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diceretur? says he there; What can be more obvious, more manifest, than this sense of these words? In the former part of the verse it is said, He that is our God is the God of salvation; Deus salvos faciendi, so he reads it, The God that must save us; Who can that be, saith he, but Jesus ? For therefore that name was given him, because he was to save us“: And to this Jesus, saith he, this Saviour, belongs the issues of death, Nec oportuit cum de hac vita alios exitus habere, quam mortis, Being come into this life in our mortal nature, he could not go out of it any other way than by death. Ideo dictum (saith he) therefore it is said, To God the Lord belong the issues of death; Ut ostenderetur moriendo nos salcos facturum, to show that his way to save us, was to die. And from this text doth St. 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 cum pati, more cannot be said, than Christ himself saith of himself, These things Christ ought to suffer “0; he had no other way but by death. So then, this part of our sermon must necessarily 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 anything that shall be said before, lessen, but rather enlarge your devotion to that which shall be said of his passion, at the time of the due solemnization thereof. Christ bled not a drop the less at last, for having bled at his circumcision before, nor will you shed 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 the 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 super-miraculous, 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 should die, must die ; and non exitus (saith St. Augustine) God the Lord had no issue but by death, and oportuit pati (saith Christ himself) all this Christ ought to suffer, was bound to suffer. Deus ultionum Deus, saith David, God is the God of revenges; he would not pass over the sin of man unrevenged, unpunished. But then, Deus ultionum libere 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 mors“, Love is as strong as death; stronger ; it drew in death, that naturally was not welcome. Si possibile (saith 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 baptized out of his love, and his love determined not there; he wept over Jerusalem 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 flagellations, and thorns; to the Lord our God belonged the issues of blood ; and these expressed, but these did not quench his love.
45 Matt. i. 21. 17 Exod. xiv, 21.
16 Luke xxiv. 26.
18 Josh. x. 12.
He would not spare, nay, he would 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 it began ? Certainly this decree by which Christ was to suffer all this, was an eternal decree; and was there anything before that that was eternal ? Infinite love, eternal love ; be pleased to follow this home, and to consider it 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 heel (The serpent shall bruise his heel 50) 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 baptized with 5); 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 cross5) which was not a joy of his reward after his passion, but a joy that filled him even in the midst of those torments, and arose from them. When Christ calls his passion calicem, a cup, and no worse, (Can ye drink of my cup 53,) he speaks not odiously, not with detestation of it; indeed it was a cup; salus mundo, a health to all the world; and quid retribuem, says David, What shall I render unto the Lord 54 ? Answer you with David, Accipiam calicem, I will take the cup of salvation. Take that, that cup of salvation his passion, if not into your present imitation, yet into your present contemplation, and behold how that Lord who was God yet could die, would die, must die for your salvation.
49 Cant. viii. 6.
That Moses and Elias talked with Christ in the transfiguration both St. Matthew 55 and St. Mark 56 tell us; but what they talked of, only St. Luke 67; 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 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's passing of mankind through the sea of his blood, and Elias, whose Exodus, and issue out 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 would not name death, no not in their wills; there they would not say, Si mori contingat, but Si quid humanitus contingat, not of 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 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 shall therefore be said never to have named Jesus, because they have named him too often ; and therefore hear Jesus say, Nescivi ros, 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 it. Discourses of religion should not be out of curiosity, but edification. And then they talked with Christ of his death, at that time when he was at 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 hic, (as St. Peter said there) It is good to dwell here, in this consideration of his death, and therefore transfer we our tabernacle, (our devotion) through some of these steps, which God the Lord made to his issue of death, that day,
50 Gen. iii. 15.
52 Heb. xii. 2. 59 Matt. xx. 22.
64 Psalm cxvi. 12. 55 Matt. xvii. 3. 56 Mark ix. 4.
57 Luke. ix. 31.
Take in his whole day, from the hour that Christ ate the passover upon Thursday, to 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 the 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 who have been averse from it, and refused that reconciliation from thee? If so, (and not else) thou hast spent that first part, of this 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 prolixius; he spent much time in prayer 58 How much? because it is literally expressed that he prayed there three several times, and that returning to his disciples after his first prayer, and finding them asleep, said, Could ye not watch with me one hours. 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 that time were spent in a holy recommendation of thyself to God, and a submission of thy will to his; then it was spent in a conformity to him. In that time, and in those prayers were his agony and bloody sweat. I will hope that thou didst pray; but not every ordinary and customary prayer, but prayer actually accompanied with shedding of tears, and dispositively, in a readiness to shed blood for his glory in necessary cases, puts thee into a conformity with him. About midnight he was taken and bound with a kiss. Art thou not too conformable to him in that? Is not that too literally, too exactly thy case? At midnight to have been taken, and bound with a kıss! From thence he was carried back to Jerusalem ; first to Annas, then to Caiaphas, and (as late as it was) there he was examined, and buffeted, and delivered over to the custody of those officers, from whom he received all those irrisions, and violences, the covering of his face, the spitting upon his face, the blasphemies of words, and the smartness of blows which that gospel mentions. In which compass fell that gallicinium, that crowing of the cock, which called up Peter to his repentance. How thou passedst all that time last night, thou knowest. If thou didst anything then that needed Peter's tears, and hast not shed them, let me be thy cock : do it now; now thy Master (in the unworthiest of his servants) looks back upon thee, do it now. Betimes in the morning, as soon as it was day, the Jews held a council in the high priest's house, and agreed upon their evidence against him, and then carried him to Pilate, who was to be his judge. Didst thou accuse thyself when thou wakedst this morning, and wast thou content to admit even false accusations, that is, rather to suspect actions to have been sin which were not, than to smother 58 Luke xxii. 44,
59 Matt. xxvi. 40.