« PreviousContinue »
is the only delight of God, and in whom alone he is well-pleased, and ye will adore God, and will do that which is well-pleasing to God. Bend the knee, therefore, to him, and kiss his feet.'
Moreover, these words imply that Christ is not merely man, because the Father hath here given his honour unto the Son, and commands the Son to be adored. “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, (says Moses) and him only shalt thou serve.” And by Isaiah the Lord says, “ My glory will I not give to another.” As, therefore, God cannot be a liar, and yet here commands that we should serve the Son, it of necessity follows, that this King, who is set on the holy hill of Zion, is naturally God. And therefore, I have shewn before, that, although the Jews contend that the preceding verse is to be referred to God himself, yet, if they be not wholly mad, they must confess, that God here by his own command sends us all to the Son and wills that the Son should be adored and worshipped.
This verse, therefore, exactly agrees with those words of the Gospel, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.” “He that believeth in me shall never die." “ Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” “My doctrine is not mine.” “The things that I speak, the Father speaketh also.” My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” “ The Father hath given all things unto me.” “ The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son." “ The Son judgeth no one." "As the Father quickeneth, so the Son quickeneth whom he will," &c.
In all these scriptures, the Father refers all things to the Son; and again, the Son all things unto the Father: so that we are not left to doubt that this King is truly, legitimately, and naturally God: and that, unless you worship and embrace this King, God cannot be worshipped; for the Father and the Son are one.
In vain, therefore, are all the speculative views of the Turk and the Pope concerning God out of Christ. The Turk says, that he adores the God who made heaven and carth : and the Jew says the same. But as both these deny that this King is the Son of God, they not only both wander from God, but both adore an idol which they themselves have set up in their own heart. For they have formed out to their imagination just such a God as they themselves thought best, and not such an one as God has revealed himself to be. But God abhors all such, and shuts his ears to their prayers: for he will hear and see no one but in his Son. As Christ says to Philip, John xiv. “ He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” For when Philip prayed, “ Shew us the Father :” Christ, as one wondering, said, “ Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip.” As if he had said, Where are all your thoughts and speculations leading you to ? Unless you fix your eyes and your mind on me you will never find either God or the Father. “ For I am in the Father and the Father in me: and the words which I speak I speak not of myself, but the Father which dwelleth in me he doeth the works."
In this manner does the Father commit all the government of the whole creation to the hand and bosom of the Son. And this indeed was done from all eternity, but was afterward made known by revelation and declaration : for the Son had this glory from all eternity, but was then first made manifest when the Gospel was promulgated throughout the whole world.
In the next place, this verse shews the abrogation of the law and all legal ceremonies of worship. For the Psalmist does not speak of the worship and adoration which were in the temple of Jerusalem, but he speaks of another worship. If, says he, ye would adore and worship God, if ye would offer unto him an acceptable sacrifice, and so serve God that the service shall be well-pleasing unto him: do nothing else but “ Kiss the Son.” Serve God in this way only, and God will be propitious to you.
But no one can be persuaded of this. And therefore, the Arian rises up and scatters abroad his blasphemous doctrine against the Son of God. The Turk holds it as the most awful wickedness in us, because we believe that Christ is the Son of God, and adore him as such. The
Pope, although he steers clear of these open blasphemies, yet, does not in reality acknowledge Christ' to be the Son of God, because he is not contented with the sacrifice that he has made of himself, but teaches us that we can effect that by our own works which the Son of God effected by his blood-shedding and death.
Let us, therefore, bear in mind the testimony here given us, that this King is the Son of God, begotten of the Father, from all eternity; and now set before us that we might kiss him and serve him : that is, that we might be assured, that we are by him reconciled unto God; and that, although we justly deserve and fear the wrath of God on account of our sins, yet, we might have a full assurance of salvation, by faith and trust in this Mediator: And when we have thus kissed, and worshipped, and adored this Son, the Father is satisfied, and demands nothing farther of us, for reconciliation with him, and the attainment of the hope of salvation and eternal life. And all the obedience which follows this, even though it be imperfect, yet, as it is performed from a principle of faith in God, is well-pleasing unto him, and is re-" warded with both corporal and spiritual blessings.
This then is simply and plainly the sum of all true religion. In this manner must the mind and heart be changed that we may judge rightly of God. We cannot judge rightly of him out of our own heart, but out of the Word only which the Son of God sets before us. But the world will not hear and obey this : they will change any thing rather than their own hearts and consciences, and will rather adore any thing than this King. The monk thinks that he performs the greatest of all worship to God when he changes his garments, leaves his calling in life, and hides himself in a monastery, where he eats, drinks, and sleeps, &c. in a new and singular way. And he imagines that by these means he becomes a new man and born again. Whereas, it is only the external garment that is changed, the mind and heart remain just the same; the sacrilegious opinion concerning God remains the same as it was in wicked Cain, who, when he meditated the murder of his brother, hoped that he should be still in favour with God on account of the sacrifice which be offered.
But this is a most wicked and sacrilegious opinion, for God regards not circumcision nor any such ceremony: even as he careth not whether thou walkest or runnest in thy journey, or whether thou clothest thyself with a black garment or a white one.
All these are external things, which each one may manage just as he thinks best, provided that, he have always a regard that he offend not his neighbour thereby. And so also God careth not whether thou be in political or civil life, or in a desert: excepting that, it is open wickedness to leave thy calling and choose out to thyself of thy own accord some other singular way of life.
But God's command and precept is, that thou change thy heart, that thou have in thy conscience a right thought and opinion concerning God: and that thou say, I acknowledge and reverence the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom, as my Mediator, I hope that I am reconciled to God, and that my sins are par. doned. And with this heart I will go and dig my field, follow my occupation, marry a wife, and serve my master, &c. This is the kind of worship that this Psalm requires, and this is the kind of religion that it prescribes.
But, as I said, the world will not receive sound doctrine. They judge that to be true religion when thou changest any outward thing or clothing. As some in our day imagine that they are true saints if they never take up arms, if they put on a black garment, if they go with their heads hanging down, &c. But are not these things easy to be changed by any common person? But to trust in Christ, and to serve the Lord in fear,--this is what every foolish and vain one cannot attain unto.
But it is certain that no one among men who devotes himself to laws or self-righteousnesses can ever perform this true worship: he cannot attain unto it even in thought: it is a doctrine revealed from heaven, which never grows naturally in any human heart or head: the Holy Ghost himself must teach and reveal it. And
as this worship and the knowledge of it are only attained unto by faith in Christ, and as self-justiciaries always cast away faith and hold fast the law, it is impossible for any such self-justiciary to attain unto it.
The Christian religion, therefore, as I said, is most easy if you look at the outward works of it: but if you look at the spiritual worship contained in it, it is most difficult and odious to attain unto. For this worship cannot be performed unless the heart be changed. True religion, therefore, requires the heart and mind, and not riches nor any external thing: though these, perhaps, may follow if thou have first a good and right heart; for where the right heart is, there are all things: he that loves you in reality, will not deny you his money, nor his service, nor himself. And this is the reason why the true religion is without hypocrisy, and without dissimu, lation, and is not like that pharisaical religion which only changes external things, and not the heart.
Therefore, the true worship of God is to kiss the Son: that is, to adore him, and to see nothing either in heaven or earth out of him, nor trust in any thing besides him : as the first precept commands, “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, nor in the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth.” By this commandment the Lord brought his people into a spiritual captivity, and a spiritual sight, and drew them away from all vague cogitations. And yet, after all they fell into idolatry, as their history shews. For they conluded thus,—that God was pleased when the creature was praised which he created. Hence followed the idolatrous worship of the sun, moon, and all the army of heaven: whereas God had expressly commanded, that they should worship him alone before the mercy-seat.
In this same way also, let us beware of worshipping any images of the heaven or the earth, and cleave unto the Son only, for thus we shall certainly find and be reconciled unto the Father and the whole Godhead. Thus Paul saith, that in Christ “All the Godhead dwelleth bodily.” Therefore, thou wilt not find God in the sun,