THE SECOND TREA∣tise, of Christ his Baptisme.
THe second ground of doctrine we proposed to be entreted of,* is the Baptisme of CHRIST, wherein we haue as I said before his most solemne consecration to the publicke office of the Mesi∣ah. Hitherto hee had liued a priuate life, for the space of twentie nine yeares, and now be∣ginning Page 50 to be thirtie years of age, hee is manifested vnto the world, by doing the great worke of a redeemer, for which he came: for so Saint Peter reckons all the time of his publicke charge, and ministration,* to haue ben from the Baptisme of Iohn, to the day of his ascension.
Many Kings,* Preists, and Pro∣phets, hath God sent vnto his Church since the beginning of the world, but neuer one like Ie∣sus, the great King, high Preist, and Prophet of the Church, and therefore it is not without cause, that exordium tanti officii tot est mistriis consecratum. Neuer one was sent to doe such a worke as he, and therefore neuer one had such a calling, and confirmation as hee, for now the heauens are opened, the holy Ghost in a visi∣ble Page 51 shape discends vpon him, and God the father by an audi∣ble voice from heauen, doth au∣thorise him. The principall end of this Treatise will be to teach vs how Iesus is become ours, which is a speciall and necessary point for vs to learne.
The parts of his Consecrati∣on are two;* In the first wee see, how the Lord Iesus by receiuing the Sacrament of Baptisme, doth come in our place and roome, as our kinsman, as the first borne of his brethren, as the head of [ 1] his misticall body; in a word,* as our cautioner, acting, and obli∣gating himselfe to pay our debt, and to fulfill those points of righ∣teousnesse which we were bound to fulfill, but could not doe by our selues, and so, to releiue, and redeeme his brethren.
Page 52 [ 2] In the second wee see how the father not onely accepts him as debtor for vs,* but also designes and ordaines him to this great worke, by annointing him with his holy spirit. And thereafter in a publicke assembly of the people at Iorden, in most solemne man∣ner, by an audible voice from heauen, proclames him, to be that great high Preist, by whom onely attonement must be made betweene him and vs.
These two ioyned together make vp vnto vs a most sure ground of Christian comfort.* If first we consider that the Lord Ie∣sus, for the loue hee bare to the glory of his father, and saluati∣on of his brethren, voluntarily steppes into our roome, and in our name becomes obliged to his father, according to that no∣table Page 53 Prophesie. Psal. 40. 6. 7. which yet were a small thing were it not that the second followes, to wit, that the Father of his infi∣nit wisedome finding out in Christ a way to preserue both the glory of his mercy, and iustice, doth of his speciall loue toward vs, not onely accept him, but ordaine him to doe the worke of a medi∣ator, imponing to him, that sin∣gular law of a redeemer, which was neuer imposed to man nor Angell, as we shall here hereafter.
And here wee learne how by most sure right the Lord Iesus becomes ours,* to wit, by the surest right that can be, namely, the free gift of God, hee is giuen for a Prince of saluation to vs, ac∣cording to these testimonies, both of Angels and men, speak∣ing by inspiration of the holy Page 54 Ghost.*Vnto you this day is borne in the Citie of Dauid a Sauiour, which is Christ the Lord.* Againe, God so loued the world, that hee hath giuen his onely begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleeues in him should not perish.* And againe, Christ Iesus is made vnto vs, of God, wisedome, righteousnesse, san∣ctification and redemption. Looke then what way any other thing is ours, which most properly wee may call ours, that same way Christ is ours;* namely by the free and sure gift of God. If we know, and beleeue this, we shall finde it a most sure ground of comfort to vphold vs in the houre of tenta∣tion. It is true, Gloriatio Ecclesiae, est omnis Christi actio: Euery action of Christ is the Churches reioy∣cing and comfort, but what re∣ioycing shall wee haue in any of Page 55 his actions,* if this ground be not first laid, that he is ours, and what he did hee did it for vs, and vn∣to vs? If he had not died for our sinnes, and risen for our righteous∣nesse, what could his death and re∣surrection haue profited vs? But here is the ground of all, that he is giuen vnto vs of the Father for a Sauiour, whereunto most wil∣lingly hee condescends, and for which worke the spirit annoints him, so that now hee is not ano∣ther, nor a stranger to vs, but our owne, by diuine ordination,☜ and all that hee does, is for vs. These being premitted, we come now to the particular historie of his Baptisme, as it is set downe by Saint Luke, Chap. 3. Ver. 21.Page 56
LVKE 3. 21.
VVHat these people were,* you may vnderstand out of the 7. Chap. ver. 29. 30. for there it is said, that the Pharises and ex∣pounders of the Law, despised the counsell of GOD, and would not come to be baptised of S. Iohn. Here then comes poore Publi∣canes, and sinners, and goes be∣fore them into the kingdome of God. There are many of euery sort of people (as we may read) saued in the Gospell, but of Pharises wee finde none but one, namely, Nicodemus: no sort of men are further from the kingdome of God then proud iusticiars.* For as a vessell full of one liquor is not Page 57 capable of another: so the soule which is filled with a vaine con∣ceit of her owne righteousnes, is not capable of the grace of Christ. Huiusmodi animum gratia non in∣trat,* &c. Grace entreth not into such a soule, because it is full, nei∣ther doth grace finde any place to dwell therein And againe, Non est quo intret gratia vbi, &c. There is no place for grace to enter in, where merit hath possession: what thou attributest to merits is wanting to grace. I will none of that merit which excludes grace.
But that the Lord Iesus comes in among these poore people,* it shewes his wonderfull loue, and rare humilitie: his loue, for to the end that hee might help vs, hee would be like vs, he assumed our nature, and in it abhorred not the company of poore sinners. Page 58Tu cum homo esses, deus esse vo∣luisti, vt perires, ille cum esset deus, homo esse voluit: vt quod perierat, inueniret. Thou being a man didst presume to be as God, and so diddest perish, but hee being God, would become man, that he might saue man who was lost. Wee see by experience, that if a man fall another cannot raise him, vnlesse hee bow himselfe downe vnto him, hee that will stand in his statelinesse can neuer raise vp him who hath fallen be∣fore him, the Lord Iesus that hee might raise vs, was content to bow downe vnto vs, and like a Phisitian among patients,* so hath he his conuersation among poore and miserable sinners.
Thus by a course plaine con∣trary to Adams course doth the LORD IESVS remedie that euill, Page 59 which Adam brought on him∣selfe, and his posteritie: for Adam being in honour aspired foolish∣ly to be like vnto God, but he not onely came short of that where∣unto hee reached, but lost that good also, which he had before. Then he was clad with the glori∣ous Image of God, now hath hee for a garment the skinnes of beasts, and being so busked, the folly of his presumption is check∣ed and sore rebuked by the bles∣sed Trinitie, Ecce, Adam, factus est quasi vnus ex nobis. But what the first Adam lost by his proud trans∣gression, to himselfe and his chil∣dren, the second Adam hath re∣couered,* by his humble obedi∣ence: being equall with God, hee is found in shape as a seruant. Now man may reioyce and say, Ecce deus quasi vnus ex nobis, be∣hold Page 60 God is as one of vs. Now Iesus is among sinners, Gnimma∣nuel,* God with vs now the word is made flesh: now the taberna∣cle of GOD is with men: now God is come downe, not in the likenesse of men onely, as they of Listra thought of Paul and Bar∣nabas,* but clad with the very na∣ture of man. Let vs reioyce in this goodnesse of our God, for this cause is hee among men, that he might raise vs vp, and set vs among Angels in the heauenly places.
Againe it is said by Saint Ma∣thew,* that Iesus came to Iohn, to be baptised of him; hee might haue sent for Iohn, but he comes vnto him: hee who hath the Bap∣tisme of the holy Ghost to giue vnto all his brethren, doth now come, and seeke the Baptisme Page 61 of water from one of his owne seruants. Why is this done? surely to recommend vnto men the re∣uerence of that ministrie,* which GOD hath appointed in his Church: no conceit of thy great∣nesse should make thee disdaine it, since the sonne of God by his example before thee, hath ho∣noured it. Hee would not teach and baptise the Eunuch by his spi∣rit, hee sent Philip to doe it: hee would not teach, and baptise Cornelius by an Angell, hee sent Peter to doe it: hee would not baptise Paul by himselfe, suppose hee conuerted him by himselfe, he sent Ananias to doe it. It is an order stablished in his Church, by the foolishnesse of preaching to saue them who beleeue:* now none can beleeue vnlesse they heare, they cannot heare but by preach∣ing, Page 62 and none can preach, ex∣cept they be sent: let it therefore content men to goe to the base seruants of CHRIST, in world∣ly things far inferiour to them∣selues, and seeke saluation by such meanes as God in his wisedome hath thought good to giue it, or else be sure they shall neuer come neere it.
But now let vs come and see why Iesus is baptised,* seeing hee had neither sinne to be forgiuen, nor nature to be renewed. The reasons are many, but wee will e∣specially speake of three, the first is giuen by himselfe: for when Iohn refused to baptise him, a∣ledging hee had more neede to be baptised of him, hee receiued this answere, let alone now, for it becomes vs to fulfill all righteous∣nesse.
Page 63As for the righteousnesse of the [ 1] Law morall,* hee had fulfilled it perfectly from his youth: for hee was the innocent Lambe of God, without spot or blemish, neuer guile was found in his mouth: But now he will say, there is more required of me then the perfor∣mance of that common Law, gi∣uen vnto all men, there is the singular law of a redeemer, which yet I haue to fulfill: a law neuer imposed to Angell nor man,* but onely to the sonne of God, Christ Iesus; by which he was bound so to loue his father, that hee be∣houed to vindicate the glory both of his iustice and mercy, and so to loue his brethren, that he behoued to take the debt of their sinnes vpon him, and satis∣fie his fathers iustice for them: this is it will our Sauiour say, that Page 64 high point of righteousnes, which yet I haue to fulfill, and for which I must be baptised, that by recei∣uing of Baptisme, I may become obliged to doe that for my bre∣thren, which they could not doe for themselues: for as he that re∣ceiued circumcision, by that same very deede,* became bound to ful∣fill the whole law: so hee who re∣ceiues Baptisme, becomes obli∣ged to euery condition of that couenant, whereof Baptisme is a seale.
That wee may the better vn∣derstand this,* wee are to know, that the couenant of grace, where∣of BAPTISME is a seale, hath two parts in it, to wit, GODS part, and mans: GODS part of the couenant containes promises made to vs of the remission of our sinnes, and renouation of our Page 65 nature, comprised in this one word, I will be your God. Our part againe containes promises made to God by vs, of faith and obedi∣ence, comprised in this one word, we shalbe his people. Now as Bap∣tisme is a seale of God his part,* confirming the promise of the re∣mission of our sinnes, and reno∣uation of our nature, vnder which two all other good things are comprehended, that way Christ our Sauiour did not receiue it for himselfe, seeing as I haue said, hee had neither sinne to be for∣giuen,* nor nature to be renewed: but as it is a sacrament of the re∣signation of our selues to God, and a band, whereby we become obliged to be his, by acceptati∣on of his badge, and marke vp∣on vs, that way Christ receiued it, that by accepting the seale of Page 66 the promise, hee might become obliged in our name, as our head, to fulfill that which wee promi∣sed, but first behoued to be perfor∣med for vs by himselfe, and at last shall in vs all, by his grace, al∣so be perfected. And so we see that sicut nobis natus est, ita etiam no∣bis baptisatus est, as hee was not borne for himselfe, but for vs, so was hee not baptised for himselfe, but for vs.
[ 2] Secondly he was baptised that he might sanctifie Baptisme to vs,* and giue it authority to become a seale of grace vnto vs, vt nobis secundae natiuitatis consecraret la∣uacrum,* and a lauer of regenera∣tion, as the Apostle calles it. He was washed saith Ambrose in the water of Iorden,* non mundari vo∣lens, sed mundare, not to be made cleane by water, but to make the Page 67 water (wheresoeuer vsed to this purpose) cleane, for so holy and heauenly a worke, that Baptisme being consecrated by him, might be an holy meane to consecrat vs.
It is true indeede that Con∣stantine the great deferred his Baptisme, till hee might be bap∣tised in Iorden, where our Lord was baptised, though by reason of sicknesse hee was forced to re∣ceiue Baptisme else-where: but e∣uen as the Lord Iesus by conse∣crating bread and wine which grew in Canaan, did thereby san∣ctifie all bread, and wine, in any part of the world, to be a Sacra∣ment of his bodie, and blood, it being vsed according to his insti∣tution, so by washing in the water of Iorden he hath sanctified water in any part of the world, to be a Sacrament of regeneration, and Page 68 remission of our sinnes, if so be it be vsed according to his insti∣tution.
[ 3] And thirdly,* he was baptised, to seale his fellowship and com∣munion with vs: that cognisance and badge▪ whereby he will haue his souldiers and seruants discer∣ned from professed infidels, hee first taketh it on himselfe, vt in nullo dissimilis esse• fratribus, ni•i solo peccato: That in no thing he should be vnlike his brethren, ex∣cept in sinne alonelie. And in∣deede it should be no small en∣couragement to vs to fight vn∣der this badge in the spirituall warrefare if wee doe consider how vnder this same badge, the Prince of our saluation did encounter with Sathan and ouercome him, as after shall be shewed
And prayed:*] The Euangelist Page 69 saith, that when our Sauiour was baptised, he praied, but what hee prayed, he expresses not. Neuer∣thelesse, we may gather it out of other places of holy Scripture: wherein we shall finde, that he praied for himself, for his church, and for his enemies. Where if it be demanded, what needed our Sauiour to pray for himselfe, see∣ing hee is very God; the answere is ready, that he is also very Man: and as man had his owne feares, dolours, and griefes, proceeding from the sense of the heauy bur∣den of sinne,* not his owne sinne, I say, for hee knew no sinne, but of our sinne, which was laid vpon him. As also from the sense of that fearefull wrath due to sinne; for strength, and comfort against these he prayed to his Father, as witnesseth the Apostle, that in the Page 70 daies of his flesh,* he offered vp pray∣ers, and supplications, crying, and teares, to his Father, and was heard also in that which hee feared. Which, as we see in the Gospel he did before his Passion, so now be∣fore his entrie to the worke of our redemption; a worke greater then the worke of our first Creation; for now he hath to satisfie the iu∣stice of his Father; to worke the confusion of Sathan; and to effe∣ctuate the saluation of his bre∣thren. And therefore in the en∣trie of this great worke he prayes, no doubt, for an happy successe thereof, and as it is euident by the answere he receiues from heauen, hee was heard in that which hee prayed for.
And in this also our Sauiour learnes vs by his example to san∣ctifie all our actions with prayer.*Page 71 When he was baptised, he praied: when he was tempted he prayed: when he brake bread, he prayed: when he wrought miracles, he prayed: when he was troubled in the garden, he praied: when he suf∣fred on the Crosse, he prayed. As Isaacs mariage could not but pros∣per, because it was begunne with the prayer of Abraham his Father, prosecuted with the praier of Elie∣zar his Seruant, and finished with his owne prayer: so can it not faile, but a blessing must be vpon those honest actions which are begunne,* continued, and accom∣plished with prayer: where other∣wise, euen those actions which in themselues are good to the doer, can not be good, where they are done without prayer. Vere nouit recte viuere, qui recte nouit or are: Hee knoweth truely how to liue Page 72 wel, who knoweth how to pray wel. But best actions without prayer, which obtaines grace to them, are like bodies without spirits: yea, as the body without breath∣ing cannot liue to doe any worke competent to a Naturall life: so the soule without prayer, can doe no worke, that truely is Spirituall. Therefore said Macarius, that con∣tinuance in prayer was, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* the head of euery good purpose, & the crown of euery right, and honest action.
But here we are to be warned,* that wee content not our selues, with the shadow of prayer, in steed of the substance thereof; where we are to take heede of these two things: First, that our prayer be not by starts, without making of conscience whether it be or not, Page 73 but we must continue & perseuere in prayer, remembring, he that sowes sparingly, shal reape sparing∣ly:* Secondly, that our praier be not outward, but inward, made with feruencie of spirit, and attention of the minde, remembring hee is the God of the spirits of all flesh, with whom thou hast to speake in praier. It is a godly Meditation of Chrisostomes,* that as a man who seekes a thing which hee hath lost in his house, seekes it with such affection, that he forgets all other things; yea, hee seeth not those things that are afore him, so faine is he to see that which hee is see∣king, euen such should be the dis∣position of a Christian, so earnest∣ly desiring mercy, and grace from God, that till hee finde it, no other thing be in his minde to distract him from seeking it.
Page 74And vnto this continuance and feruencie in prayer, it should greatly encourage vs, that now we see after our Sauiours prayer the heauens are opened, shewing vs the great vertue of prayer: if wee pray in his name, if we send it vp like incense, perfumed with his merit, flowing from faith in him, it opens heauen vnto vs, & brings vs backe a fauourable answere. Oratio iusti clauis est coeli,* ascendit precatio, & descendit dei miseratio. VVhen our Sauiour prayed on Mount Tabor, then was he trans∣figurated, and his countenance changed: when Peter prayed in the top, or platforme, of Simon the Tanners house, in Ioppe, then did he receiue in a trance the hea∣uenly vision:* when Daniel pray∣ed, then the Angell appeared to him: when the Disciples prayed, Page 75 then the holy Ghost descended vpon them: such is the vertue of prayer,* that by it, not onely doe the heauens open vnto men, and out of their treasure send downe necessarie blessings and consola∣tions to them; but men are also transported and carried vp into heauen, and so begin to practise the first degree of their ascensi∣on with Christ, for as by new∣nesse of life they rise with Christ, partakers of the first resurrecti∣on:* so by prayer they ascend with Christ, partakers of the first as∣cension; which is vnto them an vndoubted pledge of the ascensi∣on both of their soules and bo∣dies hereafter. For, if while they are in the bodie, they get accesse to the throne of grace many a time, and finde heauen opened vnto them, how much more when Page 76 they are separate from the bodie, shall they finde the same. And therefore let vs take great delight in this heauenly, and most profi∣table exercise of Prayer.
That the heauens were opened.
HItherto wee haue heard the first point of Christ his con∣secration to the office of the Me∣diator:* Wherein wee haue seene how by receiuing the Sacrament of baptisme, he did willingly take our debt vpon him, and binde himselfe to make satisfaction to his fathers iustice for it. Now fol∣lowes the second, how the Father not onely accepts the Sonne, be∣comming debtor for vs: but also ordaines him to doe the worke of a Redeemer vnto vs, and to this same effect annoints him, and Page 77 publikely proclaimes and declares him in this great assembly at Ior∣daine, to be that only high Priest, and peace-maker, by whom at∣tonement is made betweene God, and Man. Let vs ioyne these grounds of comfort togither, and we shall see what a strong fortresse of faith, they make vp vnto vs. Since the Father hath giuen vs Christ for a Redeemer:* Since the Sonne hath voluntarily aboliged himselfe, to doe the worke of our Redemption.* Since the holie Ghost hath annointed him to this same effect: may wee not now say GOD is with vs, who can be against vs? Let Sathan calumni∣ate; let infidelitie, call in questi∣on: we see whom we haue belee∣ued. Our saluation is more sure, then that the powers of hell are able to disanull it.
Page 78But here wee haue to consider,* how by three sundry strong testi∣monies, God the father witnesseth the willing acceptation of his Son, to this great office of the Messiah, which now is committed vnto him. First, by the opening of the heauens: Secondly, by the sending downe of the holy Ghost, in a visi∣ble shape vpon him: Thirdly, by an audible voice from heauen, proclaiming him to be that belo∣ued Sonne of God, in whom the Father is well pleased.
The first then is the opening of the heauens,* by which visible signe is plainely declared, that Ie∣sus Christ is hee, by whom man hath accesse to the Throne of grace: the first Adam for his trans∣gression, was cast out of earthly paradice, but by the humble obe∣dience of the second Adam, the Page 79 heauens are opened vnto vs, & we are aduanced to an estate, as far ex¦ceeding Adams best estate in para∣dise, as the second Adam is more excellent then the first: what was figured by the Ladder of Iacob,* is now performed by Iesus: for by him, things which are in heauen and in earth, are now gathered to∣gither into one: by him, Angels come down and doe seruice vnto men; by him, men goe vp to the Father, to worship him. Whereof God willing, we shal speake more at large hereafter.
And the holy Ghost came down in a bodily shape like a Doue vpon him.
THe second way wherby the Fa∣ther beares witnesse vnto him,* is as you see, by sending down the holy Ghost vpon him, in the simi∣litude Page 80 of a Doue; vvhereby his vnction, which in it selfe is spiri∣tuall, and could not be perceiued, was represented & notified vnto al the people: for he was not annoin∣ted vvith any materiall oyle, but with the oyle of gladnes, accor∣ding to that Prophesie: The spirit of the Lord is vpon mee,* therefore hath the Lord annointed me, he hath sent me to preach good tidings vnto the poore, &c.
Where for remouing of all doubts that may here arise, we must vnderstand that Christs vnction,* hath in it these two things: the [ 1] first is, a separating and designing of him to the worke of a Mediator;* & this part extends to the whole person of Christ Iesus, God, and Man. Now in this action of desig∣nation, albeit, the three persons of the blessed Trinitie concurre, Page 81 and so Iesus be both the designer, and the person designed: yet be∣cause the father is first in order, this action is ascribed to him, for him hath the father sealed.*
The other part of this vnction, [ 2] is the communicating of the gra∣ces of the Spirit vnto him:* and this is extended onely to his hu∣mane nature, so that albeit it be true, that our Sauiour was annoin∣ted in both his Natures, because he is our Mediator not in any one of them, but in both: yet we must remember the difference, that his annointing in respect of the di∣uine Nature imports onely the separating,* and designing of the second Person of the Trinitie, to worke the vvorke of mans Re∣demption.*Illius enim opus erat nos restituere, qui ab initio, cum n•n essemus, nos condidit. Nec poterat Page 82 alius renouare in nobis abolitam dei imaginem, nisi patris imago: For it was his worke to restore and re∣deeme vs, vvho from the begin∣ning created vs, when wee were not, and had no being. Neither could any other restore the image of God blotted out in vs, but the image of the Father, that is to say, his Sonne Christ.
But his annointing in respect of his humane Nature,* imports also the communication of the graces of the holy Spirit vnto him, not in measure, as his bre∣thren receiues them, but aboue all measure: for in number he had all graces of the spirit, he wanted none; and next he had euery one of them in the full degree: in which respects the Spirit was ne∣uer communicated vnto any, but to Iesus Christ alonely.
Page 83Thus we vnderstand how Iesus was annointed;* which vnction is not here first made, as if before this hee had not beene endewed with the holy Ghost: for wee be∣leeue that he was conceiued of the holy Ghost; but here is the first declaration, and publike manife∣station to the world, by a visible signe of the fulnesse of grace com∣municated to him, for the doing of this great worke, whereunto he is now ordained: and this is done partly for the confirmation of Iohn, who albeit hee knew that Christ was come, yet he knew not who hee was, till by this token gi∣uen of God, Christ was poin∣ted out vnto him, for so hee wit∣nesses himselfe. And I knew him not,* but he that sent mee to baptise with water said vnto mee, vpon whom thou shalt see the spirit come Page 84 downe, and tarry still on him, that is he, which baptiseth with the holy Ghost: and partly also for in∣struction of the people, that by this signes seene of them all, they might know who hee was, whom shortly after the audible voice from heauen, proclaimed to be the Sonne of God.
And that the holy Ghost di∣scends vpon him at this time in the similitude of a Doue, and not in the similitude of fire,* as there∣after he descended vpon the Apo∣stles, it is to declare vnto vs, both what he is in himselfe, as also what sort of creatures true Christians are made by his grace.
As for himselfe,* he is a meeke Sauiour: not terrible to penitent sinners, but louing and comforta∣ble, ye shall finde that of all those who in the Gospell came to seeke Page 85 mercy, and grace, from him, ne∣uer one was reiected, but all of them louingly receiued, and sent away with a comfortable answere: for it was prophesied of him, that hee should not breake the bruised Reede,* nor quench the smoaking Flaxe; and no maruell that hee was kinde to his owne, for he was meeke toward his very enemies: He prayed for them on the crosse, when they were persecuting him to the death, and when his Disci∣ples vvould haue had him bring fire from heauen, to burne the Sa∣maritans, because they held him at the Ports of their citie: he gaue them this answere:*yee know not of what spirit yee are, the Sonne of man is not come to destroy, but to saue.
The Law was giuen with fire,* and thunder, with tempest, black∣nes, Page 86 and darknes, in so terrible a manner, that Moses himselfe did quake for feare: but Iesus the Me∣diatour of the new Testament, when he comes to proclaime the Gospell (a doctrine of the ioyfull tidings of mans saluation) hee comes not in a terrible manner: Neither to accuse nor conuict of sinne, nor to trouble and torment the conscience for sinne, for that is the operation of the Law; but as the Lambe of God that takes away the sinnes of the world,* hee cryes peace to the conscience within, of euery poore penitent sinner,* that beleeues in him: he is such a Phy∣sitian as being himselfe annoin∣ted of the Lord, he cures his pati∣ents, not by burning, or cutting, or by any such hard medicine, but onely by annointing them, then the which no gentler kinde Page 87 cure can be. Whatsoeuer bitter∣nes was in that potion that heales the deadly disease of sin, he dranke it himselfe, and wonderfull it is; the Phisitian drinkes the potion, and the Patient is healed.* And therefore let not penitent and be∣leeuing sinners feare to goe neere him.
And as he is in himselfe,* such makes he those who are his, hee endues them with the properties of the Doue, he learnes them sim∣plicitie, lowlinesse and meekenes. As the elect of God, they put on tender mercie,* kindnes, humblenes of minde, meekenes, and long suffe∣ring: but where there is yet bit∣ternes,* anger, wrath, euill spea∣king, and maliciousnes, by which, after the manner of rauening birds, men deuoure one another: it is an euident argument that Page 88 such were neuer as yet renued by by the grace of Christ Iesus.
And there was a voice from hea∣uen, saying: Thou art my beloued Sonne, in thee I am well pleased.
[ 3] THe third way, by vvhich the Father beareth witnes vnto Christ,* is by an audible voice from heauen: where wee haue to consi∣der not onely the testimonie it selfe, but the circumstances that goe before it: as, namely vvho giues the testimonie,* God the Father: in vvhat manner it is gi∣uen, by an audible voice: and from what place, from heauen.
[ 1] As for the first, the author of this testimonie may be collected out of the words,* to be God the Father: the Sonne comes to make the Father known vnto the world, Page 89 for no man knowes the Father but the Sonne.*No man hath seene God at any time, the onely begotten Sonne, who is in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared him: and the Father againe makes the Son knowne vnto the world, by the holy Ghost: for euen Iohn Bap∣tist, though the greatest Prophet among the children of women, knew not this Sonne of God, till the Father, as we said, pointed him out vnto him.
Here then for our further com∣fort wee haue to consider,* how the three persons of the blessed Trinitie concurre together, to worke the great worke of our re∣demption: for here is the father designing, ordaining, proclai∣ming: here is the Sonne accept∣ing, and the holy Ghost annoin∣ting: these three wrought con∣iunctly Page 90 the worke of our first cre∣ation: in the beginning of Gene∣sis, mention, suppose obscure, is made of them, by a name Plurall, Elohim, expressing the Trinitie of persons, and a verbe singular, Ba∣ra, expressing the vnitie of their Nature, and coniunct operation. But here a more cleare and di∣stinct mention is made of the three persons,* yet all working one worke, and that for our comfort, that we considering who it is, hath taken in hand to worke the worke of our saluation, should neither be discouraged, for the power and malice of our spiritual aduer∣sarie, that withstands it; neither yet for our owne manifold wants, and infirmities, for that grace which Iesus hath receiued, is not for himselfe, but for vs; that, as saith the Euangelist, of his fulnesse Page 91 we might all receiue grace for grace:* which was figured in that oint∣ment,* poured on the head of Aaron, it rested not there, but went downe to the borders of his garments: euen so the grace communicated to Christ, flowes from him to the smallest member of his mysticall body, in such measure, as shall be sufficient, to prepare and perfect them vnto eternall life.
The next circumstance con∣taines [ 2] the manner,* by which this testimonie is giuen, to wit, by an audible voice, such as all the peo∣ple there present might heare, & vnderstand. How this voice was sounded, is needlesse for vs to en∣quire, the Lord who made the tongue, can speake without the tongue, and frame Organes of voice at his pleasure, by which he can proclaime his will, euen to Page 92 the eares of men, who without a voice cannot heare him. Thus the Lord both by his practise and precept hath declared,* that hee will haue his Gospell, which is a doctrine of Christ, preached to the whole world, clearely, distinctly, and in such a manner, as all may heare it: the practise wee haue here, the precept we haue hereafter: for our Sauiour commanded his Disci∣ples, that what hee told them in the eare, they should proclaime it on the tops of houses; & for this cause,* did the holy Ghost endue them with the gifts of tongs, that vnto euery people they might speake in their owne language, otherwise one language had been sufficient for all people. Whereof it is euident, that they who deli∣uer this doctrine, either by whis∣pering, or muttering in the eare, Page 93 or else in such a language as peo∣ple doe not vnderstand, declare themselues not to be the Ambas∣sadours of the God of heauen, neither following his practise, nor obaying his precept; but Locusts, proceeding from the smoake that comes out of the bottomlesse pit, by which Antechrist, that fallen Star, endeauours to obscure both the Sunne, and the Ayre, know∣ing that the vantage of his king∣dome stands in darknesse.
The third circumstance is of [ 3] the place,* from which this testi∣monie is giuen, to wit, from hea∣uen: whereof first wee learne that the doctrine of the Gospell is hea∣uenly doctrine, not written by na∣ture in the heart of man, as is the law, but heauenly and supernatu∣rall, bred in the bosome of God; proceeding from the deep of God Page 94 his infinite wisedome,* which no creature, neither Angell, nor man, by the light of Nature could euer haue imagined, if the Lord from heauen had not reuealed it; and therefore euen the Angels not∣withstanding they be secundaria lumina,* next vnto God, Spirits of greatest light, and vnderstanding, are said to admire this mysterie of the Gospell,* desirous to behold those things, which are taught in the Church concerning it.
Secondly,* the maiestie & dig∣nitie of the Gospell, is here re∣commended vnto vs; the Law was giuen on earth, proclaimed from the top of Mount Sinai: yet, euery transgression, and disobedi∣ence thereof receiued a iust recom∣pence of reward,* how then shall wee escape, if we neglect so great a salua∣tion, which at the first began to be Page 95 preached by the Lord, and after∣ward was confirmed to vs by them that heard him?
And againe we are warned, See yee despise him not that speakes,* for if they escaped not, who refused him that spake on earth, much more shal not wee escape, if wee turne away from him, that speakes from hea∣uen.
And thirdly,* the proclaiming of this doctrine from heauen, as likewise the opening of the hea∣uens, at the first proclamation of it, is to teach vs that there is no way, whereby man may learne a ready way to heauen, but by this doctrine of the Gospell, which is come from heauen. Pitifull then is the blindnes of worldlings, to whom heauen is opened, and of∣fered by the Gospell: but they will not so much as looke vpon it, Page 96 but like those vncleane beasts in the Law, do creepe, with all foure, vpon earth, seeking the fatnesse of the earth for their portion, more miserable then those Iewes to whom regresse was offred to Cana∣an,* but they would not come out of Caldee: for loue of earth, they little esteemed heauen, and there∣fore iustly shall they be depriued of both; the heauens shall not be opened to them to receiue them, and their place on earth shall shortly deny them; yea, the earth shall open her mouth, and swal∣low them; as vnworthy to liue vpon earth, vvho reioyced not at this grace of the Gospell, by which the heauens were opened vnto them.
Thou art my beloued Sonne.
THe circumstances being per∣mitted;* now followes the te∣stimonie; which may be called, Contractum Euangelium: for it containes the summe of the Gos∣pell; first concerning his Person, and next his Office.
The first,* vvee haue in these words: Thou art that Son of mine, that beloued, for so the Article im∣ports: Thus the Father speakes of him, to distinguish him from o∣ther sonnes, and other beloued; the Father hath many beloued sonnes, but none like Christ; he is not the Sonne of God by creati∣on, as Adam and the Angels; nor by Adoption, as regenerate men are; but hee is the Sonne of God by essentiall generation, as Page 98 also by the grace of personall v∣nion, that is, as hee is the second person of the blessed Trinitie; he is the Sonne of God, by essentiall generation;* for the Father begat him from all eternitie, by a full and whole communication of his essence vnto him, in a manner most maruellous, and vnspeake∣able: and therefore rather to be adored by vs, then enquired, and searched out. Againe, as man is the Sonne of God in a most speci∣all manner;* for hee had no man for his Father, but his humane Nature was made and formed by the holy Ghost, and this Nature thus formed, he hath ioyned, and vnited vnto the diuine Nature of Christ, that so in his person it might haue the being, and subsi∣stence: And thus the Lord Iesus being one Person, in whom are Page 99 two Natures, in respect of them both, and of their vnion, in most maruellous manner, is the Sonne of God.
Now,* because Sathan who durst call it in doubt to the Son of God himselfe, whether, or not he were the Sonne of God; will farre lesse spare to call it in doubt vnto vs: let vs oppose against all his blas∣phemies, this notable testimo∣nie of God, proclaimed by an au∣dible voice from heauen, at the baptisme of Christ, and repeated againe on Mount Tabor, at his transfiguration, as they haue re∣ported vnto vs, who heard it with their eares, for so witnesses not onely S. Iohn, in the first Chapter of his first Epistle, but most cleere∣ly, S. Peter, in his second Epistle, and first Chapter.*We followed not deceiueable fables, when wee opened Page 100 vnto you the power, and comming of our Lord Iesus, but with our eies we saw his Maiestie, for hee recei∣ued of God the Father, honour, and glorie, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glorie: This is my beloued Sonne, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice wee heard, when it came from hea∣uen, being with him on the holy Mount.* The Angels in like man∣ner bare witnesse vnto him, and many thousands of his Saints hath sealed the truth of this testi∣monie with their bloud.* The mi∣serable estate of the Iewes, who since the day that they reiected him, and tooke his bloud vpon them, and their children, haue euer beene as vagabonds, and ab∣iects in the world, proues the truth of this Gospell, which de∣clares him the Sonne of God: Page 101 yea, Sathan himselfe, hath beene forced to confesse it as a truth, Iesus thou Sonne of God,* why art thou come to torment vs before the time?
But beside all those,* wee haue as saith S. Peter, a most sure word of the Prophets,* to which we shall doe well to take heede: for if we well consider, how all those things which the Prophets of old pro∣phesied, were to be done by the Messia, are all accomplished in the person of Christ Iesus, we shall finde the word like a light shining in darknesse, clearely declaring vnto vs, that Iesus the Sonne of Mary, is the promised Messia.
It was promised in Paradise,* that he who should trample down the head of the Serpent,* was to be the seede of the Woman: this was made clearer by Esay, that a Virgin Page 102 should conceiue a Sonne, whose name should be Emmanuel: how this was fulfilled, S. Mathew re∣cords,* shewing how that when Ma∣ry was betrothed to Ioseph,* before they came together, she was found with childe of the holy Ghost. Micah* foretold that out of Beth∣leem, should come that ruler in Is∣rael:* whose goings forth hath beene from the beginning, and euerlasting. Now that Christ was borne in Bethleem,* is euident out of the Euangelists.*Hosea fore-pro∣phesied,* that he should be called out of Egypt. And S. Mathew wit∣nesses,* that when Herode sought Iesus to destroy him, the Angell of the Lord appearing to him in a dreame, commanded him to flee vnto Egypt, that it might be fulfil∣led, saith hee, which was spoken of the Lord, by the Prophet: Out Page 103 of Egypt haue I called my Sonne.* Malachy foretold, that a messenger should be sent before the Messia, to prepare his way, whom after that, he calles Eliah the Prophet: Who should be,* said Esay, a cry∣ing voice in the wildernesse; Pre∣pare ye the way of the Lord, make straight, in the desart, a path for our God: euery valley shall be ex∣alted, and euery mountaine made lowe. How this was fulfilled, S. Luke witnesses:* for Iohn Baptist came before the Lord Iesus, in the spirit and power of Eliah, and hee cried in the wildernesse, Prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight his pathes. Againe, it was foretold by Esay, that hee should beginne his preaching in Galile:* And so indeede witnesses S. Ma∣thew,* that when Iesus heard that Iohn was deliuered to prison,* hee Page 104 returned into Galile, and leauing Nazareth, hee went and dwelt in Capern•um, which is nere the sea, in the borders of Zabulon, and Nephtalim,* that it might be fulfil∣led, which was spoken by Esay: The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Iorden, Galile of the Gentiles, the people which sate in darknes, saw great light, and to them that sate in the region and shadow of death, light is risen vp. In like manner it was spoken by Esay,* that he should confirme his preaching with many miracles,* as that the blind should see, and the deafe should heare, all which the Euangelists records, was perfor∣med by the Lord Iesus.*Zacharie fore-prophesied,* that hee should come riding to Ierusalem on an Asse,* which the Euangelists testi∣testifies Page 105 was done. It was also fore-shadowed in Dauid his type and fi∣gure, that his own familiar friend, whom he trusted,* and did eate of his bread,* should lift vp the heele against him▪ and that hee should be sold for thirtie peeces of siluer, said Zacharie, with the which thereafter a potters field should be bought; and so indeede was our Lord betrayed by his owne Disci∣ple Iudas,* and sold for thirty pee∣ces of siluer;* which when he had cast againe, to them that gaue it to him, they bought with it a pot∣ters field, to be a buriall for stran∣gers: and of his suffering Esay fore-prophefied,* as if he had seene it, that hee was counted among transgressors; that hee was woun∣ded for our transgressions,* the cha∣stisement of our peace laid vpon him, & that with his stripes we are Page 106 healed.* Ioyne with this the pre∣diction of Dauid, that they should peirce him hand,* and foote; and when they had crucified him,* they should scorne him, and nod their heads at him, saying, hee trusted in the Lord, let him de∣liuer him:* and againe, that they should part his garments among them, and cast lots about his vesture, and should giue him gall in his meate, and in his thirst vinegar to drinke: all which the Euangelists record, most clearely to haue beene ac∣complished, in the Passion of Ie∣sus Christ: for they executed him betweene two theeues, scourged him,* scorned him, and crucified him. Yea, more particularly also haue they foretold, that he should lye in the graue of a rich man,* that he should rise the third day,* as was Page 107 shadowed in his figure Ionas,* that hee should ascend on high, and leade captiuitie captiue:* all these with many moe prophesies, fore-spoken of the Messias, con∣cerning his person, his actions, his sufferings, his triumphant re∣surrection and ascension, as more particularly they are collected by Athanasius.* Since wee see them so clearely fulfilled, in the per∣son of Iesus Christ, what re∣maines,* but that wee close the mouth of Sathan, and of our owne infidelitie, receiuing this for an vndoubted truth, which the Lord in this heauenly Oracle deliuereth vnto vs: that this Christ Iesus, the Sonne of Mary, is the Sonne of God, and that promised Mes∣sias, on whom all the Fathers since, the first beginning, fastened their hope, and of whom all the Page 108 Prophets hath spoken, pointing him out, as it were with the fin∣ger, how hee was to come to worke the worke of our saluati∣on, which in all circumstances wee see performed by him, as was prophesied by them, to our euerlasting comfort.
Wee might hereunto adde some testimonies of the Gentiles, as of Mercurius Trismegistus,* lit∣tle posterior in time to Moses: whose testimonie Lactantius cals Diuino simile, Diuine-like, as like∣wise out of the Oracles of Sibillae, which were tenne in number; so called, because they declared the counsels of God, quasi〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and were by some of the Fathers accounted prophetesses of the Gentiles: for seeing the Lord Ie∣sus was to be sent into the world for saluation both of Iewes and Page 109 Gentiles, it pleased the Lord long before his comming, to make signification thereof, not to the Iewes onely, by Prophets raised vp among themselues, but to the Gentiles also, who because they could not easily embrace the te∣stimonie of the Iewes, in a mat∣ter of religion, it pleased him, by their own Prophets, to make pre∣dictions, and descriptions of Iesus Christ, that when they should come to passe, they might haue no exception against them. And therefore is it that the heathen persecuting Emperours, stirred vp with hatred by Sathan, against the very name of Christians, the mysterie whereof they no man∣ner of way vnderstood, nor yet would receiue any light, that might bring them to the know∣ledge therof, forbade the reading Page 110 of their owne Sibilline Oracles,* and that because euen their owne prophesies, bare witnes to the ve∣ritie of Christian religion. But for the present, we content vs with that most sure word of the Pro∣phets, as S. Peter calles it, and rests in this heauenly Oracle, which the Father from heauen proclaimed, concerning his Son: Blessing the Lord our God, who hath opened vnto vs the mysterie of his will, according to his good pleasure, which hee had purposed in Christ. By whom wee haue redemp∣tion through his bloud, the forgiue∣nes of sinnes, according to his rich grace. To him be praise and glory, for euer.