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Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution." This is the cognizance and badge of this King; and he that is ashamed of it, pertaineth not to him. Moreover, the Samaritan puts the wounded man upon his own beast: this is the Lord Jesus Christ, who supports us, and carries us upon his shoulders. There is scarce a more amiable and comfortable passage in the whole scripture, than that where Christ comparer himself to a shepherd, who carrieth again the lost sheep upon his shoulders to the flock.
The Inn is the state of christianity in this world, wherein we must abide for a short time: the host is the ministers and preachers of the gospel, whose charge is to have care of us. This therefore is the sum of the text; the kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of mercy and grace: Christ beareth our defects and infirmities; he taketh our sins upon himself, and bears our fall willingly ; we daily lie upon his neck, neither is he weary with bearing us. It is the duty of the preachers of this kingdom, to comfort consciences, to handle them gently, to feed them with the gospel, to bear the weak, to heal the sick; they ought fitly to apply the word according to the need of every one.
This is the duty of a true bishop and preacher, not to proceed by violence, as is the custom of some bishops at the present day, which vex, torment, and cry out, he that will not willingly, shall be compelled to do it. We must in no wise proceed in this manner; but a bishop or preacher ought to behave himself as a healer of the sick, who dealeth very tenderly with them, uttering very loving words, talking gently, and bestowing all his endeavours to do them good. A bishop or minister ought to consider his parish as a hospital, wherein are such as are afflicted with divers kinds of disease. If Christ be thus preached, faith and love come together, which fulfil the commandment of love.
As a knowledge of the law and the gospel, and tire difference between them, are very necessary, I will treat of them somewhat more at large. I have often informed you that the whole scripture divideth itself into two parts; namely, the law, and the gospel. The law teaches us our duty, and what the will of God requires of us: the gospel teaches how that is to be received which the law commandeth; as if I take medicine, one thing is to tell what the disease is, and another to administer that which is good and wholesome to remedy it. So stands the case here; the law reveals the disease, and the gospel administers the medicine; which is manifest even by the text whereof we have already treated.
The lawyer comes, and being desirous of eternal life, asketh what he must do; the law declareth it unto him, saying, thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself. He that reads these words in a careless manner, as did the lawyer, understandeththem not. We must pierce into the law; God must be loved by me from the bottom of my heart; I must love him with all the soul; that is, from the depth of the soul, so that I thoroughly feel in myself that I love him: I must likewise love him with all my strength ; that is, with-all my members; also with all my mind; that is, with all my senses, cogitations and thoughts; all must be directed to God.
I find in myself that I do none of these things: for if I must love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, it is requisite that my eyes show no angry twinkling or motion, that my tongue speak no angry word, that my feet, hands, ears, &c. show no sign of wrath; that my whole body, even from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, and all things belonging thereto, walk in charity, and be, as it were, ravished with love and pleasure toward God, and always worship and serve him. Who is he that by the pleasure and love of virtue is pure and righteous 1 there cannot be one such found on earth; for we always find ourselves more ready to wrath, envy, worldly pleasure, &c. than to meekness and other virtues. I find in myself, not only a spark, but even a fiery furnace of wicked lusts: for my heart and all my members are void of love.
Wherefore here in the law, I see as it were in a glass, whatsoever is in me to be damnable and cursed: for not one jot of the law must perish, but all must be fulfilled; as Christ saith, Mat. v. 18. "Verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Now thou findest not this in thee, to do with all thy soul and heart, with cheerfulness and pleasure, whatsoever the law requires of thee; therefore thou art condemned and under the dominion of satan. The law serves to teach us that •we are condemned; for by it we find ourselves filled with wicked desires; and yet not a spark of them ought to be in us: howbeit, our schoolmen, not marking this, have taught, that if one do according to his ability, God gives to him his grace. They are blind guides; they admit that a man has no pleasure or cheerfulness in doing that which is good, and yet if one work, although it be with grief, difficulty and slothfulness, that it is well with him before God. But Christ hath taught otherwise; that we should perform good works with pleasure and love, readiness and facility.
Whom therefore shall we believe, Christ or the schoolmen 1 I leave that to your judgment. Of such corrupt and evil understanding of the law, monasteries came into use; whereby the opinion originated, that it was sufficient to salvation to live therein and follow the orders thereof; although it may be done even with grief of mind. But Christ will have us to work with pleasure and cheerfulness; if any thing be done with burden or grief of conscience, it is sin ; therefore remove quickly from such works.
The gospel, which showeth comfort and salvation, declares how the law is to be fulfilled. When I know by the law that I am a condemned man, then I lie as it were among thieves, half dead ; satan hath spoiled my soul, and hath in Adam taken away all faith and righteousness, and left nothing but bodily life, which is also quickly extinguished. Then comes Levites and Priests, which teach this and that, but cannot help, and so pass by. But when the Samaritan, which is Christ, cometh, he showeth his mercy to me; saying, behold thou oughtest indeed to love God with all thine heart, but thou doest it not; now believe only in me, and thou shalt enjoy my obedience as thine own; this alone will help me.
He then carries me to the inn, that is, to the church of the faithful; he then pours in the oil, that is, his grace; that I may feel the need of his support, and likewise feel cheerful and quiet. Afterwards he poureth in wine also, that with its sharpness it may abate and tame the force of old Adam. And yet I am not wholly restored to health; health begins to improve, but it is not yet finished. Christ hath the care of me, and by his grace doth purify me; that from day to day I may become more chaste, meek, gentle and faithful; that when we shall come before God the Father, and be asked whether we believed in him, and loved him, &c. this Samaritan, which is Christ the Lord, who hath had compassion on us, will come forth and say, Father, although they have not altogether fulfilled thy law, yet have I fulfilled it; suffer thou that to turn to the benefit of them that believe in me. Thus it is needful that all the saints lean upon Christ. If so it be that the Priests and Levites could not satisfy the law, how shall we with our works fulfil the same! O wretched and miserable calamity.
, SERMON IV.
Mat. I. From the 1st to the ICtA verse, inclusive.
1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat J udas and his brethren;
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esroin ; and Esrom begat Aram;
I And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Jorarn begat Ozias;
9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias,
10 And Ezekias begat JVtanasses; andManasses begat Araoa; nnd Amou begat Josias;
II And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel:'
13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achiin begat Eliud;
15 And Eliud begat Eleazar;,and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
This is the book of the generation of Jesus Christ. The sum of this text is, first, Matthew begins his book with a title or inscription by which the believer is enticed with greater pleasure to hear and read it: for he saith this much in effect; whom the law and prophets have hitherto promised and preached, Jesus, that is, a Saviour; and Christ, that is, an eternal King; that he, according to the promise of God,