Davies Mayor.

Martis xxiiij die Aprilis, 1677, Anno­que Regis Caroli Secundi Angliae, &c. vicesimo nono.

THis Court doth earnestly de­sire Dr. Barrow to Print his Sermon Preached at the Guild-Hall Chappel on Good Friday last before the Lord Mayor and Alder­men of this City.


A SERMON UPON THE PASSION OF OUR Blessed Saviour: PREACHED At Guild-Hall Chappel on Good Friday, the 13th day of April, 1677. By ISAAC BARROW D.D. late Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, and Master of Trinity-Colledge in Cambridge.

Sacramentum salutis humanae non licet tacere, etiamsi ne­queat explicari,

P. Leo I. Serm. de Pass. 7.

LONDON, Printed for Brabazon Aylmer, at the Sign of the three Pidgeons in Cornhill, over against the Royal Exchange, MDCLXXVII.

A SERMON UPON THE Passion of our Blessed Saviour.

Phil. 2.8.‘—And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’

WHen,Cyril. c. Jul. 8. (p. 278.) 9. (p. 303.) in consequence of the original apostacy from God, which did banish us from Para­dise; and by continued rebellions against him, inevitable to our corrupt and impo­tent nature, mankind had forfeited the amity of God (the chief of all goods,Joh. 3.36. Col. 3.6. the fountain of all happiness) and had incurred his displeasure (the greatest of all evils, the foundation of all misery:)

When poor man,Iren. 3.33, 34. having deserted his natural Lord and Protector, other Lords had got dominion over him, [...]s. 26.13. so that he was captivated by the foul, malicious, cruel Spirits,Iren. 3.8. and [Page 2] enslaved to his own vain mind, to vile lusts, to wild passions:

When,Gen. 4.7. according to an eternal rule of justice, that sin deserveth punishment,Gen. 2.17. and by an express Law, wherein death was enacted to the transgressors of Gods command, the root of our stock,Iren. 5.16. and consequentially all its branch­es stood adjudged to utter destruction:

When, [...] Rom. 3.19. Rom. 3.9. Ro. 5.16, 18. Gal. 3.10. Rom. 11.32. [...]. Gal. 3.22. Rom. 3.23. Rom. 5.22. according to St. Paul's expressions, all the World was become guilty before God (or subjected to Gods Judg­ment; all men (Jews and Gentiles) were under sin, under condemnation, under the curse; all men were concluded into disobedience, and shut up together (as close Prisoners) under sin; all men had sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Death had passed over all, because all had sinned:

When, for us, being plunged into so wretched a condi­tion, no visible remedy did appear, no possible redress could be obtained here below; for what means could we have of recovering Gods favour, who were apt perpetu­ally to contract new, debts and guilts, but not able to discharge any old scores? what capacity of mind or will had we to entertain mercy, who were no less stubbornly perverse and obdurate in our crimes, than ignorant or in­firm? How could we be reconciled unto Heaven, who had an innate antipathy to God and goodness; [sin (ac­cording to our natural state, and secluding evangelical grace) reigning, Rom. 6.12, 14.20, 22. Rom. 7.18, 5. Rom. 7.23. in our mortal bodies; no good thing dwel­ling in us; there being a predominant law in our members, warring against the law of our mind, and bringing us into captivity, Rom. 6.6. Col. 3.9. Eph. 4.22. Rom. 8.7. [...]. Eph. 4.18. Col. 1.21. Rom. 5.10 to the law of sin; a main ingredient of our old man, being a carnal mind, which is enmity to God, and can­not submit to his law; we being alienated from the life of God by the blindness of our hearts, and enemies in our minds by wicked works? How could we revive to any good hope,Eph. 2.5. Rom. 6.13, 11. who were dead in trespasses and sins, God having withdrawn his quickning Spirit? How at least could we for one moment stand upright in Gods sight, upon the [Page 3] natural terms, excluding all sin, and exacting perfect obe­dience?Ps. 143.2. Exod. 34.7.

When this, I say, was our forlorn and desperate case, then almighty God out of his infinite goodness was plea­sed to look upon us (as he sometime did upon Jerusalem, lying polluted in her blood) with an eye of pity and mercy,Ezik. 16.6. so as graciously to design a redemption for us out of all that woful distress: And no sooner by his incomprehen­sible wisdom did he fore-see we should lose our selves,Eph. 1.4, 9, 11, 3.11. 2 Tim. 1.9. 1 Pet. 1.20. Rev. 13.8. Rom. 16.25. Tit. 2.2. than by his immense grace he did conclude to restore us.

But how could this happy design well be compassed? how, in consistence with the glory, with the justice, with the truth of God, could such enemies be reconciled, such offenders be pardoned, such wretches be saved? Would the omnipotent Majesty so affronted, design to treat with his rebels immediately, without an intercessour or advo­cate? Would the sovereign governour of the world suf­fer thus notoriously his right to be violated, his autho­rity to be slighted, his honour to be trampled on, with­out some notable vindication or satisfaction? Would the great Patron of justice relax the terms of it, or ever permit a gross breach thereof to pass with impunity?Athan. de I [...] ­carn. Would the immutable God of truth expose his veracity, or his con­stancy to suspicion, by so reversing that peremptory sen­tence of death upon sinners,Gen. 2.17. that it should not in a sort eminently be accomplished? Would the most righteous and most holy God let slip an opportunity so advantage­ous for demonstrating his perfect love of innocence, and abhorrence of iniquity? Could we therefore well be cleared from our guilt without an expiation, or re-in­stated in freedom without a ransome, or exempted from condemnation without some punishment?

No; God was so pleased to prosecute his designs of good­ness and mercy; as thereby no wise to impair or obscure, but rather to advance and illustrate the glories of his so­vereign dignity, of his severe justice, of his immaculate [Page 4] holiness, of his unchangeable steddiness in word and pur­pose: He accordingly would be sued to for peace and mercy; nor would he grant them absolutely, without due compensations for the wrongs he had sustained; yet so, that his goodness did find us a mediatour, and furnish us with means to satisfie him: He would not condescend to a simple remission of our debts; yet so, that, saving his right and honour, he did stoop lower for an effectual abolition of them: He would make good his word not to let our trespasses go unpunished; yet so, that by our punishment we might receive advantage: He would manifest his detestation of wickedness in a way more ill­ustrious, than if he had persecuted it down to Hell, and irreversibly doomed it to endless torment.

But how might these things be effected? where was there a mediatour proper and worthy to intercede for us? Who could presume to sollicit and plead in our be­half? Who should dare to put himself between God and us, or offer to skreen mankind from the Divine wrath and vengeance? Who had so great an interest in the Court of Heaven, as to ingratiate such a brood of apo­state enemies thereto? Who could assume the confidence to propose terms of reconciliation, or to agitate a new covenant, wherewith God might be satisfied, and where­by we might be saved? Where, in heaven or earth, could there be found a Priest sit to atone for sins so vastly nu­merous, so extremely hoinous? And whence should a sacrifice be taken, of value sufficient to expiate for so ma­nifold enormities, committed against the infinite Majesty of Heaven? [...], Heb. 9.12. Who could find out the everlasting redemption of innumerable souls, or lay down a competent ransom for them all; not to say, could also purchase for them e­ternal life and bliss?

These are Questions which would puzzle all the wit of man, yea, would gravel all the wisdom of Angels to resolve; for plain it is, that no creature on earth; [Page 5] none in heaven, could well undertake or perform this work.

Where on earth, among the degenerate sons of Adam, could be found such an High Priest, as became us; holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners? Heb. 7.26. and, how could a man, however innocent and pure as a Seraphin, so per­form his duty, as to do more than merit or satisfie for himself? how many lives could the life of one man serve to ransome; seeing that it is asserted of the greatest and richest among men,Psal. 49.7. that None of them can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransome for him?

And how could available help in this case be expected from any of the angelical Host; seeing (beside their being in na­ture different from us, and thence improper to merit or sa­tisfie for us; beside their comparative meanness, and infinite distance from the Majesty of God) they are but out fel­low-servants, and have obligations to discharge for them­selves, and cannot be solvent for more than for their own debts of gratitude and service to their infinitely bounti­ful Creatour; they also themselves needing a Saviour, to preserve them by his grace in their happy state?

Indeed no creature might aspire to so august an ho­nour, none could atchieve so marvellous a work, as to redeem from infinite guilt and misery the noblest part of all the visible Creation; none could presume to invade that high prerogative of God, or attempt to infringe the truth of that reiterated Proclamation;Isa. 43, 11.45.21. Hos. 13, 4. I, even I am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour.

Wherefore, seeing that a supereminent dignity of per­son was required in our Mediatour, and that an immense value was to be presented for our ransome; seeing that God saw there was no man, Is. 59, 16. [...]. LXX. and wondred (or took special notice) that there was no intercessor; it must be his arm alone that could bring salvation; none beside God himself could intermeddle therein.

[Page 6]But how could God undertake the business? could he become a suitor or intercessor to his offended self? could he present a sacrifice, or disburse a satisfaction to his own justice? Could God alone contract and stipulate with God in our behalf? No, surely Man also must concur in the transaction; some amends must issue from him, some­what must be paid out of our stock; humane will and consent must be interposed to ratifie a firm covenant with us, inducing obligation on our part; It was decent and expedient, that as man by wilful transgression and pre­sumptuous self-pleasing had so highly offended, injured, and dishonoured his Maker, so man also by willing obe­dience, and patient submission to Gods pleasure should greatly content, right, and glorifie him.

Eph. 1.8. Here then did lye the stress; This was the knot which only divine wisdom could loose; And so indeed it did in a most effectual and admirable way; for in correspon­dence to all the exigencies of the case,Luc. 1.78. Eph. 1.5. Tit. 3.4. Rom. 5. (that God and man both might act their parts in saving us) the Blessed eternal Word, the onely Son of God, by the good will of his Father, did vouchsafe to intercede for us, and to undertake our redemption;Gal. 4.4. Joh. 6.38. Heb. 10.7. Job. 1.4. Heb. 5, 2.4, 15. in order thereto voluntarily being sent down from Heaven, assuming humane flesh, subjecting himself to all the infirmities of our frail nature, and to the worst inconveniencies of our low condition; therein meriting Gods favour to us,Eph. 1.6. by a perfect obedi­ence to the Law,Conslit. Apost. 8.12. 1 Tim. 2.6. Tit. 2.14. Heb. 9, 15.2, 9. Col. 1, 22. and satisfying Gods justice by a most patient endurance of pains in our behalf; in completion of all willingly laying down his life for the ransom of our souls, and pouring forth his blood in sacrifice for our sins.

1 Tim. 3.16. This is that great and wonderful mystery of godliness (or of our Holy Religion) the which St. Paul here doth express, in these words, concerning our B. Saviour; Who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon [Page 7] him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled him­self, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.

In which words are contained divers points very ob­servable; but seeing the time will not allow me to treat on them in any measure as they deserve; I shall (waving all the rest) insist but upon one particular, couched in the last words, Even the death of the Cross; [...]. which by a special emphasis do excite us to consider the manner of that Holy Passion, which we now commemorate; the contemplati­on whereof, as it is now most seasonable, so it is ever ve­ry profitable.

Now then in this kind of Passion we may consider di­vers notable adjuncts; namely these, 1. Its being in ap­pearance criminal. 2. Its being most bitter and painful. 3. Its being most ignominious and shameful. 4. Its pecu­liar advantageousness to the designs of our Lord in suffer­ing. 5. Its practical efficacy.

I. We may consider our Lords suffering as Criminal; 1 or as in semblance being an execution of justice upon him. He (as the Prophet foretold of him) was numbred among the transgressors;Is. 53.12. and God (saith St. Paul) made him sin for us, who knew no sin;2 Cor. 5.21. that is, God ordered him to be treated as a most sinful or criminous person, who in him­self was perfectly innocent, and void of the least inclina­tion to offend.

So in effect it was, that he was impeached of the high­est crimes; as a violatour of the Divine Laws in divers in­stances,Joh. 5, 18.1 [...], 30.7, 12. Mat. 26, 61.27, 40. as a designer to subvert their religion and tem­ple, as an impostor deluding and seducing the people; as a blasphemer, assuming to himself the properties and pre­rogatives of God; as a seditious and rebellious person, perverting the nation, Luc. 23.2. Mat. 27.63. Const. Apo. 5.14. [...]. inhibiting payments of tribute to Cae­sar, usurping Royal Authority, and styling himself Christ a King: In a word, as a malefector, or one guilty of enor­mous [Page 8] offences; so his persecutors avowed to Pilate, If, said they,Joh. 18.30. he were not a malefactor, we should not have deli­vered him up unto thee; As such he was represented and arraigned; as such, although by a sentence wrested by malicious importunity, against the will and conscience of the Judge, he was condemned, and accordingly suffered death.

Now whereas any death or passion of our Lord, as be­ing in it self immensely valuable, and most precious in the sight of God, might have been sufficient toward the ac­complishment of his general designs (the appeasing Gods wrath, the satisfaction of Divine Justice, the expiation of our guilt) it may be inquired why God should thus ex­pose him,Cur si Deus fu­it, & mori vo­luit, non saltem honesto aliquo mortis genere affectus est? &c. Lact. 4.26. or why he should chuse to suffer under this odi­ous and ugly character; which inquiry is the more con­siderable, because it is especially this circumstance which crosseth the fleshly sense, and worldly prejudices of men, so as to have rendred the Gospel offensive to the superstitious Jews, and despicable to conceited Gentiles;Just. M. Hal. p. 317. for so Tryphon in Justin M. although from conviction by testimonies of Scripture, he did admit the Messias was to suffer hardly, yet that it should be in this accursed man­ner, he could not digest; so the great adversaries of Chri­stianity (Celsus, Porphyrie, Julian,) did with most con­tempt urge this exception against it;Orig. c. c [...]ls. 2. p. 83.7. p. 368. Aug. de Civ. D. 10.28. Cyril. c. Jul. 6. p. 194. So S. Paul did ob­serve, that 1 Cor. 1.23. Christ crucified was unto the Jews a stumbling­block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; wherefore to avoid those scandals, and that we may better admire the Wisdom of God in this dispensation, it may be fit to assign some reasons intimated in H. Scriptrue, or bearing conformity to its Doctrine, why it was thus ordered: such are these.

1. As our Saviour freely did undertake a life of great­est meanness and hardship, so upon the like accompts he might be pleased to undergo a death most loathsom and uncomfortable. There is nothing to mans nature (espe­cially to the best natures, in which modesty and ingenui­ty [Page 9] do survive) more abominable than such a death; God for good purposes hath planted in our constitution a quick sense of disgrace, and of all disgraces that which proceedeth from an imputation of crimes is most pun­gent; and being conscious of our innocence doth height­en the smart; and to reflect upon our selves dying under it, leaving the World with an indelible stain upon our name and memory, is yet more grievous; even to lan­guish by degrees, enduring the torments of a long, how­ever sharp disease, would to an honest mind seem more eligible, than in this manner, being reputed and handled as a villain, to find a quick and easie dispatch.

Of which humane resentment may we not observe a touch in that expostulation,Luc. 22, 52. Matt. 26.55. Be ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves? If as a man he did not like to be prosecuted as a thief, yet willingly did he chuse it, as he did other most distastful things, pertaining to our nature, (the likeness of man) and incident to that low condition, (the form of a servant) into which he did put himself; such as were to endure penury and to fare hard­ly, to be slighted, envied, hated, reproached through all his course of Life.

It is well said by a Pagan Philosopher,Nemo mihi vi­detur pluris ae­stimare virtu­tem, nemo illi magis esse devotus, quàm qui boni viri famam perdi­dit, nè consci­entiam per­deret. Sen. Ep. 81. that no man doth express such a respect and devotion to virtue, as doth he, who forfeiteth the repute of being a good man, that he may not lose the conscience of being such; this our Lord willingly made his case, being content not only to expose his life, but to prostitute his fame, for the interests of goodness.

Had he died otherwise, he might have seemed to pur­chase our welfare at a somewhat easie rate, he had not been so complete a sufferer, he had not tasted the worst that man is lyable to endure; there had been a comfort in seeming innocent, detracting from the perfection of his sufferance.

Whereas therefore he often was in hazard of death,Joh., 40, 59.7.1, 19, 25.10.32, 38. both from the clandestine machinations, and the outragi­ous [Page 10] violences of those who maligned him, he did industri­ously shun a death so plausible, and honourable, if I may so speak; it being not so disgraceful to fall by private malice, or by sudden rage, as by the solemn deliberate proceeding of men in publick authority and principal credit:

Accordingly this kind of death did not fall upon him by surprize,Joh. 6.64. or by chance; but he did from the beginning fore-see it; He plainly with satisfaction did aim at it; He (as it is related in the Gospels) did shew his Disciples, that it was incumbent on him by Gods appointment and his own choice; that he ought ('tis said) to suffer many things, Matt. 16.21. Luc. 9.22. Marc. 6.12. to be rejected by the chief Priests, Elders, and Scribes, to be vilified by them, to be delivered up to the Gentiles; to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, as a flagitious slave. Thus would our B. Saviour, in conformity to the rest of his voluntary afflictions, and for a consummation of them, not only suffer in his body by sore wounds and bruises, and in his soul by doleful agonies, but in his name also and reputation by the foulest scandals; undergoing as well all the infamy as the infirmity, which did belong to us, or might befall us; thus meaning by all means tho­roughly to express his charity, and exercise his compas­sion toward us; thus advancing his merit, and discharging the utmost satisfaction in our behalf.

2. Death passing on him as a malefactour by publick sentence, did best sute to the nature of his undertaking, was most congruous to his intent, did most aptly repre­sent what he was doing, and imply the reason of his per­formance: for We all are guilty in a most high degree, and in a manner very notorious; the foulest shame toge­ther with the sharpest pain is due to us for affronting our glorious Maker, we deserve an open condemnation and exemplary punishment; wherefore he undertaking in our stead to bear all, and fully to satisfie for us, was pleased to undergo the like Judgment and usage; being termed, [Page 11] being treated as we should have been, in quality of an heinous malefactour, as we in truth are. What we had really acted in dishonouring and usurping upon God, in disordering the world, in perverting others, that was im­puted to him; and the punishment due to that guilt was inflicted on him:Isa. 53.6. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all; he therefore did not only su­stain an equivalent pain for us, but in a sort did bear an equal blame with us, before God and man.

3. Seeing by the determinate counsel of God it was appoin­ted,Act. 2.23. that our Lord should die for us, and that not in a natural but violent way, so as perfectly to satisfie Gods justice, to vindicate his honour, to evidence both his in­dignation against sin, and willingness to be appeased; it was most fit that affair should be transacted in a way, wherein Gods right is most nearly concerned, and his providence most plainly discernible; wherein it should be most apparent that God did exact and inflict the pu­nishment, that our Lord did freely yield to it, and sub­missively undergo it, upon those very accompts:Deut. 1.17. All judg­ment (as Moses of old did say) is Gods, or is administred by authority derived from him, in his name, for his interest; all Magistrates being his Officers, and instruments, where­by he governeth and ordereth the world, his natural Kingdom; whence that which is acted in way of formal judgement by persons in authority, God himself may be deemed in a more special and immediate manner to exe­cute it, as being done by his commission, in his stead, on his behalf, with his peculiar superintendance: It was therefore in our Lord a signal act of deference to Gods authority and justice, becoming the person sustained by him of our Mediatour and proxy, to undergo such a judgement, and such a punishment; whereby he received a doom as it were from Gods own mouth, uttered by his Ministers; and bare the stroke of justice from Gods [Page 12] hand, represented by his instruments:Joh. 19.11. [...] whence very sea­sonably and patiently did he reply to Pilate, Thou hadst no power over me (or against me) except it were given thee from above, implying, that it was in regard to the origi­nally Supreme authority of God his Father, and to his particular appointment upon this occasion, that our Sa­viour did then frankly subject himself to those inferiour powers, as to the proper ministers of divine justice: Had he suffered in any other way, by the private malice or passion of men, Gods special providence in that case had been less visible, and our Lords obedience not so remark­able: And if he must dy by publick hands, it must be as a criminal, under a pretence of guilt and demerit; there must be a formal process, how full soever of mockery and outrage; there must be testimonies produced, how void soever of truth or probability; there must be a sen­tence pronounced, although most corrupt and injurious; for no man is in this way persecuted, without colour of desert; otherwise it would cease to be publick authority, and become lawless violence; the prosecutor then would put off the face of a Magistrate, and appear as a cut-throat, or a robber.

4. In fine, our Saviour hardly with such advantage, in any other way, could have displayed all kinds of vertue and goodness, to the honour of God, to the edification of men, to the furtherance of our salvation.

The judgement Hall with all the passages leading him thither, and thence to execution, attended with guards of souldiers, amidst the crouds and clamours of people, were as so many theaters, on which he had opportune convenience, in the full eye of the world, to act divers parts of sublimest vertue; to express his insuperable con­stancy in attesting truth,Joh. 18.37. 1 Tim. 6.13. and maintaining a good con­science; his meekness in calmly bearing the greatest wrongs; his patience in contentedly enduring the saddest adversities; his entire resignation to the will and provi­dence [Page 13] of God; his peaceable submission to the law and power of man; his admirable charity in pitying, in ex­cusing, in obliging those by his good wishes and earnest prayers for their pardon, who in a manner so injurious, so despiteful, so cruel, did persecute him; yea, in gladly suffering all this from their hands for their salvation; his unshakeable faith in God, and unalterable love toward him, under so fierce a trial, so dreadful a temptation: All these excellent vertues and graces by the matter be­ing thus ordered, in a degree most eminent, and in a manner very conspicuous were demonstrated, to the praise of Gods name, and the commendation of his truth; for the settlement of our faith and hope; for an instruction and an encouragement to us of good practice in those highest instances of vertue.

[It is a passable notion among the most eminent Pagan Sages, that no very exemplary vertue can well appear otherwise then in notable mis­fortune;Note: Magnum exemplum nisi ma­la fortuna non invenit. Sen. de Prov. c. 3. whence 'tis said in Plato, that to approve a man heartily righteous, Note: [...], Plat. de Rep. 2. Cap. 594. he must be scourged, tortured, bound, have his two eyes burnt out, and in the close having suffered all evils, must be impailed, or crucified: And,Note: Cicuta magnum Socratem fe­cit. Sen. Ep. 13. it was, (saith Seneca) the cup of poyson, which made Socrates a great man, Note: Calix venenatus, qni Socra­tem transtulit è carcere in coe­lum. Sen. Ep. 67. and which out of prison did transferr him to heaven, or did procure to him that lofty esteem;Note: Aequalis suit in tanta inaequa­litate fortunae, &c. Sen. Ep. 104. afford­ing him opportunity to signalize his con­stancy, his equanimity, his unconcerned­ness for this world and life; And,Note: Rutilii innocentia ac virtus lateret, nisi accepisset injuriam, dum violatur effulsit. Sen. Ep. 79. The ver­tue (saith he again) and the innocence of Ru­tilius would have lien hid, if it had not (by condemnation and exile) received injury; while it was violated, it brightly shone forth; And he that said this of others, was himself in nothing so illu­strious, as in handsomly entertaining that death, to [Page 14] which he was by the bloody tyrant adjudged: And ge­nerally the most honourable persons in the judgement of posterity for gallant worth,Sen. de Provid. 2, 3, &c. Plut. de Stoic. Contr. cp. 1931. to this very end (as such Phi­losophers teach) were by divine providence delivered up to suffer opprobrious condemnations and punishments by the ingrateful malignity of their times: So that the Greeks, in consistence with their own wisdom and expe­rience, could not reasonably scorn that cross, which our good Lord (did not only as did their best Worthies by forcible accidental constraint undergo, but) advisedly by free choice did undertake, to recommend the most excel­lent vertues to imitation, and to promote the most noble designs that could be, by its influence:] So great rea­son there was, that our Lord should thus suffer as a cri­minal.

2 II. We may consider, that in that kind his suffering was most bitter and painful. Easily we may imagine what acerbity of pain must be endured by our Lord, in his tender limbs being stretched forth, racked, and tentered, and continuing for a good time in such a posture; by the piercing his hands and his feet, parts very nervous and exquisitely sensible, with sharp nails (so that as it is said of Joseph, Ps. 105.18. the iron entred into his Soul) by abiding exposed to the injuries of the Sun scorching, the wind beating, the weather searching his grievous wounds and sores: Such a pain it was, and that no stupifying, no transient pain, but one both very acute, and lingring; for we see, that he together with his fellow-sufferers had both pre­sence of mind and time to discourse;Marc. 15.25, 34. Even six long hours did he remain under such torture, sustaining in each mo­ment of them beyond the pangs of an ordinary death: But as the case was so hard and sad, so the reason of it was great, and the fruit answerably good; Our Saviour did embrace such a passion, that in being thus content to endure the most intolerable smarts for us, he might demonstrate [Page 15] the vehemence of his love; that he might signifie the heinousness of our sins, which deserved that from such a person so heavy punishment should be exacted; that he might appear to yield a valuable compensation for those pains, which we should have suffered; that he thorough­ly might exemplifie the hardest duties of obedience and patience.

III. This manner of suffering was (as most sharp and 3 afflictive, so) most vile and shameful; being proper to the basest condition of the worst men, and unworthy of a free man, however nocent and guilty.Quod etiam homine libero quamvis no­cente videatur indignum. Lact. 4.26. It was servile supplicium, a punishment never by the Romans, under whose law our Lord suffered, legally inflicted upon free men, but upon slaves only; that is upon people, scarce regarded as men, having in a sort, forfeited or lost them­selves; And among the Jews that execution, which most approached thereto, and in part agreed with it (for their Law did not allow any so inhumane punishment) hang­ing up the dead bodies of some that had been put to death, was held most infamous and execrable; Deut. 21.23. Gal. 3.16. [...]. Chrys. Tom. 6. Or. 61. for Cursed, said the Law, is every one that hangeth upon a tree; cursed, that is devoted to reproach and malediction; accursed by God, saith the Hebrew, that is seeming to be rejected by God, and by his special order exposed to affliction.

Indeed, according to the course of things, to be set on high, and for continuance of time to be objected to the view of all that pass by, in that calamitous posture, doth infuse bad suspicion, doth provoke censure, doth invite contempt and scorn, doth naturally draw forth language of derision, despight and detestation, especially from the inconsiderate, hard hearted, and rude vulgar, which com­monly doth think, speak, and deal according to event and appearance; (—Sequitur fortunam semper, & odit Damnatos—) Whence, [...], to be made a gazing stock, Heb. 10.33. or an object of reproach to the multitude, is by the Apo­stle [Page 16] mentioned as an aggravation of the hardships endu­red by the Primitive Christians. And thus in extremity did it befall our Lord; [...]. Luc. 23.35, 36. Matt. 27.38. for we read, that the people did in that condition mock, jeer, and revile him; drawing up their noses, abusing him by scurrilous gestures, let­ting out their virulent and wanton tongues against him; so as to verifie that prediction, I am a reproach of men, and despised of the people; Ps. 22.6, 7. all they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord, let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

The same persons, who formerly had admired his glo­rious works,Matth. 9.33. 21.9. 12.23. Luk. 4.15. who had been ravished with his excellent discourses, who had followed and favoured him so earnestly, who had blessed and magnified him, (for he, saith S. Luke, taught in the Synagogues being glorified by all) even those very persons did then behold him with pitiless contempt and despight; In correspondence to that prophesie, they look and stare upon me, Ps. 22.17. Luk. 23.35. [...], the people stood gazing on him, in a most scornful manner; venting con­temptuous and spiteful reproaches, as we see reported in the Evangelical Story.

Thus did our Blessed Saviour endure the cross, despising the shame;Heb. 12.2. despising the shame, that is not simply disre­garding it, or (with a Stoical haughtiness, with a Cynical immodesty, with a stupid carelesness) slighting it as no evil; but not eschewing it, or not rating it for so great an evil, that to decline it he would neglect the prosecu­tion of his great and glorious designs.

There is innate to man an aversation and abhorrency from disgraceful abuse, no less strong, then are the like antipathies to pain;Heb. 11.36. whence cruel mockings and scourgings are coupled as ingredients of the sore persecutions sustain­ed by Gods faithful Martyrs; And generally men with more readiness will embrace, with more contentedness will endure the cruelty of the latter, than of the former; [Page 17] pain not so smartly affecting the lower sense, as being in­solently contemned doth grate upon the fancy, and wound even the mind it self;Prov. 18, 8.12, 18. for the wounds of infamy do (as the wise man telleth us) go down into the innermost parts of the belly, reaching the very heart, and touching the soul to the quick.

We therefore need not doubt, but that our Saviour as a man, endowed with humane passions, was sensible of this natural evil; and that such indignities did add somewhat of loathsomness to his cup of affliction; especially consi­dering, that his great charity disposed him to grieve, ob­serving men to act so indecently, so unworthily, so unjust­ly toward him; yet in consideration of the glory that would thence accrue to God, of the benefit that would redound to us, of the joy that was set before him, Heb. 12.2. when he should see of the travel of his soul and be satisfied, Is. 53.11. he most willingly did accept, and most gladly did comport with it. He became a curse for us, Gal. 3.13. exposed to malediction and reviling;Heb. 12.13. He endured the contradiction (or obloquy) of sinful men; He was despised, rejected, Is. 53.3, 4. and dis-esteemed of men; He in common apprehension was deserted by God, according to that of the Prophet, We did esteem him stric­ken, smitten of God, and afflicted; himself even seeming to concur in that opinion; So was he made a curse for us, that we, as the Apostle teacheth,Gal. 3.13. might be redeemed from the curse of the Law, that is, that we might be freed from the ex­emplary punishment, due to our transgressions of the Law, with the displeasure of God appearing therein, and the disgrace before the world attending it: He chose thus to make himself of no reputation, vouchsafing to be dealt with as a wretched slave, and a wicked miscreant, that we might be exempted not only from the torment, but also from the ignominy which we had merited; that toge­ther with our life, our safety, our liberty, we might e­ven recover that honour which we had forfeited and im­bezled.

[Page 18]But lest any should be tempted not sufficiently to va­lue these sufferances of our Lord, as not so rare, but that other men have tasted the like; lest any should presume to compare them with afflictions incident to other per­sons,Orig. c. Cels. 7. (p. 368.) as Celsus did compare them with those of Anaxar­chus and Epictetus; it is requisite to consider some remar­kable particulars about them.

We may then consider, that not only the infinite dig­nity of his person, and the perfect innocency of his life did enhance the price of his sufferings; but some endow­ments peculiar to him, and some circumstances adhering to his design, did much augment their force.

He was not only according to the frame and temper of humane nature sensibly touched with the pain, the shame, the whole combination of disasters, apparently waiting on his passion; as God (when he did insert sense and passion into our nature, ordering objects to affect them) did intend we should be, and as other men in like cir­cumstances would have been; but in many respects be­yond that ordinary rate; so that no man, we may sup­pose, could have felt such grief from them as he did, no man ever hath been sensible of any thing comparable to what he did endure; that passage being truly applicable to him,Lam. 1.22. Behold and see, if there be any sorrow like to my sor­row, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflict­ed me in the day of his fierce anger; as that unparallel'd sweating out great lumps of blood may argue; and as the terms expressing his resentments do intimate; for in re­spect of present evils he said of himself,Mat. 26.37, 38. My soul is exceed­ingly sorrowful to death;Luc. 22.44. Joh. 13, 21.12, 27. he is said [...], to be in great anguish and anxiety, to be in an agony or pang of sor­row; In regard to mischiefs which he saw coming on, he is said to be disturb'd in spirit, Mar. 14.33. and to be sore amazed, or dismayed at them; To such an exceeding height did the sense of incumbent evils, and the prospect of impendent calamities, the apprehension of his case, together with a [Page 19] reflection on our condition, skrew up his affections.

And no wonder, that such a burthen, even the weight of all the sins (the numberless most heinous sins and abo­minations) that ever were committed by mankind, by appropriation of them to himself, lying on his shoulders, he should feel it heavy, or seem to crouch and groan under it; that in the mystical Psalm,Heb. 12.5. applied by the Apostle to him, he should cry out, Innumerable evils have compassed me about, mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; Ps. 40, 12. they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart faileth me. The sight of Gods indig­nation so dreadfully flaming out against sin, might well astonish and terrifie him: To stand, as it were, before the mouth of hell belching fire and brimstone in his face; to lye down in the hottest furnace of divine vengeance; to quench with his own heart-blood the wrath of heaven, and the infernal fire (as he did in regard to those who will not re-kindle them to themselves) might well in the heart of a man beget unconceivable and unexpressible pressures of affliction. When such a Father (so infinite­ly good and kind to him, whom he so dearly and per­fectly loved) did hide his face from him, did frown on him, how could he otherwise than be mightily troubled? Is it strange that so hearty a love, so tender a pity, con­templating our sinfulness, and experimenting our wretch­edness, should be deeply touched? To see, I say, so plain­ly, to feel so thoroughly the horrible blindness, the folly, the infidelity, the imbecillity, the ingratitude, the incor­rigibility; the strange perverseness, perfidiousness, malice, and cruelty of mankind in so many instances (in the trea­son of Judas, in the denial of Peter, in the desertion of all the Apostles, in the spite and rage of the persecutors, in the falshood of the witnesses, in the abuses of the people, in the compliance of Pilate, in a general conspiracy of friends and foes to sin) all these surrounding him, all invading him, all discharging themselves upon him, would it not astone a [Page 20] mind so pure, would it not wound a heart so tender, and full of charity?

Surely, any of those persons, who fondly do pretend unto, or vainly do glory in a sullen apathy, or a stub­born contempt of the evils incident to our nature and state, would in such a case have been utterly dejected; The most resolved Philosopher would have been dashed into confusion at the sight, would have been crushed in­to desperation under the sense of those evils which did as­sault Him.

With the greatness of the causes, the goodness of his constitution did conspire to encrease his sufferings; for surely as his complexion was most pure and delicate, his spirit most vivid and apprehensive, his affections most pli­ant and tractable; so accordingly would the impressions upon him be most sensible, and consequently the pains which he felt (in body or soul) most afflictive.

That we in like cases are not alike moved, that we do not tremble at the apprehensions of Gods displeasure, that we are not affrighted with the sense of our sins, that we do not with sad horrour resent our danger and our misery, doth arise from that we have very glimmering and faint conceptions of those matters; or that they do not in so clear and lively a manner strike our fancy (not appearing in their true nature and proper shape, so hei­nous and so hideous as they really are, in themselves and in their consequences); or because we have but weak perswasions about them; or because we do but slightly consider them; or from that our hearts are very hard and callous, our affections very cold and dull, so that nothing of this nature (nothing beside gross material af­fairs) can mollifie or melt them; Or for that we have in us small love to God, and a slender regard to our own welfare; in fine, for that in spiritual matters we are nei­ther so wise, so sober, so serious, nor so good or inge­nuous in any reasonable measure, as we should be: But [Page 21] our Saviour in all those respects was otherwise disposed; He most evidently discerned the wrath of God, the grie­vousness of sin, the wretchedness of man, most truly, most fully, most strongly represented to his mind; He most firmly believed, yea most certainly knew, whatever Gods law had declared about them; He did exactly consider and weigh them; His heart was most soft and sensible, his affections were most quick and excitable by their due objects; He was full of dutiful love to God, and most ar­dently desirous of our good, bearing a more than frater­nal good will towards us: whence 'tis not so marvel­lous that as a man, as a transcendently wise and good man, he was so vehemently affected by those occurren­ces, that his imagination was so troubled, and his passions so stirred by them; so that he thence did suffer in a man­ner, and to a degree unconceivable; according to that ejaculation in the Greek Liturgies, [...], By thy unknown sufferings, O Christ, have mercy on us. But farther,

IV. We may consider, that this way of suffering had in 4 it some particular advantages, conducing to the accom­plishment of our Lords principal designs.

Its being very notorious, and lasting a competent time were good advantages; for if he had been privately made away, or suddenly dispatched, no such great notice would have been taken of it, nor would the matter of fact have been so fully proved, to the confirmation of our faith, and conviction of infidelity: Nor had that his excellent deportment under such bitter affliction (his most divine patience, meekness and charity) so illustri­ously shone forth. Wherefore to prevent all exceptions, and excuses of unbelief (together with other collateral good purposes) divine providence did so manage the business, that as the course of his life, so also the manner of his death, should be most conspicuously remarkable: [Page 22] I spake freely to the world, Joh. 18.20. and in secret have I done nothing, said he of himself;Act. 26.26. and These things (said S. Paul to King Agrippa) were not done in a corner; such were the pro­ceedings of his life, not close or clancular, but frank and open; not presently hushed up, but leisurely carried on in the face of the world, that men might have the advan­tage to observe and examine them; And as he lived, so he dyed most publickly and visibly; the world being witness of his death, and so prepared to believe his resur­rection, and thence disposed to embrace his doctrine; ac­cording to what he did foretell,Joh. 12.32. I being lifted up from the earth shall draw all men to me; for he drew all men by so obvious a death to take notice of it,(Iren. 2.26.) he drew all well-disposed persons from the wondrous consequences of it to believe on him:Joh. 13.14. And as (said he again) Moses did ex­alt the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be exalted; As the elevation of that mysterious serpent did render it visible, and did attract the eyes of people toward it;Iren. 4.5. whereby, Gods power invisibly accompany­ing that Sacramental performance, they were cured of those mortiferous stings which they had received: so our Lord being mounted on the Cross, allured the eyes of men to behold him, and their hearts to close with him; whereby, the heavenly virtue of Gods spirit co­operating, they become saved from those destructive sins, which from the Devils serpentine instigations they had incurred.

Another advantage of this kind of suffering was, that by it the nature of that Kingdom, which he did intend to erect was evidently signified; that it was not such as the carnal people did expect, an external, earthly, tem­poral kingdom, consisting in domination over the bodies and estates of men, dignified by outward wealth and splendour, managed by worldly power and policy, pro­moted by forcible compulsion and terrour of Arms, af­fording the advantages of safety, quiet, and prosperity [Page 23] here; But a kingdom purely spiritual, celestial, eternal; consisting in the governance of mens hearts and minds, adorned with endowments of wisdom and virtue; admini­stred by the conduct and grace of Gods Holy Spirit, up­held and propagated by meek instruction, by virtuous example, by hearty devotion, and humble patience; re­warding its loyal subjects with spiritual joys and consola­tions now, with heavenly rest and bliss hereafter; No other kingdom could he presume to design, who submit­ted to this dolorous and disgraceful way of suffering; No other exploits could he pretend to atchieve by expi­ring on a cross; No other way could he rule, who gave himself to be managed by the will of his adversaries; No other benefits would this forlorn case allow him to dis­pense; so that well might he then assert,Joh. 18.36. My kingdom is not of this world, when he was going in this signal way to demonstrate that important truth.

Luc. 2.35. It was also a most convenient touch-stone to prove the genuine disposition and worth of men; so as to discri­minate those wise, sober, ingenuous, sincere, generous souls, who could discern true goodness through so dark a cloud, who could love it though so ill-favouredly dis­figured, who could embrace and avow it, notwithstand­ing so terrible disadvantages; it served, I say, to distin­guish those blessed ones,Mat. 11.6. who would not be offended in him, Gal. 5.11. 1 Pet. 2.7, 8. 1 Cor. 1.33. or by the scandal of the cross be discouraged from ad­hering to him, from the crew of blind, vain, perverse, haughty people, who being scandalized at his adversity, would contemn and reject him.

Another considerable advantage was this, that by it Gods special providence was discovered,Chrys. Tom. 6, Orat. 61. and his glory illustrated in the propagation of the Gospel: for how could it be, that a person of so low parentage, of so mean garb, of so poor condition, who underwent so la­mentable and despicable a kind of death, falling under the pride and spite of his enemies, so easily should gain [Page 24] so general an opinion in the world (even among the best, the wisest, the greatest persons) of being the Lord of life and glory; how, I say, could it happen, that such a miracle could be effected without Gods aid and special concurrence? That King Herod, who from a long reign in flourishing state with prosperous success in his enter­prises, did attain the name of Great; or that Vespasian, who triumphantly did ascend the Imperial throne, should either of them by a few admirers of worldly vanity, se­riously be held, or in flattery be call'd the Messias, is not so strange; but that one who was trampled on so mise­rably, and treated as a wretched caitiff, should instant­ly conquer innumerable hearts, and from such a depth of extreme adversity should be advanced to the sublimest pitch of glory;Ps. 118.22. that the stone, which the builders with so much scorn did refuse, should become the head stone of the corner, this (with good assurance we may say) was the Lords doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.

2 Cor. 4.7. 1 Cor. 1.27. Hereby indeed the excellency of divine power and wis­dom was much glorified; by so impotent, so improba­ble, so implausible means accomplishing so great effects; subduing the world to obedience of God, not by the active valour of an illustrious Hero, but through the pa­tient submission of a poor, abused, and oppressed person; restoring mankind to life and happiness by the sorrowful death of a crucified Saviour.

5 V. Lastly, The consideration of our Lords suffering in this manner is very useful in application to our practice: No point is more fruitful of wholsome instruction, none is more forcible to kindle devout affections, none can af­ford more efficacious inducements and incentives to a pi­ous life; for what virtue will not a serious medita­tion on the cross be apt to breed and to cherish; to what duty will it not engage and excite us?

[Page 25]1. Are we not hence infinitely obliged with most hum­ble affection and hearty gratitude to adore each person of the B. Trinity?

That God the Father should design such a redemption for us; not sparing his own Son (the Son of his love, Rom. 8.32. Col. 1.13. dear to him as himself) but delivering him up for us, to be thus dealt with for our sake; That God would endure to see his son in so pittiful a condition, to hear him groaning under so grievous pressures, to let him be so horribly abu­sed; and that for us, who deserved nothing from him, who had demerited so much against him; for us, who were no friends to him, (for even when we were enemies, Rom. 5.10. we were reconciled to God by the death of his son;) who were not any waies commendable for goodness, or righteous­ness; (for Christ did suffer for sinners, the just for the unjust;1 Pet. 3.18. Rom. 5.6. 1 Cor. 5.19. Rom. 5.8. 1 Joh. 4.10. and God commended his love to us, that while we were sinful, Christ died for us;) that God thus should love us, sending his son to be a propitiation for our sins, in so dismal a way of suffering, how stupendious is that goodness, how vast an obligation doth it lay upon us to reciprocal affection? If we do owe all to God, as our Maker, from whose un­deserved bounty we did receive all that we have, how much farther do we stand indebted to him as the author of our Redemption, from whose ill-deserved mercy we receive a new being, and better state; and that in a way far more obliging; for God created us with a word, without more cost or trouble; but to redeem us stood him in huge expences and pains; no less than the deba­sing his only son to our frailty, the exposing him to more than our misery; the withdrawing his face, and restrain­ing his bowels from his best beloved: If a Jew then were commanded by law, if a Gentile were obliged by nature, to love God with all his heart and all his soul, what af­fection doth a Christian, under the law and duty of Grace, owe unto him? by what computation can we reckon that debt? what faculties have we sufficient to [Page 26] discharge it? what finite heart can hold an affection com­mensurate to such an obligation?

And how can it otherwise than inflame our heart with love toward the Blessed Son of God, our Saviour, to consider,Eph. 3, 19.5.2, 25. Gal. 2.20. Apoc. 1.5. that merely out of charitable pity toward us, he purposely came down from heaven, and took our flesh upon him, that he might therein undergo those extreme acerbities of pain, and those most ugly indigni­ties of shame for us?Joh. 15.13. [...]; — Greater love (said he) hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends; But that God should lay down his life, should pour forth his bloud, should be aspersed with the worst crimes, and cloathed with foulest shame, should be executed on a cross as a malefactour and a slave, for his enemies and re­bellious traitors, what imagination can devise any ex­pression of charity or friendship comparable to this? Wherefore if love naturally be productive of love, if friendship justly meriteth a correspondence in good will, what effect should the consideration of so ineffable a love, of so unparallel'd friendship have upon us?

How can any serious reflection on this event fail to work hearty gratitude in us toward our good Lord? For put case any person for our sake (that he might rescue us from the greatest mischiefs, and purchase for us the highest benefits) willingly should deprive himself of all his estate (and that a very large one) of his honour (and that a very high one) of his ease and pleasure (and those the most perfect and assured that could be;) that he should expose himself to the greatest hazards, should endure the sorest pains, and most disgraceful ignomi­nies; should prostitute his life, and in most hideous manner lose it, to those ends for our sake; Should we not then apprehend and confess our selves monstrously ingrateful, if we did not most deeply resent such kind­ness, if upon all occasions we did not express our thank­fulness for it; if we did not ever readily yield all the [Page 27] acknowledgment and all the requital we were able? The case in regard to our Blessed Saviour is like in kind, but in degree whatever we can suppose doth infinite­ly fall below the performances for us of him, who stoop­ed from the top of heaven, who laid aside the Majesty and the felicitie of God for the infamies and the dolours of a cross, that he might redeem us from the torments of hell, and instate us in the joys of Paradise; so that our obligations of gratitude to him are unexpressibly great, and we cannot with any face deny our selves to be most basely unworthy, if the effects in our heart and life be not answerable.

Nor should we forget, that also upon this account we do owe great love and thanks to God the Holy Ghost, who as he did originally conspire in the wonderful project of our redemption, as he did executively by miraculous operation conduct our Saviour into his fleshly taberna­cle,Joh. 3.34. as he did by unmeasurable communications of divine virtue assist his humanity through all the course of his life; so in this juncture he did inspire him with charity more than humane, and did support him to undergo those pressures with invincible patience; and so did san­ctifie all this Sacerdotal performance, that our Lord, as the Apostle doth affirm,Heb. 9.14. did through the eternal Spirit offer himself without spot to God.

2. What surer ground can there be of faith in God,2 what stronger encouragement of hope, than is suggested by this consideration?1 Pet. 1.20. Eph. 1.— Luc. 1.— for if God stedfastly did hold his purpose, and faithfully did accomplish his word in an instance so distastful to his own heart and bowels, how can we ever suspect his constancy and fidelity in any case, how can we distrust the completion of any divine promise?

If God spared not his own Son, Rom. 8.32. but delivered him up for us, to the suffering of so contumelious affliction, how can [Page 28] we any wayes be diffident of his bounty, or despair of his mercy? how (as the Apostle doth argue) shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

If ever we be tempted to doubt of Gods goodness, will not this experiment thereof convince and satisfie us? for what higher kindness could God express, what lower condescension could he vouchsafe, by what pledge could he more clearly or surely testifie his willingness and his delight to do us good, than by thus ordering his dearest Son to undergo such miseries for us?

Quis de se de­speret, pro quo tam humilis esse voluit filius Dei? Aug. de Ag. Chr.c. 11. If the greatness of our sins discourageth us from en­tertaining comfortable hopes of mercy, will it not rear our hearts to consider that such a punishment hath been inflicted to expiate them, which might content the most rigorous severity; that such a price is laid down to re­deem us from the curse, Gal. 3.13. which richly may suffice to dis­charge it; that such a sacrifice hath been offered, which God hath avowed for most available,Eph. 5.2. 1 Pet. 1.19. and acceptable to himself? so that now what can Justice exact more from us? what have we farther to do, than with a penitent and thankful heart to embrace the mercy purchased for us?Rom. 8.34. 1. Pet. 2.24. Who is he that condemneth, seeing Christ hath died, and hath his own self born our sins in his own body on the tree? Whatever the wounds of our conscience be, is not the bloud of the cross, tempered with our hearty repen­tance, and applied by a lively faith, a sovereign balsam, of virtue sufficient to cure them; and may we not by his stripes be healed? 1 Pet. 2.24. Have we not abundant reason with the Holy Apostle,Rom. 9.11. to joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the atonement? Is it not to de­pretiate the worth, to disparage the efficacy of our Lords passion, any ways to despair of mercy, or to be disconso­late for guilt; as if the cross were not enough worthy to compensate for our unworthiness, or our Saviours pa­tience could not balance our disobedience?

[Page 29]3. It indeed may yield great joy, and sprightly conso­lation 3 to us to contemplate our Lord upon the cross, ex­ercising his immense charity toward us, transacting all the work of our redemption, defeating all the enemies, and evacuating all the obstacles of our salvation.

May we not delectably consider him as there stretch­ing forth his arms of kindness,Extendit in passione manus suas, &c. Last. 4.26. Is. 65.2. with them to embrace the world, and to receive all mankind under the wings of his protection? as there spreading out his hands, with them earnestly inviting and intreating us to accept the overtures of grace, procured by him for us?

(Lev. 9.22. 2 Chr. 4.1.) Chrys. Tom. 6. Or. 82. P. Leo 1. Ep, 83. Is it not sweet and satisfactory to view our great High­Priest on that high altar offering up his own pure flesh, and pouring out his pretious blood, as an universal com­plete sacrifice, propitiatory for the sins of mankind?

Is it not a goodly object to behold humility and pa­tience so gloriously rearing themselves above all world­ly, all infernal pride and insolence; by the cross ascend­ing unto the celestial throne of dignity and Majesty su­perlative?

Is it not pleasant to contemplate our Lord there stand­ing erect, not only as a resolute sufferer, but as a noble conquerour, where having spoiled principalities and powers, Col. 2. 15. he made a solemn shew triumphing over them? Did ever any Conquerour loftily seated in his triumphal chariot yield a spectacle so gallant and magnificent? was ever tree a­dorned with trophees so pompous and splendid?

To the exteriour view and carnal sense of men our Lord was then indeed exposed to scorn and shame; but to spiritual and sincere discerning, all his and our ene­mies did there hang up as objects of contempt, utterly overthrown and undone.

There the Devil, that strong and sturdy one, [...]. Mat. 12.29. Luc. 11.22. Heb. 2.14. did hang up bound in chains, disarmed and rifled, quite baffled and confounded, mankind being rescued from his tyran­nick power.

[Page 30]There the world with its vain pomps, its counterfeit beauties, its bewitching pleasures, its fondly admired excellencies,Gal. 6.14. did hang up all defaced and disparaged; as it appeared to St. Paul, for God (saith he) forbid 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 of our flesh with its affections and lusts, Gal. 2, 2 [...].5, 24. Col. 3.5. Rom. 8.13. and our old man was crucified, that the body of sin might be destroyed.

There our sins,1 Pet. 2.24. being (as St. Peter telleth us) carried up by him unto the gibbet, did hang as marks of his victo­rious prowess,Rom. 8.3. as malefactors by him condemned in the flesh, as objects of our horrour and hatred.

There death it self hung gasping,1 Cor. 15.54. 2 Tim. 1.10. Heb. 2.14. with its sting pulled out, and all its terrours quelled; his death having pre­vented ours, and induced immortality.

There all wrath, enmity, strife (the banes of comforta­ble life) did hang abolished in his flesh, Col. 1.10. Eph. 2.15, 16. and slain upon the cross, by the blood whereof he made peace, and reconciled all things in heaven and earth.

There manifold yokes of bondage, instruments of vex­ation,Col. 2.14. and principles of variance; even all the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, did hang up cancelled and nailed to the cross.

So much sweet comfort by spiritual consideration may be extracted from this event, which in appearance was most doleful, but in effect the most happy that ever by providence was dispensed to the world. Farther,

4 4. This consideration is 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 without such a depression of Gods only Son? how great is that impotency, which did need such a succour to relieve it? how abominable must be [Page 31] that iniquity, which might not be expiated without so costly a sacrifice? how deplorable is that misery, which could not be removed without commutation of so strange a suffering? Would the Son of God have so emptied, [...]. Phil. 2.7. and abased himself for nothing? would he have endured such pains and ignominies for a trifle? No surely, if our guilt had been slight, if our case had been tolerable, the divine wisdom would have chose a more cheap and easie remedy for us.

Is it not madness for us to be conceited of any worth in our selves, to confide in any merit of our works, to glory in any thing belonging to us, to fancy our selves brave, fine, happy persons, worthy of great respect and esteem; whenas our unworthiness, 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?

How can we reasonably pretend to any honour, or justly assume any regard to our selves, whenas the first­born of heaven, the Lord of glory, partaker of divine Ma­jesty, was fain to make himself of no reputation, to put himself into the garb of a servant, and under the imputa­tion of a malefactor, to bear such disgrace and infamy in our room, in lieu of the confusion due to us?

What more palpable confutation can there be of hu­mane vanity and arrogance, of all lofty imaginations,2 Cor. 10.5. all presumptuous confidences, all turgid humours, all fond self-pleasings and self-admirings, than is that tragical cross, wherein, as in a glass, our foul deformity, our piti­ful meanness, our helpless infirmity, our sad wofulness are so plainly represented?

Well surely may we say with St. Austin, Note: Jam tandem erubeseat homo esse superbus, propter quem factus est humilis Deus. Aug. in Ps. 18. Let man now at length blush to be proud, for whom God is made so humble; [And since (as he doth add) this great disease of soul [Page 32] did bring down the Almighty Physician from heaven, Note: Iste ingens morbus omni­potentem medicum de coelo deduxit, usque ad formam servi humiliavit, contumeliis egit, ligno suspendit, ut per salutem tantae medicinae cu­retur hic tumor. ibid. did humble him to the form of a ser­vant, did subject him to contumelies, did su­spend him on a cross, that this tumour by vir­tue of so great a medicine might be cured;] may not he well be presumed incurable, who is not cured of his pride by this medicine; Note: Quae superbia sanari potest, si humilitate filii Dei non sa­natur? Aug. de Agone Chr. cap. 11. in whom neither the reason of the case, not the force of such an example can work humi­lity?

5 5. But farther, while this contemplation doth breed sober humility, it also should preserve us from base abject­ness of mind; for it doth evidently demonstrate, that according to Gods 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 ru­ine;Note: Aut verò pro minimo ha­ber Deus hominem, propter quem mori voluit filium su­um? Aug. in Ps. 148. 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 would not have exacted or accepted such a ransome for our souls, had they been of lit­tle worth:Note: Si vobis ex terrena fragili­tate viles estis, ex pretio ve­stro vos aestimate. Aug. We should not therefore slight our selves, nor demean our selves like sorry con­temptible wretches, as if we deserved no con­sideration, no pity from our selves; as if we thought our souls not worth saving,Acts 13.46. which yet our Lord thought good to purchase at so dear a rate: By so despising or disregarding our selves, do we not condemn the senti­ments, do we not vilifie the sufferings of our Lord; so with a pitiful meanness of spirit joyning the most unwor­thy injustice and ingratitude? Again,

6 6. How can we reflect upon this event without ex­treme displeasure against, and hearty detestation of our [Page 33] sins? those sins which indeed did bring such tortures and such disgraces upon our blessed Redeemer? Judas, the wretch who betrayed him; the Jewish Priests who did accuse and prosecute him; the wicked rout, which did abusively insult over him; those cruel hands that smote him, those pitiless hearts that scorn'd him, those poysonous tongues that mocked him, and reviled him; all those who were the instruments and abetters of his affliction, how do we loath and abhorr them, how do we detest their names, and execrate their memories! But how much greater reason have we to abominate our sins, which were the true, the principal actors of all that woful tragedy:Rom. 4.25. He was delivered for our offen­ces, they were indeed the traitours, which by the hands of Judas delivered him up, He that knew no sin, 2 Cor. 5.21. was made sin for us, that is, was accused, was condemned, was exe­cuted as a sinner for us; it was therefore we, who by our sins did impeach him, the spiteful Priests were but our advocates; we by them did adjudge and sentence him; Pilate was but drawn in against his will and conscience, to be our spokes-man in that behalf; We by them did inflict that horrid punishment on him, the Roman exe­cutioners were but our representatives therein; He be­came a curse for us; that is, all the mockery, derision,Gal. 3.13. and contumely he endured, did proceed from us; the silly people were but properties acting our parts; our sins were they that cryed out Crucifige (Crucify him, crucify him) with clamours more loud and more im­portunate than did all the Jewish rabble; it was they, which by the borrowed throats of that base people did so outragiously persecute him:Is. 53.5. He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; it was they which by the hands of the fierce souldiers, and of the rude populacy, as by senseless engines, did buffet and scourge him; they by the nails and thorns did pierce his flesh, and rend his Sacred body; upon them there­fore [Page 34] it is most just and fit that we should turn our hatred, that we should discharge our indignation.

7 7. And what in reason can be more powerful toward working penitential sorrow and remorse, than refle­ction upon such horrible effects, proceeding from our sins? how can we forbear earnestly to grieve, consider­ing our selves by them to have been the perfidious betrayers, the unjust slanderers, the cruel persecutors, and barbarous murtherers of a person so innocent and lovely, so good and benign, so great and glorious; of Gods own dear Son, of our best Friend, of our most gracious Redeemer?

8 8. If ingenuity will not operate so far, and hereby melt us into contrition, yet surely this consideration must needs affect us with a religious fear;Psal. 119.120. for can we otherwise than tremble to think upon the heinous guilt of our sins, upon the dreadful fierceness of Gods wrath against them, upon the impartial severity of di­vine judgment for them, all so manifestly discovered, all so livelily set forth in this dismal spectacle? If the view of an ordinary execution is apt to beget in us some terrour, some dread of the law, some reverence toward authority, what awful impressions should this singular example of divine justice work upon us?

How greatly we should be moved thereby, what af­fections it should raise in us, we may even learn from the most inanimate creatures; for the whole world did seem affected thereat vvith horrour and confusion; the frame of things vvas discomposed and disturbed; all nature did feel a kind of compassion and compun­ction for it; The Sun (as from aversion and shame) did hide his face, leaving the vvorld covered for three hours vvith mournful blackness; the bowels of the earth did yern and quake; the rocks did split, the veil [Page 35] of the Temple was rent, the graves did open themselves, and the dead bodies were roused up; And can we then (who are the most concerned in the event) be more stupid than the earth, more obdurate than rocks, more drowsie than interr'd carcases, the most insensible and immoveable things in nature? But farther,

9. How can the meditation on this event do other­wise than hugely deterr us from all wilful disobedience and commission of sin? for how thereby can we vio­late such engagements, and thwart such an example of obedience? how thereby can we abuse so wonderful goodness, and disoblige so transcendent charity? how thereby can we reject that gentle dominion over us,Tit. 2.14. 1 Pet. 1.18. Rom. 14.9. 2 Cor. 5 15. 2 Pet. 2.1. 1 Cor. 6.20. which our Redeemer did so dearly purchase, or re­nounce the Lord that bought us at so high a rate? with what heart can we bring up on the stage, and act over that direful tragedy, renewing all that pain and all that disgrace to our Saviour; as the Apostle teacheth that we do by Apostacy,Heb. 6.6. [...]. crucifying to our selves the Son of God afresh, and putting him to an open shame? Can we with­out horrour tread under foot the son of God, Heb. 10.26, 29. [...]. and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing (as the same di­vine Apostle saith, all wilful transgressors do) vilifying that most sacred and pretious bloud, so freely shed for the demonstration of Gods mercy, and ratification of his gracious intentions toward us; as a thing of no special worth or consideration; [...]. despising all his so kind and painful endeavours for our salvation, defeating his most charitable purposes, and earnest desires for our welfare; rendring all his so bitter and loathsome sufferings in regard to us utterly vain and fruitless; yea indeed very hurtful and pernicious; for if the cross doe not save us from our sins, it will much aggravate their guilt, and augment their punishment; bringing a severer condem­nation, and a sadder ruine on us. Again,

[Page 36]10. This consideration affordeth very strong engage­ments to the practice of charity towards our neighbour: For what heart can be so hard, that the bloud of the cross cannot mollisie into a charitable and compassionate sense? can we forbear to love those, toward whom our Saviour did bear so tender affection, for whom he was pleased to sustain so woful tortures and indignities? Shall we not in obedience to his most urgent commands, in conformity to his most notable example, in grate­ful return to him for his benefits, who thus did gladly suffer for us, discharge this most sweet and easie duty towards his beloved friends? Shall we not be willing by parting with a little superfluous stuff for the re­lief of our poor brother, to requite and gratifie him,2 Cor. 8.9. who to succour us in our distress most bountifully did part with his wealth, with his glory, with his plea­sure, with his life it self? Shall we not meekly comport with an infirmity,Eph. 4.32. Col. 3.13. not bear a petty neglect, not forgive a small injury to our brother, whenas our Lord did for us, and from us bear a cross, to procure remission for our innumerable most heinous affronts and offences against Almighty God? Can a heart void of mercy and pity with any reason or modesty pretend to the mercies and compassions of the cross? Can we hope, that God for Christs sake will pardon us, if we for Christs sake will not forgive our neighbour?

Can we hear our Lord saying to us,Joh. 15, 12.13, 35. This is my com­mand that ye love one another, as I have loved you; and, Hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another? Eph. 5.2. Can we hear S. Paul exhorting, Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smel­ling savour; and We that are strong ought to bear the in­firmities of the weakRom. 15.1.— for even Christ pleased not himself, but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me? Can we attend to S. John's arguing, Be­loved, [Page 37] if God so loved us, then ought we also to love one another; Hereby we perceive the love of God, 1 Joh. 4, 11.3, 16. because he laid down his life for us; wherefore we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren?

Can we, I say, consider such precepts, and such dis­courses, without effectually being disposed to comply with them for the sake of our crucified Saviour; all whose life was nothing else but one continual recom­mendation and enforcement of this duty; but his death especially was a pattern most obliging, most incentive thereto? This use of the point is the more to be re­garded, because the Apostle doth apply it hereto, our text coming in upon that occasion; for having patheti­cally exhorted the Philippians to all kinds of charity and humble condescension, he subjoyneth, Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, &c.

11. But farthermore, What can be more operative 11 than this point, toward breeding a disregard of this world with all its deceitful vanities, and mischievous delights; toward reconciling our minds to the worst condition, into which it can bring us; toward support­ing our hearts under the heaviest pressures of affliction which it can lay upon us? for can we reasonably expect, can we eagerly affect, can we ardently desire great pro­sperity, whenas the Son of God, our Lord and Master, did only taste such adversity? How can we refuse, in submission to Gods pleasure, contentedly to bear a slight grievance, whenas our Saviour gladly did bear a cross, infinitely more distasteful to carnal will and sense, than any that can befall us? Who now can ad­mire those splendid trifles, which our Lord never did regard in his life, and which at his death only did serve to mock and abuse him? Who can relish those sordid pleasures, of which he living did not vouchsafe to taste, [Page 38] and the contraries whereof he dying chose to feel in all extremity? Who can disdain or despise a state of sor­row and disgrace, which he by voluntary susception of it, hath so dignified and graced? by which we so near resemble and become conformable to him;Rom. 8.17. Phil. 3.10. Apoc. 1.9. 1 Pet. 4.13. Colos. 1.24. by which we concur and partake with him; yea, by which in some cases we may promote, and after a sort com­plete his designs, filling up, as St. Paul speaketh, that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in our flesh?

Who now can hugely prefer being esteemed, appro­ved, favoured, commended by men before infamy, re­proach, derision, and persecution from them, especially when these do follow conscientious adherence to righ­teousness?Cogitemus cru­cem ejus, & di­vitias lutum esse putabimus. Hier. ad Ne­pot. Epist. 2. Who can be very ambitious of worldly ho­nour or repute, covetous of wealth, or greedy of pleasure, who doth observe the Son of God chusing ra­ther to hang upon a cross, than to sit upon a throne; inviting the clamours of scorn and spite rather than ac­clamations of blessing and praise; devesting himself of all secular power, pomp, plenty, conveniencies and so­laces; embracing the garb of a slave, and the repute of a malefactour, before the dignity and respect of a Prince, which were his due, which he most easily could have ob­tained?

Quis beatam vitam esse ar­bitretur in iis, quae contemnen­da esse docuit filius Dei? Aug. de Ag. Chr. cap. 11. Can we imagine it a very happy thing to be high and prosperous in this world, to swim in affluence and pleasure? Can we take it for a misery to be mean and low, to conflict with some wants and streights here; seeing the fountain of all happiness did himself purpose­ly condescend to so forlorn a state, and was pleased to become so deep a sufferer? If with devout eyes of our mind we do behold our Lord, hanging naked upon a gibbet, besmeared all over with streams of his own bloud, groaning under smart anguish of pain, en­compassed with all sorts of disgraceful abuses, yield­ing (as it was foretold of him) his back to the smi­ters, Is. 50.6. [Page 39] and his cheeks to them who plucked off the hair, hiding not his face from shame and spitting, will not the imagi­nation of such a spectacle dim the lustre of all earthly grandeurs and beauties, damp the sense of all carnal de­lights and satisfactions, quash all that extravagant glee, which we can find in any wild frolicks, or rio­tous merriments? will it not stain all our pride, and check our wantonness? will it not dispose our minds to be sober, placing our happiness in things of another nature, seeking our content in matters of higher impor­tance; preferring obedience to the will of God before complyance with the fancies and desires of men? ac­cording to that precept of S Peter, 1 Pet. 4.1, 2. Graec. For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm your selves like­wise with the same mind— so as no longer to live the re­maining time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

12. This indeed will instruct and incline us cheerful­ly to submit unto Gods will, and gladly to accept from his hand whatever he disposeth, however grievous and afflictive to our natural will; this point suggesting great commendation of afflictions, and strong consola­tion under them. For if such hardship was to our Lord himself a school of duty, [...], Heb. 5.8. he (as the Apostle saith) learn­ing obedience from what he suffered; if it was to him a fit mean of perfection, as the Apostle doth again imply when he saith,Heb. 2.10. that it became God to perfect the captain of our salvation by suffering; If it was an attractive of the divine favour even to him, as those words import, Therefore the Father loveth me, because I lay down my life;Joh. 10.17. If it was to him a step toward glory, according to that saying, Was not Christ to suffer, and so to enter into his glory? Luc. 24.26. Yea, if it was a ground of conferring on him a sublime pitch of dignity above all creatures,Phil. 2.9. God for this obedi­ence having exalted him, and given him a name above all [Page 40] names;Heb. 2.9. We seeing Jesus for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour; the heavenly society in the Re­velations with one voice crying out,Rev. 5.12, 9. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain (who redeemed us to God by his bloud) to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing; If affliction did minister such advantages to him; and if by our conformity to him in undergoing it,(Rom. 5.3. Col. 1.24. Mat. 5.12. Luc. 6.23. Phil. 1.29. Act. 5.41. Jam. 1.2. Heb. 10.34. 1 Pet. 1.7. Heb. 12.2.— 1 Cor. 1.4.—) (with like equanimity, humili­ty, and patience) it may afford the like to us, what reason is there that we should any wise be discomposed at it, or disconsolate under it? much greater reason surely there is, that with S. Paul, and all the Holy A­postles we should rejoyce, boast, and exult in our tribulations; far more cause we have with them to esteem it a favour, a priviledge, an ornament, a fe­licity to us, than to be displeased and discontented therewith.

To do thus is a duty incumbent on us as Christi­ans,1 Thes. 3.3. Rom. 8.29. Act. 14.22. 2 Tim. 3.12. for He, saith our Master, that doth not take up his cross and follow me, Luc. 14, 27.9, 23. Mat. 10, 38.16, 24. is not worthy of me; He that doth not carry his cross, and go after me, cannot be my disci­ple: *He that doth not willingly take the cross when it is presented to him by Gods hand; he that doth not contentedly bear it, when it is by providence impo­sed on him, is no wise worthy of the honour to wait on Christ, he is not capable to be reckoned among the disciples of our heavenly Master: He is not wor­thy of Christ, as not having the courage, the constan­cy, the sincerity of a Christian; or of one pretending to such great benefits, such high priviledges, such ex­cellent rewards as Christ our Lord and Saviour doth propose; He cannot be Christs disciple, shewing such an incapacity to learn those needful lessons of hu­mility and patience dictated by him, declaring such an indisposition to transcribe those Copies of sub­mission to the divine will, self-denial, and self-resigna­tion, [Page 41] so fairly set him by the instruction and example of Christ; for Christ (saith S. Peter) suffered for us, [...]. 1 Pet. 2.21. leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps.

13. The willing susception, and the cheerful sustenance 13 of the cross is indeed the express condition, and the peculiar character of our Christianity; in signification whereof, it hath been from most ancient times a con­stant usage to mark those who enter into it with the figure of it: The cross, as the Instrument by which our peace with God was wrought, as the stage where­on our Lord did act the last part of his marvellous obe­dience, consummating our redemption; as the field wherein the Captain of our Salvation did atchieve his noble victories, [...]. Const. Apost. 8.12. and erect his glorious trophees over all the enemies thereof, was well assumed to be the badge of our profession, the ensign of our spiritual war­fare, the pledge of our constant adherence to our crucified Saviour; in relation to whom our chief hope is grounded, our great joy and sole glory doth con­sist, for God forbid, saith S. Paul, Gal. 6.14. that I should glory save in the cross of Christ.

14. Let it be to the Jews a scandal, or offensive to 14 their fancy,1 Cor. 1.23. prepossessed with expectations of a Mes­sias flourishing in secular pomp and prosperity; let it be folly to the Greeks, or seem absurd to men puff'd up and corrupted in mind with fleshly notions and maximes of worldly craft, disposing them to value nothing which is not grateful to present sense or fancy; that God should put his own most beloved Son into so very sad and despicable a condition; that salvation from death and misery should be procured by so miserable a death; that eternal joy, glory,(Orig. in Cels. 2. p. 79.) and happiness should issue from these fountains of sorrow and shame; that a person in external semblance devo­ted [Page 42] to so opprobrious usage, should be the Lord and Redeemer of mankind, the King and Judge of all the world; Let, I say, this doctrine be scandalous and distastful to some persons tainted with prejudice; let it be strange and incredible to others blinded with self-conceit; let all the inconsiderate, all the proud, all the profane part of mankind openly with their mouth, or closely in heart, slight and reject it; yet to us it must appear grateful and joyous; to us it is [...], a faithful and most credible proposition, 1 Tim. 1.15. 2 Tim. 2.11. worthy of all ac­ceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sin­ners, in this way of suffering for them; To us, who discern by a clearer light, and are endowed with a purer sense, kindled by the divine spirit; from whence we may with comfortable satisfaction of mind appre­hend and taste, that God could not in a higher mea­sure, or fitter manner illustrate his glorious attributes of goodness and Justice; his infinite grace and mer­cy toward his poor creatures; his holy displeasure against wickedness; his impartial severity in punishing iniquity and impiety, or in vindicating his own sacred honour and authority; than by thus ordering his one­ly Son, cloathed with our nature, to suffer for us; that also true virtue and goodness, could not otherwise be taught, be exemplified, be commended and impressed with greater advantage.

Since thereby indeed a charity and humanity so un­parallel'd (far transcending theirs, who have been celebrated for devoting their lives out of love to their country▪ or kindness to their friends) a meekness so incomparable, a resolution so invincible, a patience so heroical, were manifested for the instruction and di­rection of men; Since never were the vices and the vanities of the world (so prejudicial to the welfare of mankind) so remarkably discountenanced; Since never any suffering could pretend to so worthy and be­neficial [Page 43] effects, the expiation of the whole worlds sins,1 Joh. 2.2. 2 Cor. 5.19. and reconciliation of mankind to God, the which no other performance, no other sacrifice did ever aim to procure; since, in fine, no virtue had ever so glori­ous rewards, as sovereign dignity to him that exer­cised it, and eternal happiness to those who imitate it; Since, I say, there be such excellent uses and fruits of the Cross born by our Saviour, we can have no reason to be offended at it, or ashamed of it; but with all reason heartily should approve, and humbly adore the deep wisdom of God, together with all other his glo­rious attributes displayed therein; to whom therefore, as is most due, let us devoutly render all glory and praise. And,

Unto him that loved us, Apoc. 1.5. and washed us from our sins in his bloud; and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God, and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, Apoc. 5.13. be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen.


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