Sivut kuvina

“' for us' made us a present without limit.” The sum of all, to adopt the condensed emphatic phraseology of Bishop Beveridge, is this :-“ Man can suffer, “ but he cannot satisfy; God can satisfy, but he can“ not suffer: but Christ, being both God and man, “ can both suffer and satisfy; and so is perfectly fit, " both to suffer for man, and to make satisfaction unto “ God, to reconcile God to man, and man to God.”

Thus have I endeavoured to state, establish, and defend from the principal objections, that great and fundamental doctrine of the new or Christian dispensation, whence it derived the name Evyyedsov, zodspell, Gospel, good or joyful news. It remains that I solicit your earnest attention to some striking and useful reflections upon the sufferings and cross of Christ, from authors who have already furnished me with quotations in this letter. : To the exterior view and carnal sense of men, our Lord was then (on the cross) indeed exposed to “ scorn and shame; but, to spiritual and sincere dis“ cerning, all his and our enemies did there hang up " as objects of contempt, utterly overthrown and un« done.

“ There the Devil, that strong and sturdy one, “ did hang up bound in chains, disarmed and rifled, “ quite baffled and confounded, mankind being rescued “ from his tyrannic power.

“ There the world, with its vain pomps, its coun.. “ terfeit beauties, its bewitching pleasures, its fondly “ admired excellencies, did hang up all defaced and “ disparaged; as it appeared to St. Paul: for God

forbid (saith he) that I should glory, save in the * cross of Christ, by which the world is crucified to me and I unto the world.

“ There, in a most lively representation, and most “ admirable pattern, was exhibited the mortification s of our flesh, with its affections and lusts; and our old man was crucified that the body of sin might be destroyed.

“ There our sins, being (as St. Peter telleth us) “ carried up by him unto the gibbet, did hang as marks 6 of his victorious prowess, as malefactors, by him condemned in the flesh, as objects of our horror and “ hatred.

“ There death itself hung gasping, with its sting “ pulled out, and all its terrors quelled; his death “having prevented ours, and induced immortality,

“ There all wrath, enmity, strife (the banes of s comfortable life), did hang abolished in his flesh “ and slain upon the cross, by the blood whereof he made peace, and reconciled all things in heaven " and earth. .

“ This consideration is, farther, most useful to “ render us very humble and sensible of our weakness, “our vileness, our wretchedness. For how low was " that our fall, from which we could not be raised 66 without such a depression of God's only Son ? How “ great is that impotency, which needed such a succour 66 to relieve it? How abominable must be that ini“quity, which might not be expiated without so costly 66 à sacrifice ? How deplorable is that misery, which “could not be removed without commutation of so

« strange a suffering? Would the Son of God have e so emptied ('EAUTÒN ÉXVWJE. Phil. ii. 7) and debased “ himself for nothing ? Would he have endured such is pains and ignominies for a trifļe ? No, surely; if our “ guilt had been slight, if our case had been tolerable, * the Divine wisdom whould have chosen a more « cheap and easy remedy for us.

Is it not madness for us to be conceited of any i worth in ourselves, to confide in any merit of our works, to glory in any thing belonging to us, to “ fancy ourselves brave, fine, happy persons, worthy ks of great respect and esteem; whereas our unworthi“ ness, our demerit, our forlorn estate, did extort from “ the most gracious God a displeasure needing such a " reconciliation, did impose upon the most glorious Son “ of God a necessity to undergo such a punishment “ in our behalf?

Yet, while this contemplation doth breed sober « humility, it also should preserve us from base ab“ jectness of mind; for it doth evidently demonstrate “ that, according to God's infallible judgment, we are very considerable; that our souls are capable of “ high regard : that it is a great pity we should be lost " and abandoned to ruin. For surely, had not God “ much esteemed and respected us, he would not for - our sakes have so debased himself, or deigned to “ endure so much for our recovery; Divine justice 66 would not have exacted or accepted such a ransom 6 for our souls, had they been of little worth. We 6 should not therefore slight ourselves, nor demean 66 ourselves like sorry contemptible wretches, as if we 6 deserved no consideration, no pity from ourselves ; .. as if we thought our souls not worth saving, which “ yet our Lord thought good to purchase at so dear a (6 rate.” (n)

To this language of the eloquent and philosophic Dr. Barrow, allow me to add the following powerful expostulation of our Reformers. “ Canst thou think 66 of this, O sinful man, and not tremble within 66 thyself? Canst thou hear it quietly, without re“ morse of conscience and sorrow of heart? Did 66 Christ suffer his passion for thee, and wilt thou show 66 no compassion towards him ? While Christ was yet « hanging on the cross, and yielding up the ghost, the 6 Scripture witnesseth that the veil of the temple did rent in twain, and the earth did quake, that the 6 stones clave asunder, that the graves did open, and « the dead bodies rise ; and shall the heart of man be “ nothing moved to remember how grievously and 6 cruelly he was handled of the Jews for our sins ? “ Shall man show himself to be more hard-hearted than s stones, to have less compassion than dead bodies ? 66 Call to mind, O sinful creature, and set before thine “ eyes Christ crucified: think thou seest his body “ stretched out in length upon the cross, his head “ crowned with sharp thorns, and his hands and his “ feet pierced with nails, his heart opened with a long 6 spear, his flesh rent and torn with whips, his brows “ sweating water and blood : think thou hearest him “ now crying in an intolerable agony to his Father, “ and saying, My God, My God, why hast thou for

(n) Barrow's Sermon on the Passion.

6 saken me? Couldst thou behold this woful sight, or 6 hear this mournful voice, without tears, consider“ ing that he suffered all this not for any desert of his “ own, but only for the grievousness of thy sins ? 5 ( that mạnkind should put the everlasting Son of “God to such pains! O that we should be the occa“sion of his death, and the only cause of his con“ demnation! May we not justly cry, Woe worth the 6 time that ever we sinned? O, my brethren, let this “ image of Christ crucified be always printed in our 6 hearts ; let it stir us up to the hatred of sin, and 6 provoke our minds to the earnest love of Almighty “ God. For why? is not sin, think you, a grievous “ thing in his sight, seeing for the transgressing of “ God's precept he condemned all the world unto per“ petual death, and would not be pacified, but only " with the blood of his own Son ? " (0)

(0) Second Homily on the Passion, p. 359, Oxford edit. 1810. I beg leave to remark here, once for all, that the frequency of my quoting from the Homilies, and other discourses of great men amongst the Episcopalians, does not arise from my supposing they are of superior authority, or that they have clearer views of Scriptural truth, than Baxter, Howe, Watts, Doddridge, and some other eminent Dissenting authors ; but from the circumstance that these Letters were originally written for the benefit of a professed member of the Church of England ; and because a large portion of those who are adverse to the doctrines I am here defending, and which are so forcibly stated in the “ Articles” and 6. Homilies,” fancy themselves to be very “ sound Churchmen” notwithstanding

« EdellinenJatka »