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SERM. shall be theirs, and we and our souls innocent before God. VI.
Impendatur per nos, pereat per illos.
But perish it shall not, which is the third point, though for them it may. For howsoever of them it may be truly said,
The more we love, the less they;' of Christ it never can, nor ever shall be said. For St. Paul, for the little love at their hands, found the greater at His. Though the more he loved, the less they loved him; yet the less they loved, the more Christ loved him. Of Whom to be loved, even in the least degree, is worth all the love of Corinth, and all Achaia too. So that here we find that we missed all this while a tamen for our etsi. Though not they, yet Christ. Which tamen maketh amends for all. Et vigilanti verbo usus est Apostolus ; that St. Paul spoke not at adventure, but was well advised when he used the word impendam. For it is impendam indeed, not perdam ; not lost, but laid out; not cast away, but employed on Him, for Whose love none ever hath or shall bestow aught, but he shall receive a super-impendar of an hundred-fold. And indeed, all other loves of the flesh, or world, or whatsoever else, shall perish and come to nothing; and of this, and this only, we may say impendam truly.
So that, to make an end, though true it be that St. Bernard [S. Ber- saith, Perfectus amor vires non sumit de spe, “Perfect love per. Cant. receives no manner strength from hope;' yet for that our love Serm. 83., is not without his imperfections, all under one view we may circ. med.]
with one eye behold Christ's magis diligam, when we were scarce in our minus, nay scarce loved Him at all; and with the other look upon impendam, that what we do herein, though at men's hands we find no return, at Christ's we shall, and it shall be the best bestowed service that ever bestowed, that we bestow in this kind.
Now, would God, the same Spirit which here wrote this verse would write it in our hearts, that those things are thus; that such a rependam there shall be, and we well assured of it, ut et nos converteremur in amorem, that we might be transformed into this love !' Which blessing, Almighty God bestow on that which hath been said, for Christ's, &c. !
PREACHED AT THE COURT,
ON THE TWENTY-FIFTH OF MARCH, A.D. MDXCVII. BEING GOOD-FRIDAY.
ZECHARIAH xii. 10.
And they shall look upon Me, Whom they have pierced.
That great and honourable person the Eunuch, sitting in his chariot, and reading a like place of the Prophet Esay, asketh St. Philip. “I pray thee, Of Whom speaketh the Acts 8. 34. Prophet this? of himself, or some other?" A question very material, and to great good purpose, and to be asked by us in all prophecies. For knowing who the party is, we shall not wander in the Prophet's meaning:
Now, if the Eunuch had been reading this of Zachary, as then he was that of Esay, and had asked the same question of St. Philip, he would have made the same answer. he out of those words took occasion, so may we out of these take the like, to preach Jesus unto them. For neither of himself, nor of any other, but of Jesus, speaketh the Prophet this; and “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of this Rev.19.10. prophecy."
That so it is the Holy Ghost is our warrant, Who in St John's Gospel reporting the Passion, and the last act of the Passion—this opening of the side, and piercing of the heart-our Saviour Christ saith plainly, that in the piercing the very words of the prophecy were fulfilled, Respicient in Me Joh. 19. 37. Quem transfixerunt.
Which term of piercing we shall the more clearly conceive, if with the ancient writers, we sort it with the beginning of Psalm 22. the Psalm of the Passion. For, in the very front or inscription of this Psalm, our Saviour Christ is compared cervo matutino, “to the morning hart;" that is, a hart roused early in the morning, as from His very birth He was by Herod, hunted and chased all His life long, and this day brought to His end, and, as the poor deer, stricken and pierced through side, heart, and all; which is it we are here willed to behold.
There is no part of the whole course of our Saviour Christ's life or death but it is well worthy our looking on, and from each part in it there goeth virtue to do us good; but of all other parts, and above them all, this last part of His piercing is here commended unto our view. Indeed, how could the Prophet commend it more, than in avowing it to be
an act of grace, as in the fore part of this verse he doth ? [Zech. 12. Effundam super eos Spiritum Gratiæ, et respicient, &c. as if he io.] should
say; If there be any grace in us, we will think it worth the looking on.
Neither doth the Prophet only, but the Apostle also, call Heb. 12. 2/ us unto it, and willeth us what to “ look unto" and regard,
“ Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith." Then specially, and in that act, when for “the joy of our salvation set before Him He endured the cross, and despised the shame;" that is, in this spectacle, when He was pierced.
Which surely is continually, all our life long, to be done by us, and at all times some time to be spared unto it; but if at other times, most requisite at this time, this very day which we hold holy to the memory of His Passion, and the piercing of His precious side. That, though on other days we employ our eyes otherwise, this day at least we fix them on this
( object, respicientes in Eum. This day, I say, which is dediJoh. 3. 14, cated to none other end, but even to lift up the Son of Man,
as Moses did the serpent in the wilderness, that we may look ; upon Him and live; when every Scripture that is read soundeth nothing but this unto us, when by the office of preaching
Jesus Christ is lively described in our sight, and as the Gal. 3. 1. Apostle speaketh, is “visibly crucified among us;" when in 1 Cor. 11. the memorial of the Iloly Sacrament, “ His death is shewed