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more than ordinary influence upon our salvation, otherwise, this season, dedicated to the memory thereof, would not have been so acceptable to the primitive Christians, to make them (as it were in revenge and faction against the late melancholy time of fasting and repentance) for its sake, to set up an anti-lent, and to appoint other forty days of feasting and triumph, which was more (as Tertullian boasteth) than all the solemn holidays of the heathen joined together. Yea, so scrupulous were they in the celebration of this feast (quite opposite to the solemn peevishness of some Christians of our times) that, for the whole space between Easter and Pentecost, as it is thought, they quite intermitted the works and exercise of their vocations: they would not suffer one fasting-day to appear; they left off their severity and discipline, their Vigilia and Stationes; nay, they would not, all that time, so much as de geniculis adorare (in the witty barbarous expression of the same father, in his book De corona militis) they would not shew so much faint-heartedness and dejection, as to kneel at prayers.
6. Therefore, instead of saying fine things of the fashion and contrivance of this business of Christ's resurrection; instead of raising matter of wonder and astonishment out of the glory and power of it; I will endeavour (being to conclude the solemn celebration of this feast) by way of use and application, to discover the issue and fruit thereof in respect of us: not only the convenience, but the extreme necessity, and the strict coherence, which our salvation has, not only upon the satisfaction and death, but upon the resurrection and life, of our blessed Saviour.
7. Now we find many things ascribed to Christ's life and death in Holy Scripture, only as to patterns and exemplary causes, being duties, which the consideration of Christ's death and resurrection ought proportionably to exact from us; as, if Christ be dead, then count yourselves also dead unto sin; if risen again, then count yourselves alive unto righteousness. For how it should come to pass, that so much of our holiness as makes up mortification, and no more, should be ascribed to Christ's death, as a proper effect and fruit thereof; and the rest, which is newness of life and obedience, should be imputed to his resurrection, I shall never be able to comprehend.
8. The benefits, therefore, which accrue unto us by Christ, I suppose may be divided either into those which flow from the merit of his death, or from the power and influence of his life. In the former, are comprehended all whatsoever Christ hath done for us; in the latter, whatsoever he doth or will work in us. And both being extremely necessary, it shall be this hour's employment, to shew with what good reason we celebrate a feast at this time, that we should not terminate our contemplation only on the great love and bowels of compassions on Good Friday expressed unto us; but also, and with better reason, on the joy and comfort, which with great reason we may collect from this business of Easter, even that lively hope whereunto we are regenerated by the resurrection of Christ: and to join with St. Paul in his wonder and amazement, at the consideration of the infinite mercy and power of God; and thereupon his boasting and challenging, securely, all manner of adversaries: "Who is he that shall
lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again."
9. In which words are comprehended the great dependance and combination which our non-condemnation or salvation has, not only with the death and satisfaction of Christ, but also rather, even with advantage, on his resurrection. Now because they are so few, they cannot conveniently be divided, I will out of them raise this doctrinal proposition, namely, That Christ's resurrection and exaltation is fully as necessary and effectual to procure and perfect our salvation, if not more than even the all-sufficient sacrifice upon the
10. Which, that I may more fully and distinctly confirm it unto you, I will divide into two propositions, which, if sufficiently maintained, do necessarily infer the doctrine. The first whereof is this: That the purpose of Christ, who satisfied for our sins, and the covenant which he made with God, who accepted of this satisfaction, was not, that remission of sins should immediately ensue upon his death, but only upon performance of the conditions of the new covenant made in Christ's blood; which are, unfeigned repentance for sin, and a serious conversion unto God by faith. The Second, That by the dominion and power of Christ, which at his resurrection, and not before, he received as a reward of his great humility; we are not only enabled to the performance of the conditions of this new covenant, and, by consequence, made capable of an actual application of his satisfaction; but also, by the same power, we shall
hereafter be raised up, and exalted to everlasting happiness. Of these two propositions, therefore, in the order proposed, very briefly, and even too plainly. And first of the first, namely, That the purpose of Christ, who, &c.
11. I confess, it would be no hard matter for a disputant, meeting with an adversary that would be content to be swayed and governed by reason alone, to molest, and even fright him from the truth of this doctrine: for, if we shall consider, not only the excessive, unspeakable torments which Christ suffered for us, but especially the infinite majesty and glory of the person, who willingly submitted himself to that curse; what less reward can be expected, than the present deliverance and salvation, not only of a few men, but even of many worlds of men and angels.
12. But it is not for us, beloved Christians, to set our price and value upon Christ's precious blood: to say, thus much it is worth, and no more. As there have not wanted men on the other side, who have dared to affirm, that Christ's blood, according to exact estimation, did amount to a certain value, by the worth and cost whereof, such a set number as shall be saved were redeemed and purchased: and if one besides should be delivered, it were more than the price of the blood came to. What a fearful dangerous curiosity is this? Is it not a piece of Judas's sin, to set our own estimation and value upon, to make a bargain and sale of Christ's death; to set up a kind of shambles to sell his flesh and blood in?
13. But leaving these vain, fantastical calculations to their chief professors, the schoolmen, who are so unreasonably addicted to this dreaming
learning, that nothing can escape their compass and balance: for, to omit their curious descriptions and maps of the dimensions and situation of heaven and hell; the figure, borders, islands of. both; they have undertaken to discover the exact, proportionable increase of the graces of the saints, especially of the blessed Virgin; whose good actions they have found to increase just in octupla ratione: so that, for example, her twentieth good action did exceed the first in virtue and intention of grace, as much as the whole earth doth exceed a grain of mustard-seed:
14. Is not this, beloved friends, a learning and wisdom to be pitied? Is not this that disease, which St. Paul discovers (1 Tim. vi.) the effect whereof is to make men sick about vain questions, and oppositions of science, falsely so called? Therefore, leaving these vain speculations, as likewise others about the business in hand, no less curious, and much more dangerous, yet securely stated in these days, almost in every pamphlet and synopsis; as, namely, Whether God could have contrived any course for man's salvation besides that which he prosecuted? Whether, without accepting any satisfaction to his justice, he could freely and absolutely have remitted our sins?
15. For what use and profit can be made of these questions, though with never so great subtilty and curiosity stated? Besides, we find that God had professed unto Adam, that his death, together with the destruction of all mankind, should be the reward of the breach of his covenant: by which means God's justice being interested in the business, the very grounds and foundation of this latter question are destroyed, the doubt and screw