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Do we now again go about to fetch him out of his glory, to scorn and crucify him? I fear to say it: God's Spirit dare and doth; They crucify again to themselves the Son of God, and make a mock of him: to themselves, not in himself: that, they cannot: it is no thank to them; they would do it. See, and consider: the notoriously sinful conversations of those, that should be Christians, offer violence unto our glorified Saviour: they stretch their hand to heaven, and pull him down from his throne to his Cross: they tear him with thorns, pierce him with nails, load him with reproaches. Thou hatest the Jews, spittest at the name of Judas, raileston Pilate, condemnest the cruel butchers of Christ; yet, thou canst blaspheme, and swear him quite over, curse, swagger, lie, oppress, boil with lust, scoff, riot, and livest like a debauched man; yea, like a human beast; yea, like an unclean devil
. Cry Hosanna as long as thou wilt, thou art a Pilate, a Jew, a Judas, an Esecutioner of the Lord of Life; and, so much greater shall thy judgment be, by how much thy light, and his glory, is more.
O Beloved, is it not enough, that he died once for us? Were those pains so light, that we should every day redouble them? Is this the entertainment, that so gracious a Saviour hath deserved of us by dying? Is this the recompence of that infinite love of his, that thou shouldest thus cruelly vex and wound him with thy sins? Every of our sins is a thorn, and nail, and spear to bim. While thou pourest down thy drunken carouses, thou givest thy Saviour a potion of gall: while thou despisest his poor servants, thou spittest on his face: while thou puttest on thy proud dresses, and liftest up thy vain heart with high conceits, thou settest a crown of thorns on his head: while thou wringest and oppressest his poor children, thou whippest him, and drawest blood of his hands and feet. Thou Hypocrite, how darest thou offer to receive the Sacrament of God, with that hand, which is thus imbrued with the blood of him whom thou receivest? In every Ordinary, thy profane tongue walks, in the disgrace of the religious and conscionable. Thou makest no scruple of thine own sins, and scornest those that do: not to be wicked, is crime enough. Hear him, that saith, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Saul strikes at Damascus; Christ suffers in heaven. Thuu strikest; Christ Jesus smarteth, and will revenge. These are the usepruata, afterings of Christ's sufferings. In himself it is finished; in his members it is not, till the world be finished. We must toil, and groan, and bleed, that we may reign: if he had not done so, I had not been finished. This is our warfare: this is the region of our sorrow and death.
Now are we set upon the sandy pavement of our theatre, and are matched with all sorts of evils; evil men, evil spirits, evil accidents; and, which is worst, our own evil hearts; temptations, crosses, persecutions, sicknesses, wants, infamies, death: all these must, in our courses, be encountered by the law of our profession. What should we do but strive and suffer, as our General hath done, that we may reign as lie doth; and once triumph in our Consummatum est? God and his angels sit upon the syaifolds of heaven, and behold us; our crown is ready: our day of deliverance shall come; yea, our redemption is near, when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes; and we, that have sown in tears, shall reap in joy. In the mean time, let us possess our souls, not in patience only, but in comfort: let us adore and magnify our Saviour in his sufferings, and imitate him in our own: our sorrows shall have an end; our joys shall not: our pains shall soon be finished; our glory shall be finished, but never ended.
4. Thus his sufferings are finished: now, together with them, MAN'S SALVATION.
Who knows not, that man had made himself a deep debtor, a bankrupt, an outlaw to God? Our sins are our debts; and, by sins, death. Now, in this word and act, our sins are discharged, death endured, and therefore we cleared: the debt is paid, the score is crossed, the creditor satisfied, the debtors acquitted, and, since there was no other quarrel, saved.
We are all sick, and that mortally: Sin is the disease of the soul: Quot vitia, tot febres, saith Chrysostom, “so many sins, so many fevers," and those pestilent. What wonder is it, that we have so much plague, while we have so much sin? Our Saviour is the Physician: The whole need not the Physician, but the sick : wherein? He healeth all our infirmities: he healeth them, after a miraculous manner; not by giving us receipts, but by taking our receipts for us. A wonderful Physician; a wonderful course of cure: one while he would cure us by abstinence; our superfluity, by his forty day's emptiness, according to that old rule, Hunger cures the diseases of gluttony: another while, by exercise; He went up and down from city to city, and in the day was preaching in the temple; in the night, praying in the mount : then, by diet; Take, eat, this is my body; and Let this cup pass : after that yet, by sweat; such a sweat as neyer was, a bloody one: yet more, by incision; they pierced his hands, feet, side: and yet again by potion; a bitter potion, of vinegar and gall: and, lastly, which is both the strangest and strongest receipt of all, by dying; Which died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him; 1 Thess. v. 10. We need no more; we can go no further: there can be no more physic of this kind: there are cordials after these, of his Resurrection and Ascension; no more penal receipts. By this blood we have Redemption; Eph. j. 7: Justification; Rom. iii. 24: Reconciliation; Col. i. 20: Sanctification; 1 Pet. i. 2: Entrance into Glory; Heb. x. 19.
Is it not now finished? Woe were us, if he had left but one mite of satisfaction upon our score, to be discharged by our souls! and woe be to them, that derogate from Christ, that they may charge themselves; that botch up these all-sufficiently meritorious sufferings of Christ, as imperfect, with the superfluities of flesh and blood! Maledictus homo, qui spem ponit in homine. We may not with patience see Christ wronged by his false friends; as that heroical Luther said in the like, « Cursed be that silence, that here forbeareth *"
To be short, here be two injuries intolerable: both give Christ
* Maledictum silentium quod hic connivet.
the lie upon his Cross. It is finished: no; somewhat remains: 'the tault is discharged, not the punishment: of punishments, the eternal is quit, not the temporal. It is finished by Christ: no; there wants yet much; the satisfaction of Saints applied by his Vicar: add men's sufferings unto Christ's; then, the treasure is full; till then, Il is not finished.
Two qualities strive for the first place in these two opinions; Impiety and Absurdity: I know not whether to prefer.
For Impiety; here is God taxed of Injustice, Unmercifulness, Insufficiency, Falsehood: of Injustice, that he forgives sin, and yet punishes for that which he hath forgiven: Unmercifulness, that he forgives not while he forgives, but doth it by halves: Insufficiency, that his ransom must be supplied by men: Falsehood, in that he saith, It is finished, when it is not.
For Absurdity; how gross and monstrous are these positions ! that at once the same sin should be remitted and retained! that there should be a punishment, where there is no fault! that what could strike off our eternal punishment, did not wipe off the temporal! that he, which paid our pounds, sticks at our farthings that God will retain what man may discharge! that it is, and it is not finished!
If there be any opinions, whose mention confutes them, these are they. None can be more vain; none had more need of solidity: for this prop bears up, alone, the weight of all those millions of indulgences, which Rome creates and sells to the world. That Strumpet would well-near go naked, if this were not. These spiritual treasures fetched in the temporal; which yet our reverend and learned Fulke justly calls a most blasphemous and beggarly principle. It brings in whole chests, yea mines of gold, like the Pope's Indies; and hath not so much as a rag of proof to cover it, whether of Antiquity, of Reason, of Scripture: not of Antiquity; for these jubilee proclamations began but about three hundred years ago: not of Reason; how should one mere man pay for another, dispense with another, to another, by another not of Scripture; which hath flatly said, The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, purgeth us from all sin: and yet I remember that acute * Sadeel hath taught me, that this practice is according to Scripture: what Scripture ? He cust the money-changers out of the temple, and said, Ye have made my house a den of thieves: which also Joachim, their prophetical abbot, well applies to this purpose.
Some modest Doctors of Louvaine would fain have minced this antichristian blasphemy; who began to teach, that the Passions of the Saints are not so by indulgences applied, that they become true satisfactions; but that they only serve to move God, by the sight of them to apply unto us Christ's satisfaction. But these mealmouthed Divines were soon charmed: four several Popes, as their Cardinal † confesses, fell upon the neck of them and their opinion : Leo the tenth, Pius the fifth, Gregory the thirteenth, and Clemens the sixth: and with their furious Bulls bellow out threats against them, and toss them in the air for heretics, and teach them upon pain of a curse, to speak home with Bellarmin, Passionibus sanctorum expiari delicta ; and straight, dpplicari nobis sanctorum passiones ad redimendas penas, quas pro peccatis Deo debemus : “That by the sufferings of saints, our sins are expiated;" and, “ That, by them applied, we are redeemed from those punishments, which we yet owe to God."
* Negotiatores terræ sunt ipsi sacerdotes, qui vendunt orationes et missas pro denariis ; facientes domum orationis, upothecanı negotiationis. In Rev 1. x. p. 5. ť Bellar. lib. i. de Indulgent.
Blasphemy, worthy the tearing of garments! How is it finished by Christ, if men must supply? o Blessed Saviour, was every drop of thy blood enough to redeem a world; and do we yet need the help of men? How art thou a perfect Saviour, if our brethren also must be our redeeniers? O ye blessed Saints, how would you abhor this sacrilegious glory! and, with those holy apostles, yea, that glorious angel, say, Vide ne feceris; and, with those wise virgins, lest there will not be enough for us and you, go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves! For us, we envy not their multitude: let them have as many saviours as saints, and as many saints as men: we know with Ambrose, Christi passio adjutore non eguit ; “ Christ's passion needs no helper:" and, therefore, with that worthy Martyr, dare say, “None but Christ, none but Christ.” Let our souls die, if he cannot save them: let them not fear their death or torment, if he have finished.
Hear this, thou Languishing and Afflicted Soul: there is not one of thy sins, but it is paid for; not one of thy debts in the scroll of God, but it is crossed: not one farthing of all thine infinite ransom is unpaid. Alas, thy sins, thou sayest, are ever before thee, and God's indignation goes still over thee; and thou goest mourning all the day long, and, with that pattern of distress, criest out, in the bitterness of thy soul, I have simned, what shall I do to thee, O thou preserver of men? What shouldst thou do? turn and believe. Now thou art stung in thy conscience with this fiery serpent, look up with the eyes of faith to this Brazen Serpent, Christ Jesus, and be healed. Behold, his head is humbly bowed down in a gracious respect to thee: his arms are stretched out lovingly to embrace thee: yea, his precious side is open to receive thee, and his tongue interprets all these to thee for thine endless comfort; It is finished. There is no more accusation, judgment, death, hell for thee: all these are no more to thee, than if they were not: Who shall condemn? It is Christ which is dead.
I know how ready every man is to reach forth his hand to this dole of grace, and how angry to be beaten from this door of mercy. We are all easily persuaded to hope well, because we love ourselves well: which of all us in this great congregation takes exceptions to himself; and thinks, " I know there is no want in my Saviour; there is want in me: He hath finished, but I believe not, I repent not?” Every presumptuous and hard heart so catches at Christ, as if he had finished for all; as if he had broken down the gates of hell, and loosed the bands of death, and had made forgiveness as com
mon as life: Prosperitas stultorum perdit eos, saith wise Solomon; Ease slayeth the foolish, and the prosperity of fools destroyeth them ; vea, the confidence of prosperity. Thou sayest, God is merciful, ihy Saviour bounteous, his passion absolute : all these, and yet thou inavest be condemned. Merciful, not unjust; bountiful, not lavish; absolutely sufficient for all, not effectual to all. Whatsoever God is, what art thou? Here is the doubt: thou sayest well; Christ is the good Shepherd: wherein ? He gives his life : but for whom? for his sheep. What is this to thee? while thou art secure, profane, impenitent, thou art a wolf or a goat: My sheep hear my voice: what is his voice, but his precepts? Where is thine obedience to his commandments? If thou wilt not hear his Law, never hearken to his Gospel. Here is no more mercy for thee, than if there were no Saviour. He hath finished, for those in whom he hath begun: if thou. have no beginnings of grace as yet, hope not for ever finishing of salvation: Cone to me, all ye that are heavy laden, saith Christ: thou shalt get nothing, if thou come when he calls thee not. Thou art not called, and canst not be refreshed, unless thou be laden; not with sin, (this alone keeps thee away from God,) but with conscience of sin: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Is thy heart wounded with thy sin? doth grief, and hatred, strive within thee, whether shall be more? Are the desires of thy soul with God? Dost thou long for holiness, complain of thy imperfections, struggle against thy corruptions? Thou art the man: fear not; It is finished. That Law, which thou wouldest have kept, and couldest not, thy Saviour could and did keep for thee: that salvation, which thou couldest never work out alone (alas, poor impotent creatures, what can we do towards heaven without him, which cannot move on earth but in him?) he alone for thee hath finished. Look up, therefore, boldly to the throne of God; and, upon the truth of thy repentance and faith, know that there is no quarrel against thee in heaven, nothing but peace and joy. All is finished. He would be spitted on, that he might wash thee: he would be covered with scornful robes, that thy sins might be covered: he would be whipped, that thy soul might not be scourged eternally: he would thirst, that thy soul might be satisfied: he would bear all his Father's wrath, that thou mightest bear none: he would yield to death, that thou mightest never taste of it: he would be in sense for a time as forsaken of his Father, that thou mightest be received for ever.
Now bid thy soul return to her rest, and enjoin it David's task; Praise the Lord, O my soul; and, What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. And, as ravished from thyself with the sweet apprehension of his mercy, call all the other creatures to the fellowship of this joy, with that divine Isaiah; Rejoice, O ye heavens, for the Lord haih done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth; burst forth into praises, ye mountains : for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. And even now begin that heavenly song, which shall never end with those glorified saints; Praise, and ho-.