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the lie upon his Cross. It is finished: no; somewhat remains: the fault is discharged, not the punishment: of punishments, the eter. nal is quit, not the temporal. It is finished by Christ: no; there wants yet much; the satisfaction of Saints applied by his Vicar: add men's sufferings unto Christ's; then, the treasure is full; till then, It is not finished.
Two qualities strive for the first place in these two opinions; Impiety and Absurdity: I know not whether to prefer.
For Impiety; here is God taxed of Injustice, Unmercifulness, Insufficiency, Falsehood: of Injustice, that he forgives sin, and yet punishes for that which he hath forgiven: Unmercifulness, that he forgives not while he forgives, but doth it by halves: Insufficiency, that bis ransom must be supplied by men: Falsehood, in that he saith, It is finished, when it is not.
For Absurdity; how gross and monstrous are these positions ! that at once the same sin should be remitted and retained! that there should be a punishment, where there is no fault! that what could strike off our eternal punishment, did not wipe off the temporal! that he, which paid our pounds, sticks at our farthings! that God will retain what man may discharge! that it is, and it is not finished!
If there be any opinions, whose mention confutes them, these are they. None can be more vain; none had more need of solidity; for this prop bears up, alone, the weight of all those millions of indulgences, which Rome creates and sells to the world. That Strumpet would well-near go naked, if this were not. These spiritual treasures fetched in the temporal; which yet our reverend and learned Fulke justly calls a most blasphemous and beggarly principle. It brings in whole chests, yea mines of gold, like the Pope's Indies; and hath not so much as a rag of proof to cover it, whether of Antiquity, of Reason, of Scripture: not of Antiquity; for these jubilee proclamations began but about three hundred years ago: not of Reason; how should one mere man pay for another, dispense with another, to another, by another? not of Scripture; which hath flatly said, The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, purgeth us from all sin: and yet I remember that acute * Sadeel hath taught me, that this practice is according to Scripture: what Scripture? He cast the money-changers out of the temple, and said, Ye have made my house a den of thieves: which also Joachim, their prophetical abbot, well applies to this purpose.
Some modest Doctors of Louvaine would fain have minced this antichristian blasphemy; who began to teach, that the Passions of the Saints are not so by indulgences applied, that they become true satisfactions; but that they only serve to move God, by the sight of them to apply unto us Christ's satisfaction. But these mealmouthed Divines were soon charmed: four several Popes, as their Cardinal + confesses, fell upon the neck of them and their opinion:
::;* Negotiatores terræ sunt ipsi sacerdotes, qui vendunt orationes et missas pro denariis ; facientes domum orationis, upothecanı negotiationis. In Rev, 1. x. p. 5. t Bellar, lib. i. de Indulgent,
Leo the tenth, Pius the fifth, Gregory the thirteenth, and Clemens the sixth: and with their furious Bulls bellow out threats against them, and toss them in the air for heretics, and teach them upon pain of a curse, to speak home with Bellarmin, Passionibus sanctorum expiari delicta; and straight, applicari nobis sanctorum passiones ad redimendas penas, quas pro peccatis Deo debemus: “ That by the sufferings of saints, our sins. are expiated;" and, “That, by them applied, we are redeemed from those punishments, which we yet owe to God.”
Blasphemy, worthy the tearing of garments! How is it finished by Christ, if men must supply? 0 Blessed Saviour, was every drop of thy blood enough to redeem a world; and do we yet need the help of men? How art thou a perfect Saviour, if our brethren also must be our redeemers? O ye blessed Saints, how would you abhor this sacrilegious glory! and, with those holy apostles, yea, that glorious angel, say, Vide ne feceris; and, with those wise virgins, lest there will not be enough for us and you, go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves! For us, we envy not their multitude: let them have as many saviours as saints, and as many saints as men: we know with Ambrose, Christi passio adjutore non eguit; “ Christ's passion needs no helper;" and, therefore, with that worthy Martyr, dare say, “None but Christ, none but Christ.”. Let our souls die, if he cannot save them; let them not fear their death or tor. ment, if he have finished.
Hear this, thou Languishing and AMicted Soul: there is not one of thy sins, but it is paid for; not one of thy debts in the scroll of God, but it is crossed: not one farthing of all thine infinite ransom is unpaid. Alas, thy sins, thou sayest, are ever before thee, and God's indignation goes still over thee; and thou goest mourning all the day long, and, with that pattern of distress, criest out, in the bitterness of thy soul, I have sinned, what shall I do to thee, O thou preserver of men? What shouldst thou do? turn and believe. Now thou art stung in thy conscience with this fiery serpent, look up with the eyes of faith to this Brazen Serpent, Christ Jesus, and be healed. Behold, his head is humbly bowed down in a gracious respect to thee: his arms are stretched out lovingly to embrace thee: yea, his precious side is open to receive thee, and his tongue interprets all these to thee for thine endless comfort; It is finished. There is no more accusation, judgment, death, hell for thee: all these are no more to thee, than if they were not: Who shall condemn? It is Christ which is dead.
I know how ready every man is to reach forth his hand to this dole of grace, and how angry to be beaten from this door of mercy. We are all easily persuaded to hope well, because we love our. selves well: which of all us in this great congregation takes excep. tions to himself; and thinks, " I know there is no want in my Saviour; there is want in me: He hath finished, but I believe not, I repent not?” Every presumptuous and hard heart so catches at Christ, as if he had finished for all; as if he had broken down the gates of hell, and loosed the bands of death, and had made forgiveness as com,
mon as life: Prosperitas stultorum perdit eos, saith wise Solomon; Ease slayeth the foolish, and the prosperity of fools destroyeth them; yea, the confidence of prosperity. Thou sayest, God is merciful, thy Saviour bounteous, his passion absolute: all these, and yet thou mayest be condemned. Merciful, not unjust; bountiful, not lavish; absolutely sufficient for all, not effectual to all. Whatsoever God is, what art thou? Here is the doubt: thou sayest well; Christ is the good Shepherd: wherein? He gives his life : but for whom? for his sheep. What is this to thee? while thou art secure, profane, impenitent, thou art a wolf or a goat: My sheep hear my roice: what is his voice, but his precepts? Where is thine obedience to his commandments? If thou wilt not hear his Law, never hearken to his Gospel. Here is no more mercy for thee, than if there were no Saviour. · He hath finished, for those in whom he hath begun: if thou have no beginnings of grace as yet, hope not for ever finishing of salvation: Come to me, all ye that are heavy laden, saith Christ: thou shalt get nothing, if thou come when he calls thee not. Thou art not called, and canst not be refreshed, unless thou be laden; not with sin, (this alone keeps thee away from God,) but with conscience of sin: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Is thy heart wounded with thy sin? doth grief, and hatred, strive within thee, whether shall be more? Are the desires of thy soul with God? Dost thou long for holiness, complain of thy imperfections, struggle against thy corruptions? Thou art the man: fear not; It is finished. That Law, which thou wouldest have kept, and couldest not, thy Saviour could and did keep for thee: that salvation, which thou couldest never work out alone (alas, poor impotent creatures, what can we do towards heaven without him, which cannot move on earth but in him?) he alone for thee hath finished. Look up, therefore, boldly to the throne of God; and, upon the truth of thy repentance and faith, know that there is no quarrel against thee in heaven, nothing but peace and joy. All is finished. He would be spitted on, that he might wash thee: he would be covered with scornful robes, that thy sins might be covered: he would be whipped, that thy soul might not be scourged eternally: he would thirst, that thy soul might be satisfied: he would bear all his Father's wrath, that thou mightest bear none: he would yield to death, that thou mightest never taste of it: he would be in sense for a time as forsaken of his Father, that thou mightest be received for ever.
Now bid thy soul return to her rest, and enjoin it David's task; Praise the Lord, O my soul; and, what shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits? I will take the cup of salration, and call upon the name of the Lord. And, as ravished from thyself with the sweet apprehension of his mercy, call all the other creatures to the fellowship of this joy, with that divine Isaiah; Rejoice, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it : shout, ye lower parts of the earth; burst forth into praises, ye mountains : for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. And even now begin that heavenly song, which shall never end with those glorified saints; Praise, and how
nour, and glory, and power, be to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for evermore.
II. Thus our speech of Christ's Last Word is finished. His LAST ACT accompanied his words: our speech must follow it. Let it not want your devout and careful attention; He bowed, and gare up the ghost.
The Cross was a slow death, and had more pain than speed; whence a second violence must dispatch the crucified: their bones must be broken, that their hearts might break. Our Saviour stays not death's leisure, but willingly and courageously meets him in the way; and, like a champion that scorns to be overcome, yea knows he cannot be, yieldeth in the midst of his strength, that he might by dying vanquish death. He bowed, and gave up: not bowing, because he had given up; but because he would. He cried with a loud voice, saith Matthew. Nature was strong, he might have lived; but he gave up the ghost, and would die, to shew himself Lord of Life and Death. () wondrous example! he, that gave life to his enemies, gave up his own: he gives them to live, that persecute and hate him; and himself will die the while for those that hate him. He bowed, and gave up: not they; they might crown his head, they could not bow it: they might vex his spirit, not take it away: they could not do that without leave; this they could not do, because they had no leave. He alone would bow his head, and give up his ghost: I have power to lay down my life. Man gave him not his life; man could not bereave it: No man tukes it from me. Alas, who could? The high-priest's forces, when they came against him armed, he said but, I am he; they flee, and fall backward. How easy a breath dispersed his enemies! whom he might as easily have bidden the earth, yea hell to swallow, or fire from heaven to devour. Who commanded the devils and they obeyed, could not have been attached by men: he must give not only leave, but power to apprehend himself, else they had not lived to take him. He is laid hold of; Peter fights: Put up, saith Christ; Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my Father, and he will give me more than twelve legions of angels? What an army were here! more than threescore and twelve thousand angels, and every angel able to subdue a world of men. He could, but he would not be rescued: he is led by his own power, not by his enemies; and stands now before Pilate, like the scorn of men, crowned, robbed, scourged, with an Ecce homo; Yet thou couldest have no power against me, un. less it were given thee from above.
Behold, he himself must give Pilate power against himself, else he could not be condemned: he will be condemned, lifted up, nailed; yet no death without himself. He shall give his soul an of fering for sin; Isaiah liji. 10. No action, that savours of constraint, can be meritorious *. he would deserve, therefore he would suffer and die. He bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. O gracious
* Quod emittitur voluntarium est: quod amittitur necessarium. Ambr.
and bountiful Saviour! he might have kept his soul within his teeth, in spite of all the world; the weakness of God is stronger than meni and, if he had but spoken the word, the heavens and earth should have vanished away before him: but he would not. Behold, when he saw, that impotent men could not take away his soul, he gave it up; and would die, that we might live. See here a Saviour, that can contemn his own life for ours; and cares not to be dissolved in himself, that we might be united to his father. Skin for Skin, saith the Devil, and all that he hath a man will give for his life. Lo here, to prove Satan a liar, skin and life and all hath Christ Jesus given for us.
We are besotted with the earth, and make base shifts to live; one with a maimed body, another with a perjured soul, a third with a rotten name: and how many would rather neglect their soul, than their life; and will rather renounce and curse God, than die! It is a shame to tell: many of us Christians dote upon life, and tremble at death; and shew ourselves fools in our excess of love, cowards in our fear. Peter denies Christ thrice, and forswears him: Marcellinus twice casts grains of incense into the idol's fire: Ecebolius turns thrice: Spira revolts and despairs: “Oh, let me liye,” saith the fearful soul. Whither dost thou l'eserve thyself, thou weak and timorous creature? or what wouldest thou do with thyself? Thou hast not thus learned Christ: he died voluntarily for thee; thou wilt not be forced to die for him: he gave up the ghost for thee; thou wilt not let others take it from thee for him; thou wilt not let him take it for himself.
When I look back to the first Christians, and compare their zealous contempt of death with our backwardness, I am at once amazed and ashamed. I see there even women, the feebler sex, running, with their little ones in their arms, for the preferment of Martyrdom; and ambitiously striving for the next blow. I see holy and tender virgins, chusing rather a sore and shameful death, than honourable espousals. I hear the blessed martyrs, entreating their ty. rants and tormentors for the honour of dying. Ignatius, amongst the rest, fearing lest the beasts will not devour him; and vowing the first violence to them, that he might be dispatched *. And what less courage was there in our memorable and glorious forefathers of the last of this age? and do we, their cold and feeble oilspring, look pale at the face of a fair and natural death; abhor the violent, though for Christ? Alas, how have we gathered rust with our long peace! Our unwillingness is from inconsideration, from distrust. Look but up to Christ Jesus upon his Cross, and see hiin bowing his head, and breathing out his soul, and these fears shall vanish? he died, and wouldest thou live? he gave up the ghost, and wouldest thou keep it? whom wouldest thou follow, if not thy Redeemer? If thou die not, if not willingly, thou goest contrary to him, and shalt nerer meet him, Though thou shouldest every day die a death
* Quod si venire noluerint, ego vim faciam ut deuorer.