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great disease of soul did bring down the almighty SERM. Physician from heaven, 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; in whom neither the reason of the case, nor the force of such an example, can work humility?

5. But further, 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 God's 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 ruin. 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 ransom for our souls, had they been of little worth. We should not therefore slight ourselves, nor demean ourselves like sorry, contemptible wretches, as if we deserved no consideration, no pity from ourselves; as if we thought our souls not worth saving, which Acts xiii. yet our Lord thought good to purchase at so dear a rate. By so despising or disregarding ourselves, do we not condemn the sentiments, do we not vilify


Quæ superbia sanari potest, si humilitate Filii Dei non sanatur? Aug. de Agone Chr. cap. xi.

e Aut vero pro minimo habet Deus hominem, propter quem mori voluit Filium suum? Aug. in Psal. cxlviii.

Si vobis ex terrena fragilitate viles estis, ex pretio vestro vos æstimate. Aug.

SERM. the sufferings of our Lord; so with a pitiful meanXXXII. ness of spirit joining the most unworthy injustice

and ingratitude? Again,

6. How can we reflect upon this event without extreme displeasure against, and hearty detestation of our 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 scorned him; those poisonous tongues that mocked him and reviled him; all those who were the instruments and abettors of his affliction, how do we loathe and abhor 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! He was delivered for our offences: they were indeed the traitors, 2 Cor. v. 21. which by the hands of Judas delivered him up. He that knew no sin, 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 spokesman in that behalf: we by them did inflict that horrid punishment on him; the Roman executioners were but our representGal. iii. 13. atives therein. He became a curse for us; that is, all the mockery, derision, and contumely he endured, did proceed from us; the silly people were but properties acting our parts. Our sins were they

Rom. iv. 25.

that cried out, Crucifige, (Crucify him, crucify him,) SERM. with clamours more loud and more importunate than XXXII. did all the Jewish rabble; it was they, which by the borrowed throats of that base people did so outrageously persecute him. He was wounded for our Isa, liii. 5. transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities: it was they, which by the hands of the fierce soldiers, and of the rude populace, 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, it is most just and fit that we should turn our hatred, that we should discharge our indignation.

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 ourselves by them to have been the perfidious betrayers, the unjust slanderers, the cruel persecutors and barbarous murderers of a person so innocent and lovely, so good and benign, so great and glorious; of God's own dear Son, of our best friend, of our most gracious Redeemer?


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. For can Psal. cxix. we otherwise than tremble to think upon the heinous guilt of our sins, upon the dreadful fierceness of God's 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 terror, some dread of the law, some reverence toward authority; what awful

SERM. 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 with horror and confusion; the frame of things was 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 world covered for three hours with mournful blackness; the bowels of the earth did yearn and quake; the rocks did split; the veil 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 drowsy than interred carcasses, the most insensible and immovable things in nature? But further,

9. How can the meditation on this event do otherwise than hugely deter 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, which our Redeemer Tit. ii. 14. did so dearly purchase, or renounce the Lord that

1 Pet. i. 18,

19. bought us at so high a rate? With what heart can

Rom. xiv.9.

2 Cor. v.15. We bring upon the stage, and act over that direful

2 Pet. ii. I.

1 Cor. vi. tragedy, renewing all that pain and all that disgrace to our Saviour: as the apostle teacheth that we do avarrau- by apostasy, crucifying to ourselves the Son of God ροῦντες. afresh, and putting him to an open shame? Can


Heb. vi. 6.


we without horror tread under foot the Son of God, SERM. and count the blood of the covenant an unholy XXXII. thing; (as the same divine apostle saith all wilful Heb. x. 26. ̔Εκουσίως ὡς transgressors do;) vilifying that most sacred and μg μαρτανόντων precious blood, so freely shed for the demonstrationer. 29. of God's mercy, and ratification of his gracious in-v tentions 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; rendering 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 do not save us from our sins, it will much aggravate their guilt, and augment their punishment; bringing a severer condemnation and a sadder ruin on us. Again,

10. This consideration affordeth very strong engagements to the practice of charity towards our neighbour. For what heart can be so hard, that the blood of the cross cannot mollify 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 easy 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 gratify him, who, to succour us in our distress, most bountifully did part with his wealth, with his glory, with his pleasure, 2Cor. viii.9.

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