The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
by Mark Frank
[Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1849]
transcribed by Dr
A SERMON ON GOOD FRIDAY
I Corinthians 2.2
AND this being Passion day, I am Ôdetermined not toÕ preach Ôanything among youÕ to-day Ôbut Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.Õ I cannot preach anything, nor any of us Ôknow anythingÕ more profitable. S. Paul himself thought nor he nor his Corinthians could ÔdeterminedÕ so here ex cathedra. And the holy Church has thought and ÔdeterminedÕ so too, to send no other Epistles, to preach no other Gospels to us this week through, than of ÔJesus Christ, and Him crucified;Õ as if the sum of the Gospel, the Gospel itself, were nothing else; no other knowledge worth the knowing, at least at this time, these days, to be thought of or intended.
Not but that we may lawfully have other knowledges besides, intend other knowledges too, at other times, in their proper times; not but that we may know more of Jesus Christ himself than his being crucified; but that all the knowledges of him tend hither, ÔJesusÕ and ÔChrist,Õ his salvation and office, clearest seen here, best ÔdeterminedÕ hence; that all other knowledges are to be directed hither, to Jesus Christ, are but petty and inconsiderable in respect, and only worth the knowing when Christ is in them, and we with Christ crucified in them, our affections mortified and humbled by them; that especially at this time nothing is so fit to take up our thoughts, to employ our meditations, Ñnothing not of Christ Himself, no act or story of Him, Ñas His crucifixion.
And yet the text affords us a plainer reason and account of this so ÔdeterminedÕ knowledge, from the two pronouns, ÔIÕ and Ôyou.Õ None so fit for this ÔIÕ for an Apostle, a preacher, a divine, to be ÔdeterminedÕ by, as ÔChrist, and him crucified;Õ nothing so fit to fasten his resolutions against the crosses and thwartings he is like to meet with in the world, even among them he bestows and spends most upon, and would be bestowed and ÔspentÕ himself, for,Ñas this Apostle for these Corinthians,Ñas the consideration of the cross of Christ. And no knowledge fitter for this ÔyouÕ for the Corinthians,Ñpeople now divided into schisms and factions,Ñthan to think of Christ crucified, rent and torn in pieces by them; thus crucified again by them through their divisions, who was crucified to unite them, to bring all into one body, under one head, by His body on the cross, into Himself the head, Christ Jesus.
For there were at the time of this Epistle, among the Corinthians,Ñas there are now among us,Ñsome who much boasted of their knowledge, as if they alone knew all that was to be known,Ñmore than St. Paul, than a hundred S. Pauls; made themselves heads of factions and schisms upon it, and drew parties after them. In this, indeed, differing from the heads of ours, that they vaunted of their human learning; ours have nothing but ignorance to boast of. They would have faith reduced to reasonÑthese ruled by fancy; yet in this agreeing both, in their ignorance of the cross of Christ, or sure quite forgetting it, and making schisms, and sowing heresies in the Church of Christ, though perhaps we could find them some Socianized wits too, that would fain bring all to natural reason, and really deny the very effects of the cross of Christ, His satisfaction and redemption; the very denying, in effect, ÔChrist crucified,Õ or any knowledge of it.
To beat down these great boasters, and all vain braggers, St. Paul resolves upon two points in the text, a seeming ignorance and a real knowledge; a seeming ignorance, to confound their seeming knowledge; a real knowledge, to confound their real ignorance: Ônot to know,Õ and Ôbut to know; not to know,Õ that is, not to seem to know anything; yet Ôto know,Õ to know everything that is worth the knowing, ÔJesus Christ and Him crucified;Õ the whole way of salvation. So teach us besides, and all that should come after him, what to determine, and how to determine, both of our ignorances and knowledges; what Ônot to know,Õ things have no profit, but only breed strife and debate, schisms and divisions, Ônot to knowÕ such things among them, to do others hurt by our knowledge. What Ôto knowÕ ø ÔJesus Christ, and him crucified;Õ that to be sure to know, and nothing but him and it, and in order unto to or him; thus to determine and be Ôdetermined,Õ the only way to profit and benefit both ourselves and others, at any time, with our knowing and not knowing: to know what, and how far to know, and not to know: what to determine of, and where to be determined.
Thus we have brought the text to its own natural division, to hinder our unnatural ones; S. Paul's double determination: one for ignorance, the other for knowledge; one Ônot to know,Õ the other Ôto know.Õ A determination too, in a double sense as well as a double object; a double determination about not knowing, and a double one about knowing; a determination to both, and a determination of each.
1. A determination not to know, to seem ignorant,ÑÔI am determined not to know.Õ
A determination of this not knowing, or seeming ignorant, it is but seeming, only so Ôdetermined,Õ or put on; it is but Ôamong you,ÕÑit is but in comparison of the following knowledge, which is the only saving knowledge.
II. A determination to know, not to be really ignorant, though not ÔanythingÕ but is something, though not ÔthatÕ those false teachers vaunted of a determination or determining of this knowledge, (1,) to ÔChrist;Õ (2,) ÔChrist Jesus,Õ (3,) ÔChrist Jesus crucifiedÕ that, and nothing further, now further, among them; nothing else to determine himself, or them, or his, or their knowledges by at any time; nothing, save that,Ñnothing saving, but that.
Thus the text determines both our knowledge and ignorance, and limits both, shall determine and limit our discourse. God grant we may all so be determined by it, that both our ignorance and knowledge may hence learn their bounds and limits, and all end at last in ÔJesus Christ and him crucified.Õ
I begin with S. Paul's determination, Ônot to know any thing amongÕ the Corinthians; where we have, (1,) the things he determined not to know; (2,) the not knowing them; (3,) the determination so to do; (4,) the determining how far, and among whom, how, and where to be ignorant, and not know them.
And, first, many things there are not to be known, of which it is good to be ignorant. Some things that are worth the knowingÑlight and trivial things, which only rob us of those precious minutes which a Christian should spend upon nobler thoughts.
Some things we are the worse for knowing, which only infect the soul, and instead of knowledge bring blindness and ignorance upon it: Adam and Eve's unhappy knowledge, when we will needs be knowing more than God will have us, curious and vain arts and sciences, of which it is far better, with those in the Acts, to burn the books than read them.
Some things we can scarce do worse than know them, whose very knowledge is a guilt whereby we are perfected in wickedness, grow cunning in contriving, subtle in conveying, experienced in managing sin or mischief.
Some things, again, there are which it is best Ônot to know,Õ sins from which the safest fence is ignorance, whose knowledge would but teach us to do them, or leave in us a desire and itching after them, nitimur in vetitum; sins which else, perhaps, we had never thought of or attempted, the not knowing of which had kept us safe, because we cannot desire things we know not.
Some things there are, again, which though good and commendable, yet of which we may say, and say truly, it is very pleasant and useful Ônot to knowÕ in time and place; and such is this ÔanythingÕ of the apostles; human learning and sciences, natural reason and artificial eloquence, tongues and languages, disputes and questions, whereof sometimes a real ignorance, sometimes a seeming one, will do more good than all of them together.
For diversity there is in the not knowing, as well as in the things not be known; many ways of not knowing. For Ônot to knowÕ is (1) really to be ignorant; which in good matters, if it be not voluntary or affected, but either by reason of a natural dulness or incapacity, or for want of education which we could not have, or because we had not the means or time to come to the knowledge of it, or if we were not bound to ÔknowÕ it, is no sin,Ñmay not only excuse from punishment but from fault. Thus the poor simple man that knows not a letter, nor understands half what others do, not the tenth part that others do, may know enough of ÔChrist crucifiedÕ to bring him into heaven, when many that are more learned shall stand without. But this ignorance, for the most part of it, must not be determined by us; we must not, the meanest of us, resolve and determine with ourselves to be ignorant, or remain so in any spiritual or heavenly business, but Ôto knowÕ as far as our condition requires, or will us leave. Yet in mere human knowledges even a resolved ignorance may do well, when your knowing would take up more time than it is worth, when it would rob us of better, or hinder us in the more necessary improvements of our souls, when there is just fear it will but make us insolent or impertinent; better far Ônot to knowÕ a letter, not to speak a tongue, but what the nurse and mother taught us, than be the nimbley orator or skilfulest linguist or rarest philosopher, if nothing be like to come of it but the disturbance of the Church, the seducing others, and vain glory in ourselves. In this case we may, with S. Paul, even determine to be ignorant, more ignorant still, especially in unprofitable, curious, or impious knowledge or ways of knowing.
However, even in the best and most necessary of these it may be requisite Ônot to knowÕ (2) in a second sense; that is, not to seem to know them; to bear ourselves sometimes as if we did not. There are some we may have to deal with that are suspicious of being deceived by too much reason and philosophy, with whom it is only the way to work, to renounce, as it were, all art and logic, and discourse, as if we were wholly ignorant in them, that we may so by S. Paul's own way, Ôof becoming all things to all men,Õ to the ignorant as ignorant of everything but salvation, by plainness and condescension to their humour win them to the truth. And indeed, wherever eloquence, language, philosophy, or natural reason are like more to lose than gain a soul, more to vaunt themselves than preach Christ; Ônot to know,Õ that is, to seem not to know them, or deal by them, or build upon them, or make show of them, but conceal them, is the best.
ÔNot to knowÕ them (3), in a third sense, is not to teach them, not to teach when we should be teaching Christ, or teach them instead of Christ,Ñnatural reason for divine faith, philosophy for the only divinity.
ÔNot to knowÕ them (4), fourthly, to profess and make our whole business of them, to make knowledge our whole profession, as if religion consisted in knowing only, and they the best Christians that knew most. Alas! Nos doctrinis nostris trudimur in infernum, is too true: ÔMany a learned man is thrust at last into hell with all his knowledge.Õ We may Ôspeak with the tongues of angels, and have all knowledge, all faith too, even to a miracle, and to do miracles, and yet for all that be but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals;Õ mere noise and vapour, not so good as the prophet's reprobate silver, but mere brass and copper, that will not pass with heaven for currents money, nor be received into the treasuries of God; better it is Ônot to knowÕ at all than to know only and no more, to know and not to do; we shall only get the stripes by the bargain; and however we seem to know God, not to be known of him, or acknowledged by him, but sent away by Christ with anÑ ÔI know you not.Õ
The things then not to be known, and the not knowing, being things of so difficult or doubtful nature, best it is now that we determine somewhat of them, that we may know both the things and knowledge, or rather not knowledge that is fittest for us.
The ÔanythingÕ the apostle means expressly is set down in the former verse under the terms of Ôexcellency of speechÕ or Ôwisdom,Õ and that Ôwisdom to be the wisdom of the world,Õ of the wise and prudent, moral philosophy, of the scribe, law and history and philology, of Ôthe disputer of this world,Õ natural philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, astrology: all which St. Paul seems determined not to know.
It is ekrina, he had judged it, so judged and passed sentence upon all those knowledges as to give a uhti to give a negative to them all. In things of moment it is good to be determined and resolved. It is for want of this judgment and determination that we lose ourselves so oft ere we are aware, and not only consume our days in knowledges that do not profit, in searching out endless genealogies and disputations to no benefit of the hearers, without the least edification. Settle we and fix ourselves upon this point in all our knowings, and not knowings, to do all to edification, that whether we know any thing or not, whether we know every thing or nothing, it be all to the glory of God; and then even our ignorance will save us as well as our knowledge: only with this item, that it be a determining by ekrina with the Apostle here, a determination with judgment to discern and judge what things are fit not to be known, what to be known; what knowledge and time and pains to bestow upon them; what we are to be wholly ignorant in, what in part, what really not to know, what to seem only not knowing in, what to conceal, and what to teach, what to make our profession of, and what to know only by-the-bye; how far, and where, and when to know them.
And this is the very determining our determination I spake of for a fourth consideration. I shall set no other bounds either to our knowledge or object, or our determining ourselves to it, or in it, than what we have within the bounds of the text, because, my determination is to hasten to the knowledge Ôof Jesus Christ, and him crucified.Õ
To determine, then, this determination of S. Paul's, Ônot to know any thing,Õ take we the words as they lie, and consider who it is that has thus Ôdetermined.Õ ÔI,Õ it is, that S Paul himself it is, an Apostle, a great knowing too. Yet ÔI have determined not to know.Õ Sciences there are that are below an Apostle, that become not him whatever they do others. The Apostles were to act all by the power of the Spirit; were not to study words and human arguments, though we sometimes find them ÔdisputingÕ too, and quoting poets and human authors; were not to pretend to such worldly wisdom, that the glory might be wholly God's, and the whole world convinced, that as the Christian faith was not established by mortal strength, not settled by worldly power, so it was not persuaded by human wit or interests, and was therefore truly divine and heavenly.
But, (2,) even the successors of the Apostles, the ministers of the Gospel, though they have now only this ordinary way of enabling them to their office,Ñare yet so to use their knowledge as if they used them not, their chief work being Christ's, and these only as ways to it, remembering their great business to be to know ÔChrist crucified,Õ and to teach Him, and not to know anything but in order to it; at least, not to profess anything above or equal with it, that may swallow up the time which ought to be spent in divine employments. Thus this not knowing is first determined by the person: persons wholly interested in the business of the heaven [are] not to turn their studies into a business of the world, persons designed to an extraordinary office, not to deal in it by extraordinary means, but guide all according to that rule and way and work that God has set them.
But the not knowing the secular sciences is not only limited to spiritual person; there are limits within which all must keep as well their ignorance as knowledge. When at any time they will determine not to know it must be (1) by ekrina judgment and discretion, not promisciously: such things as sound judgment propounds unnecessary, dangerous, or unfruitful.
It must be (2) by a non judicavi quicquam, whatsoever knowledge we have of human sciences we must judge and reckon it as nothing, determine it to be no other than dross and dung, than building with hay and stubble, in respect of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, not anything to that.
It must be, (3,) too, without putting any estimate upon ourselves for any such knowledge; we must still think we know nothing whilst we know no more. Moses, a man, as S. Stephen styles him, Ômighty in words and deeds, and learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians;Õ yet when God would send him of his errand, considering that, tells God he was not eloquent, neither heretofore nor since he had spoken to his servant, but slow of speech and slow of tongue. And Isaiah, that seraphic prophet, cries out, he is Ôa man of unclean lips;Õ so little valued they all their knowledge, when they had but a glimpse of that great knowledge God was now imparting to them. How much soever we think we know before, when we once come to the knowledge of Christ, or but our thoughts to come to know a taste of the riches of the fullness of the knowledge of Christ, we then know we know nothing, count ourselves dolts and idiots, mere fools and blocks, for squandering away so much time and cost and pains upon those empty notions whereby we are not an inch the nearer heaven, and it may be, the further from God, after all our labour. Then only we begin truly to know, when we can pass this sentence upon ourselves, that we know not anything; when we are so humble that we think so, at least think not anything of ourselves for all we know.
(4.) We must Ôdetermine not to know anything,Õ at all of human sciences or reasonings, rather than to determine ourselves by it, renounce it rather, all knowing, and turn all to believing; not to fix our faith upon natural principles, or believe no further than we can know; rather than so, we had far better know nothing, set it up for a resolution, however, in the matters of faith not to know, that is, not to go about to determine them by reason, for the Ônatural manÕ he understands them not; they are foolishness unto him; a foolish thing to him to talk of a God incarnate, of a crucified Saviour, of a religion whose glory is the cross, and reward he knows not where nor when.
Or, (5,) he is only Ônot determined to know any thing;Õ so the negative is truly joined, not to his knowledge, but to his determination, Ônot determined;Õ if he know it he counts it but by-the-bye; his main business is something else; human knowledge is but by-the-way and obiter; he intends them not for his doctrine, nor yet to prove or stablish his doctrine upon them, as upon foundations, nor preach moral and natural philosophy for divinity; but to advance both the one and the other: all philology, language and history [is] to the service of Christ and the glory of His cross; to use our rhetoric, to set forth his sufferings, the merit, and benefit, and glory of them; our natural philosophy, to find us out the God of nature in all His works; moral philosophy and history, to dissuade vice and encourage virtue, even by the light of nature; the knowledge of the heavens and heavenly spirits, to declare His excellent and wondrous works; our criticisms, to sift our truth, and our languages to express it. In a word, not so much to know any of them, as God through them; not them properly, but Christ Jesus by them. There is no fear of human sciences thus determined.
Yet there is one way more to determine our not knowing byÑby the persons with whom we have to do. Our doctrines,Ñfor so we told you, and for the chief meaning here we tell you now again, to know here signifies to teach,Ñour doctrines are to be proportioned and fitted for the auditory. It was no meaner a man's practice than St. Paul's, to the weak to become as weak, to gain the weak and simple, not to speak mysteries and speculations; to them who were without law, as without law, plain, honest dealing, not quirks and quillets, to gain such; not to know any such thing among such as they. Yet sometimes, upon the same ground, to do quite contrary, to confound the wisdom of the world, by that it reckons weakness; the honourable things of the world, by things which that esteems base and ignominious. The Corinthians gloried in their learning and eloquence; St. Paul, to confute their vanity, undertakes to do more by plainness, and rudeness of speech, and ignorance, than they, all of them, can by all their wisdom and rhetoric; among them, he will make no use of anything but the contemptible knowledge of the cross of Christ, and yet do more than all philosophers and orators. Where learning will serve but to ostentation, and the ear only tickled by it, or human applause not edification, schism not peace, the issue of it; among them, Ônot to know anyÕ such thing, is best of all for Ôlet all things be done,Õ says the Apostle, Ôto edification;Õ and if that will be done best by plainness, to use plainness; if by learning to use that; as the ÔyouÕ are who are to be edified, so the ÔI,Õ the minister to deal with them; if they be puffed up with human knowledge, to humble them to the A B C of the cross, to exalt and preach up that above all knowledge whatsoever; if divided into schisms by the several sects of philosophy, or the masters of them, to unite all again into one, as so many pieces into one cross, among them to cry up no knowledge, but thence or hither.
So then, now to sanctify all our secular knowledges and ignorances, thus we are to determine them: to know our times, and place, and persons for them; to keep measure and order in them; to profess none who are wicked, or only vain and curious, and to no profit; to submit our knowledge to faith, and our determination to the Church's; not to overvalue them, or ourselves by them, but only make them handmaids to guide us to the cross of Christ, and there with Mary Magdalene and the good women, stand weeping at it; Ônot to know anyÕ of them otherwise; to resolve and determine nothing of Christ by them, and Ônot to knowÕ them where they will know no submission and order. I come now to our knowledge, and it is indeed the only saving one, ÔJesus Christ, and Him crucified;Õ nothing save that.
For you may now take notice, that it is not an absolute determination Ônot to know,Õ a decree for ignorance, but a determination with a Ôbut, not anything save;Õ then save something, something to be known still. Some have been blamed for making ignorance the mother of devotion, yet themselves that blamed them have advanced it to be the mother of religion, now, whilst they set up mere ignorants,ÑI might say more,Ñto be the apostles of it; fit teachers, I confess, of their religion, which so much abhors the cross of Christ as to cast it off their own shoulders upon other men's, and the name of Jesus, as to reckon it superstition to respect it.
But this great preacher of the cross, as much as he seems Ôdetermined not to know,Õ had yet languages more than all these Corinthians he writes to,Ñtells them of it too; though he will not boast of it, ÔdisputesÕ even in Corinth, in the ÔSynagogueÕ of the Jews, and in the ÔschoolsÕ of the Gentiles; quotes heathen poets too to the men of Athens, and to Titus,Ñthat we may know that the preachers of the Gospel may read other books besides the Bible,Ñshall never read that to understand it if they do not. It is only in some cases and with some persons, we are not to make profession of them, and merely too upon private determination, as our own wisdom and prudence shall direct us; not that God or Christ has determined the least against it. God would have His people to seek His law at the mouth of the priest; and adds the reason,Ñbecause his Ôlips should keep knowledge.Õ And Christ Jesus, though He made poor simple fishermen his apostles to divulge His Gospel, yet He would not have the Ôblind lead the blind,Õ for fear of Ôfalling both into the ditch;Õ and therefore promises to give them wisdom,Ñsuch Ôwisdom as all their adversaries should not be able to gainsay,ÕÑand sends down the Holy Spirit, with the gifts of tongues to sit upon them all; so little is there to be said for the ignorant and unlearned man's teaching from them, who before they sent about that work were so highly furnished and endued. And though [St. Paul] here resolve the Corinthians to make no profession of those great estimate and confidence they set upon them only from the great estimate and confidence they set upon them, and reduce them to humility, and into order, and to edify them, that he chooses and prefers to speak among them but five words in a known tongue, before all languages to no purposes.
And indeed, all tongues are too little to speak of that the Apostle is here about, ÔJesus Christ, and Him crucified;Õ all knowledges not sufficient to make us know Him, and teach Him as we should. We had need have all tongues and knowledges,Ñall words and eloquence, to set it forth.
Well then at least let us about it, to see what it is to Ôknow Jesus Christ, and him crucified;Õ It is the determination of this determined knowledge to Christ, Ôto Christ Jesus, to Christ Jesus crucified;Õ to this only, and no other object among them.
A knowledge this, the most profitable, the most happy, the most glorious,Ñeven eternal life it is, Ôto know Jesus Christ.Õ Nor does His crucifying abate anything of the glory in it. St. Paul makes it His own glory; with a ÔGod forbid that he should glory in anything,Õ as here, Ônot know anything,Õ else, Ôbut in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.Õ Indeed, hence flows all our happiness: the wound in His side, is the hole of the rock in which only the soul can lie secure; the water that issued out thence, is the only laver to cleanse it in; the blood, the only drink it lives by, better to us than all the titles of the earth; the reproach of it, better than all the honours of the world; the pains of it, sweeter than all the pleasures under heaven; the wounds, better cordials and restoratives to a sick soul than all the physic nature or skill affords. There is not a grain of that holy wood, but of more worth than all the grains of gold than the Indies can affords. There is not a vein in that crucified body of Jesus, but it runs full with heavenly comfort to us. There is nothing in ÔChrist crucified,Õ but man glorified. Who, indeed, would not be determined to fix all his knowledge hereÑto dwell here for ever? But so immense and vast is this happy subject, that I must limit it; yet I shall give you notions that you may improve, whilst I tell you Ôto know Christ crucifiedÕ is to know him as we do other things by the four causes of it: the efficient, the material, the formal, and the final. So to know him, is to know who crucified him, for what he was crucified, how it was he was crucified, and to what end he was crucified?
It was (1) His own love that moved Him to it,Ñit was God who sent Him and delivered Him up to it,Ñit was Judas who betrayed Him to it,Ñit was both the Jews and Gentiles who had the hand in doing it. And what know we hence but this: His infinite goodness, God's unspeakable mercies, man's base ingratitude; this mystery in all: how vastly God's purposes and man's differ in the same business, how infinitely good and gracious God is, even where men are most wicked and unthankful.
Know we then, (2) the material cause of His sufferings for a second, and the matter for which He suffered was our iniquities, Ôfor the transgressions of my people,Õ says [Isaiah], was ÔHe smitten.Õ And to know this is to deplore it, to abhor and detest ourselves, who were the causes of so vile using the Son of God.
Know we, (3) and consider the formal cause, the manner of His crucifying, a death most cruel, most lingering, most ignominious; to have His back all furrowed with whips and rods, to hang naked upon the cross by the hands and feet, and them nailed to it through the most tender parts, where all the organs of sense are quickest; to be given vinegar and gall to drink, when He most needed comfort and refreshment; to be mocked and scoffed at in His sorrow too, derided by His enemies, forsaken by His friends as He hanged; to have the weight of all the sins of all mankind upon Him; to have God as it were leave Him to struggle under them without the least glimmering of His presence; to see in His soul all the horrors of all the sins of men; to feel in His body all the torments that a body so delicate beyond the bodies of the sons of Adam, by reason of its perfection, must needs feel beyond all others, and groan and die under the fury of an angry God, now visiting for all the iniquity that was before or after, should be committed by the world. To know all this, and by this, no sorrows like His sorrows, is at least to sit down and weep at it; however, not to pass by regardless of it.
And know we (4) the end why all this was?Ñeven to redeem us from all our sins; or, as it is in the chapter before this, ÔThat He might be made unto us, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption;Õ that Ôby His blood we might have entrance into the holy of holies,Ñinto heaven itself.Õ
This you know as well as I,- every one will say he knows it all. Yet I must tell you, you do not know it as you should, if you sit not down, and sometimes determine your thoughts upon it; unless you sadly meditate, and thankfully think upon it; unless you value the meditations and discourses of it above all other thoughts, all other talk; unless you set by other business ever and anon, to contemplate this. To know in Christianity, is to do more than fill the brain with Scripture notions,Ñit is to fill the heart too with devout affections; therefore we read in Scripture of an understanding heart, and wisdom is said, in the holy phrase to be seated there. And when the heart evaporates itself into holy affections, and desires Christ, then we are only said to know Him.
But Ôto know Christ Jesus crucified,Õ is more than so; it is in St. Paul's meaning, Ôto be crucified with,Õ Him Ôto take up our cross and follow Him;Õ to make profession of Him, though we be sure to come to execution by it; to go with Him as St. Thomas exhorts, though we die with Him; to be willing to suffer anything for Him; to deny our own wisdom and repute, and ourselves, for His service; to be content to be counted fools for His sake; our very wisdom and preaching, foolishness; if we may save any by it, to count all as nothing, so we may know Him, and be known of Him.
We cannot think much, sure, to be crucified with Him, who was crucified only for us; to suffer something for Him, who suffered all for us; if we but know and consider who it was, was crucified, and for whom He was so,Ñthe Son of God for the sons of men,Ñthe most innocent for the greatest sinners,Ñthe most holy for the most wicked,Ñfor such who even deny Him after all He has done for them.
This speak we, this preach we, this profess we, this we determine we upon with St. Paul to know, to think, to speak, to teach, to preach, to profess this, and nothing else; ever crying out with that good old Father, Deus meus et omnia, Deus meus et omnia, ÔThis crucified Jesus is my God and all, this Christ crucified is my God and all;Õ he is all in all, I know nothing else, I value nothing else; I know Him though never so disfigured by His wounds; I shall acknowledge Him, though in the midst of the thieves; I am not ashamed of Him, though full of spittle and reproach; I shall profess Him, though all run from Him. Alas! I know not anything worth knowing, if they take Him away.And yet to know Him has one degree more: When our understanding knows anything, it does ... become the same with it. So to know Christ, then, is to become like Him, to know Christ to be anointed, is to be anointed like Him also with holy graces; to know Him Jesus a Saviour, is to be a saviour to the poor and needy, to deliver the widow and fatherless from the hand of the oppressor; to know Him to be crucified, is to crucify our affections and lusts. Thus we know Him as He is here, and by so knowing Him here, we shall at last come to know Him hereafter; where we shall know Him perfectly, know Him glorified for here knowing Him crucified, and all things then with Him, for now not knowing anything but Him, know God and happiness, and eternal glory, and ourselves partakers in them all