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I.

CHAP. “is no sin done but what is against God, but this

sin was done directly against the Lord Almighty and Allrightful. The greater also the Lord is against whom any sin is done, the

greater always is the sin,-just as to do against “ the king's bidding is deemed the greatest of “ offences. But the sin which is done against “ God's bidding is greater without measure. God

then, according to our belief, bid Adam that he “ should not eat of the apple. Yet he broke “God's command ; nor was he to be excused “ therein by his own weakness, by Eve, nor by “ the serpent, and hence according to the right

eousness of God, this sin must always be pu“ nished. It is to speak lightly, to say that God

might of his mere power forgive this sin without “ the atonement which was made for it, since the

justice of God would not suffer this, but re“ quires that every trespass be punished either in “ earth or in hell. God may not accept a person “ to forgive him his sin without an atonement, “ else he must give free licence to sin both in

angels and men, and then sin were no sin, and “ our God were no God!”

“ Such is the first lesson we take as a part of our

faith, the second is that the person who may make atonement for the sin of our first father, “ must needs be God and man. For as man's nature

trespassed, so must man's nature render atone“ ment. An angel therefore would attempt in vain “ to make atonement for man, for he has not the

power to do it, nor was his the nature that here “ sinned. But since all men form one person, if

any member of this person maketh atonement,

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“ the whole person makethit. But we may see that CHAP. “ if God made a man of nought, or strictly anew “ after the manner of Adam, yet he were bound to

God, to the extent of his power for himself, having nothing wherewith to make atonement for his

own, or for Adam's sin. Since then, atonement “ must be made for the sin of Adam as we have “shewn, the person to make the atonement must “ be God and man, for then the worthiness of this

person's deeds, were even with the unworthiness “ of the sin.” From this necessity of an atonement for sin, and of the incarnation that it might be made, the conclusion is said to follow that the Child born, must needs be God and man. The doctrine of the discourse is then made to assume a practical bearing. And we suppose,” observes the preacher, “ that this Child is only born to the

men who follow him in his manner of life, for he was born against others. The men who are unjust and proud, and who rebel against God, may read their judgment in the person of Christ. .

By him, they must needs be condemned, and most certainly if they continue wicked toward “his Spirit to their death. And if we covet sin

cerely that this Child may prove to be born to “us; have we joy of him, and follow we him in “ these three virtues, in righteousness and meek

ness, and in patience for our God. For whoever “shall be against Christ and his Spirit in these “ unto his death, must needs be condemned of “ this Child, as others must needs be saved. And “ thus the joy professed in this Child, who was “ all meekness and full of virtues, should make

men to be children in malice, and then they

CHAP.

1.

“ would well keep this festival. To those who would indulge in strife, I would say that the “ Child who is born is also Prince of peace, and “ loveth peace, and contemneth men contrary “to peace. Reflect we then how Christ came “ in the fullness of time, when he should; and “how he came in meekness teaching us this at “ his birth; and how he came in patience, con

tinuing even from his birth unto his death; and “ follow we him in these things for the joy that

we here have in him, and because this joy “ in the patience of Christ, bringeth to joy that

ever shall last. "26

The doctrines of the person of Christ, and that of his sufferings as the price of our redemption, are of frequent occurrence in these discourses. It was in the following manner that the reformer generally spoke on the latter subject.

« Men “ mark the passion of Christ, and print it on their “ heart somewhat to follow it. It was the most voluntary passion that ever was suffered, and the ** most painful. It was most voluntary, and so “ most meritorious. Hence, when Christ went to

Jerusalem, he foretold the form of his passion to “ his disciples, and he who before concealed him“ self to come to the city, came now to his suffer

ing in a way to shew his free will. Hence also “ he saith at the supper, With desire have I “ coveted to eat of this passover with you. The “ desire of his godhead, and the desire of his man

hood, moved him to eat thereof, and afterwards to “ suffer. But all this was significant, and in figure

66

26 Ibid.

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“ of his last supper which he eateth in heaven with CHAP. “the men whom he hath chosen. And since Christ “ suffered thus cheerfully for the sins of his brethren,

they should suffer gratefully for their own sins, “ and should purpose to forsake them. This indeed " is the cause why God would have the passion of “ Christ rehearsed—the profit of the brethren of

Christ, and not his own. But the pain of Christ's

passion, passed all other pain, for he was the most “ tender of men, and in middle age, and God by

miracle, allowed his mind to suffer, for else by “ his joy, he might not have known sorrow. In “ Christ's passion indeed, were all circumstances “ which could make his pain great, and so make “ it the more meritorious. The place was solemn, “ and the day also, and the hour, the most so “ known to Jews, or heathen men; and the ingra“ titude and contempt were most, for men who " should most have loved Christ, ordained the “ foulest death in return for his deepest kindness! " We should also believe that Christ suffered not “ in any manner, but for some certain reason ; for “ he is both God and man, who made all things “ in their number, and so would frame his passion

to answer to the greatness of man's sin. Follow we then after Christ in his blessed passion; and keep we ourselves from sin hereafter, and gather we a devout mind from him."

The reader will remember, that these devotional instructions were prepared for the usual auditory of a parish church in the fourteenth century, and it is not often that lessons are deduced with

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27 Ibid p. 61.

VOL. II.

D

CHAP.

I

of grace.

more simplicity and adaptation from the pages

of inspired truth. The following passages, were Doctrine intended by the preacher to explain the only sense

in which he could admit that men might be said to" deserve” the felicities of heaven. “We should “ know that faith is a gift of God, and that it may “ not be given to men except it be graciously. Thus, indeed, all the good which men have is of

God, and accordingly when God rewardeth a

good work of man, he crowneth his own gift. “ This then is also of grace, even as all things are of grace, that men have according to the will of

God. God's goodness is the first cause why he “ confers any good on man; and so it may not be “ that God doeth good to men, but if he do it

freely by his own grace; and with this under

stood, we shall grant that men deserve of God.” But the doctrine of short-sighted men “as was

Pelagius and others, who conceive that nothing

may be, unless it be of itself as are mere sub“ stances, is to be scorned and left to idiots.” It is then remarked, in connection with the story of the centurion, whose faith had elicited the above observation, “Learn we of this knight to be meek “ in heart and in word, and in deed; for he granted “ first that he was under man's power, and yet by

power of man, he might do many things; much more should we know that we are under God's power, and that we may do nothing, but by the

power of God, and woe shall hereafter be to us, “ if we abuse this power. This root of meekness “ therefore should produce in us all other virtues.” It is evident that the doctrine of these passages, dangerous as its tendencies are sometimes said to

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