« הקודםהמשך »
are we bound to the goodness of God in this behalf! How many thanks and praises do we owe unto him for this our falvation, wrought by his dear and only Son Christ ! who became a pilgrim in earth, to make us citizens in heaven; who became the son of man, to make us the sons of God; who became obedient to the law, to deliver us from the curse of the law; who became poor, to make us rich; vile, to make us precious; subject to death, to make us live for ever. What greater love could we silly creatures desire or wish to have at God's hands?
Therefore, dearly beloved, let us not forget this exceeding love of our Lord and Saviour, let U9 not shew ourselves unmindful or unthankful toward him: but let us love him, sear him, obey him, and serve him. Let us consess him with our mouths, praise him with our tongues, believe on him with our hearts, and glorify him with our good works. Christ is the light, let us receive the light. Christ is the truth, let us believe the truth. Christ is the way, let us follow the way. And because he is our only master, our only teacher, our only shepherd, and chief captain; therefore let us become his servants, his scholars, his sheep, and his soldiers. As for sin, the flesh, the world, and the Devil, whose servants and bondslaves we were before Christ's coming, let us utterly cast them off, and defy them, as the chief and only enemies of our soul. And seeing we are once delivered from their cruel tyranny by Christ, let us never fall into their hands again, lest we chance to be in a worse case than ever we were before. Happy are they, faith the Scripture, that continue to the end. Be faithful, faith God, until death^and I will give thee a crown of life. Again, he faith in another place, He that puttetb bis hand unto the plough, and looketh hack, is not meet for the kingdom of God. Therefore let us be strong, steadfast, and unmoveable, abounding^ always in the works of the Lord. Let us receive Christ, not for a time, but for ever; let us believe his word, not for a time, but for ever; let us become his servants, not for a time, but for ever; in consideration that he hath redeemed and faved us, not for a time, but for ever; and will receive us into his heavenly kingdom, there to reign with him, not for a time, but for ever. To him therefore with the Father and the Holy Ghost be all honour, praise, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Good-Friday, concerning the Death and Passion of our
IT should not become us, well-beloved in Christ, being
us to have paid. And without payment, God the Father could never be at one with us. Neither was it possible to be loosed from this debt by our own ability. It pleased him therefore to be the payer thereof, ana to discharge us quite.
Who can now consider the grievous debt of sin, which could none otherwise be paid, but by the death of an Innocent, and will not hate sin in his heart? If God hateth sin so much, that he would allow neither man nor angel for the redemption thereof, but only the death of his only and well-beloved Son, who will not stand in sear thereof? If we, my friends, consider this, that for our sins this most innocent Lamb was driven to death, w« lhall have much more cause to bewail ourselves that we were the cause of his death, than to cry out of the malice and cruelty of the Jews, which pursued him to his death. We did the deeds wherefore he was thus stricken and wounded; they were only the ministers of our wickedness. It is meet then that we should step low down into our hearts, and bewail our own wretchedness and sinful living. Let us know for a certainty, that if the most dearly beloved Son of God was thus punished and stricken for the sin which he had not done himself; how much more ought we sore to be stricken for our daily and manifold sins which we commit against God, if we earnestly repent us not, and be not lorry for them? No man can love sin, which God hateth so much, and be in his favour. No man can fay that he loveth Christ truly, and have his great enemy (sin I mean, the author of his death) familiar and in friendship with him. So much do we love God and Christ, as we hate sin. We ought therefore to take great heed, that we be not favourers thereof, lest we be found enemies to God, and traitors to Christ. For not only they, which nailed Christ upon the cross, are his
Heb. vi. tormentors and crucisiers; But all they, faith St. Paul, crucify again the Son of God, as much as is in them, •who do
Ronuvi. commit vice and fin, ivhich brought him to his death. If tit wages of fin he death, and death everlajling, surely it is *>
Rore.viii. small danger to he in service thereof. If we live after ibl jlesh, and aster the finful lujls thereof, St. Paul threateneth, yea, Almighty God in St. Paul threateneth, that we shall surely die. We can none otherwise live to God, but by dying to sin. If Chrijl he in us, then is fin dead « vs: and if the Spirit of God he in us, which raised Chris from death to life, so shall the fame Spirit raise us to the fi
Rom. i. furreilio/i of everlajling life. But if fin rule and nig* w tu, then is God, which is the fountain of all grace and virtue, departed from iis: then hath the Devil and his ungracious spirit rule and dominion in us. And surely if in such miserable state we die, we shall not rise to lise, but fall down to death and damnation, and that without end. For Christ hath not se redeemed us from sin, that we may Christ ha* sasely return thereto again: but he hath redeemed us, noi redeemthat we should forfake the motions thereof, and live to^'u*t[^m righteousness. Yea, we be therefore wafted in our bap- we stiouM tisin from the silthiness of sin, that we should live after- ">e in fin. ward in the pureness of life. In baptism we promised to renounce the Devil and his suggestions, we promised to be, as obedient children, always following God's will and pleasure. Then if he be our Father indeed, let us give him his due honour. If we be his children, let us mew him our obedience, like as Christ openly declared his obedience to his Father, which, as St. Paul writeth,PhU. H. was ohedient even to the very death, the death of the crofs. And this he did for us all that believe in him. For him-i self he was not punished, for he was pure and undesiled of all manner of sin. He was wounded, faith Ifaiah, for ourUitihUlt' ivickedness, and jlripped for our fins: he suffered the penalty of them himself, to deliver us from danger: He hare, laith Ifaiah, all our fores and insirmities upon his own hack. No pain did he refuse to suffer in his own body, that he might deliver us from pain everlasting. Hi? pleasure it was thus to do for us; we deserved it not. Wherefore the more we see ourselves bound unto him, the more he ought to be thanked of us, yea, and the more hope may we take, that we shall receive all other good -i vthings of his hand, in that we have received the gift of his only Son, through his liberality. For if God, faith St. Paul, bath not spared bis own Son from pain and punish- Rom. viu« ment, but delivered him for us all unto the death; how should he not give us all other things with him? If we want any thing, either for hody or foul, we may lawfully and boldly approach to God as to our merciful Father, to ask that we desire, and we shall obtain it. For such power is given to Jobn i• us, to be the children of God, so many as believe in Christ's name. In his name whatsoever we ajk, we shall Man. ri, have it granted us. For so well pleased is the Father Al- • mighty God with Christ his son, that for his fake he favoureth us, and will deny us nothing. So pleafant was this facrisice and oblation of his Son's death, which he so obediently and innocently suffered, that we should take it for the only and full amends for all the sins of the world.
And such favour did he purchase by his death, of his heavenly Father for us, that for the merit thereof (if we be true Christians indeed, and not in word only) we be now fully in God's grace again, and clearly dilcharged from our sin. No tongue surely is able to express the worthiness of this so precious a death. For in this standeth the continual pardon of our daily ofsences, in this resteth our justisication, in this we be allowed, in this is purchased Act«ir. the everlasting health of alL our souls. Yea, there is none other thing that can he named under heaven to save our fouls, but this only work of Christ's precious offering of his hody upon the altar of the crofs. Certainly there can be no work of any mortal man, be he never so holy, that shall be coupled in merits with Christ's most holy act. For no doubt, all our thoughts and deeds were of no value, if they were not allowed in the merits of Christ's death. . All our righteousness is far unpersect, if it be compared with Christ's righteousness: for in his acts and deeds there was no spot of sin, or of any unpersectness. And for this cause they were the more able to be the true Out deeds air,ends of our righteousness, where our acts and deeds be be fuii of full of impersection and insirmities, and therefore nothing imperfee- worthy ot themselves to stir God to any favour, much lels iI0n" to challenge that glory that is due to Christ's act and Psid. cxv. merit; For not to us, iaith David, not to us, but to tby name give the glory, 0 Lord. Let us therefore, good friends, with all reverence glorify his name, let us magnify and praise him for ever. For he hath dealt with us according to his great mercy; by himself hath he purHeb.i. chased our redemption. He thought it not enough to spare himself, and to send his angel to do this deed; but he would do it himself, that he might do it the better, and make it the more persect redemption. He was nothing moved with the intolerable pains that he fuffered in the whole course of his long passion, to repent him thus to do good to his enemies: but he opened his heart for us, and bestowed himself wholly for the ransoming of us. Let us therefore now open our hearts again to him, and study in our lives to be thankful to luch a Lord, and evermore to be mindful of so great a benesit; yea, let us A^siIvii take up our crols with Christ, and follow him. His passion is not only the ransom and whole amends for our sin, but it is also a most persect example of all patience and fufferance. For if it behoved Christ thus to luffer, and to enter into the glory of his Father; why should it not become us to bear patiently our small crolses. of adversity,