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given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John iii. 13. “ No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” John iii. 16, 17, 18. “For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John iï. 35, 36. “ The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John vi. 40. “ This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life ; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John vii. 37, 38.“ In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Titus iii. 4, 5, 6, 7. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not bý works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Many other such sentences occur, particularly in the epistles of Paul, which any one may gather for himself,
The fruit and virtue of Christ's Resurrection.
We have heard in the treatise of the Lord's passion, that it is not sufficient merely to know the history thereof; neither is it sufficient to know how and when Christ rose'; but both the use and profit of his passion, as well as his resurrection, should be preached and known; to wit, what Christ obtained by them for us. Where only the deed of the history is preached, it is frivolous preaching, and without fruit; which both satan and wicked men as well know, read and understand, as we do. But when the use of them are preached, wherein they profit, that indeed is a fruitful and wholesome sermon, and full of sweet consolation.
Christ hath declared the use and profit of his passion and resurrection, when he talked with the women: Mat. xxviii. 10. “Be not afraid; go tell
my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. These are the first words which they hear of Christ after his resurrection from the dead; whereby he confirmeth all his sayings, also all his benefits showed to them before ; and that they should come unto those who should believe thereafter. Here he calleth not only his apostles his brethren, but also all them that believe in him ; although they do not see him visibly as the apostles did.
Shall any one come forth and boast of his merit, or of the strength whereby he is able to merit any thing? What had the apostles merited ? Peter denied Christ thrice: and all the rest of the apostles fled from him : he might have called them runaways, and forsakers of their standing in the midst of their conflicts ; yea, traitors and wicked men, rather than brethren. Wherefore of mere mercy
word was brought unto them by the matrons, which the apostles themselves did perceive. This word is full of all consolation and comfort ; that Christ careth for such wretched men as we are; yea, and that he doth call us his brethren. If Christ be our brother, I would fain know what good things we shall want ?
They that are brethren by consanguinity, use goods common among themselves, having the same father, and the same inheritance; otherwise they would not be brethren. So we also possess good things in common with Christ; enjoying the same father, and the same inheritance; which inheritance is not diminished by parting it, as worldly inheritances are, but is always made abundant; for it is a spiritual inheritance. A corporal inheritance, when distributed into divers parts, is made smaller; but in the spirit, the case is such, that he who hath received part thereof, hath obtained the whole. What is the inheritance of Christ ? In his power are life and death, sin and grace, and whatsoever is contained in heaven and earth ; his are eternal verity; strength, wisdom, and righteousness.
All power is given unto him; he hath rule over all things; over hunger, thirst, prosperity, adversity, &c. He reigneth over all things, whether they be in heaven or in earth, spiritual or corporal ; all things are in his power, as well eternal as temporal. Now if I cleave unto him by faith, I shall be made partaker of all his good things : I shall not obtain part of the inheritance only, but I shall possess with him everlasting wisdom, and eternal strength. I shall not be grieved with hunger, sin shall not oppress me, neither shall I be afraid of death. Hereby we may easily understand the sayings frequently uttered by the prophets, especially in the Psalms; as where David aith, Ps. xxxiv. “ The young lions do lack, and uffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not
wantany good thing." He saith in another place,"The Lord knoweth the ways of the righteous, and their inheritance shall endure forever. They shall not be confounded in the perilous time, and in the days of dearth they shall have enough." And again; “I have been young and now am old, yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
Allthese things Christ bringeth with him ; for we are, and are called his brethren, not because of in us, but of mere grace. If we would print these things in our hearts, and thoroughly feel them, it would
go well with us; but they go in at one ear, and out the other. St. Paul glorieth in these things, as he saith, Rom. viii. “ As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The spirit itself beareth witness with our 'spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
This title ascendeth so high, that the mind of man is not able to comprehend it
. For unless the spirit, the comforter, imparted this grace to us, no man would be able to say, Christ is my brother. Those who cry out without faith, “Christ is my brother," are fanatical spirits, who vainly pronounce words without fruit. The case standeth very differently, and more marvelously with a true christian; he is amazed, and hardly dareth to confess any thing sufficiently thereof. Wherefore we must endeavour to hear this, not only with fleshly ears, but to feel it in our hearts; then we shall not be rash, but be carried into an admiration thereof. A true christian views these things with fear; and cries out, am I, a wretched and defiled creature, drowned in sin, wor
thy that the Son of God should be called my brother? How do I, a miserable wretch, attain to such a thing? Thus he is astonished, and can hardly comprehend these things.
These things cannot be understood according to flesh and blood ; the heart of man in a natural state is not able to comprehend them.
Christ more plainly declares unto Mary Magdalene the use and fruit of his death and resurrection; when he saith, John xx.
“Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” This is one of the most comfortable places of which we can glory and boast. As though Christ should say, Mary, go hence and declare unto my disciples, (which fled from me, which have deserved punishment andeternal condemnation,) that this resurrection of mine is for their good ; that is, I have by my resurrection brought the · matter to pass, that my Father is their Father, and . my God their God.
These are but few words, but they contain much matter in them ; namely, that we have as great hope and confidence in God, as his own Son. Who can comprehend such exceeding joy! I will not say, utter it; that a wretched and defiled sinner may be bold to call God his Father ; even as Christ himself. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, well remembered the words of the Psalm, how it speaketh of Christ; who, as he saith, is not ashamed to call the believers brethren ; saying, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren : in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” If any worldly prince or nobleman should humble himself so low, as to say to a thief or robber, thou art my brother, it would be a notable thing which every one would marvel at : but this king who sitteth in glory at the right hand of his Father, saith to poor mortal man, thou art my brother.