaiden.
For beholde from hencefurth al generacions shall call me blessed.
For he that is mightie hath magnified me : and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that feare him : throughout all generacions.
He hath shewed strength with his arme; he hath scatered the proude in the imagination of their hertes.
He hath put downe the mightye from theyr seate : and hath exalted the humble and meke.
He hath filled the hungry with good thinges : and the ryche he hath sent empty away.
He remembring his mercy, hath holpen his servaunte Israel as he promysed to our forefathers, Abraham and his sede for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the sonne, [and to the holy Ghoste]*.
As it was in the beginninge, is nowe, [and ever shalbe, world without ende. Amen.]*
Then a lesson of the new testament.
The Second Chapter of Acts
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Here endeth the Second Chapter of Acts
And after that (Nunc dirnittis) in Englyshe, as foloweth.
Nunc Dimittis (Second Service) by Orlando Gibbons
LORDE, nowe lettest thou thy servaunt departe in peace : according to thy worde.
For myne eyes have sene : thy salvacion.
Whiche thou haste prepared : before the face of all people;
To be a lyght to lyghten the Gentiles : and to be the glorye of thy people Israell.
Glorye be to the father, and to the sonne, [and to the holy ghoste.]*
As it was in the beginning, is nowe, [and ever shall be, worlde withoute ende. Amen.]*
Priest + Choir
On most occasions at this point in both Morning and Evening Prayer, the Apostles Creed is recited. At the service of Holy Communion, the Nicene Creed is recited.
Then shal folow the Crede, with other prayers, as is before appoynted at Morning prayer, after Benedictus.
I BELEVE in God the father almightie maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ hys onely sonne our Lorde, which was conceived by the holy ghoste, borne of the Virgen Mary. Suffred under Ponce Pylate, was crucified dead and buried, he descended into Helle. The thirde daye he rose agayn from the deade. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the ryghte hande of God the Father almightie. From thence he shall come to judge the quicke and the deade. I beleve in the holy Ghoste. The holy Catholique Churche. The communion of sainctes. The forgevenesse of sinnes. The resurrection of the body. And the life everlasting. Amen.
After the Creed, the Officiant invites the congregation to recite the Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy upon us”). The Lord’s Prayer then follows, then the versicles and responses, with their emphasis on prayers for civil and religious authorities, including prayers for the King, secular authorities and ministers of the church, and all its people, for peace, and for purity of heart. Then the Officiant prays three prayers, or Collects. The first is the Collect assigned for the specific day of the year, in this case Easter Sunday. The second is a Collect for Peace; the third, for Grace.
And after that, these prayers folowyng, aswell at Evenyng praier as at Mornyng prayer: al devoutlye knelyng. The Minister firste pronouncinge with a loude voyce.
Preces and Responses by William Smith
The Lorde be with you.
Answer.And with thy spirite.
Minister.Let us praie.
Lorde have mercy upon us.
Christ have mercy upon us.
Lorde have mercy upon us.
Then the Minister, Clarkes, and people; shall saye the Lordes praier in Englyshe, with a loud voice.
OURFather, whiche arte in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kyngdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Geve us this day our dayly breade. And forgeve us our trespasses, as we forgeve them that trespasse against us. And lead us not into temptacion. But deliver us from evil. Amene.
Then the Minister; standing up shal say.
O lorde, shewe thy mercy upon us.
Aunswere.And graunte us thy salvacion.
Prieste.O Lorde save the King.
Aunswere.And mercifully here us when we call upon the.
Prieste.Endue thy ministers with rightuousnes.
Aunswere.And make thy chosen people joyful.
Prieste.O Lorde save thy people.
Aunswere.And blesse thyne enheritaunce.
Prieste.Geve peace in our tyme, O Lorde.
Aunswere.Because there is none other that fyghteth for us, but onely thou, O God.
Prieste.O God make clene our hartes with in us.
Aunswere.And take not thy holy spirite from us.
Then shall follow three Collectes: Fyrste of the day, the seconde of peace, the thyrde for ayde agaynste all peryls, as hereafter foloweth, whiche two last Collectes shabe daylye sayde at Evenyng Prayer wythout alteracion.
ALMIGHTIE God, whiche through thy onely begotten sonne Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; we humbly beseche thee, that, as by thy speciall grace, preventing us, thou doest put in our mindes good desires, so by thy continuall help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lorde who lyveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
OGOD, from whome all holy desires, all good counsailes, and all just woorkes do procede: geve unto thy servauntes that peace, whiche the worlde cannot geve: that bothe our hertes may be set to obey thy commaundementes, and also that by thee, we beynge defended from the feare of our enemies, may passe our time in rest and quietnes. Through the merites of Jesus Chryste our saviour.
LYGHTEN oure darckenesse, wee beseche thee (O Lorde,) and by thy greate mercye defende us from all perils and daungers of this nyghte, for the lone of thy onely sonne oure Savioure Jesus Christe.
Directions for worship issued as part of the Elizabethan Settlement of Religion in 1559 included the provision that “for the comforting of such that delight in music, it may be permitted, that in the beginning, or in the end of common prayers, either at morning or evening, there may be sung an hymn, or suchlike song to the praise of Almighty God.” As a result, the practice developed of inserting at thispoint in the service an anthem, or piece of religious music, chosen by the Choirmaster. The Prayer Book of 1662, puts tue custom thus: “In Quires and Places where they sing here followeth the Anthem.
Anthem: We praise thee, O God by Orlando Gibbons
Here follows John Donne’s sermon for Easter Day 1624. The location of the sermon at Evensong, as well as the location of an anthem both before and after the sermon follows the account of practice at St Paul’s Cathedral by James Clifford in his The divine services and anthems usually sung in His Majesties chappell and in all cathedrals and collegiate choires in England and Ireland (London, 1664).
SERMON by John Donne
We do not know what prayer John Donne prayed at this particular moment in the service, unlike Gunpowder Day in 1622, when his prayer for that occasion was printed with his sermon. We do know he must have prayed a prayer and also the Lord’s Prayer, as prefatory to his announcing his text and commencing with his sermon, because preachers were instructed to do this by the Canons of the day. We have provided the Dean with a prayer here, as we did for Bishop Andrewes at the morning’s observance of Holy Communion, by adapting the directions given preachers as to what the content of their prayer before sermon should include.
Let us pray for Christ’s Holy Catholic Church, the whole Congregation of Christian people dispersed throughout the whole world, and especially for the Churches of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Let us pray most especially for the King’s most excellent Maiestie our Soveraigne Lord James, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defendour of the Faith, and Supreme Gouernour in these Realmes, and all other his Dominions and Countreyes, over all persones, in all causes, aswell Ecclesiasticall as Temporal. Let us pray also for our noble prince Charles; Frederick Prince Electour Palatine, and the Lady Elizabeth his wife. Let us pray also for the Ministers of God’s holy word and sacramants, aswell Archbishops and Bishops, as other Pastours and Curates. Let us pray also for the King’s most honourable Counsell, and for all the Nobility and Magistrates of this Realme, that all and every of these in their severall Calling, may serve truly and painefully, to the glory of God, and the edifying and well governing of his people, remembering the account that they must make. Also, Let us pray for the whole Commons of this Realme, that they may live in true Faith and Feare of God; in humble obedience to the King, and Brotherly charity one to another. Finally, let us praise God for all those which are departed out of this life in the Faith of Christ, and pray unto god that wee may have grace to direct our lives after their good example: that this life ended, wee may bee made partakers with them of the glorious Resurrection in the life Everlasting., through the merits of Christ Jesu our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy spirit, one God, world without end.
The people shal aunswere.
OUR Father, whiche arte in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kyngdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Geve us this day our dayly breade. And forgeve us our trespasses, as we forgeve them that trespasse against us. And lead us not into temptacion. But deliver us from evil.
The people shal aunswere.
A Reading from The Book of the Revelation of Saint John, the 20th Chapter, the 6th Verse.
BLESSED AND HOLY IS HE THAT HATH PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION.
In the first book of the Scriptures, that of Genesis, there is danger in departing from the letter; In this last book, this of the Revelation, there is as much danger in adhering too close to the letter. The literall sense is alwayes to be preserved; but the literall sense is not alwayes to be discerned: for the literall sense is not alwayes that, which the very Letter and Grammar of the place presents, as where it is literally said, That Christ is a Vine, and literally, That his flesh is bread, and literally, That the new Ierusalem is thus situated, thus built, thus furnished: But the literall sense of every place, is the principall intention of the Holy Ghost, in that place: And his principall intention in many places, is to expresse things by allegories, by figures; so that in many places of Scripture, a figurative sense is the literall sense, and more in this book then in any other. As then to depart from the literall sense, that sense which the very letter presents, in the book of Genesis, is dangerous, because if we do so there, we have no history of the Creation of the world in any other place to stick to; so to binde our selves to such a literall sense in this book, will take from us the consolation of many spirituall happinesses, and bury us in the carnall things of this world.
The first error of being too allegoricall in Genesis, transported divers of the ancients beyond the certain evidence of truth, and the second error of being too literall in this book, fixed many, very many, very ancient, very learned, upon an evident falsehood; which was, that because here is mention of a first Resurrection, and of raigning with Christ a thousand years after that first Resurrection, There should be to all the Saints of God, a state of happinesse in this world, after Christs coming, for a thousand yeares; In which happy state, though some of them have limited themselves in spirituall things, that they should enjoy a kinde of conversation with Christ, and an impeccability, and a quiet serving of God without any reluctations, or concupiscences, or persecutions; yet others have dreamed on, and enlarged their dreams to an enjoying of all these worldly happinesses, which they, being formerly persecuted, did formerly want in this world, and then should have them for a thousand yeares together in recompence. And even this branch of that error, of possessing the things of this world, so long, in this world, did very many, and very good, and very great men, whose names are in honour, and justly in the Church of God, in those first times stray into; and flattered themselves with an imaginary intimation of some such thing, in these words, Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in the first Resurrection.
Thus far then the text is literall, That this Resurrection in the text, is different form the generall Resurrection. The first differs from the last: And thus far it is figurative, allegoricall, mysticall, that it is a spirituall Resurrection, that is intended. But wherein spirituall? or of what spirituall Resurrection? In the figurative exposition of those places of Scripture, which require that way oft to be figuratively expounded, that Expositor is not to be blamed, who not destroying the literall sense, proposes such a figurative sense, as may exalt our devotion, and advance our edification; And as no one of those Expositors did ill, in proposing one such sense, so neither do those Expositors ill, who with those limitations, that it destroy not the literall sense, that it violate not the analogy of faith, that it advance devotion, do propose another and another such sense. So doth that preacher well also, who to the same end, and within the same limit, makes his use of both, of all those expositions; because all may stand, and it is not evident in such figurative speeches, which is the literall, that is, the principall intention of the Holy Ghost.
Of these words of this first Resurrection (which is not the last, of the body, but a spirituall Resurrection) there are three expositions authorized by persons of good note in the Church. First, that this first Resurrection, is a Resurrection from that low estate, to which persecution had brought the Church; and so it belongs to this whole State, and Church, and Blessed are we who have our part in this first Resurrection. Secondly, that it is a Resurrection from the death of sin, of actuall, and habituall sin; so it belongs to every particular penitent soul; and Blessed art thou, blessed am I, if we have part in this first Resurrection. And then thirdly, because after this Resurrection, it is said, That we shall raign with Christ a thousand yeares, (which is a certain for an uncertain, a limited, for a long time) it hath also been taken for the state of the soul in heaven, after it is parted from the body by death; for though the soul cannot be said properly to have a Resurrection, because properly it cannot die, yet to be thus delivered from the danger of a second death, by future sin, to be removed from the distance, and latitude, and possibility of tentations in this world, is by very good Expositors called a Resurrection; and so it belongs to all them who are departed in the Lord; Blessed and holy is he that hath part in this first Resurrection. And then the occasion of the day, which we celebrate now, being the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Chirst Jesus, invites me to propose a fourth sense, or rather use of the words; not indeed as an exposition of the words, but as a convenient exaltation of our devotion; which is, that this first Resurrection should be the first fruits of the dead; The first Rising, is the first Riser, Christ Jesus: for as Christ sayes of himself, that He is the Resurrection, so he is the first Resurrection, the root of the Resurrection, he upon whom our Resurrection, all ours, all our kindes of Resurrections are founded; and so it belongs to State and Church, and particular persons, alive and dead; Blessed and holy is he that hath part in this first Resurrection.
And these foure considerations of the words; A Resurrection from persecution, by deliverance; a Resurrection from sin, by grace; a Resurrection from tentation to sin, by the way of death, to the glory of heaven; and all these, in the first Resurrection, in him that is the roote of all, in Christ Jesus, These foure steps, these foure passages, these foure transition will be our quarter Clock, for this houres exercise.
First then, we consider this first Resurrection, to be a Resurrection from a persecution for religion, for the profession of the Gospell, to a forward glorious passage of the Gospell. And so a learned Expositor in the Romane Church carries the exposition of this whole place (though not indeed the ordinary way, yet truly not incommodiously, not improperly) upon that deliverance, which God afforded his Church, from those great persecutions, which had otherwise supplanted her, in her first planting, in the primitive times. Then sayes he (and in part well towards the letter of the place) The devill was chained for a thousand yeares, and then we began to raign with Christ for a thousand yeares; reckoning the time from that time, when God destroyed Idolatry more fully, and gave peace and rest, and free exercise of the Christian religion, under the Christian Emperours, til Antichrist in the height of all his rage shall come, and let this thousand yeares prisoner Satan loose, and so interrupt our thousand yeares raign with Christ, with new persecutions. In that persecution was the death of the Church, in the eye of the world; In that deliverance by Christian Emperours was the Resurrection of the Church; And in Gods protecting her ever since is the chaining up of the devill, and our raigning with Christ for those thousand yeares.
And truly, beloved, if we consider the low, the very low estate of Christians in those persecutions, tryed ten times in the fire, ten severall and distinct persecutions, in which ten persecutions, God may seem to have had a minde to deale eavenly with the world, and to lay as much upon his people whom he would try then, as he had laid upon others, for his people before, and so to equall the ten plagues of AEgypt, in ten persecutions, in the primitive Church; if we consider that low, that very low estate, we may justly call their deliverance a Resurrection. For as God said to Jerusalem, I found thee in thy blood, and washed thee, so Christ Jesus found the Church, the Christian Church in her blood, and washed her, and wiped her; washed her with his own blood, which washes white, and wiped her with the garments of his own righteousnesse, that she may be acceptable in the sight of God, and then wiped all teares from her eyes, took away all occasions of complaint, and lamentation, that she might be glorious in the eyes of man, and chearefull in her own; such was her Resurrection.
We wonder, and justly, at the effusion, at the pouring out of blood, in the sacrifices of the old Law; that that little country scarce bigger then some three of our Shires, should spend more cattle in some few dayes sacrifice at some solemnities, and every yeare in the sacrifices of the whole yeare, then perchance this kingdome could give to any use. Seas of blood, and yet but brooks, tuns of blood, and yet but basons, compared with the sacrifices, the sacrifices of the blood of men, in the persecutions of the Primitive Church. For every Oxe of the Jew, the Christian spent a man, and for every Sheep and Lamb, a Mother and her childe; and for every heard of cattle, sometimes a towne of Inhabitants, sometimes a Legion of Souldiers, all martyred at once; so that they did not stand to fill their Martyrologies with names, but with numbers, they had not roome to say, such a day, such a Bishop, such a day, such a Generall, but the day of 500. the day of 5000. Martyrs, and the martyrdome of a City, or the Martyrdome of an Army; This was not a red Sea, such as the Jews passed, a Sinus, a Creek, an Arm, an Inlet, a gut of a Sea, but a red Ocean, that overflowed, and surrounded all parts; and from the depth of this Sea God raised them; and such was their Resurrection. Such, as that they which suffered, lay, and bled with more ease, then the executioner stood and sweat; and embraced the fire more fervently, then he blew it; and many times had this triumph in their death, that even the executioner himself, was in the act of execution converted to Christ, and executed with them; such was their Resurrection.
When the State of the Jews was in that depression, in that conculcation, in that consternation, in that extermination in the captivity of Babylon, as that God presents it to the Prophet in that Vision, in the field of dry bones, so, Fili hominis, Son of man, as thou art a reasonable man, dost thou think these bones can live, that these men can ever be re-collected to make up a Nation? The prophet saith, Domine tu scis, Lord thou knowest; which is, not only thou knowest whether they can, or no, but thou knowest clearly they can; thou canst make them up of bones again, for thou madest those bones of earth before. If God had called in the Angels to the making of man at first, and as he said to the Prophet, Fili hominis, Son of man, as thou art a reasonable man, so he had said to them, Fili Dei, as you are the Sons of God, illumined by his face, do you think, that this clod of red earth can make a man, a man that shall be equall to you, in one of his parts, in his soul, and yet then shall have such another part, as that he, whom all you worship, my essentiall Son shall assume, and invest that part himself, can that man made of that body, and that soul, be made of this clod of earth? Those Angels would have said, Domine tu scis, Lord thou must needs know, how to make as good creatures as us of earth, who madest us of that which is infinitely lesse then earth, of nothing, before. To induce, to facilitate these apprehensions, there were some precedents, some such thing had been done before. But when the Church was newly conceived, and then lay like the egge of a Dove, and a Gyants foot over it, like a worm, like an ant, and hill upon hill whelmed upon it, may, like a grain of corn between the upper and lower Mill-stone, ground to dust between Tyrans and Heretiques, when as she bled in her Cradle, in those children who Herod slew, so she bled upon her crutches, in those decrepit men whom former persecutions and tortures had creepled before, when East and West joyned hands to crush her, and hands, and brains, joyned execution to consultation to annihilate her; in this wane of the Moon, God gave her an instant fulnesse; in this exinanition, instant glory; in this grave, and instant Resurrection.
But beloved, the expressing the pressing of their depressions, does but chafe the Wax; the Printing of the seale, is the reducing to your memory, your own case: and not that point in your case, as you were for a few yeares under a sensible persecution of fire, and prisons; that was the least part of your persecution; for it is a cheap purchase of heaven, if we may have it for dying; To sell all we have to buy that field where we know the treasure is, is not so hard, as not to know it; To part with all, for the great Pearle, not so hard a bargaine, as not to know that such a Pearle there might have beene had; we could not say heaven was kept from us, when we might have it for a Fagot, and when even our enemies helpt us to it: but your greater affliction was, as you were long before, in an insensiblenesse, you thought your selves well enough, and yet were under a worse persecution of ignorance, and of superstition, when you, in your Fathers, were so farre from expecting a resurrection, as that you did not know your low estate, or that you needed a Resurrection; And yet God gave you a Resurreciton from it, a reformation of it.
Now, who have their parts in this first resurrection? or upon what conditions have you it? We see in the fourth verse, They that are beheaded for the witnesse of Iesus; that is, that are ready to be so, when the glory of Jesus shall require that testimony. In the meane time, as it followes there, They that have not worshipped the Beast; that is, not applied the Honour, and the Allegiance due to their Soveraign, to any forraign State; nor the Honor due to God, that is, infallibility, to another Prelate; That have not worshipped the Beast, nor his Image, sayes the Text; that is, that have not been transported with vain imaginations of his power, and his growth upon us here, which hath been so diligently Painted, and Printed, and Preached, and set out in the promises, and practices of his Instruments, to delude slack, and easie persons: And then, as it is added there, That have not received his mark upon their foreheads; That is, not declared themselves Romanists apparently; nor in their hands, sayes the Text; that is, which have not under-hand sold their secret endeavours, though not their publique profession, to the advancement of his cause. These men, who are ready to be beheaded for Christ, and have not worshipped the Beast, nor the Image of the Beast, nor received his mark upon their foreheads, nor in their hands, these have their parts in this first resurrection. These are blessed, and holy, sayes our Text; Blessed, because they have meanes to be holy, in this resurrection; for the Lamb hath unclasped the book; the Scriptures are open; which way to holinesse, our Fathers lacked; And then, our blessednesse is, that we shall raigne a thousand yeares with Christ: Now since the first resurrection, since the reformation we have raigned so with Christ, but 100. yeares: But if we persist in a good use of it, our posterity shall adde the Cypher, and make that 100. 1000. even to the time, when Christ Jesus shall come againe, and as he hath given us the first, so shall give us the last resurrection; and to that come Lord Jesus, come quickly; and till that, continue this.
This is the first resurrection, in the first acceptation, a resurrection from persecution, and a peaceable enjoying of the Gospell: And in a second, it is a resurrection from sin; and so it hath a more particular appropriation to every person. So S. Augustine takes this place, and with him many of the Fathers, and with them, many of the sons of the Fathers, better sons of the Fathers, then the Romane Church will confesse them to be, or then they are themselves, The Expositors of the Reformed Church: They, for the most part, with S. Augustine, take this first resurrection, to be a resurrection from sin. Inter abjectos abjectissimus peccator: No man falls lower, then he that falls into a course of sin; Sin is a fall; It is not onely a deviation, a turning out of the way, upon the right, or the left hand, but it is a sinking, a falling: In the other case, of going out of the way, a man may stand upon the way, and inquire, and then proceed in the way, if he be right, or to the way, if he be wrong; But when he is fallen, and lies still, he proceeds no farther, inquires no farther. To be too apt to conceive scruples in matters of religion, stops, and retards a man in the way; to mistake some points in the truth of religion, puts a man for that time in a wrong way; But to fall into a course of sin, this makes him unsensible of any end, that he hath to goe to, of any way that he hath to goe by. God hath not removed man, not with-drawne man form this Earth; he hath not given him the Aire to flie in, as to Birds, nor Spheres to move in, as to Sun and Moone; he hath left him upon the Earth; and not onely to tread upon it, as in contempt, or in mere Dominion, but to walk upon it, in the discharge of the duties of his calling; and so to be conversant with the Earth, is not a falling. But as when man was nothing but earth, nothing but a body, he lay flat upon the earth, his mouth kissed the earth, his hands embraced the earth, his eyes respected the earth; And then God breathed the breath of life into him, and that raised him so farre from the earth, as that onely one part of his body, (the soles of his feet) touches it, And yet man, so raised by God, by sin fell lower to the earth againe, then before, from the face of the earth, to the womb, to the bowels, to the grave; So God, finding the whole man, as low as he found Adams body then, fallen in Originall sin, yet erects us by a new breath of life, in the Sacrament of Baptisme, and yet we fall lower then before we were raised, from Originall into Actuall, into Habituall sins; So low, as that we think not, that we need, know not, that there is a resurrection; and that is the wonderfull, that is the fearfull fall.
Though those words, Quomodo cecidisti de Coelo, Lucifer, How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, the Son of the morning? be ordinarily applied to the fall of the Angels, yet it is evident, that they are literally spoken of the fall of a man: It deserves wonder, more then pity, that man, whom God had raised, to so Noble a heighth in him, should fall so low from him. Man was borne to love; he was made in the love of God; but then man falls in love; when he growes in love with the creature, he falls in love: As we are bid to honour the Physitian, and to use the Physitian, but yet it is said in the same Chapter, He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hands of the Physitian; It is a blessing to use him, it is a curse to rely upon him, so it is a blessing to glorifie God, in the right use of his creatures, but to grow in love with them, is a fall: For we love nothing that is so good as our selves; Beauty, Riches, Honour, is not so good as man; Man capable of grace here, of glory hereafter. Nay as those things, which we love, in their nature, are worse then we which love them, so in our loving them, we endeavor to make them worse then they in their own nature are; by over-loving the beauty of the body, we corrupt the soule, by overloving honour, and riches, we deflect, and detort these things, which are not in their nature ill, to ill uses, and make them serve our ill purposes: Man falls, as a fall of waters, that throwes downe, and corrupts all that it embraces. Nay beloved, when a man hath used those wings, which God hath given him, and raised himselfe to some heighth in religious knowledge, and religious practise, as Eutichus, out of a desire to hear Paul preach, was got up into a Chamber, and up into a window of that Chamber, and yet falling asleep, fell downe dead; so we may fall into a security of our present state, into a pride of our knowledge, or of our purity, and so fall lower, then they, who never came to our heighth. So much need have we of a resurrection.
So sin is a fall, and every man is affraid of falling, even from his temporall station; more affraid of falling, then of not being raised. And Qui peccat, quatenus peccat, fit seipso deterior: In every sin a man falls from that degree which himselfe had before; In every sin, he is dishonoured, he is not so good a man, as he was; impoverished, he hath not so great a portion of grace as hee had; Infatuated, hee hath not so much of the true wisedome of the feare of God, as he had; disarmed, he hath not that interest and confidence in the love of God, that he had: and deformed, he hath not so lively a representation of the Image of God, as before. In every sin, we become prodigals, but in the habit of sin, we become bankrupts, afraid to come to an account. A fall is a fearfull thing, that needs a raising, a help; but sin is a death, and that needs a resurrection; and a resurrection is as great a work, as the very Creation it selfe. It is death in semine, in the roote, it produces, it brings forth death; It is death in arbore, in the body, in it selfe; death is a divorce, and so is sin; and it is death in fructu, in the fruit thereof; sin plants spirituall death, and this death produces more sin, Obduration, Impenitence, and the like.
Be pleased to returne, and cast one halfe thought upon each of these: Sin is the roote of death; Death by sin entred, and death passed upon all men, for all men have sinned. It is death because we shall dye for it. But it is death in it selfe, We are dead already, dead in it; Thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead, was spoken to a whole Church. It is not evidence enough, to prove that thou art alive, to say, I saw thee at a Sermon; that spirit, that knowes thy spirit, he that knowes whether thou wert moved by a Sermon, melted by a Sermon, mended by a Sermon, he knows whether thou be alive or no.
That which had wont to be said, That dead men walked in Churches, is too true; Men walk out a Sermon, or walk out after a Sermon, as ill as they walked in; they have a name that they live, and are dead: But the houre is come, and now is, when the dead shall heare the voice of the Son of God: That is, at these houres they may heare, if they will, and till they doe heare, they are dead. Sin is the root of death, the body of death, and then it is the fruit of death. S. Augustine confesses of himselfe, that he was Allisus intra parietes in celebritate solemnitatum tuarum, that in great meetings upon solemne dayes, in the Church, there, within the walls of Gods house, Egit negotium procurandi fructus mortis, he was not buying and selling doves, but buying and selling soules, by wanton looks, cheapning and making the bargaine of the fruits of death, as himselfe expresses it. Sin is the root, and the tree, and thr fruit of death; The mother of death, death it selfe, and the daughter of death; and from this death, this threefold death, death past in our past sins, present death in our present insensiblenesse of sin, future death in those sins, with which sins God will punish our former, and present sins, (if he proceed meerly in justice) God affords us this first resurrection.
How? Thus. Death is the Divorce of body and soule; Resurrection is the Re-union of body and soule: And in this spirituall death, and resurrection, which we consider now, and which is all determined in the soule it selfe, Grace is the soule of the soule, and so the departing of grace, is the death, and the returning of grace is the resurrection of this sinfull soule. But how? By what way, what meanes? Consider Adam; Adam was made to enjoy an immortality in his body; He induced death upon himselfe: And then, as God having made Marriage for a rememdy against uncleannesse, intemperate men make even Marriage it selfe an occasion of more uncleannesse, then if they had never married; so man having induced and created death, by sin, God takes death, and makes it a means of the gloryifying of his body, in heaven. God did not induce death, death was not in his purpose; but veluti medium opportunum, quo vas confractum rursus fingeretur, As a means, whereby a broken vessell might be made up againe, God tooke death, and made it serve for that purose, That men by the grave might be translated to heaven.
So then, to the resurrection of the body, there is an ordinary way, The grave; To the resurrection of the soule, there is an ordinary way too, The Church. In the grave, the body that must be there prepared for the last resurrection, hath wormes that eat upon it: In the Church, the soule that comes to this first resurrection, must have wormes, The worme, the sting, the remorse, the compunction of Conscience; In those that have no part in this first resurrection, the worme of conscience shall never die, but gnaw on, to desperation; but those that have not his worme of conscience, this remorse, this compunction, shall never live. In the grave, which is the furnace, which ripens the body for the last resurrection, there is a putrefaction of the body, and an ill savour: In the Church, the wombe where my soule must be mellowed for this first resurrection, my soul, which hath the savour of death in it, as it is leavened throughout with sin, must stink in my nostrils, and I come to a detestation of all those sins, which have putrified her. And I must not be afraid to accuse my selfe, to condemne my selfe, to humble my selfe, lest I become a scorne to men; Nemo me derideat ab eo medico aegrum sanari, a quo sibi praecestitum est ne aegrotaret; Let no man despise me, or wonder at me, that I am so humbled under the hand of God, or that I fly to God as to my Physitian when I am sick, since the same God that hath recovered me as my Physitian when I was sick, hath been his Physitian too, and kept him from being sick, who, but for that Physitian, had been as ill as I was: At least he must be his Physitian, if ever he come to be sick, and come to know that he is sick, and come to a right desire to be well. Spirituall death was before bodily; sinne before the wages of sin; God hath provided a resurrection for both deaths, but first for the first; This is the first resurrection, Reconciliation to God, and the returning of the soule of our soule, Grace, in his Church, by his Word, and his seales there.
Now every repentance is not a resurrection; It is rather a waking out of a dreame, then a rising to a new life: Nay it is rather a startling in our sleep, then any awaking at all, to have a sudden remorse, a sudden flash, and no constant perseverance. Awake thou that sleepest, sayes the Apostle, out of the Prophet: First awake, come to a sense of thy state; and then arise from the dead, sayes he, from the practice of dead works; and then, Christ shall give thee light: life, and strength to walk in new wayes. It is a long work, and hath many steps; Awake, arise, and walke, and therefore set out betimes; At the last day, in those, which shall be found alive upon the earth, we say there shall be a sudden death, and a sudden resurrection, In raptu, in transitu, in ictu oculi, In an instant, in the twinckling of an eye; but do not thou trust to have this first Resurrection. In raptu, in transitu, in ictu oculi, In thy last passage upon thy death-bed, when the twinckling of the eye, must be the closing of thine eyes: But as we assign to glorified bodies after the last Resurrection, certain Dotes, (as well as we call them in the Schoole) certaine Endowments, so labour thou to finde those endowments, in thy soule here, if thou beest come to this first resurrection.
Amongst those Endowments we assigne Subtilitatem, Agilitatem; The glorified bodie is become more subtile, more nimble, not encumbered, not disable for any motion, that it would make; So hath that soule, which is come to this first Resurrection, by grace, a spirituall agility, a holy nimblenesse in it, that it can slide by tentations, and passe through tentations, and never be polluted; follow a calling, without taking infection, by the ordinary tentations of that calling. So have those glorified bodies Claritatem, a brightnesse upon them, from the face of God; and so have these soules, which are come to this first resurrection, a sun in themselves, an inherent light, by which they can presently distinguish betweene action and action; what must, what may, what must not bee done. But of all the endowments of the glorified body, we consider most, Impassibilitatem, That that body shall suffer nothing; and is sure that it shall suffer nothing. And that which answers that endowment of the body most in this soule, that is come to this first resurrection, is as the Apostle speaks, That neither persecution, sicknesse, nor death, shall separate her from Christ Iesus. In Heaven we doe not say, that our bodies shall devest their mortality, so, as that naturally they could not dye; for they shall have a composition still; and every compounded thing may perish: but they shal be so assured, and with such a preservation, as they shall alwaies know that they shall never dye. S. Augustine saies well, Assit motio, absit fatigatio, assit potestas vescendi, absit necessitas esuriendi; They have in their nature a mortality, and yet be immportall; a possibility and an impossibility of dying, with those two divers relations, one to nature, the other to preservation, will consist together. So in this soule, that hath this first Resurrection from sin, by grace, a conscience of her owne infirmity, that she may relapse, and yet a testimony of the powerfulnesse of Gods Spirit, that easily she shall not relapse, may consist well together. But the last seale of this holy confidence is reserved for that, which is the third acceptation of the first Resurrection; not from peresecutions in this world, nor from sin in this world, but from all possibility of falling back into sin, in the world to come; and to this, have divers Expositors referred these words, this first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in this first Resurrection.
Now, a Resurrection of the soule, seemes an improper, an impertinent, an improbable, an impossible forme of speech; for, Resurrection implies death, and the soule does not dye in her passage to Heaven. And therefore Damascen makes account, that he hath sufficiently proved the Resurrection of the body (which seems so incredible) if he could prove any Resurrection; if there be any Resurrection at all, saies he, it must be of the body, for the soule cannot dye, therefore not rise, Yet have not those Fathers, nor those Expositors, who have in this text, acknowledged a Resurrection of the soule, mistaken nor miscalled the matter. Take Damacens owne definition of Resurrection: Resurrectio est ejus quod cecidit secunda surrectio: A Resurrection is a second rising to that state, from which any thing is formerly fallen. Now though by death, the soule do not fall into any such state, as that it can complaine, (for what can that lack, which God fils?) yet by death, the soule fals from that, for which it was infused, and poured into man at first; that is, to be the forme of that body, the King of that Kingdome; and therefore, when in the generall Resurrection, the soule returnes to that state, for which it was created, and to which it hath had an affection, and a desire, even in the fulnesse of the Joyes of Heaven, then, when the soule returnes to her office, to make up the man, because the whole man hath, therefore the soule hath a Resurrection; not from death, but from a deprivation of her former state; that state, which she was made for, and is ever enclined to.
But that is the last Resurrection; and so the soule hath part even in that last Resurrection; But we are in hand with the first Resurrection of the soule; and that is, when that soule, which was at first breath’d from God, and hath long suffered a banishment, a close imprisonment in this body, returnes to God againe; The returning of the soule to him, from whom it proceeded at first, is a Resurrection of the soule. Here then especially, I feele the straitnesse of time; two considerations open themselves together, of such a largenesse, as all the time from Moses his In principio, when time began, to the Angels Affidavit, in this booke, That shall say and sweare, that time shall be no more, were too narrow to contemplate these two Hemispheres of Man, this Evening, and Morning of Mans everlasting day; The miseries of man, in this banishment, in this emprisonment, in this grave of the soule, the body, And the glory, and exaltation of that soule in her Resurrection to Heaven. That soule, which being borne free, is made a slave to this body, by coming to it; It must act, but what this body will give it leave to act, according to the Organs, which this body affords it; and if the body be lame in any limme, the soule must be lame in her operation, in that limme too; It must doe, but what the body will have it doe, and then it must suffer, whatsoever that body puts it to, or whatsoever any others will put that body to: If the body oppresse it selfe with Melancholy, the soule must be sad; and if other men oppresse the body with injury, the soule must be sad too; Consider, (it is too immense a thing to consider it) reflect but one thought, but upon this one thing in the soule, here, and hereafter, In her grave, the body, and in her Resurrection in Heaven; That is the knowledge of the soule.
Here saies S. Augustine, when the soule considers the things of this world, Non veritate certior, sed consuetudine securior; She rests upon such things as she is not sure are true, but such as she sees, are ordinarily received and accepted for truths: so that the end of her knowledge is not Truth, but opinion, and the way, not Inquisition, but ease: But saies he, when she proceeds in this life, to search into heavenly things, Verberatur luce veritatis, The beames of that light are too strong for her, and they sink her, and cast her downe, Et ad familiaritatem tenebrarum suarum, non electione sed fatigatione convertitur; and so she returnes to her owne darknesse, because she is most familiar, and best acquainted with it; Non electione, not because she loves ignorance, but because she is weary of the trouble of seeking out the truth, and so swallowes even any Religion to escape the paine of debating, and disputing; and in this lazinesse she sleeps out her lease, her terme of life, in this death, in this grave, in this body.
But then in her Resurrection, her measure is enlarged, and filled at once; There she reads without spelling, and knowes without thinking, and concludes without arguing; she is at the end of her race, without running; In her triumpth, without fighting, In her Haven, without sayling: A free-man, without any prentiship; at full yeares, without any wardship; and a Doctor, without any proceeding: She knowes truly, and easily, and immediately, and entirely, and everlastingly; Nothing left out at first, nothing worne out at last, that conduces to her happinesse. What a death is this life? what a resurrection is this death? For though this world be a sea, yet (which is most strange) our Harbour is larger then the sea; Heaven infinitely larger then this world. For, though that be not true, which Origen is said to say, That at last all shall be saved, nor that evident, which Cyril of Alexandria saies, That without doubt the number of them that are saved, is far greater then of them that perish, yet surely the number of them, with whom we shall have communion in Heaven, is greater then ever lived at once upon the face of the earth: And of those who lived in our time, how few did we know? and of those whom we did know, how few did we care much for? In Heaven we shall have Communion of Joy and Glory with all, alwaies, Vbi non intrat inimicus, nec amicus exit, Where never any man shall come in that loves us not, nor go from us that does.
Beloved, I thinke you could be content to heare, I could be content to speake of this Resurrection, our glorious state, by the low way of the grave, till God by that gate of earth, let us in at the other of precious Stones. And blessed and holy is he, who in a rectified conscience desires that resurrection now. But we shall not depart far from this consideration, by departing into our last branch, or conclusion, That this first Resurrection may also be understood to be the first riser Christ Jesus; and Blessed and holy is he that hath part in that first Resurrection.
This first Resurrection is then without any detorting, any violence, very applicable to Christ himself, who was Primitiae dormientium, in that, that action, That he rose again, he is become (sayes the Apostle) the first fruits of them that sleep: He did rise, and rise first; others rose with him, none before him: for S. Hierome taking the words as he finds them in that Euangelist, makes this note, That though the graves were opened, at the instant of Christs death, (death was overcome, the City opened the gates) yet the bodies did not rise till after Christs Resurrection. For, for such Resurrections as are spoken of, That women received their dead raised to life again, and such as are recorded in the old and new Testament, they were all unperfect and temporary resurrections, such, as S. Hierome sayes of them all, Resurgebant iterum morituri; They were but reprieved, not pardoned; They had a Resurrection to life, but yet a Resurrection to another death. Christ is the first Resurrection; others were raised; but he only rose; they by a forraine, and extrinsique, he by his owne power.
But we call him not the first, in that respect onely; for so he was not onely the first, but the onely; he alone rose by his owne power; but with relation to all our future Resurrections, he is the first Resurrection. First, If Christ be not raised, your faith is in vaine, saies the Apostle; You have a vaine faith if you beleeve in a dead man. He might be true Man, though he remained in death; but it concernes you to beleeve, that he was the Son of God too; And he was declared to be the Son of God, by the Resurrection from the dead. That was the declaration of himselfe, his Justification; he was justified by the Spirit, when he was proved to be God, by raising himselfe. But thus our Justification is also in his Resurrection. For, He was raised from the dead, for our Iustification: how for ours? That we should be also in the likenesse of his Resurrection. What is that? that he hath told us before; Our Resurrection in Chirst is, that we should walke in newnesse of life.
So that then Christ is the first Resurrection, first, Efficiently, the onely cause of his owne Resurrection; First, Meritoriously, the onely cause of our Resurrection; first, Exemplarily, the onely patterne, how we should rise, and how we should walke, when we are up; and therefore, Blessed and happy are we, if we referre all our resurrections to this first Resurrection Christ Jesus. For as Iob said of Comforters, so miserable Resurrections are they all without him.
If therefore thou need and seeke this first Resurrection, in the first acceptation, a Resurrection from persecutions, and calamities, as they oppresse thee here, have thy recourse to him, to Christ. Remember that at the death of Christ, there were earthquakes; the whole earth trembled; There were rendings of the Temple; Schismes, Convulsions, distractions in the Church will be: But then, the graves opened in the midst of those commotions; Then when thou thinkest thy selfe swallowed, and buried in affliction, as the Angell did his, Christ Jesus shall remove thy grave stone, and give thee a resurrection; but if thou thinke to remove it by thine owne wit, thine owne power, or the favour of potent Friends, Digitus Dei non est hic, The hand of God is not in all this, and the stone shall lye still upon thee, till thou putrifie into desperation, and thou shalt have no part in this first Resurrection.
If thou need, and seek this frist resurrection, in the second acceptation, from the fearfull death of hainous sin, have thy recourse to him, to Christ Jesus, and remember the waight of the sins that lay upon him: All thy sins, and all thy Fathers, and all thy childrens sins, all those sins that did induce the first flood, and shall induce the last fire upon this world; All those sins, which that we might take example by them to scape them, are recorded and which, lest we should take example by them, to imitate them, are left unrecorded; all sins, of all ages, all sexes, all places, all times, all callings, sins heavy in their substance, sins aggravated by their circumstances, all kinds of sins, and all particular sins of every kind, were upon him, upon Christ Jesus; and yet he raised his holy Head, his royall Head, though under thornes, yet crowned with those thornes, and triumphed in this first Resurrection: and his body was not left in the Grave, nor his soule in Hell. Christs first tongue was a tongue that might be heard, He spoke to the Shepheards by Angels; His second tongue was a Star, a tongue which might be seene; He spoke to the Wisemen of the East by that. Hearken after him these two waies; As he speakes to thine eare, (and to thy soul, by it) in the preaching of his Word, as he speakes to thine eye, (and so to thy soule by that) in the exhibiting of his Sacraments: And thou shalt have thy part in this first Resurrection. But if thou thinke to overcome this death, this sense of sin, by diversions, by worldly delights, by mirth, and musique, and society, or by good works, with a confidence of merit in them, or with a relation to God himselfe, but not as God hath manifested himselfe to thee, not in Christ Jesus, The stone shall lye still upon thee, till thou putrifie into desperation, and then hast thou no part in this first Resurrection.
If thou desire this first Resurrection in the third acceptation, as S. Paul did, To be dissolved, and to be with Christ, go Christs way to that also. He desired that glory that thou doest; and he could have laid down his soul when he would; but staid his houre, sayes the Gospel. He could have ascended immediately, immediately in time, yet he staid to descend into hell first; and he could have ascended immediately of himself, by going up, yet he staid till he was taken up. Thou hast no such power of thine own soul and life, not for the time, not for the means of comming to this first Resurrection by death; Stay therefore patiently, stay chearfully Gods leasure till he call; but not so over-chearfully, as to be loath to go when he cals. Reliefe in persecution by power, reconciliation in sin by grace, dissolution, and transmigration to heaven by death, are all within this first Resurrection: But that which is before them all, is Christ Jesus.
And therefore, as all that the naturall man promises himself without God, is impious, so all that we promise our selves, though by God, without Christ, is frivolous. God, who hath spoken to us by his Son, works upon us by his Son too; He was our Creation, he was our Redemption, he is our Resurrection. And that man trades in the world without money, and goes out of the world without recommendation, that leaves out Christ Jesus. To be a good Morall man, and refer all to the law of Nature in our hearts, is but Diluculum, The dawning of the day; To be a godly man, and refer all to God, is but Crepusculum, A twylight; But the Meridionall brightnesse, the glorious noon, and heighth, is to be a Christian, to pretend to no spirituall, no temporall blessing, but for, and by, and through, and in our only Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus; for he is this first Resurrection, and Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in this first Resurrection.
Anthem O Praise the Lord by Adrian Batten
An organ voluntary is inserted here, following the pattern described by James Clifford in his The divine services and anthems usually sung in His Majesties chappell and in all cathedrals and collegiate choires in England and Ireland (London, 1664).