« AnteriorContinuar »
a servant, and was a minister of the circumcision ; and 'opera potestatis,' works of authority and government in the church. "All power is given unto me in heaven and
The quality of this kingdom is not temporal or secular, over the natural lives or civil negotiations of men. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. His kingdom was not of this world; he disclaimed any civil power in the distribution of lands and possessions; he withdrew himself from the people, when, by force, they would have him made a king; and himself, that in this point he might give none offence, paid tribute unto Cæsari. But his kingdom is spiritual and heavenly, over the souls of men, to bind and loose the conscience, to remit and retain sins, to awe and overrule the hearts; to captivate the affections, to bring into obedience the thoughts, to subdue and pull down strong holds, to break in pieces his enemies with an iron rod, to hew and slay them with the words of his mouth, to implant fearfulness and astonishment in the hearts of hypocrites, and to give peace, security, protection, and assurance to his people.
The way whereby he enters upon his kingdom, is ever by way of conquest. For though the souls of the elect are his, yet his enemies have the first possession; as Canaan was Abraham's by promise, but his seed's by victory. Not but that Christ proclaims peace first, but because men will not come over nor submit to him without war. The strong man will not yield to be utterly spoiled and crucified upon terms of peace.
Hence then we may, first, learn the great authority and power of this king, who holds his crown by immediate nature from Heaven, and was, after a more excellent manner than any other kings, thereunto decreed and anointed by God himself. Much then are they to blame, who find out ways to diminish the kingdom of Christ,-and boldly affirm, that though a king he could not but be, yet he might be without a kingdom; a king in personal right, without subjects or territories to exercise his regal power in; a king
g Phil. ii. 8. Rom. xv. 8. h Matth. xxviii. 18. Luke xii. 13, 14. John vi. 15.
i Matth. xx. 28. John xviii. 36. Matth. xvii. 27.
only to punish enemies, but not a king to govern or to feed a people. But shall God give his Son the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, and shall men withhold it? shall God give men unto Christ ("Thine they were, and thou gavest them unto me," and shall they detain themselves from him? what is it, that he gives unto his Son, but the souls, the hearts, the very thoughts of men, to be made obedient unto his sceptre1? and shall it then be within the compass of human power to effect, as it is in their pride to maintain," fieri posse ut nulla sit ecclesia?" We know one principal part of the kingdom and power of Christ is, "to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God;" and that not only unto conviction, but unto obedience, as the apostle shows; to send such gifts of the Spirit unto men, as should benefit the very rebellious, that God might dwell amongst them "; for inasmuch as Christ came "to destroy the works of the Devil, that is, sin," (as the apostle shows ",) and in their place, to bring in the work of God, which is "faith in him". for so that grace is frequently styled°; therefore it is requisite, that none of Satan's instruments, and confederates, such as the hearts of natural men are, should be too strong for the grace of Christ.
But what then? doth Christ compel men against their wills to become subject unto him? No, in no wise. He hath ordered to bring them in by way of voluntariness and obedience. And herein is the wisdom of his power seen, that his grace shall mightily produce those effects in men, which their hearts shall most obediently and willingly consent unto; that he is able to use the proper and genuine motions of second causes to the producing of his own most holy, wise, and merciful purposes. As we see human wisdom can so order, moderate, and make use of natural motions, that by them artificial effects shall be produced; as in a clock, the natural motion of the weight or plummet causeth
m Psalm lxviii. 18. Phil. i. 29. Col. ii. 12.
n 1 John iii. 8. p Illud nescio
k John xvii. 6. 12 Cor. x. 5. John viii. 41, 44. • John vi. 29. quomodo dicitur frustra Deum misereri, nisi nos velimus: si enim Deus miseretur, etiam volumus; ad eandem quippe misericordiam pertinet ut velimus. Aug. tom. 4. Ad Simplicianum lib. 1. qu. 2.-Agit Omnipotens in cordibus hominum etiam motum voluntatis eorum, ut per eos agat, quod per eos agere ipse voluerit. Id. de Grat. et Lib. Arb. c. 2.
the artificial distribution of hours and minutes: and in a mill, the natural motion of the wind or water, causeth an artificial effect in grinding the corn. How much more then shall the wisdom of Almighty God, whose weakness is stronger, and whose foolishness is wiser than men, be able so to use, incline, and order the wills of men, without destroying them or their liberty, as that thereby the kingdom of his Son shall be set up amongst them? So that though there be still an habitual, radical, fundamental, indetermination and indifferency unto several ways (unto none of which there can be a compulsion), yet by the secret, ineffable, and most sweet operation of the Spirit of grace, opening the eyes', convincing the judgment, persuading the affections, inclining the heart, giving an understanding, quickening and knocking the conscience, a man shall be swayed" unto the obedience of Christ, and shall come unto him so certainly, as if he were drawn,-and yet so freely, as if he were left unto himself. For in the calling of men by the Word, there is a trahere,' and a venire.' The Father draweth, and the man cometh. That notes the efficacy of grace; and this, the sweetness of grace. Grace worketh strongly, and therefore God is said to draw;' and it worketh sweetly too, and therefore man is said 'to come.'
Again, from hence we learn our duty unto this king, the honour and subjection which is due unto him. "The Father committeth all judgment unto the Son," that is, hath anointed him with the office and abilities of a king: for judgment stands for the whole duty of a king 2, and is therefore frequently attributed unto the Messias. And from thence our Saviour infers, that "all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father "," with the same worship, reverence, and subjection. For "God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, That at the name of Jesus," that is, unto that Holy Thing, unto the power and sceptre of that divine person, which is unto us so comfortably manifested in a name of salvation, "Every knee
q 2 Cor. iv. 6.
t John xvi. 8.
r Eph. i. 17, 18. Acts xxvi. 18. s 1 John ii. 27. u Acts xvi. 14. Jer. xxxi. 18, 33. Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. 1 John v. 20. Psal. cxix. 34, 36. x Nolite cogitare invitum trahi; trahitur animus et amore. Aug. Tract. 26. in Johan. y John vi. 44. * Psalm lxxii. 1. a Isai. xlii. 1. 4. Jer. xxiii. 5. Jer. xxxiii. 15. b John ii. 22, 23. c Acts iii. 16.
shall bowd," &c. This duty the Psalmist expresseth by "kissing the Son ;" which denoteth unto us three things:1. Love: for a kiss is a symbol or expression of love, and therefore used by the primitive Christians in their feasts of love, and after prayer unto God, and oftentimes enjoined by St. Paul as an expression of Christian love. Insomuch that it was a proverbial speech among the heathens; 'See, how these Christians do love one another.'-And this is a duty which the apostle requires, under pain of the extremest curse that can light upon a man, to "love the Lord Jesus Christ." And "If any man," saith our Saviour, "loveth father or mother, more than me, he is not worthy of me; or son or daughter more than me, he is not worthy of me :" that is, he is utterly unqualified for the benefit of my mediation. For he that hath good by me, cannot choose but love me."-2. To kiss, in the Scripture phrase noteth worship and service.i "Let the men that sacrifice, kiss the calves." And thus we find the four beasts, and the four and twenty elders, and every creature in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, worshipping the Lamb, and ascribing blessing, honour, glory, and power unto him.-3. To kiss, is an expression of loyalty and obedience : thus Samuel kissed Saul, when he had anointed him king over Israel." And therefore the Septuagint and Jerome, and, from them, our translators, render the word which signifieth to 'kiss,' by 'being obedient,' or ruled by the words of Joseph. And this likewise is a duty which we owe unto Christ, to be obedient to him, to be ruled by his mouth, and by the sceptre of his mouth, that is, by his word, which is therefore called the law of Christ,' because it hath a binding power in it. We are commanded from Heaven to hear him P; and that too, under pain of a curse: "Every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the
d Phil. ii. 9, 10. e ̓Αλλήλους φιλήματι ἀσπαζόμεθα, παυσάμενοι τῶν εὐχῶν Justin. Martyr. Apol. 2. Osculum pacis orationis signaculum, quæ oratio cum divortio sancti osculi integra, &c. Tertul. de Orat. f 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Ephes. vi. 24. g Matth. x. 37. h Luke vii. 47. i Affectatione cœlestia adorandi, ad solis ortum labia vibratis. Tertul. Apolog. cap. 16. Cæcilius simulacro Serapidis denotato, ut vulgus superstitiosus solet, manuin ori admovens, osculum labiis pressit. Minut. Felix in Octavio.-In adorando, dextram ad osculum referimus. Plin. lib. 28. cap. 2. Ινδοὶ προσεύχονται τὸν ἥλιον, οὐχ ὥσπερ ἡμεῖς, τὴν χεῖρα κίσαντες, &c. Lucian. de Saltatione. k Hos. xiii. 2. Job xxxi. 26, 27. 1 Rev. v. 8, 14. m 1 Sam. x. 1. n Ὑπακούσεται. Ad tui oris imperium cunctus populus obediet. Hieron, • Gen. xli. 40. P Matth. xvii. 5.
people." We should learn, therefore, to take his commands as from God; for he speaketh his Father's words, and in his name. When Ahasuerus commanded Haman to put on the crown upon Mordecai, he presently executed the king's pleasure, and honoured his greatest enemy, because the king required it. Now God hath made Christ our king, and “hath crowned him with honour and majesty" (as the apostle speaks), and requires of us to kiss this his Son, and to bow unto his name; and therefore be we what we will, princes, or judges, or great men of the world (who rejoice in nothing more, than in the name of wisdom), this is our wisdom, and duty". It is too ordinary with great men to be regardless of God and his ways. Yet we see the wrath of God in his creatures, fire, tempest, pestilence, sword, sickness, make no distinction betwixt them and others: how much less will God himself make, when all crowns, and sceptres, and dignities shall be resigned to him, and all men shall stand in an equal distance and condition before the tribunal of Christ, when no titles of honour, no eminency of station, no treasures of wealth, no strength of dependencies, no retinue and train of servants will accompany a man into the presence of the Lamb, or stand between him and the judgment of that great day. We know he was a king that feared the presence of a persecuted prophet'; and he was a prince that trembled at the preaching of an apostle in chains." The Word of God cannot be bound nor limited; it is the sceptre which his Father hath given him; and we cannot, without open contestation against God, resist his government therein over us. "He that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me," saith our Saviour. It is Christ himself, whose ambassadors we are, and with whom men have to do in our ministry. And he will have it so: First, For our peace; if God will speak again by the ministry of angels, in thunder, and fire (as he did on Mount Sinai) we would quickly call for Moses and ministers again. Secondly, For his own glory, that the excellency may be of God, and not of men'; that it may not be "in him that planteth, nor in him that watereth, but in God which giveth the blessing and the increase ";" that
q Acts iii. 23. t1 Kings xxi. 20. a 1 Cor. iii. 7.
r Deut. xviii. 19. u Acts xxiv. 26.
John iii. 34. s Psalm ii. 10, 12. x Exod. xx. 19. y 2 Cor. iv. 7.