« 上一頁繼續 »
told, Sir, there is money enough in the king's exchequer to discharge all your debts. This is very true, but what is that to him? What comfort hath he by it, unless the king make him an offer to come, and take freely for his discharge? And a cold comfort were it to us to know Christ to be sufficient for us, unless he invite us to take freely of the waters of life, “ Ho
Hok, every one of you that thirsteth, come you to the waters." Thus, unless Christ be offered to us, as well as for us, we are never the
Now to make this appear; observe that in every sacrament there are two acts of the minister. The one hath relation to God, a commemoration of the sacrifice, in which respect the ancient fathers called it a sacrifice: the other, the breaking of the bread, and pouring out of the wine; wherein there is a commemoration of the body broken, and the blood shed, not as they are concomitants, the wine in the bread, as the foolish papists dream, for that were rather a commemoration of his life than of his death, when the blood runs in the veins. The commemoration of Christ's death is made by separation of the blood from the body; and as there is one act of the minister in consecrating by breaking the body, and pouring out the blood, so there is a second act which is ministerial. When the minister saith, “ Take, eat, this is
my body;" as if Christ were present, and said, “ Come, take my body;" thou hast as free an interest to it, as when thou art invited to thy friend's table thou hast a right to the meat before thee. So that as Christ was once offered for thee, so he is, in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, offered to thee: and what now should hinder thee; unless thou art one that will obstinately oppose thy own salvation, and say, “I will not have this man to rule over me,” thou canst not miscarry. But if thou wilt be thine own lord, perish in thine infidelity. Here be the keys of the kingdom of heaven given unto God's ministers; unless thou wilfully oppose thine own salvation, and shut the
k Isaiah, chap. 55. ver. l.
door of salvation which Christ hath opened so wide for thee. See, the ways of God are plain. Christ hath paid a great price for thee; and then, as great as it is, he offers it to thee.
Now for the former of these, which is Christ's satisfaction made unto the Father for us, I made choice of this place of Scripture, which sets it out particularly. Herein two things are to be observed.
1. The person who it is that will thus humble himself. The apostle grounds his exhortation on the fourth verse; where he tells us, we ought not to look
every man on his own things, but every man on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” If Christ had looked only on his own things, he might have saved himself a great deal of labour and pains. He being the Son of God, might, as soon as he was born, have challenged a seat with God in glory: he need not have gone per viam, he might be comprehensor in meta : but he would pass on to his journey's end in a thorny and troublesome way.
- Let then the same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus ;" who minded not his own things, but the good of others.
2. What it was wherein he humbled himself. took upon him the form of a servant, and was obedient unto the death of the cross.” The highest humiliation that can be, that he who is above all praise, whom angels adored, that he should be brought from heaven to earth; and not only be a pilgrim there, but have a sorrowful and pitiful pilgrimage ; and at last be cut off by a shameful death from the land of the living. This humiliation hath no parallel.
The depth of the humiliation consists in the height of the person thus humbled; and were not he so high, it could have done us no good. It is no small satisfaction that can appease God's wrath: therefore the apostle, ini the epistle to the Hebrews, speaking of Melchisedech, the type of Christ, concludes,“ how great this man was."
1 Heb. chap. 7. ver. 4.
Consider the invaluable price that was paid for thee, and how great he was who paid it ; who being in the form of God, he who was fellow, and fellow-like with God, as good as himself, as great as himself, was thus humbled. It was the second person in the sacred Trinity, he, and no other, that was thus humbled for thee : he was weary for thee, and reviled for thee, sweated and fainted for thee, hungered for thee, and was buffeted for thee. It was he, the second person of the blessed Trinity, in proper speech, without either trope or figure, shed his blood for thee, died for thee; and suffered all these things in his assumed nature, taking on him the form of a servant, though not in his divine. He remaining God alone could not die, but die fain he would for thee; therefore he took thy nature on him, that he might die for thee in that assumed nature. He took not on him the nature of angels, “ but the seed of Abraham.” He being the fountain of life, and the prime of our life, “ and without shedding of blood" no redemption can be wrought, having not blood to shed as God, therefore took our nature on him; as it is said : “ Sacrifice" and offering thou wouldst not, but a body thou hast prepared me: then, said I, lo, I come; in the volume of thy book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God.” As if he should have said, Lord, I am not able to accomplish thy will, or to be subject to thee in thy nature; therefore thou hast made me a man, that in the form of a servant I might shew obedience, which I could not while I was in nature equal unto thee. Now consider how great this person is that hath suffered all for thee. “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth:” to have a great prince bound like a thief, arraigned, and executed; the consideration of this state of the person would move a stony heart.
“ Hep is the Lord of lords, and King of kings."
Amongst men, the father is more honourable than the
m Heb. chap. 2. ver. 16. • Rev. chap. 1. ver. 5.
n Ibid. chap. 10. ver. 5.
son, and the son is but a servant, until he be emancipated: but it is not so in the divinity; but the Father and the Son are both alike honourable.
Among men, the son hath the same specifical nature with the father, but not the same individual: but it is not so in the divinity; the Father and the Son have the self same individual nature. “ 19 and
Father are one,” therefore there must be an equality. The Pharisees themselves could draw this conclusion, that if he were the Son of God, he was equal with God. “ Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he said, God was his father, making himself equal with God.” A man would think how could that follow? He was but God's son; but God's son must be equal with the father. In making himself God's son, he made himself equal with God: and therefore know, upon this, and by this stands the point of our redemption. If a pure and holy angel had suffered never so much, it would not have availed for our redemption. It is a price no man nor angel must meddle withal, it will require a greater price. It was God himself that suffered in his assumed nature: he, and no other person; (for we must understand, though Christ took on him the nature of a man, yet not the person man) here stands the point, the second person in the Trinity is the suppositum of all this humiliation : and therefore observe when the point of suffering comes, there is a remarkable speech. The Father seemeth to say concerning the Son, that it was against his heart to smite him. The expression was a lively one: it went to his heart to smite one that was his equal, that did him no wrong:
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow.” You know of whom it is spoken by Matthew, “ It will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.” “ They Lord is ready to break him.” The sword was, as it were, unwilling to smite. “ The man that is my fellow ?” A blow
4 John, chap. 10. ver. 30.
1 Ibid. chap. 5. ver. 18.
lighting on God's fellow, equal with God, of what value is it? Consider the difference betwixt a man and a man: the state of a prince makes great odds between that is done to him, and that is done to another man. When David would adventure himself into the battle, « Thou? shalt,” say they, “ go no more with us, lest thou quench the light of Israel;” and more fully: “ Thou art worth ten thousand of us." They would not hazard the person of the king in the battle, why? because " thou art worth ten thousand of us." The dignity of a prince is so great, that ten thousand will not countervail the loss of him. If this be the esteem and worth of David, what is the worth of David's Prince? If thus with a king, what with the King of kings, and Lord of lords?
This is a great ground of the sufficiency of Christ's suffering. Ifz the blood of bulls and goats sanctify to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works, to serve the living God?" It is not the offering of the body only, but he did it “ through his eternal spirit.” When the martyrs and saints offered themselves a sacrifice, they offered it through the flames of their love, and therefore embraced the stake; and love is described as strong as death: but Christ did not offer his sacrifice with the flames of his love, though love was in him the greatest that ever was; but with the everlasting flames of his Godhead and Deity; with that fire from heaven, which is a consuming fire? He did the deed, that will purge our consciences from dead works. “ Takea heed unto yourselves, and to the flock, over which the Holy Ghost made you overseers, to feed the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood :” God hath purchased the Church with his own blood: whose blood ? God's blood. The blood of God must be shed. “ He who thought it no robbery to be equal with God," must
* 2 Sam. chap. 21. ver. 17.
y Ibid. chap. 18. ver. 3.