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Most of a sermon on Colossians 3:1-2 by
Lancelot Andrewes 
in  Sermons, Volume Two
Preached before King James, at Whitehall, 
on the Eighteenth of April, A.D. MDCXIII. 
Colossians iii. 1, 2

The Wisdom of the Church hath so disposed of her readings in these great feasts, as lightly the Gospel lets us know what was done on the day, done for us, and the Epistle what is to be done by us.  To instance in this present: Surrexit Dominus vere, “The Lord is risen indeed,” saith the Gospel.  In Quo con-surrexistis et vos, “and you are risen with Him,” saith the Epistle. 

2. That which is in the Gospel is Christ’s act, what He did; that which in the Epistle our agendum, what we to do. 

3. Or rather both ours; 1. what He did, matter of faith; 2. what we to do, matter of duty, our agendum upon His act. 

The common sort look to Easter-day no farther than Easter-day fare, and Easter-day apparel; and other use they have none of it.  The true Christian enquireth farther, what is the agendum of the feast, what is the proper act of Easter-day?  The Church hath hers, and we have ours.  Nothing more proper to a Christian than to keep time with Christ, to rise with Him this day, Who this day did rise.  That so it may be Easter-day with us as it was with Him; the same that was the day of His, be also the day of our rising. 

[The sum.] 

Thus then it lieth.  Christ is risen, and if Christ, then we.  If we so be, then we “seek;” and that we cannot, unless we “set our minds.”  Which above?  Not “on earth,” so is the text, but “where Christ is.”  And why there?  Because where He is, there are the things we seek for, and here cannot find.  There “He is sitting;” –so at rest.  And “at the right hand;” –so in glory.  “God’s right hand;” –and so for ever.  These we seek, rest in eternal glory.  These Christ hath found, and so shall we, if we make this our agendum; begin this day to “set our minds” to search after them. 

[The two acts jointly: “Seek,” and “set your minds.”] 

Jointly; for disjoined they may not be. One is little worth without the other.  There be that seek, and be very busy in it, and yet savour not the things that are of God.  So sought a great Apostle once, and our Saviour did not let to tell him of it; ou froneiv, the very word here, “thou savourest not” [Matt. 16:23].  Men that are possessed with false principles, and yet fall a seeking; zealous in their way, but want true knowledge to fix their minds aright.  Now, “without knowledge,” saith Solomon truly, “the mind is not good,” and we know, mala mens malus animus, ‘the mind misled will set the affections awry straight.’… 

On the other side there be that… ‘savour Christ, but seek themselves’ [Phil. 2:21].  Of whom the Apostle, they have knowledge competent, but without so much as a spark of true endeavour.  Augustine saith, ‘undestand well enough, but coldly affected;’ so, sit still and seek not…. 

That in sunder they would not be, but joined ever.  Sapere without quaerere will not rise, but lie still; and quaerere without sapere will rise, but lead you astray. 


If we be risen to move and to seek, that is, to resolve that, with sitting still without seeking, what we are here willed to seek will not be had.  We shall not stumble on it, or hit upon it unawares; there needs a seeking.  If our Saviour knew the way well, it is hard to hit, “and few there be that find it.”  The short; there goeth search and enquiry to it, pains and diligence are requisite; we shall not come thither with the turning of a gin.  It were great folly when we see daily things here beneath without travail will not be come by, once to think things above will drop into our laps without any seeking. 

To seek then, but to do it to purpose, for that which we call seeking is nothing less.  Those, to whom the Prophet Esay said, If ye will seek, why then seek,” do it in earnest; it seems they sought so slightly, so slenderly, as it deserved not the name of seeking.  Pilate asked Quid est veritas? and then some other matter took him in the head, and so up he rose and went his way, before he had his answer; he deserved never to find what truth was.  And such is our seeking mostwhat, seldom or never seriously, but some question that comes cross our brain for the present, some quid est veritas? so sought as if that we sought were as good lost as found.  Yet this we would fain have go for seeking, but it will not be.  O is quaeritis quarite, saith Esay, --look the place, “The morning comes, so doth the night,” that is, our days spend apace, and we say we will seek.  If we will, let us follow it hard, make it our race with the one, our morning work with the other. 

[“Set your minds.”] 

We shall never seek as we should unless we put to the other word, set our minds on them.  For will a man ever kindly seek that he hath no mind to?  Never.  The mind is all.  Be it what it will, or when it will, above or beneath, if we affect it not, we shall seek but faintly.  That we may seek things above as it is meet, we must prize them, prize them as “a silver mine,” saith Solomon, as “a treasure hid in a field,” saith our Saviour, and go “sell all” to compass them.  Then shall we seek to some purpose. 

But in the word fronein there is more…It is a word the Apostle much useth, as being very significant, full and forcible.  Four things are in it: 
i) To set the mind, the mind not the fancy; not to take up a fancy and fall to seeking as we see many now-a-days, no ground in the world but their own conceits… 
ii) It is then and act of the understanding, but not of it alone…It is as to set our mind, not our fancy, so our mind, not only to know it, but to mind it….Not only to distinguish tastes, but in and with the taste to feel some delight, to have a sense of the sweetness withal, which will make us seek it again plus magis; and without it our seeking will be but unsavoury. 
iii) So to savour it…that to seek is our wisdom…Moses saith, “this shall be your wisdom,’ before God and man, and you so to reckon of it; even this, to seek things above, and to think when ye are about your business, ye are about a point of high wisdom,a nd that to perform it well is the wisest action of our life. 
iv) To hold it our wisdom; and last, I ask what wisdom?  Not that which doth contemplate,…but the active wisdom…To show that not only our grounds for judgment, but our rules for action, are to be set thence.  Thither to get us, thence to derive our reasons, why we do things, or leave them undone.  Thus to cast with ourselves.  This that now I am about, He That sitteth on high at God;s right hand, what will He say or think of it?  May I offer it to Him?  Will He allow of it?  Will He help me forward with it?  Will He in the end reward me for it?… 

[“the things that are above”] 
We yield presently, in our sense, to seek to be above others in favour, honour, place and power, and what not?  We keep the text fully in this sense, we both seek, and set our whole minds upon this…On earth…there be high places, we would not have them taken away, we would offer in them, and offer for them too, for a need.  And there is a right hand here too, and some sit at it, and almost none but thinks so well of himself as why not he?… 

All our above is above one another here, and is ambitious above, and farther it mounteth not.  But this is not the Apostle’s, not the “above,” not “the right hand” he meaneth….To take away as he goes all mistaking, he explains his “above” two ways… “not upon earth;” … “above,” there “above where Christ is, that is, “not on earth.” 

The fault he finds, the fault of our “above” is, it is not above enough, it is too low, it is not as high as it should be.  It should be higher, above the hills; higher yet, above the clouds; higher yet, higher than our eye can carry, above the Heavens.  There now, we are right. 
…And if nature would have us no moles, grace would have us eagles, to mount “where the body is.”  And the Apostle goeth about to breed in us a holy ambition, telling us we are … ‘born for higher matters’ than any here; therefore not to be so base minded as to admire them, but to seek after things above… 

Come to the last now.  And why this place above?  I shall tell you: for there is Christ, and Him we seek to-day it it be Easter day with us; and if we seek where He is, He is above certainly… 

[What the things “above” are: rest and glory] 

We seek rest; specially, they that are tossed in a tempest, how do they desire a good haven, a harbour of rest! and sure here we “dwell in Mesech,” meet with much disquietness.  None but sometimes hath sense of the verse in the Psalm: “Oh that I had wings like a dove! then would I fly and be at rest.”  And the more our incolatus is prolonged, the more we seek it, find it how we may. 

And it is not the body’s trouble so much but invenietis requiem animabus, to find rest for our souls; --that is it.  And the soul is from above, and but in her own place never finds it.  “Turn thee to thy rest O my soul;” –that is worth all.  But both are best, and not after all our turmoils here in this world to hear, non introibunt in requiem meam in another world, but to be cast into that place where there is no rest day nor night; but enter into His rest, which in the Epistle to the Hebrews he so much beats upon. 

And verily if we seek rest, glory we seek much more.  For for it we are content to deprive ourselves of all rest, which otherwise we love sell enough.  And a restless course we enter into, and hold out in it all our life long, and all to win it, though it be but a little before our death.  For no rest will satisfy or give us full content, unless it be on the right hand. 

These two then we seek for: where are they to be found?  Not in quae supra terram; not here therefore, but folly to seek them here.  We are by all means to avoid their error, that sought this day to “seek the living among the dead,” a thing where it is not to be had. 

Never seek to set up our rest here, in this tumultuous troublesome place, “this vale of Achor” right, as Osee; this trocov, as St. James, a “wheel” ever whirling about…Where we shall soon be diseased with a surgite postquam sederitis, ‘after we sit a little, quickly disquieted again.’  The Prophet Micah tells us plain… "here we cannot have it, this is not our rest” [Mic. 2:10]. 

Never seek for true glory here: why? ‘It is the place of fleas and of gnats this.’  In the garden, the place of our delight, we meet with worms; and there be spiders even in the King’s palace.  This place of worms and spiders, call ye this the place of glory in dust and cobwebs? 

Say it be, yet such is the nature of these two such as they be, the rest and the glory here, as they divide it still; have ye one, ye must quit the other.  They that are in glory have not the quietest life; and they that are most at rest, farthest off from being glorious.  Rest is here a thing inglorious, and glory a thing restless.  Thus it stands with us: Issachar’s condition like some [Gen 49:14]; rest is good though it be between a pair of panniers.  If that like us, we must live in this estate the most obscure of all the tribes.  But if we will have a name among the great ones of the earth, if be glorious, then farewell rest; we must take our lot among them that live not most at ease certainly.  For here they meet not, but are in sunder still. 

[“At the right hand of God.”] 

But say yet we could make them meet, be at all ease and in all glory together; seated, and seated “at the right hand” both.  Now come we to weigh the word Dei.  The right hand here, super terram, is not the right hand of God, but of a man, which shall wither, and within a certain of years, as the Prophet’s term is, “fall from the shoulder” [Job 32:21].  And so this rest, and this right hand, we can have no hold of either… 

Upon the point then.  Rest and glory we seek not barely, but we seek them so as they may endure; and our wish is, if it might be, even for ever.  And this may be had, but it will be had at no right hand but ad dexteram Dei, God’s only.  Then seek them there.  Not here, where either we shall seek and not find them, or find one from the other; or if both together, yet have no hold of them, but soon lose them again.  Seek where we may, nay, where we shall be sure to find them, where both will be had; and both together, and good assurance of both, even to eternity, as at God’s right hand, a right hand that withereth not.  If ye seek rest, let it be in His “holy Hill;” if glory, gloria in excelsis, where Christ is already; set, so at rest; at the right hand, so in glory; at God’s right hand, and so, in both for ever.  There they be, there “seek,” there “set your minds.” 

To withdraw ourselves, to sequester our minds from things here below, to think of Him, and of the place where hnow He is, and the things that will bring us thither. 

[The application to the time.] 

It is a prerogative that a Christian hath, to make it Easter any day in the year, by doing these duties on it.  They come no day amiss.  But no day so fit as this day, the very day of His rising.  Then of very congruity, we rise also.  For no reason in the world, if He rise, that we should lie still.  Nor is it food for us that He should rise without us, and leave us behind in the grave of our sins still.  But when He, then we too. 

Rising is not so propre to the day, but the two signs or two duties, call them which ye will, are as proper.  For this day was, indeed, a day of seeking.  “I know Whom you seek, ye seek Jesus That was crucified,” saith one Angel; “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”  saith another.  To rise when He rose, to seek Him when He was sought.  This day He was sought by men, sought by women.  Women, the three Maries; men, the two Apostles.  The women at charges, the Apostles at pains.  Early by the one, earnestly by the other.  So there was seeking of all hands. 

And they which sought not went to Emmaus, yet they set their minds on Him, had Him in mind, were talking of Him by the way.  So that these do very fitly come into the agendum of this day; thus to seek and set our minds.  At least not to lose Him quite, that day we should seek Him, nor have our minds farthest from Him that day they should be most upon Him. 

[To the Sacrament.] 

The Church by her office, or agendum, doth her part to help us herein, all she may.  The things we are willed to seek she sets before us, the blessed mysteries.  For these are from above; the “Bread that came down from Heaven,” the Blood that hath been carried “into the holy place” [John 6:50; Heb. 9:12].  And I add, ubi Christus; for ubi Corpus, ubi sanguis Christi, ibi Christus, I am sure.  And truly here, if there be an ubi Christus, there it is.  On earth we are never so near Him, nor He us, as then and there.  There in effecacia, and when all is done, efficacy, that is it must do us good, must raise us here, and raise us at the last day to the right hand; and the local ubi without it of no value. 

He was found in the “breaking of the bread:” that bread she breaketh, that there we may find Him.  He was found by them that had their minds on Him: to that end she will call to us, Sursum corda, ‘Lift up your hearts;’ which, when we hear it is but this text iterated, “Set your minds,” have your hearts where Christ is.  We answer, ‘We lift them up;’ and so I trust we do, but I fear we let them fall too soon again. 

Therefore, as before so after, when we hear, ‘Thou That sittest at the right hand of the Father;’ and when again, ‘Glory to God on heigh,’ all is but to have this.  But especially, where we may sentire and sapere quae sursum, and gustare donum caeleste, ‘taste of the heavenly gift,’ as in another place he speaketh; see in the breaking, and taste in the receiving, how gracious He was and is; was in suffering for us, is in rising again for us too, and regenerating us thereby “to a lively hope.”  And gracious in offering to us the means, by His mysteries and grace with them, as will raise us also and set our minds, where true rest and glory are to be seen. 

That so at this last and great Easter of all, the Resurrection-day, what we now seek we may then find; where we now set our minds, our bodies may then be set; what we now but taste, we may then have the full fruition of, even of His glorious Godhead, in rest and glory, joy and bliss, never to have an end.