Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

18.

Ezek.

SERM. were enemies, saith he again, we were reconciled to God by LXXII. the death of his son : When we were enemies, that implies

God antecedently to any man's conversion to have been appeased, and become favourably disposed toward all men, or toward those whom St. Paul speaketh unto, as men; so the reason of the case doth import, and so the analogy which St. Paul immediately after propounds between the results of Adam's transgression and our Saviour's obedience (as to provocation and reconciliation, to condemnation and absolution, to the intents of bringing death and life upon all men) doth enforce. Whence it is, that God declareth himself now to bear an universal good-will to mankind, that he doth earnest

ly desire the welfare of all men, and is displeased with the 1 Tim. ii. ruin of any man; that he would have all men to be saved, 2 Pet. iii. 9. and to come to the knowledge of the truth, because, there is Heb. vi. 16.

one Mediator between God and man; that he would not have any perish, but that all should come to repentance : this he affirms, yea (for the confirmation of our faith and our con

solation therein) he in the Evangelical Prophet swears it, As Xxxiii. 11.

I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. So far toward our salvation is done, God meets us half way; he is reconciled unto us, it remains only that we be reconciled to him ; that we hearken to the embassy from

him; Be reconciled to God. 2 Cor. y. 20.

2. Jesus is the Saviour of all men, by satisfying the divine justice, and repairing God's honour in their behalf. The disloyal and ingrateful behaviour of man had so wronged, so endamaged, so dishonoured God, (had so abused the goodness, disparaged the wisdom, slighted the power, impeached and slurred the authority of his Creator, had so prejudiced all the rights and interests of God,) that by the divine wisdom it was thought fit, that he should not be restored into a capacity of mercy and favour, without a signal compensation made, and an exemplary punishment undergone, whereby the right of God should conspicuously be asserted, his love of goodness and dislike

of wickedness should be remarkably demonstrated b, and' SERM, every creature in heaven and earth should be solemnly ad- XXXII. monished of its duty; of the reverence and obedience it owes to the great Creator, of the heinous guilt and horrible mischief it incurs by offending him. Such a compensation man was nowise able to make, or fit to undergo such a punishment: our Saviour therefore, out of infinite pity and charity, did undertake bothc; by a voluntary condescension putting Phil. ii. 7. himself into the low and weak state of man; subjecting himself unto that law which man was obliged unto, and suffering the pains which man had deserved. This he was pleased to do in man's behalf, and in our stead; and God was pleased to accept it as so done. d His incarnation (or exinanition of himself, as St. Paul calleth it) was an act of that high duty and goodness, that it in virtue surpassed all the obedience, which all creatures were able to render; that it yielded God more satisfaction and more honour than the joint endeavours of all the world could confer. His with Vide Cyrill. so intense charity and cheerfulness fulfilling all righteous-Conc. p. ness did far more please God, than all our most exact obe- 133, A.

καιώση την dience could have done ; his enduring bitter pains and dis- vSpács púgraces (considering the infinite dignity of his person, his , &c. near relation and dearness to God, his perfect innocence and rectitude, yea his immense charity, contentedness, and patience) more than countervailed the punishment due to the sins of all men. Such a payment was more than served to discharge all our debts, (it served to purchase an overplus of graces and blessings ;) so rich a price was more Eph. v. 2. than sufficient to ransom all the world from captivity; so Heb. x. 10. goodly, so pure, so sweet, so precious a sacrifice might ix. 12. worthily expiate and atone all the guilts of men.

in Eph.

1 Pet. i. 19.

• Λοιπόν δε οι άνθρωποι έκέτι κατά τα ίδια πάθη μίνεσιν, αμαρτωλοί και νεκροί. αλλά κατά την του λόγου δύναμιν ανασάντες αθάνατοι και άφθαρτοι αεί διαμένουσιν.. Athan. in Arian. Orat. iv. 485.

• Τότε γαρ και θάνατος, και κατάρα ελύετο, και δαίμονες κατησχύνοντο και εδειγματίζοντο θριαμβευόμενοι, και το χειρόγραφον των αμαρτιών το σταυρό προσηλύτο, &ς. Chrys. in Johan, i. 14.

d"Η ενσαρκος παρουσία του σωτηρο; θανάτι λύτρων και κτίσεως πάσης σωτηρία gizorin. Athan. ad Adelph. Ep.

[ocr errors]

5.

SERM. Now if we inquire what our Saviour did redeem, the LXXII.consideration of what he paid may, as St. Austin tells ę, Aug. in Ps. help to inform us; Quæritis quid emerit ? Videte quid de

dcrit, et invenite quid emerit. Do ye seek, saith he, what he bought? See what he gave, and find what he bought. How. ever, that as the value and sufficiency of our Lord's performances, so the design and effect thereof did reach so far in regard to man; that his charity was no less extensive than

his performance was complete, for our good, the holy ScripJolin i. 29. ture teaches us. For, He is the Lamb of God that taketh John vi. 51. away the sins of the world, saith the Baptist. And, The

bread, saith he, which I gave is my flesh, which I will give 1 John ii. 2. for the life of the world. And, He is a propitiation, saith

St. John, for our sins ; and not only for our sins, but for 1 Timn. ii. the sins of the whole world. And, He is the mediator of

God and man, who gave himself (avrímurgov inèg návrwv) a ranHeb. ii. 9. som, in the stead, and for all men, saith St. Paul. And, John xi. 50. He tasted death for every one, saith the author to the He

brews. And, He was that one Man, who, as it was expe2 Cor. v. 19. dient, did die for the whole nation of men. And, God was

in him, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their John iii. 17. sins. And, He came into the world, not to condemn the

world, but that the world might by him be saved, (or freed Rom. v. 18. from condemnation) And, As by the offence of one man

judgment came upon all men to condemnation, so by the righteousness of one, mercy came upon all to justification of life. The end we see of our Saviour's performances was, that he might wipe off the guilt of sin from all mankind f, that he might reverse the condemnation passed thereupon, and that he might remove the punishment due thereto; or, that, absolving the first man's sin, he might take it away from the whole race, as St. Athanasius speaks.

All men have sinned, and come short (or are destitute of Rom. iii. 23, 24.

the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, by the

xviii. 14. iii. 17.

* Μη θαυμάζης ει κόσμος όλος έλυτρώθη· ου γαρ ήν άνθρωπος ψιλός, αλλ' υιός Θιού μονογενής, ο υπεραποθνήσκων, &c. Cyrill. Cat. 13.

Ινα εκείνα λύων την αμαρτίαν, από παντός αυτήν άρη του γένους. Athan. φαες.

iv. 5.

10.

12.

redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Christ hath redeemed us SERM. from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.

He LXXII. was born under the law, that he might redeem those which Gal. iii. 13. were under the law. He that knew no sin was made sin,

2 Cor, v. (was punished and dealt with as a sinner,) that we might 21. be made the righteousness of God in him, that we might be capable of being esteemed and dealt with as righteous by God upon his account.) So that the result is, divine justice being fully satisfied, and the honour of God fully repaired, (in regard to all sins past and future,) the mouth of vengeance being stopped, the claims of death and hell being evacuated, that general sentence of condemnation (passed upon all the sons of Adam) is suspended, death ceases to reign by any just power, or inevitable necessity; (it is, as St. Paul saith, 2 Tim. i. abolished or abrogated as to any lawful right or necessary

Gal. ii. 10, force it hath ;) the rigour and severity of that law, which upon pain of death exacteth most punctual obedience, (and Rom. X. 5. which consequently doth expose all men to unavoidable condemnation,) is tempered and abated, a foundation is laid for the shewing mercy, and granting pardon. In respect whereto,

3. Our Lord is the Saviour of all men, as having in the behalf of mankind transacted and ratified a new covenant, very necessary for, and very conducible to, the salvation of mankind; whereby salvation is made attainable, and is really tendered unto all, upon feasible and equal conditions. According to the purport whereof upon any man (however stained or loaded with the guilt of most heinous transgressions) his embracing the overtures thereof, consenting to, and complying with the terms propounded therein, that is, sincerely believing, and seriously repenting; returning to God with hearty desires and earnest resolutions to serve him; God is ready to dispense mercy and pardon, and immediately receiveth the person into grace and favour with him; yea, the man continuing to perform a faithful, though imperfect, obedience, an obedience suitable to man's natural infirmity and frailty, and proportionable to the assistances afforded him ; God farther promiseth to bestow inestimable blessings and re

SERM. wards of joy and happiness. That covenant which the LXXII.

prophets implied of old, when (beside and beyond what Isa. i. 16. the Jewish law did import) they preached thus: Wash

you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings, Isa. i. 18. cease to do evil-though your sins be as scarlet, they shall

be as white as snow ; though they be red' as crimson, they Isa. Iv. 7. shall be as wool. · And, Let the wicked man forsake his

way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him

return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, Ezek. xviii. and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. And, If 21.

the wicked man will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lazoful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die, (so God in Isaiah and Ezekiel declareth his intention to proceed with men, avowing that way of his to be most equal and fair.) This is that covenant which our Lord

commanded his Apostles to declare and propound to all Mark xvi. mankind; Go ye, said he to them, into the rohole world,

and preach the Gospel to every creature; That Gospel acLuke xxiv. cording to which, as it is expressed in St. Luke, repent

ance and remission of sins ought to be preached in his name

to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem ; in respect to which, Acts v. 31. St. Peter says, that God hath exalted our Lord to be a prince

and a Saviour, to grant repentance to Israel, and remission of sins ; to grant repentance, that is, as the Apostle to the Hebrews and Clemens Romanus speak, meravoías Tómov,

room for repentance, or capacity to receive pardon upon Phil. iv. 3. repentance; concerning which covenant that Clemens,

(the fellow-labourer of St. Paul, and whom Clemens Qaumuria. Alexandrinus calleth an Apostle,) in that excellent, admi

rable, and almost canonical Epistle to the Corinthians,

which, as Eusebius and Jerome tell us, was anciently Evrhuisas publicly read in most Churches, hath these remarkably

. Euseb. full and clear expressions; 8 Let us, saith he, look stedfastly

15.

47.

Euseb.

8 'Ατενίσωμεν εις το αίμα του Χριστού, και ίδωμεν ώς έσι τίμιον το Θιώ αίμα αυτου, ότι δια την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν εκχυθεν, παντί τω κόσμο μετανοίας χάριν υπήνεγκεν. 'Ατινίσωμεν εις γενεάς πάσας, και καταμάθωμεν ότι εν γενεή και γενιά μετανοίας τόπον έδωκεν ο δισπότης τους βελομένους επισραφηνει σ' αυτόν. Clemad Corinth.

« EdellinenJatka »