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nor the moon, nor in any other creature, but in the Son only, who was born of the Virgin Mary. In him alone is salvation, grace, and life; and whatever you form in your imagination out of Christ, is a vain imagination and mere idolatry.
This the papists know not. Whenever these, therefore, teach any thing concerning the worship, they either say nothing about any worship, but some forms which they themselves have formed and chosen: or, where they are in the least of their error, they lead men away to Moses and an obedience unto the law and the Ten Commandments.
But those that look at Christ find such a God as they need not fear, but such an one as they may embrace with reverence, and with a confidence in his mercy. As, therefore, the holy Jews knew no other God than him who commanded them to worship him before his mercy-seat; and as they knew no other kind of worship but that which was performed in the temple, and commanded of God himself; so, we cleave to the Son alone, and in him we find the Father, and we have salvation and eternal life. This is our wisdom who are Christians : we restrain all the wandering thoughts of our hearts, and cleave to the Son only: nor do we know any other God out of the Son. For the Son being exalted draws all things unto himself. All they, therefore, who know not, or who lose him, are tossed about on the sea of damnation, and cannot get into the haven of salvation. On the other hand, all who have Christ, and who look on him, as on the brazen serpent, with a fixed eye; that is, who believe with a steady faith that he was offered up for our sins--all these are safe and free from Satan, and in possession of the true God, and eternal wisdom, righteousness, and life.
There is, therefore, a peculiar force in the expression “Kiss the Son :" its ignifies, Embrace ye the Son with your whole heart, and look at, and hear nothing else besides Christ and him crucified. He that looks, therefore, at any thing else in religion, or seeks any thing higher, he will err, and wander from the way of salvation.
We may use our reason and wisdom in all other things, in governing our family, in following our employments, and in buying and selling: but when we are seeking after the true worship of God, here, we are to shut out all other ways of reason's forming, and cleave unto this Son only.
“ Lest he be angry and ye perish in the way.”The prophet saw that this “ way” would be despised in the world. And thus the Jews, the Turks, and all the nations judge it a most absurd thing in us to worship a Man who sustained all the common passions of the flesh which other men endure, nay, who was numbered among transgressors and nailed to the cross.
The papists, althongh they are not offended at this infirmity in Christ, yet teach another way of life besides believing in Christ's life and his works. They detract nothing from the sacrifice of Christ and his merits, yet they ascribe the merit of the remission of sins to their own works and deserts. Do they not then thereby make another Christ, besides him whom the Father has appointed for us, to be our righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, and redemption ? Therefore, instead of the ‘kiss' which the Holy Ghost here commands to be given unto Christ alone, they kiss their masses, their fasts, and their hoods; but they kiss Christ with the kiss of Judas, for they hate this his doctrine, and persecute him with every kind of cruelty. This, the Holy Ghost sees, and therefore he gives this advice and threatening; saying, either adore this Son, or know that ye are under wrath. For if ye are considering how God must be appeased, and how the remission of sins must be obtained; know this, that ye must either kiss the Son, or perish for ever. There is no medium.
Thus John declares, “ He that believeth not the Son the wrath of God abideth on him.” And again, “ He that believeth not is condemned already.” Whether he be a king, a pastor, a monk, a soldier, a married man or a single man, a physician or a lawyer, if he kiss not the Son, that is, if he do not place all his hope of salvation in the Son, even though he should wear out his body with
fasting unto death, and give his body to be burned, he shall perish in the wrath of God.
Thus does the Holy Spirit include in this one expression the whole world with all its wisdom, righteousness, merits, worship, adoration, and affliction, and makes all to consist in kissing the Son. If, says he, ye kiss the Son, well! but if not, ye shall perish under wrath. For the Son will at length be angry.
He now offers you an opportunity of kissing him. He has a singular love for the human race, for he came down and took our flesh upon him, not that he might judge or condemn us, but that he might kiss us, and shew us the love with which he embraces us: if, therefore, ye do not kiss him, no religion, no righteousness, no wisdom shall save you : but ye shall surely remain under wrath and there perish. But the world regards not these threats; they think that the reverse will be the case; they hope in the mercy of God through their own works and righteousness : but in vain, for the whole is settled, " He that believeth not shall be damned.”
The LXX. have rendered the passage, “ Lest ye perish from the right way.” And therefore, interpreters have made different ways, the right and the wrong, and distinguished them. But all this is contrary to the Hebrew : for we have it there simply, “And so ye perish from the way.”. The meaning is, therefore, that the Holy Spirit forbids us to trust in any ways of our own, though they may seem to be the best and the most specious. The kingdom of the Pope has a most powerfully attractive appearance with it. All civil laws and rites are 'deservedly celebrated as singular gifts of God, and necessary for the public peace and tranquillity. The Carthusian monk has a certain splendid manner to which he forms his life. And so also other orders of monks have other ways. But whatever of this there is throughout the whole world, the whole of it, unless thou kiss the Son, is nothing but a state of wrath and damnation; and wrath shall in the end drive them all to perdition. And if the religion of that ancient people could not stand when they rejected and despised this Son; if they, to
whom were intrusted the oracles of God, the legal dispensation, the divinely instituted worship, the priesthood;
if they, I say, perished together with their way, what shall we say of our chosen ones of the present day, who form to themselves ways without the Word of God, such as the papists?
There is, therefore, a peculiar force in the expression “in the way.” He does not say, ye shall perish in error, but “in the way:" that is, all the ways of worship which they have formed, and all the self-chosen works which they have wrought for the procuring of their own salvation shall prove their destruction. And a miserable thing it is, that the monk who has done nothing else day and night but afflict his body, should gain nothing else for all his pain and toil, but to be cast into hell fire !
Thus also the Jews, while they contend with great zeal for their law and sacrifices, have a way of their own, in which they think they are going straight on towards eternal life, but in this very way they perish: so that the whole of their “way” is but an error both of mind and body.
And so also the Roman Empire had its own way, in which they thought that every peril could be surmounted. But all these, as they did not kiss the Son, perished in, and together with their way.—And in the same way also, by the blessing of God, we see the Pope perishing at this day before our eyes, together with his various ways. For the anger of this Son is a divine anger, and has a power: it is not a vain anger, and which has not power to execute its design : he will be held and worshipped as God, or he will bring destruction.
And this also increases the terribleness of this threatening, when the Holy Spirit adds, that this anger is kindled in a moment.' For here he embraces both, shewing, that this anger is almighty, and also always nigh at hand. When it ceases, or is not actually executing its design, it seems to be very far off, and not only to those who do not experience it, but also to the godly, who are under their tribulation and affliction. But it is still as sure as ever that this anger is kindled in a moment: it will most assuredly come, and come, when they shall say, peace and safety. Thus the Jews did not think that their destruction was so near. So, in our time also, the Pope began to fall when he was most secure. And I know not what hope it is that now nourishes and supports the enemies of the Gospel. But it shall surely come to pass according to the scriptures, “ The wicked shall not live out half his days.” And another cause also of all this destruction and ruin, is, that, although the Son himself is one whose wrath is kindled in a moment, yet, the godly also ply him with their entreaties and supplications. And therefore, as Christ says concerning the widow and the unjust judge, 'God also shall avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him ; and shall avenge them speedily.' And so also it is said in the Revelation, that the plagues and destruction shall come suddenly.
But in the mean time to us who suffer, this anger seems long and slow in coming, For hope delayed maketh the heart sick.' But to the wicked the coming of it is speedy and in a moment, for they are then suddenly overwhelmed when they think themselves to be most safe. Hence they perish, as it were, in an instant. Though while they are now hearing these awful threatenings they securely despise them. Thus, there is a fable related of a certain robber, which says, that when he was plundering a certain traveller, and the traveller cried out that he would be punished at the last day of judgment. O! says the robber, if punishment is not to be till then, I shall do well enough. And therefore, upon this hope, in addition to thy cloak, give me thy coat also.—And just such as this man are all the wicked: but when punishment lays hold upon them, then they sing this foolish note, “I could never have thought it. Thus the people of Sodom even loaded Lot with reproaches and revilings when he faithfully admonished them of their danger. Thou camest in to sojourn among us, and wilt thou now rule over us?' They were secure and regardless of all admonition. But