Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of throne of God.
St. Luke, though he recount at large our Saviour Christ's whole story, yet in plain and express terms he calleth the Passion, qewriau, 'a theory or sight,' which sight is it the Apostle here calleth us to look unto.
Of our blessed Saviour's whole life or death, there is no part but is 'a theory' of itself, well worthy our looking on; for from each part thereof there goeth virtue to do us good. From each part;--but of all, from the last part, or act of His Passion. Therefore has the Holy Ghost honoured this last part only with this name, and none but this. This is the 'theory' ever most commended to our view. To be looked on He is at all times and in all acts; but then, and in that act, especially, 'when for the joy set before Him, He endures the cross, and despised the shame.' Then, saith the Apostle, 'look unto Him.' St. Paul being elsewhere careful to shew the Corinthians, and with them us, Christ; and as to shew [158/159] Christ, so to shew them in Christ what that is that specially concerneth them to know or look unto, thus he saith: that though he knew many, very many things besides, yet he 'esteemed not to know any thing but Jesus Christ,' et Hunc crucifixum, Him, 'and Him crucified.' Meaning respective, as they term it, that the perfection of our knowledge is Christ; and the perfection of our knowledge in or touching Christ, is the knowledge of His Cross and Passion. That the chief 'theory.' Nay, in this all; so that see this, and see all.
The view thereof, thought it be not restrained to any one time, but all the year long, yea all our life long, ought to be frequent with us;--and blessed are the hours that are so spent! Yet if at any one time more than another, certainly this time, this day may most justly challenge it. For this day was the Scriptures, fulfilled, and this day are our ears filled full with Scriptures about it. So that though on other days we employ our eyes otherwise, yet that this day at least we would, ¢fsrµn, 'cast our eyes from other sights,' and fix them on this object, it being the day dedicate to the lifting up of the Son of Man on high, that He may draw every eye unto Him.
The occasion of the speaking is ever the best key to every speech. The occasion then of this speech was this. The Apostle was to encourage the Hebrews, and in them us all, to hold on the well-begun profession of Christ and His faith. This our profession he expresseth in the former verse in the terms of a race or game, borrowing his similitude from the games of Olympus. For from those games, famous then over all the world, and by terms from them taken, it was common to all writers of that age, both holy and human, to set forth, as in the running the laborious course, so in the prize of it, the glorious reward of a virtuous life.
Which race, truly Olympic, because they and we, the most of us, either stand still, or if we remove do it but slowly, and are ready to faint upon every occasion; that we may run the sooner, and attain the better, two sights he sets before us to comfort us and keep us from fainting. One, a cloud of witnesses, in the first verse, that is the Saints in Heaven--witnesses as able to depose this race may be run, and this [159/160] prize may be won, for they have run the one, and won the other long ago. These look on us now, how well we carry ourselves, and we look to them, that we may carry ourselves well in the course we have undertaken.
On which cloud when we have stayed our eyes a while, and made them fit for a clearer object, he scattereth the cloud quite, and sets us up for a second, even our blessed Saviour His ownself. And here He willeth us, _For©u, 'to turn our eyes from them,' and to turn hither, and to fasten them here on Jesus Christ, 'the Author and Finisher of our faith.' As if he should say; If you will indeed see a sight once for all, look to Him. The Saints, though they be guides to us, yet are they but followers to Him. He the `ArchgÕj, 'the Arch-guide,' the Leader of them and us all--Look on Him. They but well willers to our faith, but neither authors nor finishers of it; He, both. Both Author to call us to it, and set us in it; and Finisher to help us through it, and reward us for it:--Look to Him. Hunc aspicite is the Apostle's voice, the voice that cometh out of this cloud, for it is the wish of them all, even all the Saints;--Hunc aspicite. At this appearing therefore the cloud vanisheth. there is a time when St. James may say, 'Take, my brethren, the Prophets for an example.' But when He cometh forth That said Exemplum dedi vobis, 'I have given you an example,' exemplum sine exemplo, 'an example above all examples;' when He cometh in place, Sileat omnis caro, 'Let all flesh keep silence.' Let all the Saints, yea, the Seraphims themselves cover their faces with their wings, that we may look on Him, and let all other sights go.
Let us then turn aside to see this great sight. The principal parts thereof are two: 1. The sight itself, that is, the thing to be seen; 2. and the sight of it, that is, the act of seeing to or looking on it.
The whole verse, save the two first words, is of the object or spectacle propounded. 'Jesus the Author, &c.' The two first words, _Forîutej eij, is the other, the act or duty enjoined.
But as in many other cases, so here, Et erunt primit novissimi, 'the first must be last.' For though the act, in the verse, stand foremost, yet in nature it is last, and so to be [160/161] handled. We must have a thing first set up before our eyes, before we can set our eyes upon it.
Of the object then first: this object is Jesus, not barely, but with His double addition of 1. 'the Author,' 2. 'the Finisher of our faith, Jesus.' And in Him more particularly, two theories or sights: 1. Of His Passion; 2. Of His Session. 1. His Passion, in these words: 'Who for the joy,' &c. 2. His Session, in these; 'And is set,' &c.
In the Passion, two things He pointeth at: 1. What He suffered, 2. and what moved Him to it. 1. What He suffered; the cross and shame. The cross He endured, the shame He despised. 2. And what moved Him; 'for a certain joy set before Him.'
Then is to follow the act or duty of looking on this sight, _Forîutej eij, 1. Wherein first the two prepositions, 1. `ApÕ and 2. Eij, 'from' and 'to:' to look 'from,' and 'to.' 2. Then the two verbs: 1. One in the verse expressed, that is, Ñr©u in ¢Forîutej. 2. The other of necessity implied, for we have never a verb in all the verse. `AForîutej is a participle, and but suspendedth the sentence, till we either look back to the verb before; and so it is 1. Ut curramus: or to the verse after, and so it is 2. Ne fatigfemur. In the one is the theory or sight we shall see, thus looking. In the other the praxis of this theory, what this sight is to work in us; and that is a motion, a swift motion, running. So to look on it that we run, and so to run that we faint not.
And if the time will give leave, if our allowance will hold out, then we will take a short view of the session; that He 'is set down.' Wherein is 1. rest and ease opposed to His cross, where He hung in pain. 2. And in 'a throne;' wherein is glory opposed to shame. 3. And 'at the right hand of God,' wherein is the fulness of both the joy wherein He sitteth, and the joy which was set before Him, and which is set before us.
To give the better aspect to the party Whom he presenteth to our view, that with better will we may behold Him, before he name His Name he giveth Him this double addition, as it were displaying an ensign, proclaiming this double addition, as it were displaying an ensign, proclaiming His style before Him; whereof these two are the two colours, 1. 'The Author,' 2. 'The Finisher of our faith, Jesus.'
[161/162] 'Author and Finisher' are two titles, wherein the Holy Ghost oft setteth Him forth, and wherein He seemeth to take special delight. In the very letters, He taketh to Him the name of 'Alpha' the Author, and again of 'Omega' the Finisher of the alphabet. From letters go to words: there is He Verbum in principio, 'the Word at the beginning.' And He is 'Amen' too, the word at the end. From words to books. In capite libri scriptum est de Me, in the very 'front of the book' He is; and He is AuakeFalaiwsij, 'the Recapitulation' or conclusion of it too. And so, go to persons: there He is Primus and novissimus, 'the first and the last.' And from persons to things: and there He is, 'the beginning and the end;' whereof ¢rcº, 'the beginning,' is in `ArcchyÕj, the Author; and te/loj, 'the end,' is in Teleiwtºj, the Finisher. The first beginning a Quo, He 'by Whom all things are made;' and the last end He, per or propter Quem, 'by, for, or through Whom' all things are made perfect.
Both these He is, in all things. And as in all things else, so in faith, whereto they are here applied most fully and fitly of all other. Therefore look not aside at any in Heaven or earth for matter of faith, look full upon Him. He is worth the looking on with both your eyes, He hath matter for them both.
The honour that Zerubbabel had in the material, is no less truly His in the spiritual temple of our faith. Manus Ejus, 'His hands' have laid the corner-stone of our belief, and his hands shall bring forth the head-stone also, giving us 'the end of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls.'
Of our faith, and of the whole race of it He is the 'Author,' casting up His glove at the first setting forth. He is the 'Finisher,' holding out the prize at the goal end. By His authority it is our course is begun; we run not without warrant. By His bounty it shall be finished and crowned in the end; we run not in vain, or without hope of reward.
But what is this title to the point in hand? So, as nothing can be more. 'Author and Finisher,' they are the two points that move us to look to Him. And the very same are the two points wherein we are moved to be like to Him.
To fix our eye, to keep it from straying, to make us look on him full, He telleth us He is both these. In effect as if He [162/163] said, Scatter not your sight, look not two ways, as if He I shew you were to begin, and some other make an end. He I shew you doth both.
His main end being to exhort them, as they had begun well, so well to persevere; to very good purpose, He willeth them to have an eye to Him and His example, Who first and last, ¢pÕ F£tuhj a"cri stauroà, 'from the cratch to the cross,' from St. Luke's time that quo coepit Jesus facere et diocere, 'He began to do and teach,' to St. John's time that He cried consummatum est, gave them not over sed in finem usque dilexit eos, but 'to the end loved them.' And so must they Him, if they do Him right. Both set out with Him, as 'Author' by a good beginning; and hold out with Him, as 'Finisher,' to a far better end; and follow Him in both Who is both. Were He the 'Author' only, it would serve to step forth well at the first. But He is the 'Finisher' too; therefore we must hold out to the last. And not rend one of them from the other, seeing He requireth both--not either, but both; and Jesus, a Saviour of none but those, who follow Him as 'Finisher' too, and are therefore marked in the forehead with Tau the last letter of the Hebrew, as He Himself is Omega, the last of the Greek Alphabet. This is the party He commendeth to our view; 'Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.' For these two to look upon Him, and in these two to be like unto Him.
Our sight then is Jesus, and in Jesus what? you have called is hither, say they in the Canticles, to see your Shulamite;--'what shall we see in him?' What? saith the Spouse, but as 'the company of an army,' that is, many legions of good sights, an ocean or bottomless depth of manifold high perfections. We shall lose ourselves, we shall be confounded to see in him all that may be shewed us, the object is too great. Two pieces therefore He maketh choice of, and but two, and presenteth Him to our eye in two forms only: 1. As hanging on the cross; 2. as sitting on the throne. 1. His Passion, 2. His Session; these two. And these two, with very good and perfect correspondence to the two former. By the 'cross,' He is 'Author;' by the 'throne,' He is 'Finisher of our faith.' As Man on the 'cross,' 'Author;' as God on the 'throne,' 'Finisher.' [163/164] 'Author,' on the 'cross'--there He paid the price of our admitting. 'Finisher,' on the 'throne'--there He is the prize to us of our course well performed of the well-finishing our race, the race of our faith.
And sure, with right high wisdom hath the Holy Ghost, being to exhort us to a race, combined these twain. For in these twains are comprised the two main motives, that set all the world on running. 1. love, and 2. hope. the love He hath to us in His Passion on the cross; the hope we have of Him, in His session on the throne. Either of these alone able to move; but put them together, and they will move us, or nothing will.
1. Love first. What moveth the mother to all the travail and toil she taketh with her child? She hopes for nothing, she is in years, suppose; she will not live to receive any benefit by it. It is love and love only. Love first.
2. And then hope. What moveth the merchant, and so the husbandman, and so the military man, and so all the rest? All the sharp showers and storms they endure, they love them not. It is hope, and hope only, of a rich return.
If either of these will serve us, will prevail to move us, here it is. Here is love, love in the cross; 'Who loved us, and gave Himself for us, a sacrifice' on the cross. Here is hope, hope in the throne. 'To him that overcometh will I give to sit with Me in My throne.' If our eye be a mother's eye, here is love worth the looking on. If our eye be a merchant's eye, here is hope worth the looking after. I know it is true, that verus amor vires non sumit de spe;--it is Bernard. 'Love if it be true indeed, as in the mother, receiveth no manner strength from hope.' Ours is not such, but faint and feeble, and full of imperfection. Here is hope therefore to strengthen our weak knees, that we may run the more readily to the high prize of our calling.
To begin then with His love, the love of His Passion, the peculiar of this day. In it we first look to what He suffered, and that is of two sorts. 1. 'The cross He endured;' 2. 'The shame He despised.' 3. And then with what mind, for the mind is worth all; and love in it sheweth itself, if not more, as much as in the suffering itself:--but certainly more. And this is His mind, proposito Sibi gaudio, as cheerfully as if [164/165] it had been some matter of joy. Of both first, jointly under one. Then severally each by itself.
1. Two things are to us most precious, our life and our reputation. Pari passu ambulant, saith the lawyer, 'they go arm in arm,' and are of equal regard both. Life is sweet, the cross cost Him His life. Honour is dear, shame bereft Him His honour. In the race which, before us and for us, our blessed Saviour ran, these two great blocks, death and disgrace were in His way. Neither stayed Him. To testify His love, over both He passed. Put His shoulders under the cross and endured it, to the loss of His life. Set His foot upon shame and despised it, to the loss of His honour. Neither one nor other, life or honour, held He dear, to do us good. O, if we should hazard but one of these, for any creature living, how much ado would we make of it, and reckon the party eternally obliged to us! Or if any should venture them for us, we should be the better every time we saw him. O that it might be so here! O that we would meet this love with the like measure! Certainly in His Passion, the love of us triumphed over the love of His life and honour both.
One view more of both these under one, and we shall by these two discover two other things in ourselves, for which very agreeable it was He should suffer these two, that by these two of His for those two of ours He might make a full satisfaction. It will shew a good congruity between our sickness and His salve, between our debt and His discharge.
The mother-sin then, the sin of Adam and Eve, and their motives to it, are the lively image of all the after-births of son, and the baits of sin for ever. Now that which moved them to disobey, was partly pleasure, and partly pride. Pleasure--O the fruit was delightful to see and to taste. Pride--eritis sicut Dii, it promised an estate equal to the highest. Behold then in His Passion, for our pleasure His pain, and for our pride, His shame and reproach. Behold Him in His patience, enduring pain for our wicked lust; in His humility, having shame poured on Him for our wretched pride. 'The Lord of life,' suffering death; 'The Lord of glory, vile and ignominious disgrace. Tanquam agnus, saith the Prophet of Him, 'as a lamb,' pitifully slaughtered. Tanquam vermis, saith [165/166] He of Himself, 'as a worm,' spitefully trod upon. So, by His enduring pains and painful death, expiating our unlawful pleasure; and by His sustaining shame, satisfying for our shameful pride. Thus may we under one behold ourselves, and our wicked demerits, in the mirror of his Passion. Gregory saith well: Dicendum erat quantum nos dilexit, ne diffidere; dicendum erat et quales, ne superbire et ingrati esse. 'How greatly He loved us, must be told us, to keep us from distrust; and what we were when He so loved us, must be told us, to hold us in humility, to make us everlastingly thankful.' Thus far both under one view.
2. Now are we to part them, to see them apart. We shall have much ado to do it, they are so folded and twisted together. In the cross there is shame, and in shame there is a cross, and that a heavy one.
The cross, the Heathen termed cruciabile lignum, 'a tree of torture;' but they called it also, arborem infoelicem, et stipitem infamem, 'a wretched infamous tree.' So it was in His crown; the thorns pricked Him, there was pain; the crown itself was a mere mockery, and matter of scorn. So in His robe; His purple body underneath in great pain certainly, His purple robe over it, a garment of shame and disgrace. All along the Passion, thus they meet still together. In a word, the prints of His Passion, the Apostle well calleth stigmata Christi. Both are in that word; not only wounds, and so grievous, but base and servile marks, and so shameful, for so are stigmata. Thus shame and cross, and cross and shame run interchangeably.
Yet since the Holy Ghost doth shew us them severally, so to see them as He shews them. Enduring is the act of patience, and patience hath pain for her object. Despising shame is the property of humility, even of the highest humility; not only spernere se but spernere de sperni. First then we must see the pain His patience endured that is meant by the cross; and then see the despising Him humility despised that is meant by the shame. First then of His cross.
It is well known that Christ and His cross were never parted, but that all His life long was a continual cross. At the very cratch, His cross began. Then Herod sought to do that which Pilate did, even to end His life before it [166/167] began. All His life after, saith the Apostle in the next verse, was nothing but a perpetual 'gainsaying of sinners' which we call crossing; and profess we cannot abide in any of our speeches or purposes to be crossed. He was in the psalm of the Passion, the twenty-second, in the very front or inscription of it, He is set forth unto us under the term of a hart, cervus matutinus, 'a morning hart,' that is, He a hart roused early in the morning; as from His birth He was by Herod, and hunted and chased all His life long, and this day brought to an end, and as the poor deer, stricken and wounded to the heart. This was His last, last and worst; and this we properly call His cross, even this day's suffering. To keep up then to our day, and the cross of the day. 'He endured the cross.'
'He endured.' Very enduring itself is durum, durum pati. Especially for persons of high power or place as the Son of God was. For great persons to do great things, is no great wonder; this very genius naturally inclineth to it. But to suffer any small thing, for them is more fortitude, and the Divine his Christian obedience, rather in suffering than in doing. Suffering is the sure the more hard of the twain. 'He endured.'
If it be hard to endure, it must be more hard to endure hard things; and of all things hard to be endured, the hardest is death. Of the philosopher's pe/ute Fober_., 'five fearful things,' it is the most fearful; and what will not a man, nay what will not a woman weak and tender, in physic, in chyrurgery, endure, not to endure death? 'He endured' death.
And that if He endured, and no more but that, it might suffice; it is worth all we have, for all we have we will give for our life. But not death only, but the kind of death is it. Morten, morten autem crucis, saith the Apostle, doubting the point; 'death He endured, even the death of the cross.'
The cross is but a little word, but of great contents; but few letters, but in these few letters are contained multa dictu gravia, perpessu aspera, 'heavy to be named, more heavy to be endured.' I take but the four things ascribed by the Holy Ghost to the cross, answerable to the four ends or quarters of it. 1. Sanguis Crucis, 2. Dolores Crucis, 3. Scandalum Crucis, 4. Maledictum Crucis: [167/168] that is, the death of the cross is all these four; a 1. bloody, 2. doleful, 3. scandalous, 4. accursed death.
1. Though it be but a cold comfort, yet a kind of comfort it is, if die we must, that our death is mors sicca, a dry, not sanguis crucis, not a bloody death. 2. We would die, when we die, an easy, not ëduej stauroà, not a tormenting death. 3. We desire to die with credit if it might be; if not, without scandal--scandalum crucis. 4. At leastwise to go to our graves, and to die by an honest, ordinary, and by no means by an accursed death--maledictum crucis. In the cross are all these, all four. The two first are in 'the cross,' the two latter in 'the shame.' For 'the cross' and 'the shame' are in very deed two crosses; the shame, a second cross of itself.
1. To see then, as in a short time, shortly. That of the poet, nec siccâ morte tyranni, sheweth plainly, it is no poor privilege to die without effusion of blood. And so it is. 1. For a blessing it is, and our wish it is, we may live out our time, and not die an untimely death. Where there is effusion of blood, there is ever an untimely death.
2. Yet very untimely death is not violent, but a bloody death is violent and against nature; and we desire to pay nature her debt by the way of nature.
3. A violent death one may come to, as in war--sanguis belli best sheweth it--yet by valour, not by way of punishment. This death is penal; not, as all death, stipendium peccati, but, as evil men's death, vindicta sceleris, an execution for some capital offence.
4. And not every crime neither. Fundetur sanguis is the punishment of treason and other more heinous crimes, to die embrued in their own blood. And even they that die so, die not yet so evil a death as do they that die on the cross. It is another case where it is sanguis mortis, the blood and life go away together at once; another, when it is sanguis crucis, when the blood is shed, and the party still in full life and sense, as on the cross it was; the blood first, and the life a good while after. This is sanguis crucis, an 1. untimely, 2. violent, 3. penal, 4. penal in the highest degree; there bleeding out His blood before He die, and then die.
When blood is shed, it would be no more than needs; shed [168/169] it would be, not poured out. Or if so, at one part, the neck or throat, not at all parts at once. But here was fundetur, havoc made at all parts; His Passion, as He termeth it, a second baptism, a river of blood, and He even able to have been baptized in it, as He was in Jordan. And where it would be summa parcimonia etiam vilissimi sanguinis, 'no waste, no not of the basest blood that is,' waste was made here. And of what blood? Sanguis Jesu, 'the blood of Jesus.' And Who was He? Sure, by virtue of the union personal, God; and so this blood, blood of God's own bleeding, every drop whereof was precious, more precious than that whereof it was the price, the world itself. Nay, more worth than many worlds; yea, if they were ten thousand. Yet was this blood wastefully spilt as water upon the ground. The fundetur and the Qui here, will come into consideration, both. This is sanguis crucis, and yet this not all neither; there is more yet.
For the blood of the Cross was not only the blood of Golgotha, but the blood of Gabbatha too. For all deaths, this was peculiar to this death, the death of the Cross; that they who were to be crucified, were not be crucified alone, which is the blood of Golgotha, but they must be whipped too before they were crucified, which is the blood of Gabbatha; a second death, yes worse than death itself. And in both these places He bled, and in either place twice. They rent His body with the 1. whips; they gored His head with the 2. thorns--both these in Gabbatha. And again twice in Golgotha, when they 1. nailed His hands and His feet; when He was 2. thrust to the heart with the spear. This is sanguis crucis. It was to be stood on a little, we might not pass it. It is that whereon our faith depends, per fidem in sanguine Ipsius. By it He is 'Author of our faith,' faith in God, and peace with God, both; pacificans in sanguine crucis, 'pacifying all with the blood of the Cross.'
Now this bloody whipping and nailing of His is it which bringeth in the second point of pain; that it was not blood alone, as in the opening of a vein, but it was blood and pain both. The tearing and mangling of His flesh with the whips, thorns, and nails, could not choose but be exceeding painful to Him. Pains, we know, are increased much by cruel, and made more easy by gentle handling, and [169/170] even the worst that suffer, we wish, their execution as gentle, and with as little rigour as may be. All rigour, all cruelty was shewed to Him, to make His pains the more painful. In Gabbatha they did not whip Him, saith the Psalmist, 'they ploughed His back, and made' not stripes, but 'long furrows upon it.' They did not put on His wreath of thorns, and press it down with their hands, but beat it on with bats, to make it enter through the skin, flesh, skull, and all. They did not in Golgotha pierce His hands and feet, but made wide holes like that of a spade, as if they had been digging in some ditch.
These were pains, and cruel pains, but yet these are not ëdinej the Holy Ghost's word in the text; those are properly 'straining pains, pains of torture.' The rack is devised as a most exquisite pain, even for terror. And the cross is a rack, whereon He was stretched, till, saith the Psalm, all His bones were out of joint. But even to stand, as He hang, three long hours together, holding up the arms at length, I have heard it avowed of some that have felt it to be a pain scarce credible. But the hands and feet being so cruelly nailed, parts of all other most sensible by reason of the texture of sinews, there in them most, it could not but make His pain out of measure painful. It was not for nothing that dolores acerrimi dicuntur cruciatus, saith the heathen man, 'that the most sharp and bitter pains of all other have their name from hence, and are called cruciatus,' 'pains like those of the cross.' It had a meaning that they gave Him, that He had for His welcome to the cross, a cup mixed with gall of myrrh, and for His farewell, a sponge of vinegar; to show by the one the bitterness, by the other the sharpness of the pains of this painful death.
Now, in pain we know the only comfort of gravis is brevis; if we in it, to be quickly out of it. This the cross hath not, but is mors prolixa, 'a death of dimensions, a death long in dying.' And it was therefore purposely chosen by them. Blasphemy they condemned Him of; then was He to be stoned; that death would have despatched Him too soon. They indicted Him anew of sedition, not as of a worse fault, but only because crucifying belonged to it; for then He must be whipped first, and that liked them well, and [170/171] then He must die by inch-meal, not swallow His death at once but 'taste' it, as chap. 2.9, and take it down by little and little. And then He must have His legs and arms broken, and so was their meaning His should have been. Else, I would gladly know to what purpose provided they to have a vessel of vinegar ready in the place, but only that He might not faint with loss of blood, but be kept alive till they might hear His bones crash under the breaking, and so feed their eyes with that spectacle also. The providence of God indeed prevented this last act of cruelty; their will was good though. All these pains are in the cross, but to this last specially the word in the text hath reference; Øpe/meiue, which is, He must me/ueiu ØpÕ, 'tarry, stay, abide under it;' so die that He might feel Himself die, and endure the pains of an enduring death.
And yet all this but half, and the lesser half by far of cruciatus crucis. All this His body endured. Was His soul free the while? No; but suffered as much. As much? nay more, infinitely much more on the spiritual, than His body did on the material cross. For a spiritual Cross there was too; all grant a Cross beside that which Simon of Cyrene did help Him to bear. Great were those pains, and this time too little to show how great; but so great that in all former He never shrunk, nor once complained, but was as if He scarce felt them. But when these came, they made Him complain and cry aloud, kraugºu iocur_u, 'a strong crying.' In all those no blood came, but where passages were made for it to come out by, but in this it strained out all over, even at all places at once. This was the pain of 'the press,' so the Prophet calleth it, torcular, wherewith as if He had been in the wine-press, all His garments were stained and gored with blood. Certainly the blood of Gethesemane was another manner of blood than that of Gabbatha, or that of Golgotha either; and that was the blood of His internal Cross. Of the three Passions that was the hardest to endure, yet that did He endure too. It is that which belief itself doth wonder how it doth believe, save that it knoweth as well the love as the power of God to be without bounds; and His wisdom as able to find, how through love it might be humbled, as exalted through power, beyond the uttermost that man's wit can comprehend.
[171/172] And this is the Cross He endured. And if all this might have been endured, salvo honore, 'without shame or disgrace,' it had been much the less. But now there is a farther matter yet to be added, and that is shame. It is hard to say of these two, which is the harder to bear; which is the greater cross, the cross or shame. Or rather it is not hard. There is no mean part in misery, but if He be insulted on, His being insulted on more grieves Him than doth the misery itself. But to the noble generous nature, to whom interesse honoris est majus omni alio interesse, the value of his honour is above all value; to Him the cross is not the cross, shame is the cross. And any high and heroical spirit beareth any grief more easily, than the grief of contemptuous and contumelious usage. King Saul shewed it plainly, who chose rather to run upon his own sword, than to fall into the hands of the Philistines, who he knew would use him with scorn, as they had done Samson before him. And even he, Samson too, rather than sit down between the pillars and endure this, pulled down house and all, as well upon his own head, as theirs that so abused him. Shame then is certainly the worse of the twain. Now in His death, it is not easy to define, whether pain or shame had the upper hand; whether greater, cruciatus or scandalum crucis.
1. Was it not a foul disgrace and scandal to offer Him the shame of that servile base punishment of the whip, not to be offered to any but slaves and bondmen? Loris? liber sum, saith he in the comedy in great disdain, as if being free-born he held it great scorn to have that once named to him. Yet shame of being put out of the number of free-born men he despised, even the shame of being in formâ servi.
2. That that is servile, may yet be honest. Then was it not yet a more foul disgrace and scandal indeed to appoint Him for His death that dishonest, that foul death, the death of malefactors, and of the worst sort of them? Morte turpissimâ, as themselves termed it; the most shameful opprobrious death of all other,' that the persons are scandalous that suffer it? To take Him as a thief, to hang Him between two thieves; nay, to count Him worse than the worst thief in the gaol; to say and to cry, Vivat Barabbas, pereat Christus, [172/173] 'Save Barabbas and hang Christ!' Yet this shame He despised too, of being in formâ malefici.
If base, if dishonest, let these two serve; use Him not disgracefully, make Him not a ridiculum Caput, pour not contempt upon Him. That did they too, and a shame it is to see the shameful carriage of themselves all along the whole tragedy of His Passion. Was it a tragedy, or a Passion trow? A Passion it was, yet by their behaviour it might seem a May-game. Their shouting and outcries, their harrying of Him about from Annas to Caiaphas, from him to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from him to Pilate again; one while in purple, Pilate's suit; another while in white, Herod's livery; nipping Him by the cheeks, and pulling off His hair; blindfolding Him and buffeting Him; bowing to Him in derision, and then spitting in His face;--was as if they had not the Lord of glory, but some idiot or dizzard [i.e. blockhead] in hand. 'Died Abner as a fool dieth?'' saith David of Abner in great regret. O no. Sure, our blessed Saviour so died; and that He so died, doth equal, nay surpass even the worst of His torments. Yet this shame also He despised, of being in formâ ludibrii.
Is there any worse yet? There is. For though contempt be had, yet despite is beyond it, as far as earnest is beyond sport. Despite I call it, when in the midst of His misery, in the very depth of all His distress, they vouchsafed Him not the least compassion; but as if He had been the most odious wretched caitiff and abject of men, the very outcast of Heaven and earth, stood staring and gaping upon Him, wagging their heads, writhing their mouths, yea, blearing out their tongues; railing on Him and reviling Him, scoffing at Him and scorning Him; yea, in the very time of His prayers deriding Him, even in His most mournful complaint and cry for the very anguish of His Spirit. These vile indignities, these shameful villanies, so void of all humanity, so full of all despite, I make no question entered into His soul deeper than either nail or spear did into His body. Yet all this He despised, to be in formâ reprobi. Men hid their faces at this, not to see this sight, the sun was darkened, drew back his light, the earth trembled, ran one part from the other, the powers of Heaven were moved.
[173/174] Is this all? No, all this but scandalum, there is a greater yet remaining than scandalum, and that is maledictum crucis; that the death He died was not only servile, scandalous, opprobrious, odious, but even execrable and accursed, of men held so. For as if He had been a very reprobate, in His extreme drought they denied Him a drop of water, never denied to any but to the damned in hell, and instead of it offered Him vinegar in a sponge; and that in the very pangs of death, as for one for whom nothing was evil enough.
All this is but man, and man is but man, his glory is shame oftentimes, and his shame glory; but what God curseth, that is cursed indeed. And this death was cursed by God Himself, His own mouth, as the Apostle deduceth. When all is said we can say, this, this is the hardest point of His shame, and the highest point of His love in bearing it. Christus factus est maledictum. The shame of a cursed death, cursed by God, is a shame beyond all shames, and he who can despise it, may well say consummatum est, there is no greater left for him to despise. O what contempt was poured upon Him! O how was He in all these despised! Yet He despised them all, and despised to be despised in them all. The highest humility, spernere se sperni; these so many ways, spernere se sperni.
So have we now the cross, xÚlou didumov, 'the two main bars of it,' 1. Pain, 2. Shame; and either of these again, a cross of itself; and that double, 1. outward, and 2. inward. Pain, bloody, cruel, dolorous, and enduring--pain he endured. Shame, servile, scandal, opprobriusm odious--shame He despised. And beside these, an internal cross, the passion of Gethsemane; and an internal shame, the curse itself of the cross, maledictum crucis. Of these He endured the one, the other He despised.
These, all these, and yet there remains a greater than all these, even quo anima, 'with what mind,' what having in His mind, or setting before His eyes, He did and suffered all this. That He did it not utcunque, but proposito Sibi, 'with an eye to somewhat He aimed at.'
We handle this point last, it standeth first in the verse. And sure, if this as a figure stand not first, the other two are but ciphers; with it of value, nothing without it.
[174/175] To endure all this is very much, howsoever it were. So to endure it as to make no reckoning of it, to despise it is more strange than all the rest. Sure the shame was great; how could He make so small account of it? and the cross heavy; how could He set it so light? They could not choose but pinch Him, and that extremely; and how then could He endure, and so endure that He despised them? It is the third point, and in it is adeps arietis, 'the fat of rams,' the marrow of the Sacrifice; even the good heart, the free forward mind, the cheerful affection, wherewith He did all this.
There be but two senses to take this ¢nti in, neither amiss, both very good, take whether you will. Love is on both, and love in a high measure. 'Auti,' even either pro or prae; pro, 'instead;' or præ, 'in comparison.'
'Auti, pro, 'instead of the joy set before Him.' What joy was that? 'ExÁu g_r Aùù eu oÙrauoj,' saith St. Chrysostom, 'for He was in the joys of Heaven; there He was, and there He might have held Him.' Nothing did or could force Him to come thence, and to come hither thus to be entreated. Nothing but Sic dilexit, or Propter nimiam charitatem quâ dilexit nos; but for it. Yet He was content, 'being in the form of God,' ¢uti, instead of it;' thus to transform, yea, to deform Himself into the shape of a servant, a felon, a fool; nay, of a caitiff accursed. Content to lay down His crown of glory, and ¢uti, 'instead of it,' to wear a crown of thorns. Content, what we shun by all means, that to endure loss of life; and what we make so great a matter of, that to despise, loss of honour. All this, with the loss of that joy and that honour He enjoyed in Heaven; another manner joy, and honour, than any we have here; ¢uti 'for this,' or 'instead of this.'
But the other sense is more praised, ¢uti, præ, in comparison. For indeed, the joy He left in Heaven was rather perikeime/uh than prokeime/uh, joy wherein He did already sit, than 'joy set before Him.' Upon which ground, ¢uti, they turn præ, and that better as they suppose. For that is, in comparison of a certain joy, which He comparing with the cross and shame and all, chose rather to go through them all than to go without it. And can there be any joy compared with those He did forego? Or can any joy countervail those barbarous usages He willingly went through? It seemeth, there [175/176] can. What joy might that be? Sure none other, but the joy He had to save us, the joy of our salvation. For what was His glory, or joy, or crown or rejoicing, was it not we? Yes truly, we were His crown and His joy. In comparison of this joy He exchanged those joys, and endured these pains; this was the honey that sweetened His gall. And no joy at all in it but this, to be Jesus, 'the Saviour' of a sort of poor sinner. None but this, and therefore pity He should lose it.
And it is to be marked, that though to be Jesus, 'a Saviour,' in propriety of speech be rather a title, an outward honour, rather than an inward joy; and so should have been præ honore, rather than præ gaudio; yet He expresseth it in the term of joy rather than that of honour, to shew it joyed Him at the heart to save us; and so as a special joy, He accounted it.
Sure, some such thing there was that made Him so cheerfully say to His Father in the Psalm, Ecce venio, 'Lo I come.' And to His Disciples in earth, This, this is the Passover that desiderio desideravi, 'I have longed for,' as it were embracing and even welcoming His death. And which is more, quomodo coarctor! 'how I pinched, or straitened,' till I be at it! as if He were in pain, till He were in pain to deliver us. Which joy if ever He shewed, in this He did, that He went to His Passion with Psalms, and with such truimph and solemnity, as He never admitted all His life before. And that this His lowest estate, one would think it, He calleth His exaltation, cum exaltatus fuero. And when any would think He was most imperfect, He esteemeth and so termeth it, His highest perfection. Tertio die perficior. In hoc est charitas, 'here is love.' If not here, where? But here it is, and that in his highest elevation. That the joys of Heaven set on the one side, and this poor joy of saving us on the other, He quit them to choose this. That those pains and shames set before Him, and with them this joy, He chose them rather than forego this.
Those joys He forsook, and this He took up; and to take it, took upon Him so many, so strange indignities of both sorts; took them and bare them with such a mind, as He not only endured but despised; nor that neither, but even joyed in the bearing of them, and all to do us good. So to alter [176/177] the nature of things as to find joy in death whereat all do mourn, and joy in shame which all do abhor, is a wonder like that of the bush.
This is the very life and soul of the Passion, and all besides but the skeletÕj only, 'the anatomy,' the carcass without it.
So have we now the whole object, both what, and with what mind. And what is now to be done? shall we not pause a while and stay, and look upon this 'theory' ere we go any farther? Yes, let us. Proper to this day is this sight of the cross. The other, of the throne, may stay yet this time a day or two hence.
We are enjoined to look upon Him. How can we, seeing He is now higher than the heavens, far out of our sight, or from the kenning of any mortal eye? Yea, we may for all that. As, in the twenty-seventh of the chapter next before, Moses is said to have seen 'Him That is invisible;' not with the eyes of flesh, so neither he did, or we can; but, as there it is, 'by faith.' So He did, and we may. And what is more kindly to behold 'the Author' of faith, than faith? or more kindly for faith to behold, than her 'Author' here at first, and her 'Finisher' there at last? Him to behold first and last, and never to be satisfied with looking on Him, Who was content to buy us and our eye at so dear a rate.
Our eye then is the eye of our mind, which is faith; and our aspicientes in this, and the recogitantes in the next verse, all one; our looking to Him here, is our thinking on Him there; on Him and His Passion over and over again, Donec totus fixus in corde Qui totus fixus in cruce, 'till He be as fast fixed in our heart as ever He was to His cross,' and some impression made in us of Him, as thee was in Him for us.
In this our looking then, two acts be rising from the two prepositions; the one before, ¢pÕ, in ¢Forîutej, looking from;' the other after, 'looking upon or into.'
There is ¢pÕ, 'from' abstracting our eye from other objects to look hither sometime. The preposition is not idle, nor the note, but very needful. For naturally we put this spectacle far from us, and endure not either often or long to behold it. Other things there be, please our eyes better, and which we look on with greater delight. And we must ¢For©u, 'look off of them' or we shall never or©u, 'look upon' this aright.
[177/178] We must, in a sort, work force to our nature, and per actum elictum, as they term it in schools, inhibit our eyes, and even wean them from other more pleasing spectacles that better like them, or we shall do no good here, never make a true 'theory' of it. I mean, though our prospect into the world be good, and we have both occasion and inclination to look thither often, yet ever and anon to have an eye this way; to look from them to Him, Who, when all these shall come to an end, must be He that shall finish and consummate our faith and us, and make perfect both. Yea, though the Saints be fair marks, as at first I said, yet even to look off from them hither, and turn our eye to Him from all, even from Saints and all. But chiefly, from the baits of sin, the concupiscence of our eyes, the shadows and shows of vanity round about, by which death entereth at our windows; which unless we can be got back from, this sight will do us no good, we cannot look on both together.
Now our 'theory,' as it beginneth with ¢pÕ, so it endeth with eij. Therefore look from it, that look to Him; or as the word giveth it rather 'into Him,' than to Him. Eij is 'into,' rather than 'to.' Which proveth plainly, that the Passion is a piece of perspective, and that we must set ourselves to see it if we will see it well, and not look superficially on it; not on the outside alone but _r©u eij, 'pierce into it', and enter even into the inward workmanship of it, even of His internal Cross which He suffered, and of His entire affection wherewith He suffered it.
And we may well look into Him; Cancellis plenum est corpus, 'His body is full of stripes,' and they as lattices; His wounds they are as windows, through which we may well see all that is within Him. Clavus penetrans factus est mihi clavis reserans, saith St. Bernard; 'The nails and spear-head serve as keys to let us in.' We may look into the palms of His hands, wherein saith the Prophet, He hath graven us, that He might never forget us. We may look into His side, St. John useth the word 'opened.' Vigilanti verbo, saith Augustine, 'a world well chosen, upon good advice:' we may through the opening look into his very bowels, the bowels of kindness and compassion that would endure to be so entreated. Yea that very [178/179] heart of His, wherein we may behold the love of our salvation to be the very heart's joy of our Saviour.
Thus 'looking from,' from all else to look 'into' Him, what then? then followeth the participle, we shall see. What shall we see? Nay, what shall we not see? What 'theory' is there worth the seeing but is there to be seen? To recount all were too long: two there are in especial.
There is a theory medicinal, like that of the brazen serpent, and it serveth for comfort to the conscience, stung and wounded with the remorse of sin. For what sin is there, or can there be, so execrable or accursed, but the curse of the cross; what so ignominious or full of confusion, but the shame of it; what so corrosive to the conscience, but the pains of it; what of so deep or of so crimson a dye, but the blood of it, the blood of the Cross, will do it away? What sting so deadly, but the sight of this Serpent will cure it? This is a principal theory, and elsewhere to be stood on, but not here. For this serveth to quiet the mind, and the Apostle here seeketh to move it and make it stir.
There is then another 'theory' besides, and that is exemplary for imitation. There He died, saith St. Paul, to lay down for us, ¢utilutrou, our 'ransom;' that is the former. There He died, saith St. Peter, to leave unto us ØpogrammÕu, relinquens nobis exemplum, 'a pattern,' an example to follow, and this is it, to this He calleth us; to have a directory use of it, to make it our pattern, to view it as our idea. And sure, as the Church under the Law needed not, so neither doth the Church under the Gospel need any other precept than this one, Inspice et fac, 'see and do according to the theory shewed thee in the mount,' to them in Mount Sinai, to us in Mount Calvary.
Were all philosophy lost, the theory of it might be found there. Were all Chairs burnt, Moses' Chair and all, the Chair of the Cross is absolutely able to teach all virtue new again. All virtues are there visible, all, if time would serve: now I name only those five, which are directly in the text.
1. Faith is named there; it is, it was most conspicuous there to be seen, when being forsaken of God, yet He clasps as it were His arms fast about Him, with 'Eli, Eli, My God, My God,' for all that. 2. Patience in 'enduring the cross.' [179/180] 3. Humility in 'despising the shame.'4. Perseverance, in that it was nothing for Him to be 'Author,' unless He were 'Finisher' too. These four. But above all these and all, that which is the 5. Ratio idealis of all, the band and perfection of all, love, in the signature of love, in the joy which He found in all this; love. majorem quâ nemo, to lay down His life; nay, parem cui nemo, in such sort to lay it down. Majorem quâ nemo, to do this for His friends; Parem cui nemo, to do it for His enemies. Notwithstanding their unworthiness antecedent to do it, and notwithstanding their unkindness consequent, yet to do it. This is the chief theory of all, but of love, chiefly, the most perfect of all. For sure, if ever aught were truly said of our Saviour, this was: that being spread and laid wide open on the cross, He is Liber charitatis, wherein he that runneth by may read, Sic dilexit, and Propter nimiam charitatem, and Ecce quantam charitatem; love all over, from one end to the other. Every stripe as a letter, every nail as a capital letter. His livores as black letters, His bleeding wounds as so many rubrics, to show upon record His love towards us.
Of which love the Apostle when He speaketh, he setteth it out with 'height and depth, length and breadth,' the four dimensions of the cross, to put us in mind, say the ancient writers, that upon the extent of the tree was the most exact love, with all the dimensions in this kind represented that ever was.
Having seen all these, what is the end and use of this sight? Having had the theory, what is the praxis of this theory? what the conclusion of our contemplation? 'Looking into' is a participle; it maketh no sentence, but suspendeth it only till we come to a verb to which it relateth. that verb must be either the verb in the verse before, ut curramus, or the verb in the verse following, ut ne fatigemur; that thus looking we run, or that thus looking we tire not. This is the practice of our theory.
We said the use was, and so we see it is, to move us, or to make us move; to work in our feet, to work in them a motion; not any slow but a swift motion, the motion of running, to 'run the race that is set before us.' The operation it hath, this sight, is in our faculty motive; if we stand [181/182] still, to cause us stir, if we move but slowly, to make us run apace; if we run already, never to tire or give over till we do attain. And by this we may know, whether our theory be a true one; if this praxis follow of it, it is; if not, a gaze it may be, a true Christian 'theory' it is not.
And here first our ¢or©u, that is, our 'looking from,' is to work a turning from sin. Sure this spectacle, if it be well looked into, will make sin shall not look so well-favoured in our eyes as it did; it will make us while we live have a less liking to look towards it, as being the only procurer and cause of this cross and this shame. Nay, not only ¢potpe/peiu, 'to turn our eye from it,' but ¢potre/ceiu, 'to turn our feet from it' too; and to run from, yea, to fly from it, quasi facie colubri, 'as from the face of a serpent.'
At leastwise, if not to run from it, not to run to it as we have; to nail down our feet from running to sin, and our hands from committing sin, and in a word have St. Peter's practice of the Passion, 'to cease from sin.' This abstractive force we shall find and feel; it will draw us from the delights of sin. And not only draw us from that, but draw from us too something, make some tears to run from us, or, we be dry-eyed that not them, yet make some sighs of devotion, some thoughts of grace, some kind of thankful acknowledgements to issue from our souls. Either by way of compassion as feeling that He then felt, or by way of compunction as finding ourselves in the number of the parties for whom He felt them. It is a proper effect of our view of the Passion, this, as St. Luke sets it down at the very place where he terms it, that they returned from it 'smiting their breasts' as having seen a doleful spectacle, themselves the cause of it.
For first, who is there who can look unto those hands and feet, that head and that heart of His that endured all this, but must primâ facia, 'at first sight' see and say, Ecce quomodo dilexit nos? If the Jews that stood by said truly of Him, at Lazarus' grave, Ecce quomodo dilexit eum! when He shed but a few tears out of His eyes, how much more truly may it be said of us, Ecce quomodo dilexit eos! for whom He has 'shed both water and blood,' yea even from His heart, and that in such plenty? [181/182] And He loving us so, if our hearts be not iron, yes, if they be iron, they cannot choose but feel the magnetical force of this loadstone. For to a loadstone doth He resemble Himself, when He says of Himself, 'Were I once lift up,' omnia traham ad Me. This virtue attractive is on this sight to draw our love to it.
With which, as it were the needle, our faith being but touched, will stir straight. We cannot but turn to Him and trust in Him, that so many ways has showed Himself so true to us. Quando amoro confirmature, fides inchoatur, saith St. Ambrose, 'Prove to us of any that he loves us indeed, and we shall trust him straight without any more ado,' we shall believe any good affirmed of him. And what is there, tell me, anywhere affirmed of Christ to usward, but this love of His, being believed will make it credible.
Now our faith is made perfect by 'works' or 'well-doing,' saith St. James; it will therefore set us in a course of them, of which, every virtue is a stadium, and every act a step toward the end of our race. Beginning at humility, the virtue of the first setting out; -'let the same mind be in you, that was in Christ Jesus, Who humbled Himself,'- and so proceeding from virtue to virtue, till we come to patience and perseverance, that keep the goal end. So saith St. Peter Modicu, passos perficiet, 'suffering somewhat, more or less; some crossing, if not the cross; some evil report, though not shame; so and no otherwise we shall come to our race end, our final perfection.'
And as the rest move us if we stand still to run, so if we run already, these two, patience and perseverance; patience will make us for all encounters, mÊ k£mneiu saith the Apostle in the next verse, 'not to be weary' Not in our minds, though in our bodies we be; and perseverance will make us m_ e/klÚesFai 'not to faint or tire,' though the time seem long and never so tedious; both these in the verse following. But hold on our course till we finish it, even till we come to Him, Who was not only 'Author,' but 'Finisher;' Who held out till He came to consummatum est. And so must we finish, not stadium, but dolichum; not like those, of whom it was said, 'ye did well for a start,' but like our Apostle that said, and said truly, of himself, [182/183] 'I have finished my course, I have held out the very end.'
And in this is the praxis of our first theory or sight of our love. But our love without hope is but faint; that then with better heart we may thus do and bestir ourselves, it will not be amiss once more to lift up our eyes, and the second time to look on Him. We have not yet seen the end, the cross is not the end; there is a better end than so, 'and is set down in the throne.' As the Prophet saw Him, we have seen Him, in such case as we were ready to hide our faces at Him and His sight. Here is a new sight; as the Evangelist saw Him, so we now may; even His glory as the 'glory of the only-begotten Son of God.' Ecce homo! Pilate's sight we have seen. Ecce Dominus et Deus meus! St. Thomas' sight we now shall. The former in His hanging on the cross, the beginning of our faith. This latter sitting on the throne, the consummation of it.
Wherein there is an ample matter of hope, as before of love, all being turned in and out. He sits now at ease That before hanged in pain. Now on a throne, That before on the cross. Now at God's right hand, That before at Satan's left. So Zachary saw Him; 'Satan on his right hand,' and then must He be on Satan's left. All changed; His cross into ease, His shame into glory.
Glory and rest, rest and glory, are two things that meet not in this world. The glorious life hath not the most quiet, and the quiet life is for the most part inglorious. He that will have glory must make account to be despised often and broken of his rest; and he that loveth his ease better, must be content with a mean condition far short of glory. Here then these meet not; there our hope is they shall, even both meet together, and glory and rest kiss each the other; so the Prophet calleth it a 'glorious rest.'
And the right hand addeth yet a degree farther, for dextera est pars potior. So that if there be any rest more easy, or any glory more glorious than other, there it is on that hand, on that side; and He placed in it in the best, in the chiefest, the fulness of them both. At God's right hand is not only power, power while we be here to protect us with His might outward, and to support us with His grace inward; [183/184] but at 'His right hand also is the fullness of joy for ever, and the fullness of it for evermore.
This meant by his seat at the right hand on the throne. The same is our blessed hope also, that it is not His place only, and none but His, but even ours in expectation also. The love of His cross is to us a pledge of the hope of His throne, or whatsoever else He hath or is worth. For if God hath given us Christ, and Christ thus given Himself, what hath God or Christ They will deny us? It is the Apostle's own deduction.
To put it out of all doubt, hear we His own promise Who never breaks His word. 'To him that overcometh will I give to sit with Me in My throne.' Where to sit is the fulness of our desire, the end of our race, omnia in omnibus; and farther we cannot go. Of a joy set before Him we spoke ere-while: here is now a joy set before us, another manner joy than was before Him; the worse was set before Him, the better before us, and this we are to run to.
Thus do these two theories or sights, the one work to love, the other to hope, both to the well performing of our course; that in this theatre, between the Saints joyfully beholding us in our race, and Christ at our end ready to receive us, we may fulfil our 'course with joy,' and be partakers of the blessed rest of His most glorious throne.
Let us now turn to Him and beseech Him, by the sight of this day, by Himself first, and by His cross and throne both--both which He had set before us, the one to awaken our love, the other to quicken our hope--that we may this day and ever lift up our eyes and heads, that we may this day and ever carry them in our eyes and hearts, look up to them both; so look that we may love the one, and wait and hope for the other; so love and so hope that by them both we may move and that swiftly, even run to Him; and running not faint, but so constantly run, that we fail not finally to attain the happy fruition of Himself, and of the joy and glory of His blessed throne; that so we may find and feel Him as this day here, the 'Author;' so in that day there, the 'Finisher of our faith,' by the same our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.