Page images

still, to cause us stir, if we move but slowly, to make us run apace; if we run already, never to tire or give over till we do attain. And by this we may know, whether our theory be a true one : if this praxis follow of it, it is; if not, a gaze it may be, a true Christian “ theory” it is not.

And here first our ůpopậy, that is, our “ looking from,” is to work a turning from sin. Sure this spectacle, if it be well looked into, will make sin shall not look so well-favoured in our eyes as it did; it will make us while we live have a less liking to look toward it, as being the only procurer and cause of this cross and this shame. Nay, not only átrompéTTELV, 'to turn our eye from it,' but åtorpéxelv, 'to turn our feet from it' too; and to run from, yea to fly from it, quasi a facie colubri, 'as from the face of a serpent.'

At leastwise, if not to run from it, not to run to it as we have ; to nail down our feet from running to sin, and our hands from committing sin, and in a word have St. Peter's practice of the Passion, “ to cease from sin.” This abstractive 1 Pet. 4. I. force we shall find and feel; it will draw us from the delights of sin. And not only draw us from that, but draw from us too something, make some tears to run from us, or, if we be dry-eyed that not them, yet make some sighs of devotion, some thoughts of grace, some kind of thankful acknowledgments to issue from our souls. Either by way of compassion as feeling that He then felt, or by way of compunction as finding ourselves in the number of the parties for whom He felt them. It is a proper effect of our view of the Passion, this, as St. Luke sets it down at the very place where he terms it dewplav, that they returned from it “smiting their breasts” as Lu. 23. 48. having seen a doleful spectacle, themselves the cause of it.

Now as the looking from worketh a moving from, so doth the looking to a moving to.

For first, who is there that can look unto those hands and feet, that head and that heart of His that endured all this, but must prima facia, 'at the first sight' see and say, Ecce quomodo dilexit nos ? If the Jews that stood by said truly of Him at Lazarus


Ecce quomodo dilexit eum! when He shed but Joh. 11. 36. a few tears out of His eyes, how much more truly may it be said of us, Ecce quomodo dilexit eos ! for whom He hath "shed both water and blood,” yea even from His heart, and that in


Jas. 2. 22.

SERM. such plenty? And He loving us so, if our hearts be not iron,

yea if they be iron, they cannot choose but feel the magnetical

force of this loadstone. For to a loadstone doth He resemble Joh. 12. 32. Himself, when He saith of Himself, “ Were I once lift up,"

omnia traham ad Me. This virtue attractive is in this sight to draw our love to it.

With which, as it were the needle, our faith being but touched, will stir straight. We cannot but turn to Him and trust in Him, that so many ways hath shewed Himself so true to us. Quando amor confirmatur, fides inchoatur, saith St. Ambrose, Prove to us of any that he loves us indeed, and we shall trust him straight without any more ado,' we shall believe any good affirmed of him. And what is there, tell me, any where affirmed of Christ to usward, but this love of His, being believed will make it credible.

Now our faith is made perfect by “works,” or “well-doing," saith St. James; it will therefore set us in a course of them. Of which, every virtue is a stadium, and every act a step

toward the end of our race. Beginning at humility, the virtue Phil. 2. 5. of the first setting out,—“ let the same mind be in


that was in Christ Jesus, Who humbled Himself,"--and so proceeding from virtue to virtue, till we come to patience and

perseverance, that keep the goal end. So saith St. Peter, 1 Pet. 5.10. Modicum passos perficiet, “suffering somewhat, more or less;

some crossing, if not the cross; some evil report, though not shame; so and no otherwise we shall come to our race end, our final perfection.”

And as the rest move us if we stand still to run, so if we run already, these two, patience and perseverance-patience

will make us for all our encounters, un káuvelv, saith the Heb. 12. 3. Apostle in the next verse, "not to be weary."

Not in our minds, though in our bodies we be ; and perseverance will make us, un ex Aveolai, “not to faint or tire,” though the time seem long and never so tedious; both these in the verse following. But hold on our course till we finish it, even till come to Him, Who was not only

Author," but “Finisher;" Who held out till He came to consummatum est. ['Curricu- And so must we finish, not stadium, but dolichum'; not like

those, of whom it was said, currebatis bene, " ye did well for a Poll.]

start,” but like our Apostle that said, and said truly, of himGal. 5. 7.


Jum omnium maximum. Jul.

faint not.

self, cursum consummavi, “ I have finished my course, I have 2 Tim. 4.7. held out to the


end." And in this is the praxis of our first theory or sight of our 3. That we love. But our love without hope is but faint: that then with better heart we may thus do and bestir ourselves, it will not be amiss once more to lift up our eyes, and the second time to look on Him. We have not yet seen the end, the cross is not the end; there is a better end than so, “and is set down in the throne.” As the Prophet saw Him, we have seen Him, in such case as we were ready to hide our faces at Him and His sight. Here is a new sight; as the Evangelist saw Him, so we now may; even His glory as the “glory of the only- Joh. 1. 14. begotten Son of God." Ecce homo! Pilate's sight we have Joh. 19.5. seen. Ecce Dominus et Deus meus ! St. Thomas' sight we now Joh. 20.28. shall. The former in His hanging on the cross, the beginning of our faith. This latter sitting on the throne, the consummation of it.

Wherein there is an ample matter of hope, as before of love, all being turned in and out. He sits now at ease That before hung in pain. Now on a throne, That before on the cross. Now at God's right hand, That before at Satan's left. So Zachary saw Him; “ Satan on His right hand,” and then Zech. 3. I. must He be on Satan's left. All changed; His cross into ease, His shame into glory.

Glory and rest, rest and glory, are two things that meet not here in our world. The glorious life hath not the most quiet, and the quiet life is for the most part inglorious. He that will have glory must make account to be despised oft and broken of his rest; and he that loveth his ease better, must be content with a mean condition far short of glory. Here then these meet not; there our hope is they shall, even both meet together, and glory and rest kiss each the other; so the Isa. 11. 10. Prophet calleth it a “glorious rest.”

And the right hand addeth yet a degree farther, for dextera est pars potior. So that if there be any rest more easy, or any glory more glorious than other, there it is on that hand, on that side ; and He placed in it in the best, in the chiefest, the fulness of them both. At God's right hand is not only power, power while we be here to protect us with His might outward, and to support us with His grace inward;

SERM. but at “ His right hand also is the fulness of joy for ever," III.

saith the Psalm ; joy, and the fulness of joy, and the fulness Ps. 16. 11.

of it for evermore.

This is meant by His seat at the right hand on the throne. And the same is our blessed hope also, that it is not His place only, and none but His, but even ours in expectation also. The love of His cross is to us a pledge of the hope of His throne, or whatsoever else He hath or is worth. For if God have given us Christ, and Christ thus given Himself,

what hath God or Christ They will deny us? It is the Rom. 8. 32. Apostle's own deduction.

To put it out of all doubt, hear we His own promise That Rev. 3. 21. never brake His word. “ To him that overcometh will I give

to sit with Me in My throne.” Where to sit is the fulness of our desire, the end of our race, omnia in omnibus ; and farther we cannot go. Of a joy set before Him we spoke ere-while : here is now a joy set before us, another manner joy than was before Him; the worse was set before Him, the better before us, and this we are to run to.

Thus do these two theories or sights, the one work to love, the other to hope, both to the well performing of our course; that in this theatre, between the Saints joyfully beholding us in our race, and Christ at our end ready to receive us, we may fulfil our “course with joy," and be partakers of the blessed rest of His most glorious throne.

Let us now turn to Him and beseech Him, by the sight of this day, by Himself first, and by His cross and throne both —both which He hath set before us, the one to awake our love, the other to quicken our hope—that we may this day and ever lift up our eyes and heads, that we may this day

carry them in our eyes and hearts, look up to them both; so look that we may love the one, and wait and hope for the other; so love and so hope that by them both we may move and that swiftly, even run to Him; and running not faint, but so constantly run, that we fail not finally to attain the happy fruition of Himself, and of the joy and glory of His blessed throne; that so we may find and feel Him as this day here, the “ Author;" so in that day there, the “ Finisher of our faith,” by the same our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.

and ever




« PreviousContinue »