Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Sunday after Easter

On Thursday Diane and I went together to Carol Woods, to the nursing home building, so that we could visit a founding member of St. Benedict’s, and I could give her communion. When we were there she told us about someone she knows who has been in absolute terror because of the recent tornados (some of the worst ever that very morning). As we conversed, we discussed the theory that our technology can give us the illusion of safety. But, it is an illusion. Anyone of us could die at any moment. No one is guaranteed another breath. Our Archbishop likes to tell the anecdote of a priest who signed the services record book before a service began. An older gentleman said to him: “You have shown great presumption, and may be guilty of falsifying a public record.” The presumption, I think, was that he was so confident that he would be alive at the end of the service.

On Wednesday, April 28, 2002, an F4 tornado landed in a Southern Maryland town called LaPlata. That is the second largest kind of tornado. It came across the Chesapeake Bay, unknown to Diane and me. We had started a drive home from Easton, Maryland, where I had celebrated at the altar of St. Andrew’s. During our drive home, which was usually half an hour, we had to pull off the road into the parking lot of a large shopping center. The reason we had to pull over was that rain was blinding us. The rain was coming at us sideways from all directions. As we sat in that parked car, I looked up into the actual F4 tornado. It was right over us. Lightning was going around in a circle, seeming more like a man-made light show than anything natural. Suddenly it was all over, and everything was peaceful.

Looking up into the belly of the beast, I realized afterward, that I did not have any feeling whatsoever of fear. This may be due, in part to the purpose for which God created fear, namely a survival instinct. For, there was nothing to do, and nowhere to go. It would land on us and kill us, or it would not. But, especially after celebrating the Holy Eucharist, I think the bigger reason why I did not feel any fear had everything to do with what I am about to tell you.

I John 5:4-12  John 20:19-23

"Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord."

This is one of the most important lines in all of Scripture. Our faith is not based on religious concepts and ideas, but on solid fact. They were glad, and that means they saw and believed. When St. Paul summarized the Gospel for the Church in Corinth (Cor. 15:1f), he recited four facts: 1. Christ died for our sins, 2) He was buried, 3) He rose the third day, and 4) He appeared to witnesses. These facts of the Gospel were "according to the Scriptures," meaning, these facts fulfilled the Scriptural foretelling of the prophets that Messiah would come the first time as priest and sacrifice, and that after his death he would rise again:

"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." (Isaiah 53:10)

He had died as the sin offering, and now he was alive again, a man once dead, but who prolongs his days as the one in whose hand the will of God prospers forever. For a dead man to prolong his days, he must rise again. And, what is the will of God that prospers in his hand? Our collect for today provides part of the answer: "Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification..." These words were drawn from St. Paul's Epistle to the Church in Rome:

"And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him [Abraham] for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Rom. 4:22-25)

On Good Friday we had a very mournful service, for that was the day in which Christ fulfilled the Scriptures of the prophets, that he would die as the offering for sin, fulfilling as well the entire symbolic system of sacrifice in the Law of Moses. On that day we saw him as Passover Lamb and as the Atonement slain on Yom Kippor. We saw his soul sorrowful unto death the night before in the garden, and we were with him at the cross. On Sunday, that is on Easter, we were suddenly glad, sharing the joy of those who first witnessed the sight of the risen Christ. "And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. "

Our faith is based on fact. They saw him risen again, and they witnessed this sight together as a group. Their testimony was a shared testimony, something that by its nature cannot be dismissed as a delusion. His death was a fact, and his resurrection was a fact. But, now we must see not only these facts, but the meaning of these facts. His resurrection showed that He had been, all along, exactly who he claimed to be. He was vindicated. Indeed, before Abraham, He had been and always was I AM. He was, and throughout eternity had always been, One with the Father. And, yet though he was the one vindicated, that is whose words were proved true, it is we who are justified freely by His grace.

His vindication was made into our justification; for now Christ Jesus the Lord had taken away sin and had defeated death. If we hold fast and believe, we will spend eternity not only as forgiven sinners, whose Lord died to bring that forgiveness to his people; for even beyond having been forgiven, if we hold fast and believe, we will spend eternity as the children of God through the grace of the risen Lord, fully justified as if we had never sinned at all. We are forgiven because he died, and we are justified because he rose again and ever lives to make intercession for us. That means we have been made righteous, as if we had never sinned at all, in the sight of God. Forgiveness is made richer because of Divine forgetfulness, as the Bible also states plainly: He forgets our sins. So, in the eyes of God, because Christ rose again from the dead, we are restored fully and given the inheritance that our first father lost. 

We have been allowed to start all over again, and to become God's own children through Christ. This has everything to do with that little two word phrase that St. Paul repeats throughout his epistles: "In Christ." It is a small phrase, and thus easily overlooked. And, yet, it is our identity in the eyes of God; it is your identity, and has been ever since the day you were baptized into Christ. If you are "in Christ" and if you abide and dwell in Christ, God sees you in the Person of His only begotten Son. He sees you in His Son, the one Beloved of the Father in all eternity.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Eph. 1:3-6)

That God sees you in the Person of His only begotten Son means that, even beyond forgiveness, you have been justified as if you had never been born in sin, and had never sinned yourself. That is justification; that is adoption as a child of God; that is what it means to be "in Christ."

This is why it is so very tragic when any child of God chooses to live as merely a son of this fallen world ("For as in Adam all die : even so in Christ shall all be made alive"). You do not belong to this world of sin and death, and have no business living as if you did. Because we are justified freely in the Risen Christ, we are called to sanctification, that process whereby we become saints.

A saint is, simply, a holy person. In an objective sense you have been made holy by having been separated from the world of sin and death, and set apart unto God. This was done in your baptism. But, in terms of the life you live here on earth, as we also have seen in the epistles of St. Paul, you have the vocation, that is the calling, to become holy, to be a saint, conformed to the image of Christ in this world. Growing in the grace of God and acquiring holy virtues, above all charity, is the vocation every child of God has in common. This we cannot do if we choose to live in the darkness of carnality and selfishness.

The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord, though as yet they did not fully comprehend all that it meant. But, they could quickly comprehend that Christ's resurrection demonstrated the goodwill, the love and saving intention, of God. Somehow, it meant that everything he had suffered was part of the plan; it demonstrated that he had been in control all along; it meant that the fear and suffering of Friday was not a defeat, but rather the very plan, just as their Master had foretold several times. For example, hear these words from the Gospel of Mark:

"And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again." (Mark 10:32-34)

The resurrection demonstrated that Christ had come to be our Salvation from sin and death, that God had come in peace rather than as an enemy. "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)

"Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord."

Now, it was time for the Lord to send them out.

"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

This means that the Apostles were, and therefore the Apostolic Church is, in the world as the Body of Christ, the extension of His Incarnation. It means the Apostolic Church (including you and me) is here to assist and work with God in the service and ministry of reconciliation, calling all men everywhere to repent, filling the world with the Good News that Jesus Christ has taken away sin and conquered death. It means the Apostolic Church, of which you are a part, is to go into the highways and hedges and compel people to come in that His house may be filled. It means that you are here on a mission of peace, to help your neighbor obtain peace with God through Jesus Christ.

"And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

This too speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ. Of course, it speaks directly of a sacrament that belongs to the Apostolic ministry of Christ's own priesthood though ordained men. And, I have challenged those who reject our belief in the sacrament of Absolution, in these words: "If your church has no one in it who believes that he has the authority to forgive sins, how can you say that you are in the same Church founded by the Risen Lord Jesus Christ through his Apostles?"

More largely, it speaks of God's purpose that forgiveness of sins be spread far and wide. Yes, forgiveness is conditional. Indeed, after the General Confession (for example) you hear conditions in the Absolution that follows, namely, "hearty repentance and true faith." "Hearty" means simply, from the heart, or, sincere. Repentance must be sincere; not necessarily emotional; but sincere. And, "true faith" may be as small as a grain of mustard seed, for even that little is enough; for it is faith in God Who is infinite. More largely, the Good News is that the risen Christ has commissioned the Church of His Apostles to be His instrument of forgiveness, not of condemnation.

In all of history, no line has been more important than this: "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." His resurrection was a fact they could see, hear and touch. To this fact they have borne witness by preaching the Gospel, their own eyewitness testimony courageously declared, unrelentingly declared even to the shedding of their blood as His faithful martyrs. For, above all else, the message of his resurrection from the dead on the third day is the message of God's love, that God sent his Son came into the world to be our Salvation; He is our peace and reconciliation with God.

This is the message Christ has commissioned though His Apostolic Church. Therefore, we too must believe he has risen, and be glad.

Fr Wells' Bulletin Inserts

EASTER I, commonly called LOW SUNDAY

Easter Day and the Sunday following both have Gospels taken out of John 20. That monumental chapter also records two appearances of our risen Lord Jesus which we need to reflect on. These are (1) the appearance to Mary Magdalene, and (2) the appearance to the skeptical Thomas the following Sunday. (Today's Gospel records an appearance to the whole group of the disciples on the evening of Easter Day itself, sandwiched between the two appearances to individuals a week apart.)

Jesus commanded Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless but believing.” In these words our dear Lord submitted Himself to scientific investigation. He was not a disembodied spirit floating around, but a tangible body. Because His body was now glorified, it was no longer bound or limited by things like doors and locks. But it was still a flesh-and-blood body, which even a non-believer could see and touch.

So we might be puzzled by the command which Jesus gave to Mary Magdalene, the very first human to see the Risen Saviour. He had said to her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” There have indeed been those who compared these two texts (exactly ten verses apart) and concluded that poor John could not get his story straight. At first, they falsely conclude, Jesus is intangible and a week later He is tangible. Surefire proof that the Resurrection was only a tale.

We can quickly resolve the apparent discrepancy by examining both stories in the original Greek. The command “touch me not” is more accurately translated “Do not continue touching me,” or even better, “Do not cling to me.” For Mary as truly as for Thomas, Jesus is tangible.

Mary has already touched Jesus, without invitation, and who can blame her for that? The point of Jesus' command, “do not cling to me,” is that from that moment on, He has been made glorious. The former patterns of friendship and companionship between the Lord and His disciples will never be the same. He will not resume the same old life of the carpenter shop; He will no longer trudge around Galilee.

This is no loss to Mary, the other disciples, or to us. He had already promised, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” Jesus' resurrection will be our resurrection also. As He was tangible and solid, we will be tangible and solid as well. That is the promise of Eastertide. His command to us, as to Thomas, is “Be not faithless but believing.”

For most Sundays of the year, the first reading comes from the Epistles of St Paul, with occasional interruptions from Hebrews, Revelation, or the Old Testament. But beginning today (this first Sunday after Easter) for the next nine Sundays (right on through Trinity III) we have a series of lessons from the Epistles of Peter, John, and James. These are found in the third section of the New Testament called the General or “catholic” Epistles. We call these epistles “catholic” because they are not addressed to specific churches or individuals but to the Church at large.

These Epistles are quite appropriate for Eastertide because these three apostles were eye-witnesses of our Saviour's pre-crucifixion life and of the resurrection itself. Today we read from I John. John was one of the Twelve original apostles, in fact the “beloved disciple” who wrote the fourth gospel which we read during the Sundays after Easter. After hearing the women's tale that the tomb was disturbed, he ran there breathlessly and was the first to believe that Jesus had kept His promise to be raised from the dead. He was also the last of the apostles to die. He was granted the vision of Christ in His heavenly glory which we have in the final book of the New Testament.

Peter, whom Christ designated as leader of the apostles, is famous from his threefold denial of the Lord during His trial before the high priest. He was given the threefold commission to “feed my sheep,” and on Pentecost he acted as the Church's greatest preacher and herald of the resurrection. Peter continued to behave somewhat erratically. Paul tells us (Gal. 2:11) that when Peter came to Antioch, “I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” But Peter soldiered on faithfully, eventually becoming a martyr, after he had written two splendid but neglected epistles in the back of the New Testament.

The James from whom we will read on Easter IV and V was neither of the two Jameses listed among the Twelve, but a third person of that name. He had the distinction of being the step-brother of Jesus and therefore a member of the holy family. Like the other brothers of Jesus, he was not a believer or a disciple until the resurrection itself. Paul tells us (I Cor. 15:7) that James was granted a special resurrection appearance. He became the first bishop of the Jerusalem church.

We have here three quite different witnesses to Jesus' resurrection. (How silly are those who claim that Christianity was the invention of Paul!) Two of them were willing to die for the truth that Jesus was raised, and John, after his long life and ministry, died in a penal colony on the island of Patmos.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A new icon?

The unholy icon of a Deaconette Delusion
Bishop Jack Iker of the ACNA Diocese of Forth Worth is the man on the far left of this photograph. The title of this, if it were to become an icon, is taken from the words of Dr. William Tighe: "On the analogy of 'a pride of lions' or 'a gaggle of geese,' I suppose one might label this 'a delusion of deaconettes.'"
In a fairly recent posting on this blog, I asked and answered the hypothetical question: "What's the difference between us & the Anglican Church North America (ACNA)? This question comes up at least once a day." The difference of having women in what pretends to be Holy Orders, and having only the Orders that truly have been in the Church "from the Apostle's time (Anglican Ordinal)" are perfectly clear. Someone may protest the name of the icon, specifically the word "Deaconette." Should it not be "deaconess?" The answer is no. From ancient times, a deaconess has been a person among the laity, a woman who dedicated her life to serving the needs of the Church. Women who served in this role were deserving of honor and respect; but, they never presumed to be deacons, that is, to be ordained and among the clergy. 

Bishop Jack Iker deserves some respect for his stand, at times difficult, over the years. He has stood firm against the ordination of women to the priesthood. However, the matter of women in Holy Orders does not begin with the priesthood. It never has. When people tell me that most of the ACNA hold out against women's "ordination" this is what they mean. Even the best ACNA slope is slippery, and there is no sure footing. And, beside all that, where a delusion of deaconettes is spotted, a pretense of priestesses is not far away.

We pray this will change, and hope for the best.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lost 40 days?

Ray Downing and John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado (photo courtesy History Channel)

Every year, when we draw close to Easter, television pays some attention to Jesus Christ and the Gospel. In previous decades movies like "The Greatest Story ever Told" were aired; between 1977 and and 1985 NBC would show the mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth." For a time this changed, especially as we went through the opening decade of the 21st century. It became fashionable, due to the unfortunate success of  The Da Vinci Code, to make TV specials that attacked Christian belief altogether, the chief offender being the National Geographic channel several years running. Generally, as I have described for Touchstone magazine, these specials involved the money making enterprise of producing a TV special that went hand in hand with a book. And, not just any sort of book, but the sort of book that real academics in universities dismiss as unscientific, and devoid of true information. Never mind that. Just bypass real historians and archeologists, and sell those books to the public; promote them on TV as "a challenge to the faith of every Christian," present them as earth shaking, as new discoveries, and sell the sizzle of sensation with the latest and greatest "shocker."

Now, however, it seems we have advanced to a time when people have become tired of all that. The specials now seem to be less insulting to our intelligence (not to mention our faith). On the whole, this is better. Nonetheless, even the best specials that aired in 2010 and 2011 must be challenged in part, though the better  portions of them can be received as wholesome and sound. I speak here mainly of two specials that aired on the History Channel about the work of Ray Downing, described as the "creator of the 3D computer technology that produced the 'real face of Jesus' from the image of the crucified man in the Shroud of Turin." In 2010 the History Channel produced "The Real face of Jesus," from which it borrowed whole sections for "Jesus, the lost forty days" in 2011. 

First, let me say why I believe these productions have merit.

On the whole, I think Downing's work is valuable for apologists, and that he was completely correct when he said (as reported on World Net Daily), "Jesus was more than just a spiritual event. Studying the Shroud [of Turin] to produce the 3D face of Jesus, we encountered scientific evidence that the resurrection was a real physical event that happened in a moment of time 2,000 years ago." 

I agree. Considering all the evidence, I am convinced that the famous shroud, which defies all attempts to explain it away, contains an image created by a kind of energy as yet unknown to the most advanced science. Certainly, the resurrection of Christ was a physical event, and so a burst of mysterious energy into the created universe of space, energy, matter and time, had to be part of how the miracle occurred. It appears that what it left for our observation was the closest thing possible to a photograph of Christ's resurrection. 

Anyone who sees these specials will have learned useful facts. For example, (as people who are genuinely interested in the shroud already know) we have more than sufficient reason to dismiss the 1988 Carbon 14 test, after which many people claimed that the Shroud was from the 13th or early 14th century, as severely flawed. This is  especially so if, as it now appears, the cloth was not even part of the original, but an addition sewn on after a fire on December 4, 1532 at Chambery Castle in France, where the shroud was located (not to mention the affect of extreme heat and of excessive handling, both of which could create new carbons). The best evidence by which we must dismiss the Carbon 14 test results as completely wrong is, as many know, the discovery of the the Sudarium of Oviedo.1

The value of the two History channel productions lies in their expression of faith that Christ truly rose from the dead. We hope that this faith is not entirely dependent on one relic, no matter how apparent it may be by the standards of modern science that the relic is genuine. Nonetheless, if the Shroud helps the faith of some people, that is good. If its bloody picture of the crucifixion, and if the very existence of the image indicates the fact of the resurrection, then it is both a relic and very icon that silently preaches the Gospel. It draws the world's attention to Him, the One we must all behold by faith for our salvation.

Unfortunately, the History channel has added the same old baggage left over from the selling of sensation that was so tiresomely created over and over a few years ago. The fact that Dr. Elaine Pagels was among the commentators tells us that the world of TV cannot free itself from pseudo-intellectual distractions that muddle and distort the real message. The 2011 special called "Jesus, the lost forty days" was promoted in these words: 

"According to the Bible, Jesus came back from the dead and walked the earth for 40 days before ascending to heaven. But the New Testament reveals little about this defining miracle of the Christian faith. Using tools of history, technology, science and faith, HISTORY tells the little-known story. Long-buried non-Biblical sources, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the Secret Revelation of John and the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus yield astonishing information and detail about these seemingly lost 40 days. Could Jesus’ words in these ancient manuscripts contain some of his most important teachings, even though they were not included in the New Testament?"

(By the way, Josephus wrote nothing at all about those forty days.) We have two problems to tackle here. First of all, these sources are worthless as a source of reliable facts, and they contain doctrinal error. The irony is that attention to them added nothing to the TV production, but rather created a distraction from the line of argument and evidence that was proceeding along very well until that point. The bones thrown to "Gnosticism" are just a trend that is still fashionable in our time, just as several years ago it was fashionable and stylish to spend great energy on discussing both Zealots and Essenes, forcing them awkwardly like square pegs into round holes. Just as the sensation "scholars" of the 1970s tried to reconstruct an interpretation of the New Testament based on Zealots and Essenes, the first of which are barely mentioned in the New Testament, and the second not at all, so it is that these days we are subjected to the absurd spectacle of treating Third Century "Gnostic" texts as if they were equally valid to the Four Gospels. 

The simple fact is, we already know the history of the Canon of the New Testament, and we can trace how the Church identified it by a very early consensus throughout most churches in the first and second centuries. We know that it took time for Second Peter, Jude and Revelation to be universally recognized; we know that the only other books that were considered and taken seriously by any churches were The Shepherd of Hermas, and to a lesser extent, The Didache. The books of the New Testament Canon were generally received, and it is in them that the Fathers had recognized real authority. But, the "Gnostic" texts were not stifled, nor were they "banned from the Bible." The simple fact is, the Church, to whatever extent its people were even aware of them, never took them seriously.

The producers of the special treated us to the spectacle of Elaine Pagels, in true sensation monger style, reading into the text of the Gospel of John a dark and sinister effort to discredit the reputation of St. Thomas. Of course, in the fantasy world of Pagels' writing, that was because of his "Gospel" that had all the secrets of gnosis that the other Apostles had not been permitted to hear-only Thomas and the alleged Mrs. Jesus, Mary Magdalene. Somehow, Pagels manages to overlook the fact that Thomas is honored by the Church as an Apostle, one of the twelve, who built the church as far away as India, and who died a martyr; just as she manages to overlook the respect given Mary Magdalene and her title as "Saint" in the Church.

As we have seen before, Pagels has no scruples about inventing her fairy tales from whole cloth, nor any inner moral restraint from slandering holy men and martyrs of the Faith, nor any ethical problem with inventing wild historical assertions based on innuendo and suggestion. If only real history could be created in this manner-but real history cannot be created at all. Pagels does not have the respect of professional academia, because among genuine scholars she has earned only disdain. But, her books sell; so she can tolerate the cold shoulder of the academic world as she "cries all the way to the bank."

It would be good to see a documentary on Ray Downing's work without the undeserved homage paid to the sensationalist "scholars." Needless distraction would be taken away from the overall effort, and the total effect would be truly wholesome, safe even for the average person whose defenses against hogwash have not been erected and fortified. Sadly, for a few more years no doubt, we will be hearing about the "Gnostics" and their "Scriptures," and about the mean, bad "mainstream Christians"--you know, the ones who were regularly hounded to the death by Roman persecution, while the "Gnostics" managed to avoid persecution altogether. And, will someone please tell the TV producers that there was no group called "the Gnostics" in history? It is Christian scholars who have labeled "Gnostic" a kind of heresy, so naming many different heresies that had in common nothing more than claims to special knowledge. They could as well be called esoteric (and, for centuries, it was only the Church that had preserved any memory of them at all, and of their writings, as part of history).

The other problem with the 2011 special was the whole idea of forty "lost days." What did Jesus do in that time? St. Luke has told us that already.

"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." (Luke 24:44,45)

"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." (Acts 1"1-3)

In the New Testament, we see a consistent pattern of how the Old Testament was quoted to bring out its greatest meaning, the truth about Messiah. In the various Epistles we read a clear, coherent and well established theology, truth that was at one time defended in Jerusalem at the proto-Council of apostles and elders (Acts 15). The truth about the kingdom of God did not belong to one of several competing camps, nor to only one Apostle. Nor were the things that Jesus explained to them covered in a brief conversation. The forty days have not been lost. Jesus used them to explain and to teach, and the fruit of those days has been the property of the whole Church ever since. 

1.  Numerous historic documents tell us that the Sudarium has been in Oviedo since the 8th century and in Spain since the 7th century. It seems, too, to have arrived from Jerusalem. Documents from the late Roman period and the early Middle Ages are often sketchy and prone to chronological mistakes, and those pertaining to the Sudarium are no exception. But from a multiplicity of sources, scholars have extracted core elements of historical certainty and plausibility sufficient for a fair degree of historical reconstruction...

The blood (stain symmetry, type and other indicators) on the Sudarium matches the blood on the Shroud.

There are many points of coincidence between all these points and the Shroud of Turin - the blood group, the way the corpse was tortured and died, and the macroscopic overlay of the stains on each cloth. This is especially notable in that the blood on the Sudarium, shed in life as opposed to postmortem, corresponds exactly in blood group, blood type and surface area to those stains on the Shroud on the nape of the neck. If it is clear that the two cloths must have covered the same corpse, and this conclusion is inevitable from all the studies carried out up to date, and if the history of the Sudarium can be trustworthily extended back beyond the fourteenth century, which is often referred to as the Shroud's first documented historical appearance, then this would take the Shroud back to at least the earliest dates of the Sudarium's known history. The ark of relics and the Sudarium have without any doubt at all been in Spain since the beginning of the seventh century, and the history recorded in various manuscripts from various times and geographical areas take it all the way back to Jerusalem in the first century. The importance of this for Shroud history cannot be overstressed. (You may read this whole article here).

Saturday, April 23, 2011


John 20:1F

One of the great themes we discover on that first Easter is the theme of disbelief. I am not talking about the honest skepticism of Thomas, but about the general disbelief of everybody who was told that Jesus had risen from the dead. The Book of proverbs tells us not to sing songs to a heavy heart, because people who are in the deep valley of bitter disappointment will tend to resent the sound of cheer as hollow and meaningless.

Today’s Gospel reading from John corrects a common misstatement of the facts. It is commonly stated that the women were quick to believe, and the hard-hearted men weren’t; but, contrary to popular imagination, when we compare the various accounts, we learn from Matthew and Luke that the first witnesses of the resurrection were “Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them.” They saw the Lord as they ran back to tell the Apostles what the angel had said.
 Comparing John’s account to these other accounts, we learn that Mary Magdalene, probably because she was running, was separated from the other women, and did not see the risen Lord along with them (she was not the first to see Him; the other women saw Him first). After Peter and John went to see the empty tomb, at Mary Magdalene’s urging and with her accompanying them, they left, but Mary stayed behind-to weep. Did Mary believe? Listen to her words, as we look a little further at this 20th chapter of John’s Gospel. When two angels asked “Woman, why weepest thou?” She answered: “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” 
No, she did not believe either (and please, put away the modern non-sense that has taken hold on popular imagination. The real Mary Magdalene, as presented in the Bible, was probably a rich widow who never had a shady past, and who also had no more special relationship with the Lord than any of the other many, many people who traveled in His company of hundreds of disciples). In fact, the only people who believed at that moment were the other women, the ones who had seen more than merely an empty tomb; who had seen Jesus Himself. No one believed on the basis of an empty tomb, and no one even believed the word of angels. It was not enough; it was little better than songs sung to a heavy heart.
In fact, the empty tomb proved nothing. How could it? Mary easily explained away any significance of an empty tomb.
 “Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?’ She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, ‘Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.’”
 There you have it. If the Apostles had preached merely an empty tomb (and they would not have bothered-but if they had) we would not be here. History would have been completely different. If people in such a world knew of the Apostles at all, they would take time from the worship of their gods, perhaps from human sacrifices or other abominable religious practices, to laugh about some silly ancient Jewish fishermen who got nowhere, doing nothing. There is no gospel of an empty tomb. That is not our message. The gardener, the gardener, of course! That gardener did it! He took the body somewhere else.

“Jesus saith unto her, ‘Mary.’ She turned herself, and saith unto him, ‘Rabboni;’ which is to say, ‘Master.’”

Now we’re getting somewhere.
It is part of the Gospel, indeed an absolutely necessary part of the Gospel, that the Risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared to witnesses. If evangelists do not preach that the Risen Lord was seen, and identified, they fail to preach the Gospel accurately and fully. If the eyewitness accounts of His post resurrection appearances are omitted, the message is not compelling, not convincing, and ultimately just plain boring. An empty tomb-so what? A Risen Christ? Now that is compelling.
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” (vs. 19, 20)
We need to know that they saw Him. He bid them to look closely and to touch His wounds.
“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39)
  And, a week later:

“Then saith he to Thomas, ‘reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said unto him, ‘My Lord and my God.’” (John 20:27,28)

St. Paul told the Christians in Corinth that the Gospel had certain essential points.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (I Cor. 15:1-9)

We see four essential points: 1.Christ died for our sins, and 2, was buried. 3) He rose the third day and 4) appeared to witnesses. Paul said that this was “according to the Scriptures,” that same phrase we ourselves have said in the Creed. It means that these things were foretold by the Prophets, and written in the Scriptures centuries before the actual events happened.

What has been handed down to us from the ancient Church is that eyewitnesses told their story, their good news, that is their Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostles did not preach just religious ideals, a pattern of secret Gnosis, an impressive and considered philosophy, a collection of clichés or even the Golden Rule. They told the world that Christ had risen from the dead; they had seen Him alive again. Had they not seen Him, there would be no such thing as Christianity. The Church would never have existed. The world would have remained mostly in the darkness of violent and cruel pagan religions. All history would have been different, for the worse; for it is the message of Christ that has made compassion and justice possible, to what degree these ideals have prevailed among the many nations on earth.

Sadly, today the word “martyr” has been corrupted by radical Islamists. For Christians, however, the word “martyr” is a good word. A true martyr does not kill himself or others. One cannot do violence in the Name of Christ, inasmuch as the whole idea of taking up the sword for Christ, whose kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), is utterly blasphemous. A martyr is not an Islamist suicide bomber. A real martyr is a witness of Jesus Christ. A true martyr, a Christian martyr, is motivated by love.

The word “martyr” was not about death, and a martyr was not someone who died for a cause; that is, not until long after the Church was spreading through the various peoples of the ancient Roman empire. The word comes from the Greek μάρτυς (martys). A martyr was a person called to give testimony as a witness. Because the witnesses who saw the risen Christ were condemned to death for their eyewitness testimony that they had seen the Lord Jesus Christ alive again after His resurrection from the dead, and because they went bravely to their deaths by refusing to recant or change their testimony, the definition of “martyr” came to mean someone who gave his life for a cause.

No one would give his life for an empty tomb, so easily explained away as the efforts of a gardener. But, for our sakes and for the sake of everyone who might hear the Gospel, eyewitnesses bravely laid down their lives rather than to save their lives by recanting their testimony that they had seen the Lord alive, raised from the dead.

We need to recognize their initial unbelief at first, when confronted with nothing more than the mystery of an empty tomb. We need to realize that they were as realistic, skeptical and disappointed as any of us would have been. And, even though they had seen miracles at the hands of Christ, their skepticism prevailed at first. Efforts to explain away their testimony always end up looking pathetic and weak. That is because the attempts to explain away the eyewitness testimony end up being impossible to believe, far more hard to believe than the truth of His resurrection. The whole idea of a group hallucination is the silliest. One may as well try to convince us that several people could all wake up and discover they had had the same dream. 

The simple fact is this: The Apostles and other disciples were not ready to believe in the resurrection. They were certainly not preconditioned to believe it. All of them, not just Thomas, refused at first to believe. Thomas was simply not there when the others had their doubts removed, and their skepticism satisfied. That includes Mary Magdalene who warded off even the word of angels, weeping still in her unbelief until she saw Him. They were not susceptible or gullible. In fact, they were bitterly disappointed and of heavy heart, not ready for empty promises or cheerful songs. “As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.” (Prov. 25:20) But, these skeptics became convinced. The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. They believed because they were eyewitnesses.

The Gospel comes to us as history. God has invaded the sinful and sorrowful world, and has left His mark, His footprint. All of His promises have been confirmed, and with them all of His claims. Christ’s great I AM statements, identifying Himself as God, have been vindicated and proved true. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (II Cor. 1:20) The Gospel preached by the Church is still that eyewitness testimony of Apostles and other early disciples who saw the risen Lord. We do not preach the mystery of an empty tomb, but rather the certain testimony, confirmed in the blood of martyrs, that explains that empty tomb. We preach Christ crucified as the risen Lord of glory. 

Fr Wells' Bulletin Inserts


“This is the day which the LORD hath made:
we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118. 24).

This verse from the Psalter is appointed to be used as the Opening Sentence at Morning Prayer on Easter Day. Although long associated with the Easter liturgy, this text is sometimes bandied about without reference to Easter, meaning little more than “Today is a nice day and I have a pleasant feeling about life.” No, indeed, the “day” in this text is a special day, a unique day, a day in which God has acted marvelously, powerfully, decisively, a day like no other day.

The psalmist was singing of the day when God brought His people out of Egypt, destroyed Pharaoh, and set His chosen Israel on the way to the land of promise. He was singing moreover of the day when God raised Jesus from the dead, destroyed the powers of sin, death, and hell, and set us on the way to our resurrection in the world to come. In the Easter liturgy we take up his song and sing with the psalmist, “This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

But the “day” which the Lord made for us on that Easter morning did not end with sunset. This day was no mere 24 hour period, but a new epoch, the first day of a New Creation. This is why all the Gospels are so emphatic that the resurrection took place on the “first day of the week.” Because Easter continues, throughout this new age, the great “day” is not over even yet! The Risen Lord continues to appear to His faithful. And Peter wrote:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1. 3).

Peter goes on to spell out an analogy between Jesus' resurrection and our rebirth. That analogy was so strong that the Book of Revelation speaks mysteriously of our first and second resurrections, the first being that moment when the Holy Ghost first invades and takes possession of our souls, signified by our Baptism, the second being “the Resurrection of the Body” at the coming of Christ.

At some point in time (perhaps in our unconscious infancy, perhaps in our unconscious adulthood, perhaps a moment we recall vividly) we were born again and received the gift of new life. That was our Easter Day, our Resurrection. That also was “the day which the LORD hath made.” So this Easter Day we celebrate our dear Saviour's resurrection from the tomb, giving thanks for the new life of our rebirth, and looking forward to our own physical resurrection when He comes again.

“Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” St Matthew 28:5—6.

Many of us still recall a TV crime show called “Dragnet,” which related the adventures of a pair of police investigators. The show was remarkable in its time and today seems almost quaint in that it consistently presented its plots in moral terms of good in conflict with evil. It added one common saying to the collection of American aphorisms: “The fact, just the facts, ma'am.” The principal investigator always called people back from opinions, impressions, and feelings to the only important thing, the Facts.

Our Easter preaching sometimes falls short of its purpose because (in a vainglorious effort to be clever and original) we try to explore our feelings or deduce some general truth or arrive at some profound abstraction. On this day of all days (it is not called the “Queen of Feasts” for nothing!) we must be simple and stick to the facts.

The facts are: (1) the cold stiff corpse of Jesus, about 40 hours after He was found dead, was strangely resuscitated; (2) He sprang up with new life and vigor; (3) the heavy boulder which imprisoned Him in His tomb was pushed aside; (4) one or more angels met the handful of disciples who visited the tomb and stated clearly what had happened; (5) on the first Easter Day and for quite a while afterward, many people saw, heard and recognized this crucified and risen Jesus; (6) believers and unbelievers alike agreed that whatever had happened, the tomb of Jesus was suddenly empty; (7) unbelievers never produced the corpse of Jesus; (8) those who claimed to see Jesus alive never abandoned their story, even when they were put to death for telling it.

These are some of the facts of the case. They clearly point not to a personal experience, nor to a religious revival, nor to group excitement, but to an Event, an event as simple and as factual as the empty spot in the tomb “where the Lord lay.”

For Christians, this wonderful event, which took place in clock time at a certain spot of the world in A.D. 30, is the fact of all facts, the supreme event which has transformed and transfigured all other events before and since. Just as Jesus in His resurrection power brushed aside that heavy stone like a cobweb, so this event has grabbed hold of us and given to us a small but delicious portion of His wonderful new resurrection life. “The Lord is risen! Come see the place where the Lord lay!”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lancelot Andrewes

Good Friday, preached the 26th day of March 1605, before King James in Greenwich [Note: the word "theory" as used in those days, meant a pattern thought out and planned. The word "theory" meant what it means to this day when speaking of "music theory." It is not a thing to be proved, but a pattern.]

Text Hebrews xii:2
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 the 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 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, '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 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, '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 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 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,' etc.

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. 'From' and 'to:' to look 'from,' and 'to.' 2. Then the two verbs: 1. One in the verse expressed. 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 fullness 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.'

'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, 'the beginning,' is in `ArcchyÕj, the Author; and te/loj, 'the end,' is in Teleiwt j, 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 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, '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.' '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 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 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 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 ‘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: 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 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 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 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.

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, '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.

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. 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,' '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 '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; '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 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 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 '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 'look off of them' or we shall never 'look upon' this aright.

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 '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 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.' 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 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 '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? 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, 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 '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, '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 fullness 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; 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 fullness 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 fulfill 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.