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from this ; by creation things receive a being from God infinitely distant from, infinitely unequal and unlike to, the divine essence; and that filiation, or sonship, which doth stand on adoption and grace, is wholly in kind different from this. And the communication of the divine essence jointly from the Father and Son to the Holy Spirit, doth in manner (although the manner thereof be wholly incomprehensible to us) so differ from this, that in the Holy Scripture (the only guide of our conception, and of our speech in matters of this nature, far surpassing our reason) it is never called generation; and therefore we must not presume to think or call it so.
But let so much suffice for explication of the point; a point represented in Scripture so considerable, that the belief thereof (if it have that sincerity and that strength as to dispose our hearts to a due love and reverence of the Son of God, attended with, or attested to by, a faithful obedience to his laws) doth raise us also to the privilege of becoming the sons of God, and doth mystically unite us to him, and elevateth us above the world; so doth St. John teach us ; • To as many,' saith he, as received him,' (received him as the Son of God, or believed him to be so,) 'to thém gave he the power (or the privilege) to become the sons of God:' and, “Whosoever,' saith he, shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God :' and, Who,' saith he again, 'is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ? of so great importance is the point. Of which I shall only now farther briefly propose some practical applications.
1. We may hence learn whence the performances and the sufferings of Christ become of so high worth and so great etficacy. . Wonder not,' saith St. Cyril the Catechist,* if the whole world was redeemed; for it was not a bare man, but the only Son of God that died for it.' It is not so strange, that God's only Son's mediation should be so acceptable and so effectual with God; that the blood of God's dearest Son should be so precious in God's sight, that the intercession of one so near him should be so prevalent with him. What could God refuse to the Son of his love earnestly soliciting and suing in
* Cyrill. Catech. 13.
our behalf? what debts might not so rich a price discharge ? what anger could not so noble a sacrifice appease ? what justice could not so full a dispensation satisfy?
• We were not,' St. Peter telleth us, redeemed with corruptible things, with silver or gold,' (no; whole Indies of such stuff would not have been sufficient to ransom one soul ;) ' but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.' It was not, as the Apostle to the Hebrews remarketh, by the • blood of goats and heifers,' that our sins were expiated, (no; whole hecatombs would have nothing availed to that purpose ;) but by the blood of Christ, who by the eternal Spirit offered up himself spotless unto God,' (who as the eternal Son of God did offer himself a sacrifice not to be blamed or refused.) • It is,' as St. John saith, the blood of Christ, the Son of God, which purgeth us from all sin.' And well indeed might a Person so infinitely noble, worthy, and excellent, be a sufficient ransom for whole worlds of miserable offenders and captives. Well might his voluntary undergoing such inconveniences and infirmities of life, his suffering so disgraceful and painful a death, countervail the deserved punishment of all mankind; well might his so humble, so free, so perfect submission to God's will infinitely please God, and render him propitious to us. • Well might,' as St. Athanasius speaks, 'the very appearing of such a Saviour in the flesh be a general ransom of sin, and become salvation to every creature :' the' which St. Paul thus expresseth ; God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh :' for if our displeasing, injuring, and dishonoring him, who is so great and so good, doth aggravate our offence; the equal excellency and dignity of the Person, submitting in our behalf to the performance of all due obedience and all proper satisfaction, may proportionably advance the reparation offered, and compensate the wrong done to God. Well therefore may we believe, and say with comfort, after the Apostle; Tis éyandégel Karà Tūv ésXEKTWV; · Who shall criminate against the elect of God? it is God that justifieth, (it is the Son of God, it is God
* Athan. ad Adelph.
himself, who satisfies divine justice for us ;) who is there that condemns ? it is Christ that died.'
2. We may hence be informed what reverence and adoration is due from us to our Saviour, and why we 'must honor the Son, even as we honor the Father ;' why even all the angels must worship him; why 'every thing in heaven, and earth, and beneath the earth must bend the knee (that is, must yield veneration and observance) to him ;' why by all creatures whatever the same pre-eminence is to be ascribed, and the same adoration paid jointly and equally to God the Father Almighty, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,' his blessed Son, who 'standeth at his right hand.' Such divine glory and worship we are obliged to yield him, because he is the Son of God, one in essence, and therefore equal in majesty with his Father: were it not so, it would be injury to God, and sacrilege to do it; God would not impart his glory, we should not attribute it unto another. So this consideration grounds our duty and justifies our practice of worshipping our Lord; it also encourages us to perform it with faith and hope ; for thence we may be assured that he, being the Son of God omniscient, doth hear and mind us ; being the Son of God omnipotent, he can thoroughly help and save us ; being also, as such, absolutely and immensely good, he will be always disposed to afford what is good and convenient for us in our need.
3. We hence may perceive the infinite goodness of God toward us, and our correspondent obligation to love and thankfulness toward him. In this,' saith St. John, was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.' In this,' adds he, 'is love, (love indeed, love admirable and inconceivable,) not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his only begotten Son to be a propitiation for our sins.' Can there be imagined any equal, any like expression of kindness, of mercy, of condescension, as for a prince, himself glorious and happy, most freely to deliver up, out from his own bosom, his own only most dearly beloved Son, to the suffering most base contumelies and most grievous pains for the welfare of his enemies, of rebels and traitors to him ? even such hath been God's goodness to us; the Son of God, the heir of eternal majesty,
was by his Father sent down from heaven, (from the bosom of his glory and bliss,) to put on the form of a servant, to endure the inconveniences of this mortal state, to undergo the greatest indignities and sorrows ; that we • who were alienated, and enemies in our mind by wicked works, might be reconciled to God;' might be freed from wrath and misery; might be capable of everlasting life and salvation : suitable to such unex. pressible goodness ought our gratitude to be toward God : what affectionate sense in our hearts, what thankful acknowlegements with our mouths, what dutiful observance in all our actions, doth so wonderful an instance of mercy and goodness deserve and require from us?
4. This consideration may fitly serve to beget in us hope and confidence to God on any occasions of need or distress; to support and comfort us in all our afflictions; for, `He that so that he
gave his only begotten Son for our salvation and happiness,' how can we ever suspect him as unwilling to bestow on us whatever else shall to his wisdom or convenient for us? He that out of pure charity and pity toward us did part with a jewel so inestimable, how can any thing seem much for him to give us ? it is the consolatory discourse of St. Paul : · He,' saith the Apostle, • that did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things ? all things that we truly need, all things that we can reasonably desire, all things which are good and fit for us.
5. St. John applieth this consideration to the begetting charity in us toward our brethren. • Beloved,' saith he, if God so loved us, (as to send his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live by him,) we ought also to love one another.' If God so lovingly gave up his only Son for our sakes, what, (in grateful regard to him, in observant imitation of him,) what expressions, I say, of charity and goodwill ought we to yield toward our brethren ? what endeavors, what goods, what life of ours should seem too dear unto us for to expend or impart for their good ? shall we be unwilling to take any pains or suffer any loss for them, for whom (together with ourselves) the Son of God hath undergone so much trouble, so much disgrace,
so much hardship? shall we, I say, be uncharitable, when the Son of God hath laid on us such an obligation, hath set before us such an example ?
6. This consideration also may inform us, and should mind us, concerning the dignity of our nature and of our condition ; and consequently how in respect to them we should behave ourselves. If God did so much consider and value man, as for his benefit to debase his only Son; if the Son of God himself hath deigned to assume our nature, and to advance it into a conjunction with the divine nature, then is man surely no inconsiderable or contemptible thing; then should we despise no man, whom God hath so regarded and so honored; then ought we not to neglect or slight ourselves : if we were worthy of God's so great care, we ought not to seem unworthy of our
We ought to value ourselves, not so indeed as to be proud of so undeserved honor, but so as to be sensible thereof, and to suit our demeanor thereto. Reflecting on these things should make us to disdain to do any thing unworthy that high regard of God, and that honorable alliance unto him. It should breed in us noble thoughts, worthy desires, and all excellent dispositions of soul conformable to such relations : it should engage us unto a constant practice, beseeming them whom God hath so dignified, whom the Son of God hath vouchsafed to make his brethren : by affecting any thing mean or sordid, by doing any thing base or wicked, we greatly undervalue ourselves, we much disparage that glorious family into which, by the Son of God's incarnation, we are inserted. Taúrns oủy tñs τιμής αξίαν την φιλοσοφίαν επιδειξώμεθα, και μηδέν έχωμεν κοινών repòs riy yilv. Let us therefore,' saith St. Chrysostom, 'show a philosophy worthy of this honor ; having nothing common with this earth.' (In Joh. i. Hom. 18.)
7. This consideration doth much aggravate all impiety and sin. Wilful sin on this account appeareth not only disobedience to our Creator and natural Lord, but enormous offence against the infinite bounty and mercy and condescension of our Sa. viour ; a most heinous abusing the Son of God, who came down into this homely and humble state on purpose “ to bless us, in turning every one of us from our iniquities ;' to free us from the