Imágenes de página


SERM. than sometime gently admonisheth them of, saying, τί δειλοί ἐστε, ὀλιγόπιστοι; Why are ye fearful, Ο ye Matt. viii. of little faith? nyomote, Tí èdiotaσas; O thou of small faith, why didst thou doubt?

26. xiv. 31.

What should I insist on these, although very remarkable instances? since that one scene of his most grievous (shall I say, or glorious) passion doth represent unto us a perfect and most lively image of the highest patience and meekness possible; of the greatest sorrow that ever was or could be, yet of a patience surmounting it; of the extremest malice that ever was conceived, yet of a charity overswaying it; of injury most intolerable, yet of a meekness willingly and sweetly bearing it: there may we observe the greatest provocations from all hands to passionate animosity of spirit and intemperate heat of speech, yet no discovery of the least disorderly, angry, or revengeful thought, the least rash, bitter, or reproachful word; but all undergone with clearest serenity of mind, and sweetness of carriage toward all persons.

To Judas, who betrayed him, how doth he address himself? Doth he use such terms as the man deserved, or as passion would have suggested, and reason would not have disallowed? Did he say, Thou most perfidious villain, thou monster of iniquity and ingratitude! thou desperately wicked wretch! dost thou, prompted by thy base coveteousness, treacherously attempt to ruin thy gracious Master and best Friend; thy most benign and bountiful Saviour? No; instead of such proper language, he useth the most courteous and endearing terms: Matt. xxvi. 'Eraîpe, ep' & ñáρe; Friend, (or companion,) for what


dost thou come? or what is thy business here? A

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

tacit charitable warning there is to reflect upon his SERM. unworthy and wicked action, but nothing apparent of wrath or reproach.


From his own disciples and servants, who had beheld his many miraculous works, and were indebted to him for the greatest favours, he reasonably might have expected a most faithful adherence and most diligent attendance on him in that juncture: yet he found them careless and slothful: What then? How did he take it? Was he angry, did he upbraid, did he storm at them? did he threaten to discard them? No; he only first gently admonisheth them: What, Matt. xxvi. could ye not watch one hour with me? then a little exciteth them, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: he withal suggesteth an excuse for their drowsiness and dulness; The spirit is willing, Matt. xxvi. but the flesh is weak: in fine, he indulgeth to their weakness, letting them alone, and saying, kabeúdete Xomov, Sleep on now, and take your rest.

40, 45.


When he foresaw they would be offended at his (to appearance) disastrous estate, and fearfully would desert him, he yet expressed no indignation against them, or decrease of affection toward them upon that score; but simply mentioneth it, as unconcerned in it, and not affected thereby.

And the unworthy apostasy of that disciple, whom he had especially favoured and dignified, he only did mildly forewarn him of, requiting it foreseen by the promise of his own effectual prayers for his support and recovery; and when St. Peter had committed that heinous fact, our good Lord only looked on him Luke xxii. with an eye of charity and compassion, which more 'Ey efficaciously struck him, than the most dreadful.

61, 62.



SERM. threat or sharp reprehension could have done: Peter XLII. thereupon went out, and wept bitterly.


When the high priest's officer, upon no reasonable occasion, did injuriously and ignominiously strike John xviii. him, he returned only this mild expostulation: If I Cypr. Ep. have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; if well, why smitest thou me? that is, I advise thee to proceed in a fair and legal way against me, not to deal thus boisterously and wrongfully, to thy own harm.


Even careful and tender he was of those who were the instruments of his suffering; he protected them from harm who conducted him to execution; as we see in the case of the high priest's servant, Luke xxii. whom (with more zeal than wherewith he ever regarded his own safety) he defended from the fury of his own friend, and cured of the wounds received in the way of persecuting himself.

51, &c.

All his demeanour under that great trial was perfectly calm, not the least regret or reluctancy of mind, the least contradiction or obloquy of speech appearing therein; such it was as became the Lamb of God, who was to take away the sins of the world,

by a willing oblation of himself; such as did exactly Isa. liii. 7. correspond to the ancient prophecies: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he Isa. 1.6. opened not his mouth; and, I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Neither did the wrongful slanders devised and alleged against him by suborned witnesses, nor the

virulent invectives of the priests, nor the barbarous SERM. clamours of the people, nor the contemptuous spit- XLII. ting upon him and buffeting him, nor the cruel scourgings, nor the contumelious mockeries, nor all the bloody tortures inflicted upon him, wring from him one syllable importing any dissatisfaction in his case, any wrath conceived for his misusages, any grudge or ill-will in his mind toward his persecutors; but, on the contrary, instead of hatred and revenge, he declared the greatest kindness and charity toward them, praying heartily to God his Father for the pardon of their sins. Instead of aggravating their crime and injury against him, he did in a sort extenuate and excuse it by consideration of their ignorance and mistake: Lord, said he, in the height Luke xxiii. of his sufferings, forgive them, for they know not 34. what they do. The life they so violently bereaved him of, he did willingly mean to lay down for the ransom of their lives; the blood they spilt, he wished to be a salutary balsam for their wounds and maladies; he most cheerfully did offer himself by their hands a sacrifice for their offences. No small part of his afflictions was a sense of their so grievously displeasing God, and pulling mischief on their own heads, a foresight of his kind intentions being frustrated by their obstinate incredulity and impenitence, a reflection upon that inevitable vengeance, which from the Divine justice would attend them; this foreseen did work in him a distasteful sense, (more grievous than what his own pain could produce,) and drew from him tears of compassion, (such as no resentment of his own case could extort;) for, When Luke xix. he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over 41. xiii. 34. it, saying, O that thou hadst known, even thou, at

SERM. least in this thy day, the things which belong unto XLII. thy peace.

If ever he did express any commotion of mind in reference to this matter, it was only then when one of his friends, out of a blind fondness of affection, did presume to dissuade him from undergoing these evils; then indeed, being somewhat moved with inMatt. xvi. dignation, he said to St. Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.


Neither was it out of a stupid insensibility or stubborn resolution, that he did thus behave himMatt. xxvi. self; for he had a most vigorous sense of all those 37, 38.


Luke xxii. grievances, and a strong (natural) aversation from John xii. undergoing them; as those dolorous agonies wherewith he struggled, those deadly groans he uttered, those monstrous lumps of blood he sweat out, those earnest prayers he made to be freed from them, declare; but from a perfect submission to the Divine will, and entire command over his passions, an excessive charity toward mankind, this patient and John xviii. meek behaviour did spring: The cup which my Matt. xxvi. Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? O my Luke xxii. Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt; let John x. 18. not my will, but thine be done. No man taketh



vi. 51.

away my life, but I lay it down of my own accord: I will give my flesh for the life of the world. So doth our Lord himself express the true grounds of his passion and his patience.

Such is the example of our Lord: the serious consideration whereof how can it otherwise than work patience and meekness in us? If he, that was


Matt. xxvi.

Heb. v. 7.

« AnteriorContinuar »