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God for anything I know: this is but to bail him, not to justify him; not to quit him, but to put him over to the sessions, to the great sessions, where he shall justify himself; but none of them, who do not justify him, testify for him, in spiritu suo, sincerely in their souls: nay, that is not enough: to justify is an act of declaration; and no man knows what is in man, but the spirit of man" and therefore he that leaves any outward thing undone, that belongs to his calling, for Christ, is so far from having justified Christ, as that at the last day, he shall meet his voice with them that cried, Crucify him, and with theirs that cried, Not Christ, but Barabbas; if thou doubt in thy heart, if thou disguise in thine actions, non justificatur in spiritu tuo, Christ is not justified in thy spirit; and that is it which concerns thee
Christ had all this testimony more, Visus ab angelis, He was seen of angels: which is, not only visited by angels, served by angels; waited upon by angels: so he was, and he was so in every passage, in every step. An angel told his mother, that he should be born and an angel told the shepherd, that he was born; and that which directed the wise men of the East where to find him, when he was born, is also believed by some of the ancients, to have been an angel in the likeness of a star. When he was tempted by the devil, angels came and ministered to him, but the devil had left him before; his own power, had dissipated his. In his agony in the garden, an angel came from heaven to strengthen him; but he had recovered before, and was come to his veruntamen, Not my will, but thine be done. He told Peter, he could have more than twelve legions of angels to assist him29; but he would not have the assistance of his own. sword: he denies not that which the devil says, that the angels had in charge, that he should not dash his foot against a stone 30; but they had an easy service of it; for his foot never dashed, never stumbled, never tripped in any way. As soon as any stone lay in his way, an angel removed it: He rolled away the stone from the sepulchre". There the angel testified to the women that sought him, not only that he was not there, (that was a poor
comfort) but where he was: He is gone into Galilee, and there you shall find him. There also the angel testified to the men of Galilee, that looked after him, not only that he was gone up (that was but a poor comfort) but that he should come again. The same Jesus shall so come as he went. There in heaven, they perform that service, whilst he stays there, which they are called upon to do: Let all the angels of God worship him; and in judgment, when the Son of man shall come in his glory, all the holy angels shall be with him; in every point of that great compass, in every arch, in every section of that great circle, of which no man knows the diameter, how long it shall be from Christ's first coming to his second, visus ab angelis, he was seen, he was visited, he was waited upon by the angels. But there is more intended in this, than so.
Christ was seen of the angels, otherwise now, than ever before: something was revealed to the angels themselves concerning Christ, which they knew not before; at least, not so as they knew it now. For, all the angels do not always know all things: if they had, there would have been no dissension, no strife, no difference between the two angels; the angel of Persia would not have withstood the other angel twenty-one days"; neither would have resisted God's purpose, if both had known it; St. Dionyse, who considers the names, and natures, and places, and apprehensions of angels, most of any, observes of the highest orders of angels, Ordines supremi ad Jesu aspectum hæsitabant; The highest of the highest orders of angels, were amazed at Christ's coming up in the flesh; it was a new and unexpected thing to see Christ come thither, in that manner. There they say with amazement, Quis iste? Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ? And Christ answers there, Ego, It is I, I that speak in righteousness, I that am mighty to save. The angels reply, Wherefore are thy garments red like him that treadeth the wine-press? And Christ gives them satisfaction, Calcavi; You mistake not the matter, I have trodden the wine-press; and Calcari solus, I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me. The angels then knew
not this, not all this, not all the particulars of this, the mystery of Christ's incarnation for the redemption of man: the angels knew it in general; for, it was commune quoddam principium; it was the general mark, to which all their service, as they were ministering spirits, was directed. But for particulars, as amongst the prophets, some of the later understood more than the former (I understand more than the ancients, says David) and the apostles understood more than the prophets, even of those things which they had prophesied, (this mystery in other ages was not made known, as it is now revealed unto the holy apostles 37;) so the angels are come to know some things of Christ, since Christ came, in another manner than before. And this may be that which St. Paul intends, when he says, that he was made a minister of the Gospel, To the intent, that now, unto principalities and powers, in heavenly places, might be known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God. And St. Peter also, speaking of the administration of the church, expresses it so, That the angels desire to look into it. Which is not only that which St. Augustine says, Innotuit a seculis per ecclesiam angelis, That the angels saw the mystery of the Christian religion, from before all beginnings, and that by the church, Quia ipsa ecclesia illis, in Deo apparuit; Because they saw in God the future church, from before all beginnings; but even in the propagation and administration of the church, they see many things now, which distinctly, effectually, experimentally, as they do now, they could not see before. And so, to this purpose, visus in nobis, Christ is seen by the angels, in us and our conversation now. Spectaculum sumus, says the apostle 10; We are made a spectacle to men and angels. The word is there theatrum, and so St. Hierome reads it: and therefore let us be careful to play those parts well, which even the angels desire to see well acted. Let him that finds himself to be the honester man by thinking so, think in the name of God, that he hath a particular tutelar angel, that will do him no harm to think so: and let him that thinks not so, yet think, that so far as conduces to the support of God's children, and to the joy of the angels themselves, and to the glory of God; the
angels do see men's particular actions: and then, if thou wouldst not solicit a woman's chastity, if her servant were by to testify it; nor calumniate an absent person in the king's ear, if his friends were by to testify it; if thou canst slumber in thyself, that main consideration, that the eye of God is always open, and always upon thee; yet have a little religious civility, and holy respect, even to those angels that see thee: that those angels which see Christ Jesus now, sat down in glory at the right hand of his Father; all sweat wiped from his brows, and all tears from his eyes; all his stripes healed, all his blood stanched, all his wounds shut up, and all his beauty returned there; when they look down hither, to see the same Christ in thee, may not see him scourged again, wounded, torn and mangled again, in thy blasphemings, nor crucified again in thy irreligious conversation visus ab angelis, he was seen of the angels, in himself, whilst he was here: and he is seen in his saints upon earth, by angels now; and shall be so to the end of the world: which saints he hath gathered from the Gentiles: which is the next branch; predicatus Gentibus, he was preached to the Gentiles.
Mercy and truth meet together, says David": everywhere in God's proceedings; they meet together; but nowhere closer, than in calling the Gentiles. Jesus Christ was made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God 42: Wherein consisted that truth? To confirm the promises made unto the fathers, says the apostle there, and that is to the Jews: but was Christ a minister of the circumcision only for that, only for the truth? No: Truth and mercy meet together, as it follows there; and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. The Jews were a holy nation; that was their addition; gens sancta; but the addition of the Gentiles, was peccatores, sinners: We are Jews by nature, and not of the Gentiles, sinners, says St. Paul: He that touched the Jews, touched the apple of God's eye; and for their sakes, God rebuked kings, and said, Touch not mine anointed: but upon the Gentiles, not only dereliction, but indignation, and consternation, and devastation, and extermination, everywhere interminated, inflicted everywhere, and everywhere
41 Psalm LXXxv. 10.
42 Rom. xv. 8.
43 Gal. ii. 15.
multiplied: the Jews had all kind of assurance and ties upon God; both law, and custom; they both prescribed in God, and God had bound himself to them by particular conveyance; by a conveyance written in their flesh, in circumcision; and the counterpane written in his flesh; I have graven thy name in the palms of my hand"; but for the Gentiles, they had none of this assurance: When they were without Christ (says the apostle) having no hope (that is, no covenant to ground a hope upon) ye were without God in this world". To contemplate God himself, and not in Christ, is to be without God. And then, for Christ to be preached to such as these, to make this sun to set at noon to the Jews, and rise at midnight to the antipodes, to the Gentiles, this was such an abundant, such a superabundant mercy, as might seem almost to be above the bargain, above the contract, between Christ and his Father; more than was conditioned and decreed for the price of his blood, and the reward of his death: for when God said, I will declare my decree; that is, what I intended to give him, which is expressed thus, I will set him my king upon my holy hill of Sion"; which seems to concern the Jews only: God adds then, Postula à me, Petition to me, make a new suit to me; et dabo tibi Gentes: I will give thee not only the Jews, but the Gentiles for thine inheritance: and therefore Lætentur Gentes, says David, Let the Gentiles rejoice"; and we in them, that Christ hath asked us at his Father's hand, and received us: and Lætentur insula, says that prophet too, Let the islands rejoice; and we in them, that he hath raised us out of the sea, out of the ocean-sea, that overflowed all the world with ignorance; and out of the Mediterranean Sea, that hath flowed into so many other lands; the sea of Rome, the sea of superstition.
There was then a great mercy in that, predicatus Gentibus, that he was preached to the Gentiles; but the great power is in the next, creditus mundo, that he was believed in the world. We have a calling in our church; that makes us preachers: and we have canons in our church; that makes us preach and we bring a duty, and find favour; that makes us preach here: there is a power here, that makes bills of preachers: but in whose
44 Isaiah XLIX. 16.
Eph. ii. 12.
47 Psalm xcvii. 1.