« PreviousContinue »
handled. We must have a thing first set up before our eyes, before we can set our eyes upon
it. Of the object then first: this object is Jesus, not barely, but with His double addition of 1. “the Author," 2. “the Finisher of our faith, Jesus.” And in Him more particularly, two theories or sights : 1. Of His Passion ; 2. Of His Session. 1. His Passion, in these words: “Who for the joy,” &c. 2. His Session, in these; “And is set," &c.
In the Passion, two things He pointeth at: 1. What He suffered, 2. and what moved Him to it. 1. What He suffered ; the cross and shame. The cross He endured, the shame He despised. 2. And what moved Him; “for a certain joy set before Him.”
Then is to follow the act or duty of looking on this sight, II. αφορώντες εις. 1. Wherein first the two prepositions, 1. 'ATÒ and 2. Eis, “ from” and “to:” to look “from,” and to look “to.” 2. Then the two verbs: 1. One in the verse expressed, that is, oράν in αφορώντες. 2. The other of necessity implied, for we have never a verb in all the verse. 'Apopôvres is a participle, and but suspendeth the sentence, till we either look back to the verb before; and so it is 1. Ut curramus: or to the verse next after, and so it is 2. Ne fatigemur. In the one is the theory or sight we shall see, thus looking. In the other the praxis of this theory, what this sight is to work in us; and that is a motion, a swift motion, running. So to look on it that we run, and so to run that we faint not.
And if the time will give leave, if our allowance will hold out, then we will take a short view of the session ; that He “is set down." Wherein is 1. rest and case opposed to His cross, where He hung in pain. 2. And in “a throne;" wherein is glory opposed to shame. 3. And “at the right hand of God,” wherein is the fulness of both the joy wherein He sitteth, and the joy which was set before Him, and which is set before us.
To give the better aspect to the party Whom he presenteth to our view, that with better will we may behold Him, before jest
. he name His Name he giveth Him this double addition, as thorand it were displaying an ensign, proclaiming His style before Finister of Him; whereof these two are the two colours, 1. “The Jesus." Author," 2. “The Finisher of our faith, Jesus."
I. The ob
Joh. 1. 1.
“ Author and Finisher” are two titles, wherein the Holy Ghost oft setteth Him forth, and wherein He seemeth to take
special delight. In the very letters, He taketh to Him the Rev. 1. 8. name of " Alpha” the Author, and again of “Omega” the Rev. 21. 6. Finisher of the alphabet. From letters go to words: there is Rev.22.13. He Verbum in principio, " the Word at the beginning.” And Rev. 3. 14. He is “ Amen” too, the word at the end. From words to Ps. 40. 7. books. In capite libri scriptum est de Me, in the very “front Eph. 1. 10. of the book” He is; and He is 'Avakepalalwois, “the Re
capitulation," or conclusion of it too. And so, go to persons: Rev. 1. 17. there He is Primus and novissimus, “ the first and the last.” Rev. 1. 8. And from persons to things: and there He is, “the beginning
and the end ;” whereof åpx), “ the beginning,” is in ’Apxnyos,
the Author; and Téos, “the end,” is in Teneris, the Col. 1. 16. Finisher. The first beginning a Quo, He “by Whom all
things are made;" and the last end He, per or propter Quem, “by, for, or through Whom” all things are made perfect.
Both these He is, in all things. And as in all things else, so in faith, whereto they are here applied most fully and fitly of all other. Therefore look not aside at any in Heaven or earth for matter of faith, look full upon Him. He is worth the looking on with both your eyes, He hath matter for them both.
The honour that Zerubbabel had in the material, is no less Zech. 4. 9. truly His in the spiritual temple of our faith. Manus Ejus,
“ His hands” have laid the corner-stone of our belief, and His [1Pet. 1.9.] hands shall bring forth the head-stone also, giving us “the end
of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls.”
Of our faith, and of the whole race of it He is the Author, casting up His glove at the first setting forth. He is the Finisher, holding out the prize at the goal end. By His authority it is our course is begun; we run not without warrant. By His bounty it shall be finished and crowned in the end; we run not in vain, or without hope of reward.
But what is this title to the point in hand? So, as nothing can be more. “ Author and Finisher,” they are the two points that move us to look to Him. And the very same are the two points wherein we are moved to be like to Him.
To fix our eye, to keep it from straying, to make us look on Him full, He telleth us He is both these. In effect as if He
said, Scatter not your sight, look not two ways, as if He I shew
you were to begin, and some other make an end. He I shew you
doth both. His main end being to exhort them, as they had begun well, so well to persevere; to very good purpose, He willeth them to have an eye to Him and His example, Who first and last, από φάτνης άχρι σταυρού, “ from the cratch to the cross,' from St. Luke's time quo cæpit Jesus facere et diocere, Acts 1. 1. “that He began to do and teach," to St. John's time that He Joh. 19.30. cried consummatum est, gave them not over sed in finem usque Joh. 13. 1. dilexit eos, but “to the end loved them.” And so must they Him, if they do Him right. Both set out with Him, as “ Author” by a good beginning; and hold out with Him, as Finisher,” to a far better end; and follow Him in both Who is both. Were He “ Author” only, it would serve to step forth well at the first. But He is “ Finisher” too: therefore we must hold out to the last. And not rend one of them from the other, seeing Ile requireth both—not either, but both—and is indeed Jesus, a Saviour of none but those, that follow Him as “ Finisher” too, and are therefore marked in the forehead with Tau the last letter of the Hebrew, as He His PasIlimself is Omega, the last of the Greek Alphabet. This is Ezek. 9. 4. the party He commendeth to our view; “ Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith.” For these two to look upon Him, and in these two to be like unto Him.
Our sight then is Jesus, and in Jesus what? you have 1. called us hither, say they in the Canticles, to see your Shulamite ;—“ what shall we see in Him?” What? saith the Cant. 6.13. Spouse, but as “the company of an army,” that is, many legions of good sights, an ocean or bottomless depth of manifold high perfections. We shall lose ourselves, we shall be confounded to see in Him all that may be shewed us, the object is too great. Two pieces therefore Ile maketh choice of, and but two, and presenteth Him to our eye in two forms only: 1. As hanging on the cross ; 2. as sitting on the
1. His Passion, and 2. IIis Session; these two. And these two, with very good and perfect correspondence to the two former. By the “cross,” He is “ Author;" by the throne,” He is “ Finisher of our faith.” As Man on the
“ Author;" as God on the “ throne,” 6 Finisher.”
1. The motives
SERM. “Author," on the “cross"—there He paid the price of our III.
admitting. “Finisher," on the “ throne"—there He is the prize to us of our course well performed, of the well-finishing our race, the race of our faith.
And sure, with right high wisdom hath the Holy Ghost, being to exhort us to a race, combined these twain. For in these twain are comprised the two main motives, that set all the world on running, 1. love, and 2. hope. The love Ile hath to us in His Passion on the cross; the hope we have of Him, in His Session on the throne. Either of these alone able to move; but put them together, and they will move us, or nothing will.
1. Love first. What moveth the mother to all the travail thereto.
and toil she taketh with her child ? She hopes for nothing, she is in years, suppose; she shall not live to receive any benefit
by it. It is love and love only. Love first. 2. Hope. 2. And then hope. What moveth the merchant, and so
the husbandman, and so the military man, and so all the rest ? All the sharp showers and storms they endure, they love them not.
It is hope, and hope only, of a rich return. If either of these will serve us, will prevail to move us, Eph. 5. 2. here it is. Here is love, love in the cross :
66 Who loved us, and
gave Himself for us, a sacrifice" on the cross. Here is Rev. 3. 21. hope, hope in the throne. “ To him that overcometh will
I give to sit with Me in My throne.” If our eye be a mother's
here is love worth the looking on. be a merchant's eye, here is hope worth the looking after. I
know it is true, that verus amor vires non sumit de spe ;—it is [S. Ber Bernard. “Love if it be true indeed, as in the mother, per. Cant
. receiveth no manner strength from hope.' Ours is not such, cire. med.but faint and feeble, and full of imperfection. Here is hope
therefore to strengthen our weak knees, that we may run the more readily to the high prize of our calling.
To begin then with His love, the love of His Passion, the peculiar of this day. In it we first look to what He suffered, and that is of two sorts. 1. “The cross He endured;" 2. “ The shame le despised.” 3. And then with what mind, for the mind is worth all; and love in it sheweth itself, if not more, as much as in the suffering itself:—but certainly more. And this is His mind, proposito Sibi gaudio, as cheerfully as if
If our eye
2. What He suffered.
it had been some matter of joy. Of both first, jointly under one. Then severally cach by itself.
Two things are to us most precious, 1. our life and 2. our 1. “The reputation. Pari passu ambulant, saith the lawyer, they go a shame" arm in arm,' and are of equal regard, both. Life is sweet:
jointly. the cross cost Him His life. Honour is dear : shame bereft Him His honour. In the race which, before us and for us, our blessed Saviour ran, these two great blocks, 1. death, and 2. disgrace were in His way. Neither stayed Him. To testify His love, over both He passed. Put His shoulders under the cross and endured it, to the loss of His life. Set His foot upon shame and despised it, to the loss of His honour. Neither one nor other, life or honour, held lle dear, to do us good. O, if we should hazard but one of these two, for any creature living, how much ado would we make of it, and reckon the party cternally obliged to us! Or if any should venture them for us, we should be the better every time we saw him. O that it might be so here! (that we would meet this love with the like measure! Certainly in His Passion, the love of us triumphed over the love of His life and honour both.
One view more of both these under one, and we shall by 2. these two discover two other things in ourselves, for which very agreeable it was He should suffer these two, that by these two of His for those two of ours Ile might make a full satisfaction. It will shew a good congruity between our sickness and His salve, between our debt and His discharge.
The mother-sin then, the sin of Adam and Eve, and their motives to it, are the lively image of all the after-births of sin, and the baits of sin for ever. Now that which moved them to disobey, was partly pleasure, and partly pride. PleasureO the fruit was delightful to see and to taste. Pride—eritis Gen. 3.6.3. sicut Dii, it promised an estate equal to the highest. Behold then in His Passion, for our pleasure His pain, and for our pride, His shame and reproach. Behold Him in His patience, enduring pain for our wicked lust; in His humility, having shame poured on Him for our wretched pride. “ The Lord Acts 3. 15. of life,” suffering death ; “ The Lord of glory,” vile and igno- 1 Cor. 2. 8. minious disgrace. Tanquam agnus, saith the Prophet of IIim, Jer. 11. 19. " as a lamb,” pitifully slaughtered. Tunquam rermis, saith Ps. 22. 6.