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God, and always worship and serve him. Who is he that by the pleasure and love of virtue is pure and righteous ? 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 form good works with pleasure and love, readiness and facility.
Whom therefore shall we believe, Christ or the schoolmen? 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 sharp
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.
Mat. I. From the 1st to the 16th derse, inclusive.
1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of Da
vid, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob
begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares
begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 1 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
Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and
Achaz begat Ezekias, 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon;
and Amon begat Josias; 11 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
Achim 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 sụm 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,
should come forth from the seed of Abraham and David : even him do I describe in this book; to wit, that he is now born and made man, and already come into the world. Secondly, three lines or de grees are here rehearsed; in the first, is contained the stock of the fathers ; in the second, of the kings; and in the third, the decaying stock of David.
After the decay, it was necessary that Christ should come ; for in this manner we often witness the goodness of God; when all things seem past hope and recovery, then comes relief.
We shall now attend to the exposition of the text. When Adam our first father had fallen by a notable offence, and became guilty of death, with all his children, both in body and soul, there was 'notwithstanding a promise made to him, although obscurely, that both he and his posterity should be delivered ; this promise is contained in those words which God spake to the serpent; Gen. üi. 15. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Of these words Adam took comfort, that a woman should come, by whose fruit, this guile and subtlety of the serpent should be amended, and himself redeemed. This comfort upheld him and his posterity until Noah. Then the promise was renewed; when God made a covenant with the sons of Noah, and set a rainbow for a sign of the covenant, whereby man might conceive a trust and confidence, that God is yet favourable unto them, and doth not purpose their destruction : whereby man was again upheld and comforted until Abraham.
In the time of Abraham, God showed his mercy, by declaring that he would send a Saviour who should again deliver us from death, both body, and soul : for although the body must die, yet it will not always remain in death, but will rise again with the
Lord Christ. God spake thus to Abraham, Gen. xxi. “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Here miserable men bad a cause to hope and look for a Saviour that should deliver them. From that time did all the prophets foretell of this fountain of all mercy, the Lord Christ; how that he should come, and that all who believed in him might obtain salvation by that promise which cannot be revoked.
If men will open their eyes, they must needs confess that something strange has taken place; that man being in a state of damnation, under a desperate curse, should be restored by the nativity of one man. Wherefore the prophets cried out with ardent prayers and unspeakable groanings, that God would vouchsafe to send the Saviour whom he had promised. By faith in this Saviour the Israelites obtained the law, and this honour before all people ; that they were called the chosen people of God: and by this faith, all obtained salvation from Abraham to David, even as many as were saved.
In the time of David, God made the coming of the Messiah to be more manifestly declared ; that it might with certainty be known of what stock he should come : namely, of the stock of David. God said unto David, 2 Samuel vii
. 12, “When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” He likewise saith, Psalm cxxxii. 11, “The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it; of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. Here Christ is described, that he shall be a king; and an eternal king, as is mentioned of him in Psalm xlv. 6. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever