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If Elizabeth* cried out with so loud a voice, “Blessed art thou among women,” (Ibid. 42.) when Christ was but newly conceived in her womb; what expressions of honor and admiration can we think sufficient, now that Christ is in heaven, and that mother with him? Far be it from any Christian to derogate from that special privilege granted her, which is incommunicable to any other. We cannot bear too reverend a regard unto the mother of our Lord,' so long as we give her not that worship which is due unto the Lord himself. Let us keep the language of the primitive Church: ‘Let her be honoured and esteemed, let him be worshipped and adored.'*
In respect of him it was necessary, first, that we might be assured he was made, or begotten of a woman, and consequently that he had from her the true nature of man. For he took not on him the nature of angels,” (Heb. ii. 16.) and therefore saved none of them, who for want of a Redeemer, are“ reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6.) And man once fallen had been, as deservedly, so irrevocably condemned to the same condition, but that she took upon him the seed of Abraham.” (Heb. ii. 16.) For being we are “partakers of flesh and blood," we could expect no redemption but by him who “ likewise took part of the same.” (Ibid. 14.) We could look for no Redeemer, but such a one who by consanguinity was our brother. And being there is but one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, we cannot be assured that he was the Christ, or is our Jesus, except we be first assured that he was a man. Thus our Redeemer, the man Christ Jesus, was born of a woman, that he might redeem both men and women :// that both sexes might rely upon him, who was of the one, and from the other.
* “Elisabet et Zacharias nos do- TVEūpa. Theod. Therapeut. Serm. 2. core possunt quanto inferiores sunt p. 302. B. Mariæ matri Domini sanctitate, § Under that notion did the ancient quæ conscia in se habitantis Dei libere Jews expect him as appeareth by proclamat, Ecce ergo ex hoc beatam me the Targum, Cantic. viii. 1. 871 dicent omnes generationes.' S. Hier. xron xaba. anx adv. Pelag. lib. i. col. 831.
+ divinæ gratiæ privilegiis, ut speciali When the Messias shall reveal himself, gloria, fraudare conetur.'
the sons of Israel shall say unto him, I 'H Mapia év tips, ó Kúplos apoorv- Thou shalt be unto us a brother. νείσθω. 'Εν τιμή έστω Mαρία, ο δε Πα 11 Hominis liberatio in utroquc τήρ, και Υιός, και άγιον Πνεύμα προσ- sexu debuit apparere. Ergo, φuia κυνείσθω. Την Μαρίαν μηδείς προσκυ- virum oportebat suscipere, qui sexus veitw. S. Epiphan. Hæres. 79. g. 7. Ei honorabilior est, conveniens erat at καλλίστη η Μαρία, και αγία, και τετιμη- fterminei sexus liberatio hinc appareuévn, ál' oủk eis tò TPOOKUVĚTogai. rét, quod ille vir de foemina natus Ibid. 'Huelg dè Tūv uÈv opwuévwv Jeo- est.' S. August. Quæst. lib. Ixxxiii. q. Loyoquev důdév• Tūv dè å v púrwv toús 11. “Nolite vos ipsos contemnere, εν αρετή διαπρέψαντας, ως ανθρώπους viri, filius Dei virum suscepit: nolite αρίστους, γεραίρομεν" μόνον δε τον των vos ipsas contemnere, foeminae, flius όλων προσκυνούμεν θεών και πατέρα, και Dei natus ex foemina est.' Iden de τον εκείνου γε λόγον, και το πανάγιον Agone Christiano, C. xi. S. 12.
זמנא לכנישתא דישראל ויימרון לה בני ישראל אתא תהא עמנא לאח Absit ut quisquam S. Mariam • +
Secondly, It was necessary we should believe our Saviour conceived and born of such a woman as was a most pure and immaculate virgin. For as it behoved him in all things to be made like unto us; so in that great similitude a dissimilitude was as necessary, that he should be “ without sin.” (Heb. iv. 15.)* Our Passover is slain, and behold the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world; but the lamb of the passover must be without blemish. Whereas then we draw something of corruption and contamination by our seminal traduction from the first Adam ; our Saviour hath received the same nature, without any culpable inclination, because born of a virgin, without any seminal traduction. Our Highpriest is “ separate from sinners,” (Heb. vii. 26.) not only in the actions of his life, but in the production of his nature. For as Levi was in the loins of Abraham, and paid tithes in him, and yet Christ, though the son of Abraham, did not pay tithes in him, but receive them in Melchizedeck : so though we being in the loins of Adam, may be all said to sin in him; yet Christ, who descended from the same Adam according to the flesh, was not partaker of that sin, but an expiation for it. For he which is contained in the seminal virtue of his parent, is some way under his natural power, and therefore may be in some manner concerned in his actions: but he who is only from him by his natural substance, according to a passive or obediential power, and so receiveth not his propagation from him, cannot be so included in him, as to be obliged by his actions, or obnoxious to his demerits.
Thirdly, It was necessary that we should believe Christ born of that person, that Virgin Mary which was espoused unto Joseph, that thereby we might be assured that he was of the family of David. For whatsoever promises were made of the Messias, were appropriated unto him. As the seed of the woman was first contracted to the seed of Abraham, so the seed of Abraham was next appropriated to the son of David. He was to “be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God was to give unto him the throne of his father David." (Luke i. 32.) When Jesus asked the Pharisees, " What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? they said unto him,
* Non eum in peccatis mater ejus Christus autem, secundum solam subin utero aluit, quem Virgo concepit, stantiam corporalem. Cum enim sit Virgo peperit.
' 's. August. Fract. 4. in semine et visibilis eorpulentia et in Ioan. So 10. Ergo, ecce. Agnus invisibilis ratio, utrumque cucurrit ex Dei. Non habeat iste traducem de. Abraham, vel etiam ex ipso Adam, Adam; carnem tantum sumpsit de usque ad corpus Mariæ, quia et ipsum Adam, peccatum non assumpsit.' eo modo conceptum et exortum est; Foid. Verbum caro factum in simi- Christus autem visibilem carnis subJitudine carnis peccata onania nostra stantiam de carne Virginis sumpsit. suscepit, nullum reatus vitium ferens ratio vero conceptionis ejus non a seex traduce prævaricationis exortum.' mine virili, sed longe aliter ac desuJoan. IV. Epist. ad Constantinum. per venit.' $. August. de Gen. ad lit.
+ • Levi in lumbis Abrahæ fuit, se- 1. x. c. 20. cundum concupiscentiam carnalem ;
The son of David.” (Matt. xxii. 42.) When Herod demanded of the chief priests and scribes," where Christ should be born; they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea,” (Matt. ii. 4,5.) because that was “ the city of David,” whither Joseph went up with Mary, his espoused wife, “ because he was of the house and lineage of David.” (Luke ii. 4.) After John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, was born, Zacharias, blessed the Lord God of Israel, who had “ raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” (Luke i. 69.) The “woman of Canaan,” the blind men sitting by the way-side,” and those other “blind that followed him, cried out, “ Have mercy on as, O Lord, thou Son of David.” (Matt. xv. 22. xx. 30. ix. 27.) The very children, out of whose mouths God perfected praise, were “crying in the temple, and saying, Hosannah to the Son of David.” (Matt. xxi. 15.) And when the blind and dumb both spake and saw, "all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David ?” (Matt. xii. 23.) Thus by the public and concurrent testimonies of all the Jews, the promised Messias was to come of the house and lineage of David; for “ God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne.”:(Acts ii. 30.)* It was therefore necessary we should believe that our Saviour “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh :" (Rom. i. 3.) of which we are assured, because he was born of that Virgin Mary who descended from him, and was espoused unto Joseph, who descended from the same, that thereby his genealogy might be known.
The consideration of all which will at last lead us to a clear explication of this latter branch of the Article, whereby every Christian may inform himself what he is bound to profess, and being informed, fully express what is the object of his faith in this particular, when he saith, I believe in Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary. For hereby he is conceived to intend thus much: I assent unto this as a most certain and infallible truth, that there was a certain woman, known by the name of Mary, espoused unto Joseph of Nazareth, which before and after her espousals was a pure and unspotted virgin, and being and continuing in the same virginity, did, by the immediate operation of the Holy Ghost, conceive within her womb the only begotten Son of God, and, after the natural time of other women, brought him forth as her first-born son, continuing still a most pure and immaculate virgin; whereby the Saviour of the World was born of a woman under the Law, without the least pretence of any original corruption, that he might deliver us from the guilt of sin; born of that Virgin which
Atqui hinc magis Christum in- ratur in Psalmo ad David, Ex fructu telligere debebis ex David deputatum ventris tui collocabo super thronum carnali genere, ob Mariæ Virginis tuum.' Tertull. I. iii. adv. Marcionem,
De hoc enim promisso ju- c. 20,
was of the house and lineage of David, that he might sit upon his throne, and rule for evermore. And in this latitude I
profess to believe in Jesus Christ, BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,
dead, and buried. This Article hath also received some accession in the
particular expressions of Christ's humiliation. For the first word of it, now generally speaking of his passion, in the most ancient Creeds was no way distinguished from his crucifixion; for as we say, suffered and crucified, they only crucified under Pontius Pilate:* nor was his crucifixion distinguished from his death, but where we read, crucified, dead, and buried, they only, crucified and buried. Because the chief of his sufferings were on the cross, and he gave up the ghost there; therefore his whole passion and his death were comprehended in his crucifixion.
But again, being he suffered not only on the cross; being it was possible he might have been affixed to that cursed tree, and yet not have died; therefore the Church thought fit to add the rest of his sufferings, as antecedent, and his death, as consequent to his crucifixion.
To begin then with his passion in general. In those words,
• Crucifixus sub Pontio Pilato, mortuus, et sepultus. Auctor lib. de et sepultus. Ruffin. in Symb. §. 16. Symb. ad Catechum. §. 6. Not but both Cassianus de incarn. Domini, 1. vi. c. 4. these were expressed before in the •Credimus in eum qui sub Pontio Pi- rule of faith by 'Tertullian, but withont lato crucifixus est et sepultus. S. Au- particular mention of the crucifixion. gust. de Fide et Symb. c. v. 9. 11, et Adv. Prax. c. 2. hunc passum, hunc de Trinitat. 1. i. c. 14. Caput no- mortuum, et sepultum :' as Optatus: strum Christus est, crucifixum et se- 'Passus, mortuus, et sepultus resurpultum, resuscitatum ascendit in coe- rexit.' lib. 1. c. 1. Passus, sepultus, ium._ Idem, in Psal. cxxxii. 'Qui et tertia die resurrexit.' Capitul. Casub Pontio Pilato crucifixus est et roli 82. And generally the ancients sepultus. Max. Taurin. Chrysol. Eu- did understand determinately his cruseb. Gallic. de Symb. Hom. ii. p. 554. cifying, by that more comprehensive Tòv éxi Hovrlov Dilátov otavpw.Dévta, name of bis suffering. For as MarTapéyta. Qui sub Pontio Pilato cru- cellus and St. Cyril bave oravpwdévta cifixus et sepultus.' MSS. Armach. vai rapévra, Eusebius and the Nicene And besides these, a witness without Council to the same purpose, have exception, Leo the Great: ‘Unigeni- Tabóvra only in their Creeds. As tum Filium Dei crucifixum et sepul- Clemens Alex. Pædag. 1. ii. C. 3. Tyv tum, omnes etiam in Symbolo confi- cis Oedv niotiv, Tiiv eis talóvra ouo.otemur.' Epist. x. c. 5. Afterwards yćav. , Which was farther enlarged the Passion was expressed : * Passus afterwards by the Council of Constansub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus et sepul- tinople into oravpwtévra, kai talóvra, tus.' Etherius Uxam. And the Death: kai tapévra. • Passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus,
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, we are to consider part as substantial; part as circumstantial. The substance of this part of the Article consisteth in our Saviour's passion, he suffered: the circumstance of time is added, declared by the present governor, under Pontius Pilate.
Now for the explication of our Saviour's passion, as distinct from those particulars which follow in the Article, more, I conceive, cannot be required, than that we shew, who it was that suffered, how he suffered, what it was he suffered.
First, if we would clearly understand him that suffered in his full relation to his passion, we must consider him both in his office, and his person; as Jesus Christ, and as the only-begotten, Son of God. In respect of his office, we believe that he who was the Christ did suffer; and so we make profession to be saved by faith in a suffering Messias. Of which, that we may give a just account, first, We must prove that the promised Messias was to suffer: for if he were not, then by professing that our Jesus suffered, we should declare he was not Christ. Secondly, We must shew that Jesus, whom we believe to be the Messias, did really and truly suffer : for if he did not, then while we proved the true Messias was to suffer, we should conclude our Jesus was not that Messias. Thirdly, It will be farther advantageous for the illustration of this truth, to manifest that the sufferings of the Messias were determined and foretold, as those by which he should be known. And fourthly, It will then be necessary to shew that our Jesus did truly suffer what soever was determined and foretold. And more than this cannot be necessary to declare who it was that suffered, in relation to his office.
For the first of these, that the promised Messias was to suffer, to all Christians it is unquestionable; because our Saviour did constantly instruct the apostles in this truth, both before his death, that they might expect it, (Mark ix. 12.) and after, that they might be confirmed by it. (Luke xxiv. 26. 46.) And one part of the doctrine which St. Paul disseminated through the world was this, “ that the Christ must needs have suffered.” (Acts xvii. 3.)
But because these testimonies will satisfy only such as believe in Jesus, and our Saviour himself did refer the disbelieving Jews to the Law and the Prophets, as those who testified of him; we will shew from thence, even from the oracles committed to the Jews, “ how it was written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things,” (Mark ix. 12.), and “how the Spirit of Christ which was in the prophets testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ.” (1 Pet. i. 11.)
The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is beyond all question a sad, but clear, description of a suffering person : a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” “oppressed and afflicted," “ wounded and bruised," “ brought to the slaughter," and “ cut off out of the land of the living." But the person of