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in their spirit: but these men have the peace of tributaries, or a conquered people; the gates of their city stand open day and night, that all the carriages may enter without disputing the pass : the flesh and the spirit dispute not, because the spirit is there in pupillage or in bonds, and the flesh rides in triumph, with the tyranny, and pride, and impotency, of a female tyrant. For, in the sense of religion, we all are warriors or slaves ; either ourselves are stark dead in trespasses and sins, or we need to stand perpetually upon our guards in continual observation, and in contestation against our lusts and our passions; so long denying and contradicting our own wills, till we will and choose to do things against our wills, having an eye always to those infinite satisfactions, which shall glorify our wills and all our faculties, when we arrive to that state, in which there shall be no more contradiction, but only that “our inortal shall put on immortality.”
26. But as some have a vain and dangerous peace, so others double their trouble by too nice and impertinent scruples, thinking that every temptation is a degree of immortification. As long as we live, we shall have to do with enemies : but as this life is ever a state of imperfection, so the very design and purpose of mortification is not to take away temptations, but to overcome them; it endeavours to facilitate the work, and secure our condition, by removing all occasions it can: but the opportunity of a crime, and the solicitation to a sin, is no fault of ours, unless it be of our procuring, or finds entertainment when it comes unsent for. To suffer a temptation is a misery; but if we then set upon the mortification of it, it is an occasion of virtue, and never is criminal, unless we give consent. But then also it would be considered, that it is not good offering ourselves to fire ordeal, to confirm our innocence; nor prudent to enter into battle without need, and to show our valour; nor safe to procure a temptation, that we may have the reward of mortification of it. For mortification of the spirit is not commanded as a duty finally resting in itself, or immediately landing upon God's glory, such as are acts of charity and devotion, chastity and justice : but it is the great instrument of humility and all other graces; and, therefore, is to be undertaken to destroy a sin, and to secure a virtuous habit.
And besides that', to call on a danger is to tempt God, and to invite the devil, (and no man is sure of a victory): it is also great imprudence to create a need, that we may take it away again; to drink poison, to make experiment of the antidote; and, at the best, it is but a running back, to come just to the same place again : for he that is not tempted, does not sin ; but he that invites a temptation, that he might overcome it, or provokes a passion, that he may allay it, is then but in the same condition after his pains and his danger: he was not sure he should come so far.
O dearest God, who hast framed man of soul and body, and
fitted him with faculties and proportionable instruments to serve thee according to all our capacities, let thy Holy Spirit rule and sanctify every power and member, both of soul and body, that they may keep that beauteous order, which, in our creation, thou didst intend, and to which thou dost restore thy people in the renovations of grace ; that our affections may be guided by reason, our understanding may be enlightened with thy word, and then may guide and persuade our will; that we suffer no violent transportation of passions, nor be overcome by a temptation, nor consent to the impure solicitations of lust; that “ sin may not reign in our mortal bodies,” but that both bodies and souls may be conformable to the sufferings of the holy Jesus ; that in our body we may bear the marks and dying of our Lord, and in our spirits we may be humble and mortified, and like him, in all his imitable perfections; that we may die to sin, and live to righteousness, and, after our suffering together with him in this world, we may reign together with him hereafter; to whom, in the Unity of the most mysterious Trinity, be all glory, and dominion, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
r Vide Disc. of Temptation.
Of Jesus being baptized, and going into the Wilderness to be
1. Now the full time was come, Jesus took leave of his mother and his trade, to begin his Father's work, and the office prophetical, in order to the redemption of the world; and when “ John was baptizing in Jordan, Jesus came to John, to be baptized of him.” The Baptist had never seen his face, because they had been, from their infancy, driven to several places, designed to several employments, and never met till now. But immediately the Holy Ghost inspired St. John with a discerning and knowing spirit, and at his first arrival he knew him, and did him worship. And when Jesus desired to be baptized, “ John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" For the baptism of John, although it was not a direct instrument of the Spirit for the collation of grace, neither find we it administered in any form of words, not so much as in the name of Christ to come, (as many dream “;) (because, even after John had baptized, the Pharisees still doubted, if he were the Messias; which they would not, if, in his form of ministration, he had published Christ to come after him; and also because it had not been proper for Christ himself to have received that baptism, whose form had specified himself to come hereafter; neither could it consist with the revelation which John had, and the confession which he made, to baptize in the name of Christ to come, whom the Spirit marked out to him to be come already, and himself pointed at him with his finger,) yet it was a ceremonious consignation of the doctrine of repentance b, which was one great part of the covenant evangelical, and was a Divine institution, the susception' of it was in order to the fulfilling all righteousness; it was a sign of humility, the persons baptized confessed their sins ; it was a sacramental disposing to the baptism and faith of Christ; but therefore
John wondered, why the Messias, the Lamb of God, pure and without spot, who needed not the abstersions of repentance, or the washings of baptism, should demand it, and of him, a sinuer, and his servant. And in the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew, which the Nazarenes used at Berca (as St. Hierom reports"), these words are added : “ The mother of the Lord and his brethren said unto him, John Baptist baptized to the remissions of sins, let us go and be baptized of him. He said to them, what have I sinned, that I should go and be baptized of him ?” And this part of the story is also told by Justin Martyrd. But Jesus wanted not a proposition to consign by his baptism proportionable enough to the analogy of its institution; for as others professed their return towards innocence, so he avowed his perseverance in it; and though he was never called in Scripture a sinner, yet he was made sin for us; that is, he did undergo the shame and the punishment; and therefore it was proper enough for him to perform the sacrament of sinners.
2. But the holy Jesus, who came (as himself, in answer to the Baptist's question, professed) “ to fulfil all righteousness," would receive that rite, which his Father had instituted in order to the manifestation of his Son. For although the Baptist had a glimpse of him by the first irradiations of the Spirit, yet John professed, that he therefore came baptizing with water, that “ Jesus might be manifested to Israel ®;" and it was also a sign given to the Baptist himself, that whomsoever he saw the Spirit descending and remaining," he is the person,
“ that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” And God chose to actuate the sign at the waters of Jordan, in great and religious assemblies, convened there at John's baptism; and therefore Jesus came to be baptized, and, by this baptism became known to John, who, as before he gave to him an indiscriminate testimony, so now he pointed out the person in his sermons and discourses, and, by calling him the Lamb of God', prophesied of his passion, and preached
c Quæst. ad Orthod. 37.
d Dial. 3. advers. Pelag. • Εβαπτίσθη δε και ένήστευσεν ('Ιησούς,) ουκ αυτός απορυπώσεως η νηστείας χρείαν έχων και καθάρσεως, και τη φύσει καθαρός και άγιος, αλλ' ίνα και Ιωάννη αλήθειαν
#gopagtugńsn, nai ipiv únorza pe peòr magáoxntai. — Clem. Constit. Apost. lib. vii. c. 2:3.
Symboluw supplicii crucis. -- Just. Mart.
him to be the world's Redeemer, and the sacrifice for mankind. He was now manifest to Israel; he confirmed the baptism of John; he sanctified the water to become sacramental and ministerial in the remission of sins; he by a real event declared, that to them, who should rightly be baptized, the kingdom of heaven should certainly be opened; he inserted himself, by that ceremony, into the society and participation of the holy people, of which communion himself was Head and Prince; and he did, in a symbol, purify human nature, whose stains and guilt he had undertaken.
3. As soon as John had performed his ministry, and Jesus was baptized, he prayed, and the heavens were opened, and the air clarified by a new and glorious light 8; “and the Holy Ghost, in the manner of a dove, alighted upon" his sacred head, and God the Father gave a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This was the inauguration and proclamation of the Messias, when he began to be the great Prophet of the new covenant. And this was the greatest meeting that ever was upon earth, where the whole cabinet of the mysterious Trinity was opened and shown, as much as the capacities of our present imperfections will permit; the second person in the veil of humanity, the third in the shape, or with the motion of a doveh; but the first kept his primitive state; and as to the Israelites he gave notice by way of caution, “ Ye saw no shape, but ye heard a voice ;” so now also God the Father gave testimony to his holy Son, and appeared only in a voice, without any visible representment.
4. When the rite and the solemnity was over, “ Christ ascended up out of the waters, and left so much virtue behind him, that, as Gregorius Turonensis reports', that creek of the river, where his holy body had been baptized, was endued with a healing quality, and a power of curing lepers, that bathed themselves in those waters, in the faith and with invocation of the holy name of Jesus. But the manifestation of this power was not till afterwards, for as yet Jesus did no miracles.
6 Kai susūs negrénauts TOY TÓTOV Pãs péya, -- Erang. Ebion. b 'szce mepostigàv, Matt. iii, 16, Mark, i. 10. 'Ev 5w4utin tiel, Luke, ii. 22.
De Gloria Martyr. cap. xvii.