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in it, that he fears not to die for it. This is Mysterium, opertum, et apertum, hid from those that are lost", but manifested to his saints it is a mystery, and a great mystery; that is next: not that there is not a greater; for the mystery of iniquity is greater than the mystery of godliness: compare creeds to creeds, and the new creed of the Trent Council, is greater by many articles than the apostles' creed is. Compare oaths to oaths; and Berengarian's old oath in the Roman church, that he must swear to the frangitur et teritur, that he broke the flesh of Christ with his teeth, and ground it with his jaws; and the new oath of the Council of Trent, that he must swear that all those subtle schoolpoints, determined there, in which a man might have believed the contrary a few days before, and yet have been a good Roman Catholic too, are true, and true de fide; so true, as that he cannot be saved now, except he believe them to be so: the Berengarian's oath, and the Trent oath, have much more difficulty in them, than to swear, that King James is lawful king in all his dominions, and therefore exempt from all foreign jurisdiction over him. There is a mystery of iniquity, declared in a creed of iniquity, and in an oath of iniquity, greater than the mystery of godliness but yet this is great, that is, great enough; he needs no more, that hath this, faith with a pure conscience he need not go up to heaven 16 for more, not to a vice-god, to an infallible bishop of Rome; He need not go over sea for more, says Moses there; not to the hills, beyond sea, nor to the lake beyond sea : for God hath given him his station in a church, where this mystery is sufficiently declared and explicated. The mystery of iniquity may be great, for it hath wrought a great while". Jam operatur, says the apostle in his time; The mystery of iniquity doth already work, and it is likely to work still: it is but a little while since we saw it work under ground, in the vault. But if (as hath been lately, royally, and religiously intimated to us all) their insolency have so far infatuated them, as to think themselves at an end of their work, and promise themselves a holiday, our assurance is in this, Pater operatur adhuc, et ego operor, says Christ 18; My Father works yet, and I work: and if amongst us
142 Cor. iv. 3.
16 Deut. xxx. 12. 18 John v. 17.
the Father work, and the Son work; for all the vain hopes of some, and the vain fears of others, the mystery of godliness will stand and grow.
Now, how far this mystery, this great mystery, this mystery without controversy is revealed in this text, we are to look by the several beams thereof; of which, the first is, manifestatus in carne, God was manifested in the flesh. Cæli enarrant, says David, The heavens declare the glory of God"; and that should be the harmony of the spheres. Invisibilia conspiciuntur, says St. Paul, Invisible things of God are seen in the visible20; and that should be the prospect of this world. The knowledge of God was manifested often in the prophets; he foretold, therefore he foresaw. His wisdom was manifested often, in frustrating all councils of all Achitophels against him. And his power was manifested often : in the water; consider it at least in the Red Sea, and in Pharaoh, if you will bring it no nearer home; and in the fire, consider it at least in the fiery furnace, if you will bring it no nearer home. His knowledge, his wisdom, his power, his mercy, his justice, all his attributes are always manifested in all his works. But, Deus in carne, that the person of God, God himself, should be manifested, and manifested in our flesh, Ineffabile omni sermoni, omni ignotum intelligentiæ, ipse angelorum primati non agnitum". And if the primate of the angels, the highest order of them that stand in God's sight, know it not; if no understanding were able to conceive it, that had all the refinings and concoction, that study, and speculation, and zeal to be rir desideriorum (as the angel said to Daniel) a man that desired to dwell upon the meditation of his God, could give; must not I, who always come with Moses' uncircumcised lips, not to speak persuasively; and always with Jeremy's defect, Puer sum, nescio loqui, Not to speak plainly; come now with Zachary's dumbness, not to speak at all in this mystery? But hearkening to that which he who only knew this mystery, hath said, Verbum caro factum est, The Word was made flesh; and Deus manifestatus in carne, God was manifested in the flesh; rest myself in his Word, and pray you in Christ's stead to do so too, in this, and all mysteries of your religion, to rest upon
19 Psalm xix. 2.
20 Rom. i. 20.
the only Word of God: for in this particular, it is not misgrounded, nor mis-collected by him that says, Omnes pene errores, Almost all errors have proceeded out of this, that this great mystery, that God was manifested in the flesh, Aut non omnino, aut non sicuti est creditum; is either not all, or not aright believed. The Jews believe not at all; and to them Tertullian says enough: Since out of their prophets they confess, that when the Messias shall be manifested, they must for a time suffer many calamities in this world; If their Messias should be manifested now (says he) what could they suffer? They say they must suffer banishment; Et ubi dispersio gentis, quæ jam extorris; Whither shall that nation be banished, which is already in banishment and dispersion? Redde statum Judæis, let the Jews show me a state, a kingdom, a commonwealth, a government, magistrates, judicatures, merchandise, and armies; let them show something to lose for a Messias, and then let them look for a Messias. The Jews are within the non omnino, they believe not this mystery at all: and then, for the non sicut est, for the not believing it aright, as the old Valentinians are renewed in the Anabaptists (for both deny that Christ took flesh of the Virgin) so the old Manichæans are not renewed, but exceeded in the Transubstantiators: for they said the body of Christ was left in one place, in the sun; these say, It is upon as many tables, and in as many boxes as they will. But whether the manifestation of God in the flesh were referred to the incarnation of Christ; or to his declaration, when the wise men of the East came to see him at Bethlehem ; whether when it was done, or when it was declared to be done, hath admitted a question, because the Western church hath called that day of their coming to him, the Epiphany; and epiphany is manifestation. Then therefore is God manifested to us, when, as these wise men offered their myrrh and frankincense, we offer the sacrifice of prayer; and as they offered their gold, we offer our temporal wealth for the glory of Christ Jesus: and when the love of him corrects in thee the intemperances of adorning thy flesh, of pampering thy flesh, of obeying thy flesh, then especially is this epiphany, God is manifested in the flesh, in thy flesh.
Now, when he was manifested in the flesh, it behoved him to be justified in the Spirit; for he came in similitudinem carnis peccatis: they took him for a sinner, and they saw him converse with sinners for anything they could see, it might have been caro peccati, sinful flesh; and they saw enough to make them sure that it was caro mortis, mortal flesh. Though he were panis de cœlo, bread from heaven, yet himself was hungry; and though he were fons perennis, an everlasting spring, yet himself was thirsty; though he were Deus totius consolationis, the God of all comfort, yet his soul was heavy unto death; and though he were Dominus vitæ, the Lord of life, yet death had dominion over him. When therefore Christ was manifested in the flesh, flesh subject to death, death, which was the reward of sin; and would take upon him to forgive sins; it behoved him to be extraordinarily justified, extraordinarily declared to the world: and so he was; he was justified in Spiritu, in the Spirit; first, in Spiritu Sancto, in the Spirit, in the Holy Ghost; both when the Holy Ghost was sent to him, and when the Holy Ghost was sent by him, from him. The Holy Ghost was sent to him in his baptism, and he tarried upon him: Christ was not, a Christian is not justified by one access, one visitation, one approach of the Holy Ghost; not by one religious act: it is a permanency, a perseverance that justifies that foolishness, and that fascination (as the apostle calls it) that witchcraft which he imputes to the Galatians, is not so worn out, but that there are foolish and bewitched Galatians still, that begun in the spirit, and will be made perfect in the flesh; that received their Christianity in one church, and attend a confirmation, a better state, in a worse. Christ was justified by the Holy Ghost, when the Holy Ghost came to him: so he was, when he came from him, at Pentecost, upon his apostles; and then he came in tongues, and fiery tongues. Christ was not, a Christian is not justified in silence, but in declarations and open professions; in tongues: and not in dark and ambiguous speeches, not infinite and retractable speeches, but in fiery tongues; fiery, that is, fervent; fiery, that is, clear. He was justified so, a Spiritu Sancto; and so he was, a Spiritu suo, by his own Spirit: not only in that protestation of his, Who can accuse me of any
23 Rom. viii. 3.
24 2 Cor. i. 3.
sin? for St. Paul could say that he was unreproachable in the sight of men, and yet he could not choose but say, Quorum ego maximus; that he was the greatest sinner of all men. I were a miserable man, if I could accuse Christ of no sin; if I could not prove all my sins his, I were under a heavy condemnation. But that which we intend by his being justified, a Spiritu suo, by his own Spirit, is, not by the testimony that he gave of himself; but by that Spirit, that Godhead, that dwelt bodily in him, and declared him, and justified him in that high power and practice of miracles. When Christ came into this world, as if he had come a day before any day, a day before Moses' in principio, before there was any creature (for when Christ came, there was creatures that could exercise any natural faculty in opposition to his purposes) when nature his vicegerent gave up her sword to his hands; when the sea shut up herself like marble, and bore him; and the earth opened herself like a book, to deliver out her dead, to wait upon him; when the winds, in the midst of their own roaring, could hear his voice; and death itself, in putrid and corrupt carcases, could hear his voice; and when his own body, whom his own soul had left and abandoned, was not abandoned by this Spirit, by this Godhead (for the Deity departed not from the dead body of Christ) then was Christ especially justified by this Spirit, in whose power he raised himself from the dead; he was justified in Spiritu Sancto, and in spiritu suo; two witnesses were enough for him. Add a third for thyself, et justificetur in spiritu tuo, let him be justified in thy spirit: God is safe enough in himself, and yet it was a good declaratory addition, that the Publicans justified God: Wisdom is safe enough of herself, and yet Wisdom is justified of her children 25: Christ is sufficiently justified; but justificetur in spiritu tuo, in thy spirit. To say, If I consider the Talmud, Christ may as well be the Messias, as any whom the Jews place their marks upon; if I consider the Alchoran, Christ is like enough to be a better prophet than Mahomet; if I consider the arguments of the Arians, Christ may be the Son of God for all that; if I consider the church of Rome, and ours, he is as likely to manifest himself in his own Word here, as there in their word; to say but so, Christ may be
25 Luke vii. 29. Matt. ii. 19.