Who is this That cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This That is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength? I That speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Me; for I shall tread them in My anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood will be sprinkled upon My garments, and I shall stain all My raiment.
Even when we read or hear any text or passage out of this Prophet, the Prophet Esay, it brings to our mind the [60/61] nobleman that sitting in his chariot, read another like passage out of this same Prophet. Brings him to mind, and with him his question, 'Of whom doth the prophet speak this? of himself or of some other?' Not of himself, that's once; it cannot be himself. It is he that asks the question. Some other then it must needs be of whom it is, and we to ask who that other was.
The tenor of Scripture that nobleman then read was out of the fifty-third chapter, and this of ours out of the sixty-third, and this of ours out of the sixty-third, ten chapters between. But if St. Philip had found him reading of this here, as he did of that, he would likewise have began at this same Scripture as at that he did, and preached to him Christ--only with this difference; out of that, Christ's Passion; out of this, His Resurrection. For He That was led 'as a sheep to be slain,' and so was slain there, He it is and no other Who rises and comes here back like a lion 'from Bozrah,' inbrued with blood, the blood of His enemies.
I have before I was aware disclosed who this part is--it was not amiss I so should; not to hold you long in suspense, but to give you a little light at the first, whom it would fall on. Christ it is. Two things there are that make it can be no other but He. 1. One is without the text, in the end of the chapter next before. There is a proclamation, 'Behold, here comes your Saviour,' and immediately, He that comes is this party here from Edom. He is our Saviour, and besides Him there is none, even Christ the Lord. 2. The other is in the text itself, in these words; Torcular calcavi solus, 'I have trod the winepress alone.' Words so proper to Christ, so every where ascribed to Him, and to Him only, as you shall not read them any where applied to any other; no, not by the Jews themselves. So as if there were no more but these two, they shew it plainly enough it is, it can none but Christ.
And Christ when? Even this day of all days. His coming here from Edom, will fall out to be His rising from the dead; His return from Bozrah, nothing but His vanquishing of hell;--we may use His words in applying it, 'Thou hast not left My soul in hell,' but 'brought Me back from the deep of the earth again;' nothing but the act of His rising again. [61/62] So that this very morning was this Scripture fulfilled in our ears.
The whole text entire is a dialogue between two, 1. the Prophet, and 2. Christ. There are in it two questions, and to the two questions two answers. 1. The Prophet's first question is touching the party Himself, who He is, in these words, 'Who is this?' to which the party Himself answers in the same verse these words, 'that am I, one that,' &c.
The Prophet's second question is about His colours, why He was all in red, in the second verse; 'Wherefore then is Thy apparel,' &c. The answer to that is in the third verse in these; 'I have trodden,'&c. 'For I will tread them down.'
Of Christ; of His rising or coming back, of his colours, of the winepress that gave Him this tincture, or rather of the two winepresses; 1. the winepress of redemption first, 2. and then of the other winepress of vengeance.
The Prophets use to speak of things to come as if they saw them present before their eyes. That makes their prophecies be called visions. In his vision here, the Prophet being taken up in the Spirit sees one coming. Coming whence? From the land or country of Idumæa or Edom. From what place there? From Bozrah, the chief city in the land, the place of greatest strength. 'Who will lead me into the strong city?' that is Bozrah. 'Who will bring me into Edom?' He that can do the first, can do the latter. Win Bozrah, and Edom is won.
There was a cry in the end of the chapter before, 'Behold, here comes your Saviour.' He looked, and saw one coming. Two things he descries in this party: One, His habit; the other, His gait, that He 'came stoutly marching,' or pacing the ground very strongly. Two good familiar notes, to descry a stranger by. His apparel, whether rich or mean, which the world most commonly takes notice of men by. His gait; for weak men have but a feeble gait. Valiant strong men tread upon the ground so, as by it you may discern their strength.
Now this party, He came so goodly in His apparel, so stately in His march, as if by all likelihood He had made some conquest in Edom, the place He came from; had had [62/63] a victory in Bozrah, the city where He had been. And the truth is, so He had. He saith it in the third verse, 'He had trodden down His enemies,' had trampled upon them, made the blood even start out of them; which blood of theirs had all to stained His garments. This was no evil news for Esay's countrymen, the people of God; Edom was the worst enemy they had.
With joy then, but not without admiration, such a party sees the prophet come towards him. Sees Him, but knows Him not, thinks Him worthy the knowing; so thinking, and not knowing, is desirous to be instructed concerning Him. Out of this desire asks, Quis est? Not of himself, he durst not be so bold, Who are you? but of some stander by, Whom have we here? Can you tell who this might be? The first question.
Before we come to the question, a word or two of the place where He had been, and whence He came. 'Edom' and 'Bozrah,' what is meant by them? For if this party be Christ, Christ was in Egypt a child, but never in Edom that we read, never at Bozrah in all His life; so as here we are to leave the letter. Some other it might be the letter might mean; we will not much stand to look after Him. For howsoever possibly some such there was, yet it will plainly appear by the sequel, that the 'the testimony of Jesus,' as it is of each other, so it 'is the spirit of this prophecy.'
Go we then to the kernel and let the husk lie; let go the dead letter, and take we to us the spiritual meaning that has some life in it. For what care we for the literal Edom or Bozrah, what became of them; what are they to us? Let us compare spiritual things with spiritual things, that is it must do us good.
I will give you a key to this, and such like Scriptures. Familiar it is with the Prophets, nothing more, than to speak to their people in their own language; than to express their ghostly enemies, the both mortal and immortal enemies of their souls, under the titles and terms of those nations and cities as were the known sworn enemies of the commonwealth of Israel. As of Egypt where they were in bondage; as of Babylon, where in captivity; elsewhere, as of Edom here, who maliced them more than both those. If the Angel tell us [63/64] right, Revelation the eleventh, there is 'a spiritual Sodom and Egypt where our Lord was crucified;' and if they, why not a spiritual Edom too whence our Lord rose again? Put all three together, Egypt, Babel, Edom, all their enemies, all are nothing to the hatred that hell bears us. But yet if you ask, of the three which was the worst? That was Edom. To shew the Prophet here made good choice of his place, Edom upon earth comes nearest to the kingdom of darkness in hell of all the rest. And that, in these respects:
First, they were the wickedest people under the sun. If there were any devils upon earth, it was they; if the devil of any country, he would choose to be an Edomite. No place on earth that resembled hell nearer; next to hell on earth was Edom for all that naught was. Malachi calls Edom, 'the border of all wickedness, a people with whom God was angry for ever.' In which very points, no enemies so fitly express the enemies of our souls, against whom the anger of God is eternal, and 'the smoke of whose torments will ascend for ever.' In which very points, no enemies so fitly express the enemies of our souls, against whom the anger of God is eternal, and 'the smoke of whose torments shall ascend for ever.' Hell, for all that naught is. That if the power of darkness, and hell itself, it they be to be expressed by any place on earth, they cannot be better expressed than in these 'Edom' and 'Bozrah.'
I will give you another. The Edomites were the posterity of Esau; 'the same is Edom.' So they were nearest of kin to the Jews, of all nations; so should have been their best friends. The Jews and they came of two brethren. Edom was the elder, and that was the grief, that the people of Israel coming of Jacob the younger brother, had enlarged their border; got them a better seat and country by far than they the Edomites had. Hence grew envy, and an enemy out of envy is ever the worst. So were they, the most cankered enemies that Israel had. The case is so between us and the evil spirits. Angels they were we know, and so in a sort elder brethren to us. Of the two intellectual natures, they the first created. Our case now, Christ be thanked! is much better than theirs; which is that enraged them against us, as much and more than ever any Edomite against Israel. Hell, for rancour and envy.
Yet one more. They were ready to do God's people all the mischief they were able, and when they were not able of [64/65] themselves, they showed their good-wills though, set on others. And when they had won Jerusalem, cried, 'Down with it, down with it, even to the ground,' no less would serve. And when they had won Jerusalem, cried 'Down with it, down with it, even to the ground;' no less would serve. And when it was on the ground, insulted and rejoiced above measure: 'Remember the children of Edom,' This is right the devil's property, quarto modo. He that hath but the heart of a man, will even rue to see his enemy lying in extreme misery. None but very devils, or devils incarnate, will do so; corrupt their compassion, cast off all pity, rejoice, insult, take delight at one's destruction. Hell for their epe/caiire kaakkv, 'insulting over men in misery.'
But will ye go even to the letter? none did ever so much mischief to David, as did Doeg; he was an Edomite. Nor none so much to the Son of David, Christ, none bore more malice to Him first and last than did Herod; and he was an Edomite. So, which way soever we take it, next the kingdom of darkness was Edom upon earth. And Christ coming from thence, may well be said to come from Edom.
But what say you to Bozrah? This; that if the country of Edom do well set before us the whole kingdom of darkness or region of death, Bozrah may well stand for hell itself. Bozrah was the stongest hold of that kingdom, hell is so of this. The whole country of Idumea was called and known by the name of Uz, that is, of strength; and what of such strength as death? all the sons of men stoop to him. Bozrah was called 'the strong city;' hell is strong as it every way. They write, it was environed with huge high rocks on all sides, one only cleft to come to it by. And when you were in, there must you perish; no getting out again. For all the world like to hell, as Abraham describes it to him that was in it, 'they that would go from this place to you cannot possibly, neither can they come from thence to us;' the gulf is so great, no getting out. No habeas corpus from death, no habeas animam out of hell; you must 'let that alone for ever.'
Now then have we the Prophet's true Edom, his very Bozrah indeed. By this we understand what they mean. 'Edom,' the kingdom of darkness and death; 'Bozrah,' the seat of the prince of darkness, that is, hell itself. From both which Christ this day returned. 'His soul was not left in hell, His flesh saw not, but rose from corruption.'
[65/66] For 'over Edom,' strong as it was, yet David cast 'his shoe;' 'over' it, that is, after the Hebrew phrase, set his foot upon it and trod it down. And Bozrah, as impregnable a hold as it was holden, yet David won it; was led 'into the strong city,' led into it, and came thence again. So did the Son of David this day from His Edom, death, how strong soever, yet 'swallowed up in victory' this day. And from hell His Bozrah, how hard soever it held, as he that was in it found there was no getting thence, Christ is got forth we see. How many souls soever were there left, His was not left there.
And when did He this? When solutus doloribus inferni? 'He loosed the pains of hell,' trod upon the serpent's head, and all to bruise it, took from death his 'sting,' from hell his 'victory,' that is his standard, alluding to the Roman standard that had in it the image of the goddess Victory. Seized upon the chirographum contra nos, the ragman roll that made so strong against us; took it, rent it, and so rent 'nailed it to His Cross;' made His banner of it, of the law cancelled, hanging as it banner-wise. And having thus 'spoiled principalities and powers, He made an open show of them, triumphed over them' in Semetipso, 'in His own person,'--all three are in Colossians the second--and triumphantly came from thence with the keys of Edom and Bozrah both, 'of hell and of death,' both at His girdle, as He shews Himself. And when was this? If ever, on this very day. On which, having made a full and perfect conquest of death, 'and of him that hath the power of death, that is the devil,' He rose and returned thence this morning as a mighty Conqueror, saying as Deborah did in her song, 'O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength,' thou hast marched valiantly!
And coming back thus, from the debellation of the spiritual Edom, and the breaking up of the true Bozrah indeed, it is wondered who it should be. Note this; that nobody knew Christ at His rising, neither Mary Magdalene, nor they that went to Emmaus. No more doth the Prophet here.
Now there was reason to ask this question, for none would ever think it to be Christ. There is great odds it cannot be He. 1. Not He; He was put to death, and put into His grave, and a great stone upon Him, not three days since. This party is alive and alives-like. His ghost it cannot be; [66/67] He glides not as ghosts they say do, but places the ground very strongly.
Not He; He had His apparel shared amongst the soldiers, was left all naked. This party hath gotten Him on 'glorious apparel,' rich scarlet.
Not He; for if He come, He must come in white, in the linen He was lapped in, and laid in His grave. This party comes in quite another colour, red. So the colour suit not.
To be short, not He, for He was put to a foil, to a foul foil, as ever was any; they did to Him even what they listed; scorned, insulted upon Him. It was then 'the hour and power of darkness.' This party, whatsoever He is, hath gotten the upper hand, won the field; marches stately, Conqueror-like. His, the day sure.
Well, yet Christ it is. His answer gives Him for no other. To His answer then. The party, it seems, overheard the Prophet's asking, and is pleased to give an answer to it Himself; we are much bound to Him for it. No man can tell so well as He Himself, who He is. Some other might mistake Him, and misinform us of Him; now we are sure we are right. No error personæ.
His name indeed He tells not, but describes Himself by two such notes as can agree to none properly but to Christ. Of none can these two be so affirmed, as of Him they may. That by these two we know this is Christ, as plainly as if His name had been spelled to us. 1. 'Speaking righteousness;' and righteousness referred to speech, signifieth truth ever. 'No guile to be found in His mouth;' and omnis homo is--you know what. 2. 'Mighty to save;' and vana salus hominis, 'vain is the help of man.' Whoever spoke so right as He spoke? Or whoever was 'so mighty to save' as He? And this is His answer to quis est iste.
'That I am.' One 'that speak righteousness, and am mighty to save.' Righteous in speaking, mighty in saving, Whose word is truth, Whose work is salvation. Just and true of My word and promise; powerful and mighty in performance of both. The best description, say I, that can be of any man; by His word and deed both.
And see how well they fit. Speaking is most proper; that refers to Him, as the Word 'in the beginning was the Word'--to His divine nature. Saving, that [67/68] refers to His very name Jesus, given Him by the Angel as man, for that 'He should save His people from their sins,' from which none had ever power to save but He. There have you His two natures.
Speaking refers to His office of Priest: 'the Priest's lips to preserve knowledge;'--the law of righteousness to be required at his mouth. Saving, and that mightily, pertains to Him as a King, is the office, as Daniel calls Him, of 'Messiah the Captain.' Righteousness He spoke, by His preaching. Saving that belongs first to His miraculous suffering, it being far a greater miracle for the Deity to suffer any the least injury, than to create a new world, yea many. But secondly, which is proper to the text and time, in His mighty subduing and treading down hell and death, and all the power of Satan. Prophetiza nobis, they said at His passion, 'Speak, who hit you there;' and Ave Rex they said too;--both in scorn, but most true both.
You may refer these two, if you please, to His two main benefits redounding to us from these two. Two things there are that undo us, error and sin. From His speaking we receive knowledge of His truth, against error. From His saving we receive the power of grace against sin, and so are saved from sin's sequel, Edom and Bozrah. This is His description, and this is enough. A full description of His Person, in his natures, offices, benefits; in word and in deed. He it is, and can be none but He. To reflect a little on these two.
You will observe that His speaking is set down simply, but in His saving He is said to be 'mighty,' or as the word is multus ad servandum. So, mark where the multus is. He is not multus ad loquendum, one that saith much, and paucus ad servandum, 'and then does little,' as the manner of the world is. Multus is not there at His speech, it is put to servandum; there He is much, and His might much; 'much of might to save.'
That His might is not put in treading down or destroying. No, but multus ad ignoscendum, in the ffity-fith chapter before; and multus ad servandum, here. 'Mighty' to shew mercy, and to save. [68/69] Yet 'mighty' He is too, to destroy and tread down; else had He not achieved this victory in the text. 'Mighty to save,' implieth every mighty to subdue; to subdue them whom He saves us from. Yet of the twain He chooseth rather the term of saving, though both be true, because saving is with Him primae intentionis; so of the twain in that, He would have His might appear rather. Mighty to destroy He will not have mentioned or come in His style; but 'mighty to save,' that is His title, that the quality He takes delight in; delights to describe Himself, and to be described by.
You will yet mark also, as the coupling of these two in the description of Christ, for not either of these alone will serve but between them both they go together, these two ever. He saves not any but those He teaches. And note the order of them too. For that that stands first, He doth first, first teaches. 'Mighty to save,' He is, but whom to save? whom He 'speaks righteousness' to, and they hear Him, and return not again to their former folly. There is no fancying to ourselves we can dispense with one of these, never care whether we deal with the former or no, whether we hear Him speak at all, but take hold of the latter, and be saved with a good will. No, you cannot, but if you hear Him speak first. He saith so, and sets them to Himself.
And put this to it, and I have done this point. That such as is Himself, such if we hear Him will He make us to be. And the more true and soothfast any of us is of His word, the more given to do good and save, the liker to Him, and the liker to have our parts in His rising. We know quis est iste now.
Now, the Prophet hearing Him answer so gently, takes to him a little courage to ask Him one question more, about His colours; He was a little troubled with them. If you be so 'mighty to save' as you say, how comes it then, what ails your garments to be so red? And adds, what kind of red? And he cannot tell what to liken them better to, than as if He had newly come out of some winepress, had been treading grapes, and pressing out wine there. He calls it wine, but the truth is it was no wine, it was very blood. New wine in [69/70] show, blood indeed that upon His garments. So much appeareth in the next verse following, where He says Himself plainly that blood it was that was sprinkled upon His clothes, and had stained them all over. We know well, our reason leads us there, there could be no vintage at this time of the year, the season serves it not; blood it was.
But because the Prophet made mention of a 'winepress,' had hit on that simile, taking occasion upon the naming of it, He shapes Him an answer according; that indeed He had been in a 'winepress.' And so He had. The truth is, He had been in one; no, in two then. In one He had been before this here. A double winepress--we lose nothing by this--we find; Christ was in both. We cannot well take notice of the one, but we must needs touch upon the other. But thus they are distinguished. In that former, it was in torculari calcatus sum solus; in this latter it is, torcular calcavi solus. In the former, He was Himself trodden and pressed; He was the grapes and clusters Himself. In this latter here, He who was trodden on before, gets up again, and doth here tread upon and tread down, calcare and conculcare (both words are in the verse) upon some others, as it might be the Edomites. The press He was trodden in, was His cross and passion. This which He came out of this day, was in His descent, and resurrection, both proper to this feast; one to Good Friday, the other to Easter-day.
To pursue this of the winepress a little. The press, the treading in it, is to make wine; calcatus sum is properly of grapes, the fruit of the vine. Christ is the 'true Vine,' He saith it Himself. To make wine of Him, He and the clusters He bare must be pressed. So He was. Three shrewd strains they gave Him. One, in Gethsemane, that made Him sweat blood; the wine or blood,--all is one, came forth at all parts of Him. Another, in the Judgment hall, Gabbatha, which made the blood run forth at His head, with the thorns; out of His whole body, with the scourges; out of His hands, and feet, with the nails. The last strain at Golgotha, where He was so pressed that they pressed the very soul out of His body, and out ran blood and water both. Haec sunt Ecclesia gemina Sacramanta, saith St. Augustine, out came both Sacraments, 'the twin sacraments of the Church.'
[70/71] Out of these pressures ran the blood of the grapes of the true Vine, the fruit whereof, 'cheereth both God and man.' God, as a libamen or drink-offering to Him; man, as 'the cup of salvation' to them. But to make this wine, His clusters were to be cut; cut, and cast in; cast in, and trodden on; trodden and pressed out; all these, before He came to be wine in the cup. As likewise, when He calls Himself granum frumenti, 'the wheat corn,' these four, 1. the sickle, the 2. flail, the 3. millstone, 4. the oven, He passed through; all went over Him before He was made bread; the 'shew-bread' to God, to us 'the Bread of life.'
But to return to the winepress, to tell you the occasion or reason why thus it behoved to be. It was not idly done; what need then was there of it, this first pressing? We find calix daemoniorum, the devil has a cup. Adam must needs be sipping it. Eritis sicut Dii went down sweetly, but poisoned him, turned his nature quite. For Adam was by God planted a natural vine, a true root, but thereby, by that cup, degenerated into a wild strange vine, which, instead of good grapes, 'brought forth' labruscas, 'wild grapes, grapes of gall,' 'bitter clusters'. Moses calls them; colocynthidas, the Prophet, mors in olla, and mors in calice; by which is meant the deadly fruit of our deadly sins.
But, as it is in the fifth chapter of this prophecy, where God planted this vine first, He made a winepress in it, so the grapes that came of this strange vine were cut and cast into the press; thereof came a deadly wine, of which saith the psalmist, 'in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, the wine is red, it is full mixed, and He pours out of it; and the sinners of the earth are to drink it, dregs and all.' Those sinners were our fathers, and we. It came to Bibite ex hoc omnes; they and we were to drink of it all, one after another, round. Good reason to drink as we had brewed, to drink the fruit of our own inventions, our own words and works we had brought forth.
About the cup went, all strained at it. At last, to Christ it came; He was none of the sinners, but was found among them. By His good will He would have had it pass; transeat a Me calix iste--you know who that was. Yet, rather than we, [71/72] than any of us should take it--it would be our bane, He knew--He took it; off it went, dregs and all. Alas, the myrrh they gave Him at the beginning, the vinegar at the ending of His passion, were but poor resemblances of this cup, such as they were. That, another manner draught. We see it cast Him into so unnatural a sweat of blood all over, as if He had been wrung and crushed in a 'winepress,' it could not have been more. This lo, was the first 'winepress,' and Christ in it three days ago; and what with the scourges, nails and spears, besides so pressed as forth it ran, blood or wine, call it what you will, in such, so great quantity, as never ran it more plenteously out of any winepress of them all. Here is Christus in torculari, Christ's calcatus sum.
Of which wine so pressed then out of Him came our cup, the cup of this day, 'the cup of the New Testament in His blood,' represented by the blood of the grape. Wherein long before, old Jacob foretold Shiloh should 'wash his robe,' as full well. He might have done, there came enough to have washed it over and over again. So you see now how the case stands. That former, our cup due to us and no way to Him, He drank for us that it might pass from us, and we not drink it. Ours did He drink, that we might drink of His. He 'the cup of wrath,' that we 'the cup of blessing' set first before God as a libamen, at the sight or scent whereof He smelleth a savour of rest, and is appeased. After reached to us, as a sovereign restorative to recover us of the devil's poison, for we also have been sipping at calix daemoniorum more or less, woe to us for it! and no way but this to cure us of it.
By this time you see the need of the first press, and of His being in it. Into which He was content to be thrown and there trodden on, all to satisfy His Father out of His justice requiring the drinking up of that cup by us or by some for us, and it came to His lot. And never was there lamb so meek before the shearer, or worm so easy to be trodden on; never cluster lay so quiet and still to be bruised as did Christ in the press of His passion. Ever be He blessed for it!
Now come we to the other of this day in this text. This is not that we have touched but another, where the style is altered; no more calcatus sum, but calcavi and conculcavi too. Up it seems He gat, and down went they, and upon [72/73] them He trod. His enemies of Edom lay like so many clusters under His feet; and 'He cast His shoe' over them, set His foot on them and dashed them to pieces.
If it had meant His passion, it had been His own blood; but this was none of His now, but the blood of His enemies. For when the year of redemption was past, then came the day of vengeance; then came the time for that, and not before.
For after the consummatum est of his own pressure, sic oportuit impleri omnem justitiam, and that all the righteousness He spoke had been fulfilled; then 'rise up, rise up you arm of the Lord,' saith the Prophet, and shew yourself mightily to save: He took Him to His second attribute, to be avenged of those who had been the ruin of us all, the ruin everlasting, but for Him. To Edom, the kingdom of death, He went, whither we were to be led captives; yes, even to Bozrah, to hell itself, and there 'break the gates of brass, and made the iron bars fly in sunder.' He Who was too weak to suffer, became 'mighty to save.' Of calcatus, He became calcator He who was thrown Himself, threw them now another while into the press, trod them down, trampled upon them as upon grapes in a fat, till He made the blood spring out of them, and all to sprinkle His garments, as if He had come forth of a winepress indeed. And we before, mercifully rather than mightily by His passion, now mightily also saved by His glorious resurrection.
Thus have you two several vines, the natural and the strange vine, the sweet and the wild; two presses, that in Jewry, that in Edom; two cups, the cursed cup, and the cup of blessing; of wine or blood. His own, His enemies' blood; one sanguis Agni, the blood of the Lamb slain; the other sanguis draconis, the blood of the dragon, 'the red dragon' trod upon. One of His passion, three days since the other of His victory, as today. Between His burial and His rising, some doing there had been; somewhat He had been, in some new winepress, in Bozrah, that had given a new tincture of red to His raiment all over.
Both these shall you find together set down in one and the same chapter, in two verses standing close one to the other; [73/74] 1. Christ represented first as a Lamb, 'a Lamb slain,' dyed in His own blood: this is the first press. 2. And immediately in the very next verse, straight represented again in a new shape, as a 'Lion' all be bloody with the blood of His prey 'a Lion of the tribe of Judah;' which comes home to this here. For Judah it is said, he should 'wash his robe in the blood of the grape.' And so much for torculator calcavi.
We must not leave out solus in any wise; that both these He did 'alone,' so 'alone' as not any man in the world with Him in either.
Not in the first; there pressed He was 'alone.' All forsook Him, His disciples first; 'alone' for them. Yet then He was not 'alone,' His Father was still with Him; but after. Father and all, as appeared by His cry, 'Why hast Thou forsaken Me?' Then was He all 'alone' indeed.
Not in the second either. The very next verse, He complains how that He looked about Him round, and could not see any would once offer to help Him. Out of Bozrah He got 'alone;' from death He rose, conquered, triumphed in Semetipso, 'Himself alone.' The Angel indeed rolled away the stone; but He was risen first, and the stone rolled away after.
Accordingly we to reckon of Him, that since in both these presses He was for us, He and none but He; that His, and none but His be the glory of both. That seeing neither we for ourselves, nor any for us, could bring this to pass, but He and He only; He and He only might have the whole honour of both, have no partner in that which is only His due, and no creatures' else at all, either in heaven or earth.
And is Christ come from Bozrah? Then be sure of this, that He returning thus in triumph, as it is in the sixty-eighth psalm, the psalm of the Resurrection, He will not leave us behind for whom He did all this, but 'His own will He bring again as he did from Basan;' as from Basan, so from Bozrah, as 'from the deep pit of the sea,' so from the deep pit of hell. 'He that raised Jesus, will by Jesus raise us up also,' from the Adam of Edom, the red mould of the earth, the power of the grave; and from the Bozrah of hell too, the gulf whence there is no escaping out. Will make us in Him, [74/75] saith the Apostle, 'more than conquerors, and tread down Satan under our feet.'
You see how Christ's garments came to be 'red.' Of the winepress that made them so we have spoken, but not of the colour itself. A word of that too. It was His colour at His Passion. They put Him in purple; then it was His weed in derision, and so was it in earnest. Both 'red' it was itself, and so He made it more with dye of His own blood. And the same colour He is now in again at His rising. Not with His own now, but with the blood of the wounded Edomites, whom treading under His feet, their blood bestained Him and His apparel. So one and the same colour at both; dying and rising in red; but with difference as much as is between His own and His enemies' blood.
The spouse in the Canticles asked of her Beloved's colours saith of Him, 'My Beloved is white and red.' 'White,' of His own proper; so He was when He showed Himself in kind, 'transfigured' in the mount; His apparel then so 'white,' 'no fuller in the earth could come near it.' 'White' of Himself; how comes He 'red' then? Not of Himself that, but for us. That is our natural colour, we are born 'polluted in our own blood.' It is sin's colour that, for shame is the colour of sin. Our sins saith Esay 'are as crimson, of as deep dye as any purple.' This, the true tincture of our sins, the Edomites' colour right, for Edom is red. The tincture I say, first of our sin original, dyed in the wool; and then again of our sins actual, dyed in the cloth too. Twice dyed; so was Christ twice. Once in His own, again in His enemies', right dibaphus, a perfect full colour, a true purple, of a double dye His too. So was it meet for crimson sinners to have a crimson Saviour; a Saviour of such a colour it behoved us to have. Coming then to save us, off went His white, on went our red; laid by His own righteousness to be clothed with our sins. He to wear our colours, that we His; He in our red, that we in His white. So we find our 'robes' are not only 'washed clean,' but dyed a pure white in the blood of the Lamb. Yea, He died and rose again both in our colours, that we might die and rise too in His. We fall now again upon the same point in the colours we did before in the cups. He to drink the sour vinegar of our wild grapes, [75/76] that we might drink His sweet in the cup of blessing. O cup of blessing, may we say of this cup! O stolam formosam, of that colour! Illi gloriosam, nobis fructuosam; 'glorious to Him, no less fruitful to us' He in Mount Golgotha like to us, that we in Mount Tabor like to Him. This is the substance of our rejoicing in this colour.
One more; how well this colour fits Him in respect of His two titles, loquens justitiam, and multus ad servandum is so too. The first. To whom is this colour given? Scarlet is allowed the degree of Doctors. Why? for their speaking righteousness to us, the righteousness of God, that which Christ spake. Nay, even they which speak but the righteousness of man's law, they are honoured with it too. But christ 'spake so as never man spake,' and so call ye none on earth Doctor but One; none in comparison of him. So of all, He to wear it. This ye shall observe in the Revelation; at the first appearing of the Lamb, there was a book with seven seals. No man would meddle with it; the Lamb took it, opened the seals, read it, read out of it a lecture of righteousness to the whole world; the righteousness of God, that shall make us so before Him. Let Him arrayed in scarlet; it is his due, His Doctor's weed.
This is no new thing. The heathen king propounded it for a reward to any that could read the hand-writing on the wall. Daniel did it, and had it. Sed ecce major Daniele hîc. Thus was it in the Law. This colour was the ground of the Ephod, a principal ingredient into the Priest's vesture. Why? For, 'his lips were to preserve knowledge,' all to require the law from his mouth. And indeed, the very lips themselves that we speak righteousness with, are of the same colour. In the Canticles it is said, 'His lips are like a scarlet thread.' And the fruit of the lips hath God created peace, and the fruit of peace is sown in righteousness; and till that be sown and spoken, never any hope of true peace.
Enough for speaking. What say you to the other, potens ad servandum, which of the twain seems the more proper to this time and place? I say that way it fits Him too, this colour. Men of war, great captains, 'mighty to save' us from the enemies, they take it to themselves, and their colour it is of [76/77] right. A plain text for it, Nahum the second. 'their valiant men,' or captains, 'are in scarlet.' And I told you Christ by Daniel is called 'Captain Messias,' and so well might. So in His late conflict with Edom He shewed Himself, fought for us even to blood. Many a bloody wound it cost Him, but returned with the spoil of His enemies, stained with their blood; and whoso is able so to do, is worthy to wear it. So in this respect also, so in both; His colours become Him well.
Shall I put you in mind, that there is in these two, in either of them, a kind of winepress? In 'mighty to save,' it is evident; trodden in one press, treading in another. Not so evident in 'the speaking of righteousness.' Yet even in that also, there is a press going. For when we read, what do we but gather grapes here and there; and when we study what we have gathered, then are we even in torculari, and press them we do, and press out of them that which daily you taste of. I know there is great odds in the liquors so pressed, and that 'a cluster of Eprhaim is a worth a whole vintage of Abiezer;' but for that, every man as he may. Nay, it may be farther said, and that truly, that even this great title, 'Mighty to save,' comes under loquens justitiam. There is in the word of righteousness a saving power. 'Take the word,' saith St. James, 'graft it in you, it is able to save your souls;' even that wherein we of this calling in a sort participate with Christ, while 'by attending to reading and doctrine we save both ourselves and them who hear us;' we tread down sin, and save sinners from 'seeking death in the error of their life.'
But though there be in the word a saving power, yet is not all saving power in that, or in that only; there is a press beside. For this press is going continually among us, but there is another that goes but at times. But in that, it goes at such times as it falls in fit with the winepress here. Nay, falls in most fit of all the rest. For of it comes very wine indeed, the blood of grapes of the true Vine, which in the blessed Sacrament is reached to us, and with it is given us that for which it was given, even remission of sins. Not only represented therein, but even exhibited to us. Both which when we partake, then have we a full and perfect communion with Christ this day; of His speaking righteousness in the word preached, of His power to save in the holy Eucharist [77/78] ministered. Both presses run for us, and we to partake them both.
I may not end till I tell you there remains yet another, a third winepress, that you may take heed of it. I shall but point you to it; it may serve as sour herbs to eat our Paschal lamb with. The sun, they say, danced this morning at Christ's resurrection; the earth trembles then I am sure, there was an earthquake at Christ's rising. So there is trembling to our joy; exultate in tremore, as the Psalmist wills us. The vintage of the earth, when the time of that is come, and when the grapes be ripe, and ready for it, one there is who cries to him with the 'sharp sickle' in his hand to thrust it in, cut off the clusters, and cast them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. A dismal day that, a pitiful slaughter then. It is there said, 'the blood will come up to the horse-bridles by the space of a thousand six hundred furlongs.' Keep you out, take heed of coming in that press.
We have a kind item given us of this, here in the text, in the last verse. There be two acts of Christ; one of being trodden, the other of treading down. The first is for His chosen, the other against His enemies. One is called 'the year of redemption,' the other 'the day of vengeance.' 'The year of redemption' is already come, and is now; we are in it; during which time the two former winepresses run, 1. of the word, and 2. Sacrament. 'The day of vengeance' is not yet come, it is but in His heart--so the text is--that is, but in His purpose and intent yet. But certainly come it will, that day; and with that day comes the last winepress with the blood to the bridles: ere it come, and during our 'year of redemption,' that year's allowance, we are to endeavour to keep ourselves out of it; for that is, 'the day of vengeance,' of ira ventura, God's wrath for ever. So as all we have to study is, how we may be in at the first two, out at the last press; and the due Christian use of the first, will keep us from the last.
While then it is with us 'the year of redemption,' and before that day come; while it is yet time of speaking righteousness, that is, 'today of you will hear His voice;' while 'the cup of blessing' is held out, if we will take it, lay hold on both. That so we may be accounted worthy to escape in that day, from that day and the vengeance of it; and may feel the fullness [78/79] of His saving power in the 'word engrafted, which is able to save our souls;' and in 'the cup of salvation' which is joined with it, and that to our endless joy. 'The year of redemption' is last in the verse; with that the Prophet ends. With that let us end also; and to that end, may all that hath been spoken arrive and bring us!