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quam mortis: being come into this life in our mortal nature, he could not go out of this life any other way but by death. Ideo dictum, "says he, therefore it is said, to God the Lord belonged the issues of death; tit ostenderetur moriendo nos salvos facturum, to show that his way to save us was to die. And from this text doth Saint Isidore prove that Christ was truly man (which as many sects of heretics denied, as that he was truly God), because to him, though he were Dominus Dominus (as the text doubles it), God the Lord, yet to him, to God the Lord, belonged the issues of death; oportuit eum pati; more cannot be said than Christ himself says of himself; These things Christ ought to suffer w; he had no other way but by death: so then this part of our sermon must needs be a passion sermon, since all his life was a continual passion, all our Lent may well be a continual Good Friday. Christ's painful life took off none of the pains of his death, he felt not the less then for having felt so much before. Nor will any thing that shall be said before lessen, but rather enlarge the devotion, to that which shall be said of his passion at the time of due solemnization thereof. Christ bled not a drop the less at the last for having bled at his circumcision before, nor will you a tear the less then if you shed some now. And therefore be now content to consider with me how to this God the Lord belonged the issues of death. That God, this Lord, the Lord of life, could die, is a strange contemplation; that the Red Sea could be dry, that the sun could stand still, that an oven could be seven times heat and not burn, that lions could be hungry and not bite, is strange, miraculously strange; but supermiraculous that God could die; but that God would die is an exaltation of that. But even of that also it is a super-exaltation, that God
"Lake, xxiv. 26.
should die, must die, and non exitus (said . Saint Augustine), God the Lord had no issue but by death, and oportuit pati (says Christ himself), all this Christ ought to suffer, was bound to suffer; Deus ultimo Deus, says David, God is the God of revenges, he would not pass over the son of man unrevenged; unpunished. But then Deus ultionum libre egit (says that place), the God of revenges works freely, he punishes, he spares whom he will. And would he not spare himself? he would not : Dilectio fortis ut more, love is strong as death30; stronger, it drew in death, that naturally is not welcome. Si possible, says Christ, if it be possible, let this cup pass, when his love, expressed in a former decree with his Father, had made it impossible. Many waters quench not love ". Christ tried many: he was baptised out of his love, and his love determined not there; he mingled blood with water in his agony, and that determined not his love; he wept pure blood, all his blood at all his eyes, at all his pores, in his flagellation and thorns (to the Lord our God belonged the issues of blood), and these expressed, but these did not quench his love. He would not spare, nay, he could not spare himself. There was nothing more free, more voluntary, more spontaneous than the death of Christ. It is true, libere egit, he died voluntarily; but yet when we consider the contract that had passed between his Father and him, there was an oportuit, a kind of necessity upon him: all this Christ ought to suffer. And when shall we date this obligation, this oportuit, this necessity? When shall we say that began? Certainly this decree by which Christ was to suffer all this was an eternal decree, and was there any thing before that that was eternal? Infinite love, eternal love; be pleased to follow this home, and to consider it 30 Cant. Tiii. 6. 31 Vers. 7.
seriously, that what liberty soever we can conceive in Christ to die or not to die; this necessity of dying, this decree is as eternal as that liberty; and yet how small a matter made he of this necessity and this dying? His Father calls it but a bruise, and but a bruising of his heel33 (the serpent shall bruise his heel), and yet that was that the serpent should practise and compass his death. Himself calls it but a baptism, as though he were to be the better for it. I have a baptism to be baptised with *,- and he was in pain till it was accomplished, and yet this baptism was his death. The Holy Ghost calls it joy (for the joy which was set before him he endured the cross )35, which was not a joy of his reward after his passion, but a joy that filled him even in the midst of his torments, and arose from him; when Christ calls his calicem a cup, and no worse ( Can ye drink of my cup)36, he speaks not odiously, not with detestation of it. Indeed it was a cup, salus mundo, a health to all the world. And quid retribuam, says David, What shall I render to the Lord31? Answer you with David, Accipiam calicem, I will take the cup of salvation; take it, that cup is salvation, his passion, if not into'your present imitation, yet into your present contemplation. And behold how that Lord that was God, yet could die, would die, must die for our salvation. That Moses and Elias talked with Christ in the transfiguration, both Saint Matthew and Saint Mark38 tells us, but what they talked of, only Saint Luke; Dicebant excessum ejus, says he, They talked of his decease, of his death, which was to be accomplished at Jerusalem*. The word is of his exodus, the very word of our text, exitus, his issue by death. Moses, who in his exodus
m Gen. iii. 15. 3* Lake, xii. 40. M Heb. xii. 2.
36 Matt. xxii. 22. i Psalm cxvi. 12.
3B Matt. xvii. 3; Mark, ix. 4. M Luke, ix. 31.
had prefigured this issue of our Lord, and in passing Israel out of Egypt through the Red Sea, had foretold in that actual prophecy, Christ passing of mankind through the sea of his blood; and Elias, whose exodus and issue of this world was a figure of Christ's ascension; had no doubt a great satisfaction in talking with our blessed Lord, de excessu ejus, of the full consummation of all this in his death, which was to be accomplished at Jerusalem. Our meditation of his death should be more visceral, and affect us more because it is of a thing already done. The ancient Romans had a certain tenderness and detestation of the name of death ; they could not name death, no, not in their wills; there they could not say, Si mori contigerit, but si quid humanitas contingat, nor if or when I die, but when the course of nature is accomplished upon me. To us that speak daily of the death of Christ (he was crucified, dead, and buried), can the memory or the mention of our own death be irksome or bitter? There are in these latter times amongst us that name death freely enough, and the death of God, but in blasphemous oaths and execrations. Miserable men, who shiHl therefore be said never to have named Jesus, because they have named him too often; and therefore hear Jesus say, Nescivi vos, I never knew you, because they made themselves too familiar with him. Moses and Elias talked with Christ of his death only in a holy and joyful sense, of the benefit which they and all the world were to receive by that. Discourses of religion should not be out of curiosity, but to edification. And then they talked with Christ of his death at that time when he was in the greatest height of glory, that ever he admitted in this world, that is, his transfiguration. And we are afraid to speak to the great men of this world of their death, but nourish in them a vain imagination of immortality and immutability. But bonum est nobis esse hk (as Saint Peter said there), It is good to dwell here, in this consideration of his death, and therefore transfer we our tabernacle (our devotions) through some of those steps which God the Lord made to his issue of death that day. Take in the whole day from the hour that Christ received the passover upon Thursday unto the hour in which he died the next day. Make this present day that day in thy devotion, and consider what he did, and remember what you have done. Before he instituted and celebrated the sacrament (which was after the eating of the passover), he proceeded to that act of humility, to wash his disciples' feet, even Peter's, who for a while resisted him: in thy preparation to the holy and blessed sacrament, hast thou with a sincere humility sought a reconciliation with all the world, even with those that have been averse from it, and refused that reconciliation from thee? If so, and not else, thou hast spent that first part of his last day in a conformity with him. After the sacrament he spent the time till night in prayer, in preaching, in psalms: hast thou considered that a worthy receiving of the sacrament consists in a continuation of holiness after, as well as in a preparation before? If so, thou hast therein also conformed thyself to him; so Christ spent his time till night. At night he went into the garden to pray, and he prayed prolixious, he spent much time in prayer, how much? Because it is literally expressed, that he prayed there three several times40, and that returning to his disciples after his first prayer, and finding them asleep, said, Could ye not watch with me one hour*1, it is collected that he spent three hours in prayer. I dare scarce ask thee whither thou wentest, or how thou disposedst of thyself, when it grew dark and after last night. If 40 Luke, xxii. 24. 41 Matt. xxvi. 40.