1. Of the Resurrection of Christ, and how much his eye was fixed upon that Event. 2. The chief Importance of Christ's Resurrection. 3. The World excited by the Miracles of Christ the more narrowly to consider the Divine quality of his Person, whom the more they looked upon, the more they disliked. 4. Whence they misinterpreted and eluded all the force and conviction of all his Miracles. 5. Gods upbraiding of the World with their gross Ignorance by the raising him from the dead whom they thus vilified and contemned. 6. Christ's Resurrection an assurance of man's Immortality.
1. WE have done with the Passion of Christ: we come now to his Resurrection and Ascension; and First his Resurrection. Concerning which it is observable, That our Saviour's eye was fix'd upon nothing more then it; He prophesying of it in his life-time under that Parable of destroying the Temple, and then raising of it up within three daies, meaning the Temple of his body; as also in the application of that strange Accident that befell Jonas: For as Jonas was three daies and three nights in the Whales belly, so the son of man should be three daies and three nights in the belly of he Earth. He deferred also the divulging of his Transfiguration in the mount till his Resurrection, as not being of any such efficacy to beget Faith in the people, till this also had happened unto him.
2. Now the grand importance of this so wonderfull an Accident consists chiefly in these Three things.
- First, In that it is a very eminent Triumph of the Divine life in the Person of Christ.
- Secondly, In that it is so plain an assurance of a blessed Immortality.
- And Thirdly, In that it is so sure a Seal and so clear a Conviction of the truth and warrantableness of all the Miracles Christ did in his life-time.
3. That our Saviour Christ was the most illustrious Example of the Divine life that ever appeared in the world, cannot be denied by any but such as are blinde, and have no eyes to behold that kind of splendour. But that the judgement of the world might be the more notoriously baffled, God assisted this Divine worth with many strange Miracles, that they might more fixedly and considerately contemplate this so holy and lovely a person. But the more it seems they looked upon him, the more they disliked him, the whole World being so deeply lapsed into the Animal life, (the Jews themselves not excepted,) that they had no knowledge nor relish of the Divine. Nay, they had an Antipathy against him, as the wise man expresses it, He is grievous unto us even to <138> behold, His life is not like unto other mens, his waies are of another fashion: He was made to reprove our thoughts.
4. Wherefore they having so settled an hatred against him, all the Miracles that he did, or whatsoever happened miraculously unto him, did but set a more venemous edge of their spleen against him. From whence it was easie for them to misinterpret and elude every thing, imputing his casting out Devils to a contract with Beelzebub the Prince of the Devils; The Testimony from Heaven, That he was the Son of God, to the delusion of evil Spirits that would lapse them into Idolatry; His feeding the multitudes in the Wilderness, to Witchcraft and Sorcecery; and his raising of men from the dead, to the nature of some Lethargical or obstupifying disease, that may seem to make a man devoid of life for four daies together. The Eclipse of the Sun indeed was a very strange thing, if the darkness was in the Sun it self: but they might remember, at least from the relations of others, that it was strangely obscured for a whole year together about the death of Julius Cæsar, and so interpret this at the Passion as a mere casual coincidence of things; or that some delusive Spirits intercepted the light of the Sun in favour of the great Magician whom they thought just to crucifie betwixt those other two Malefactors.
5. But he whom they numbred amongst the transgressours, and took to be the vilest of men, because he was not recommended by any thing that the Animal life likes and applauds, (as Nobleness of Birth, the power of popular Eloquence, Honour, Wealth, Authority, high Education, Beauty, Courtship, Pleasantness of Conversation, and the like;) he is, I say, notwithstanding this general contempt from men, very highly prized by him who is the infallible Judge, whose waies are not as our waies, nor his thoughts as our thoughts; But that he might conform our apprehensions to his own, raised Jesus Christ from the dead, bringing that passive, contemptible Divinity that lodged in him into a deserved victory and triumph; exprobrating to the blind world the ignorance of that Life that is most dear and precious to himself; making him alive whom they maliciously killed, and preparing a way to an universal Homage for him, who was universally scorned and became περί ψημα πάντων, the off-scouring of all, though his Spirit, Life and Nature was of more worth then all the things of the World beside.
6. Nor is this Resurrection of Christ only a particular honour and high Testimony given to the person of Christ, who was so splendid an Habitation of the Divine life; but it is also an assurance of a blessed Immortality to all those that will adventure to follow his Example, that their labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. And therefore he is not said here to rise alone; but in token of what a general concernment his Resurrection was, the Monuments of some lately-deceased Souls flew open, and themselves appeared to several in the Holy City. Which things were a palpable Prophetical prefiguration of that blessed Immortality that Christ has purchased for all men that believe in him and obey him.
1. The last End of Christ's Resurrection, the Confirmation of his whole Ministry. 2. How it could be that those chief Priests and Rulers that hired the Souldiers to give out, that the Disciples of Christ stole his body away, were not rather converted to believe he was the Messias. 3. How it can be evinced that Christ did really rise from the dead; and that it was not the delusion of the some deceitfull Dæmons. 4. The first and second Answer. 5. The third Answer. 6. The fourth Answer. 7. The fifth Answer. 8. The sixth and last Answer. 9. That his appearing and disappearing at pleasure after his Resurrection is no argument but that he was risen with the same Body that was laid in the grave.
1. THE last End of Christ's Resurrection is the Confirmation of his whole Ministry. For assuredly the Jews dealt with him as with some Magician and Impostour, who though he did very strange things whilst he lived, yet if he were once judicially tried, condemned and put to death, they did not make any question but that it would be with him as with other Malefactours, the trouble of him would end with his life; as is usually observed in matters of this kind: otherwise it would be a great flaw in Providence, and the generations of men would not be able to subsist for the insolencies of Witches and Sorcerers. But God thus extraordinarily and miraculously interposing his power, in raising Jesus from the dead, gave the most certain and most confounding Testimony against the malicious cruelty of the Jewes (if we may call that Malice which the love and Candour of Christ in the midst of his bitter sufferings named only Ignorance) that possibly could be given. For their judicial proceedings are hereby not only in an extraordinary way made suspicable and taxed of injustice, but by such a miraculous means, that it is manifest that none other but God himself is their Accuser, as well as the Acquitter of the innocent whom they put to death, and did so throughly martyr, that none but the hand of God could recover him to life. The same therefore of so notable an Accident the chief of the Jews very well knowing, and that it would, if believed, demonstrate that all he did or said before in his life-time was right, and from an undeniable principle; that the people might not receive him for their Messias now, whom three daies agoe they had crucified; hired the Souldiers that watched his Monument, to tell abroad that his Disciples stole him away by night while they were asleep.
2. But here haply some may demand, how it came to pass that these chief Priests and Rulers, being so punctually informed by the Souldiers (which watched the sepulchre of Christ) that he was risen from the dead, were not converted to the Faith themselves, and convinced that Jesus was indeed the expected Messias. But we may very well conceive, that what might prove very effectual to move others to be <140> lieve in Christ, might yet take no hold upon them; Partly because they were further engaged in this bloudy and direfull Tragedy then others were; and having a deeper sense of honour and repute with the people, then of the favour of God and love to the Truth, they might in a desperate and obdurate condition venture, as the saying is, over shoes over boots; being more willing to expose themselves to any thing, then to that shame and reproach that would attend the acknowledgment of so hainous an errour. And then partly because though this Accident may seem very strange, yet they might conceit that it was not above the power of Evil Spirits to perform, who might change themselves into the lustre of Angels of light, and therefore that it was but a greater temptation upon them to try their faithfulness and obedience to the Law of Moses. For what would not they think rather then find themselves guilty of so grand ignorance, as not to know the promised Messias when he came into the World, and of so gross a crime as to be murderers of him that from Heaven was declared the Son of God?
3. But out of this Solution you'l say arises as great a Difficultie as the former, viz. How we can be ascertained that Christ is really raised from the dead: Because some delusive Spirits might open his Sepulchre, and carry him away, and afterward appear in his shape, making use of his Body to shew to Thomas, or changing their own vehicles into the likeness of flesh and bones, so that no man's sense may discover any difference. But to this many things may be answered: and
4. First, That that which may be an Exception or Evasion in any case, is of consequence in no case. For what does there at any time really happen, but Evil Spirits have a power to imitate so near, that our Senses may well be deceived?
Secondly, Though they have this power in themselves, yet I deny that they can exert it when, and so far as they please; and therefore God would not permit them to add so irresistible credit to the whole Ministry of Christ by this last Miracle, if Christ had not really been the Messias: but he being the Messias, it was no delusion of theirs, but a real transaction by that hand that is Omnipotent.
5. Thirdly, Every thing was exactly as if he had risen from the dead: the Watch saw the Earth-quake, and the stone rolled from the door of the Sepulchre by an Angel from Heaven: Peter look'd in and beheld the linen cloaths lying by themselves, the Body of Christ was missing there. He appeared to his Disciples elsewhere, he discoursed with them, eat & drunk with them, they felt his flesh, and put their very fingers into his wounds. What greater demonstration then this could there be that he was really risen from the dead? And therefore by men indifferent it must needs be acknowledged to be so, though there be a possibility of being otherwise.
6. Fourthly, Those Miraculous things, either happening to him or done by him while he was alive, they being so real as they were, must needs beget Faith in the unprejudic'd, that this Accident was real also. For is it so strange a thing that that Divine power should raise Christ from the dead, that enabled him to raise Lazarus out of the Grave when <141> he had been four daies buried? to say nothing of his other Miracles, and those evident Testimonies from Heaven that he was the Son of God. For though there was some room left for the shuffles and subterfuges of the blinded Jews; yet to those that are free and piously disposed, the Resurrection of Christ compared with what either supernaturally was done by him, or happened to him in his Life and at his Passion, they do so binde and strengthen one another, that there is no place left for misbelief.
7. Fifthly, Besides the Testimony of the Angels that told Mary Magdalen, Joanna and others, that Christ was risen, and that they did fondly to seek the living amongst the dead, our Saviour's owne Prophesie concerning his rising the third day could not but make the thing undoubtedly sure to his Disciples, and all such as were concerned in it, and had believed on him before, whereby they became zealous assertors and witnessers of it to the World.
8. Sixthly and lastly, All these things happening thus extraordinarily and supernaturally to a person that professed himself the Messias, at that very time that the Jewish Prophesies foretold the Messias would come; it is an unanswerable Demonstration that this was he, and that therefore all things that he did, spoke, or happened unto him, were no vain Illusion, but Reality and Truth.
9. Neither does his appearing and disappearing at pleasure, and coming in to his Disciples when the doors were shut, at all weaken the truth of his Resurrection and vital actuating that very Body that lay in the grave. For he gave a Specimen of a wonderfull power residing in him in his Transfiguration on the Mount; and that he carried that about him then that was able to swallow up mortality into life, though it was usually restreined as a light in a dark lanthorn. His Divinity therefore with his inward exalted Humanity, I mean his Soul, took hold again of His Body, and did vitally irradiate it, so that he was as naturally united with it as any Angel is with his own Vehicle, or any Soul of man or any other Animal with their Bodies. Nor was it any greater wonder that Christ should rarifie his Body into a disappearing Tenuity, then that Angels and Spirits condensate their Vehicles into the visibility and palpability of a Terrestrial Body, the same Numerical Matter still remaining in both.
1. The Ascension of Christ, and what a sure pledge it is of the Soul's activity in a thinner Vehicle. 2. That the Soul's activity in this Earthly Body is no just measure of what she can doe out of it. 3. That the Life of the Soul here is as a Dream in comparison of that life she is awakened unto in her Celestial Vehicle. 4. The activity of the separate Soul upon the Vehicle argued from her moving of the Spirits in the Body, and that no advantage accrews therefrom to the wicked after death.
1. THere is no reasonable allegation therefore against the Resurrection of Christ: And as Usefull and Intelligible a Mystery is his Ascension. For we are not less assured by his ascending into Heaven of the life and activity of the Soul out of an organical terrestrial Body, then by his Resurrection of her Immortality. For the body of Christ in his Ascension, though it left the earth in all likelihood organiz'd and terrestrially modified, yet passing through the subtil Air and purer Æther, it cannot be conceived but that it assimilated it self to the Regions through which it passed, and became at last perfectly Celestial and Æthereal, whatsoever was Earthly or Feculent being absorp't or swallowed up into pure Light and Glory.
2. Nor can it seem harsh to any that has well considered these things, that the Soul freed from this Terrestrial dungeon should have so great power and activity over a thinner Vehicle; the subtiltie thereof in all likelihood contributing much to this activity and vigour: Of which though she have but a small spark at first, yet the power of the Minde being kindled therewith may, as she pleases, convert her whole Vehicle into an Æthereal flame. For we are no more to measure what she can doe being rid of the fatall Entanglements of this Earthly prison, by what she does in it, then we can of the prowess and activity of some Captive Champion when he is set free, by what he does in fetters and hard bondage; or of her own agility, reason and perspicacitie when she is awake, by her stupidity and inconsistency of thoughts while she is asleep.
3. For the whole life of man upon Earth day and night is but a Slumber and a Dream in comparison of that awaking of the Soul that happens in the recovery of her Æthereal or Celestial body: Which though it be (unless it please her occasionally to mould it into any organiz'd shape) one Simple and Uniform Light, which we may call an Æthereal star, as Ficinus calls those of less purity stellas aereas; yet all the more noble functions of life are better performed in this Heavenly Body then in the Earthly, such as Intellection, Volition, Imagination, Seeing, Hearing, and the like. The same may be said of the Passions of the Mind, they being more pure, more pleasing and more delicate then can possibly happen, or at least for any time continue with us, in this life.
4. What I have affirmed of this Æthereal Body, this Uniform and Homogeneal Orbe of Light, cannot seem rashly spoken to them that understand the immediate Organ of Sense in those Bodies we are now united with: Which I have already intimated to be either the Animal Spirits or the Conarion, as unlikely a seat of Sense as the Air or Æther, and either of these as unlikely to be disobedient to the power of the Soul as the Animal Spirits now are in the state of conjunction. And therefore it being undeniable but that the Soul does move them some way in the Body, I see no difficulty but in her releasement from the Body, she may be able to act upon her Vehicle of like Tenuity with them, so as to mould and transfigure it even as she pleases: that natural charm that lull'd her Active powers asleep while she was in the Body, <143> loosing its force now she is out of it. Which notwithstanding will prove no advantage to the wicked, they being thereby awakened into a more eagre and sharp torment and more restless Hell.
1. Christ's Session at the Right hand of God interpreted either figuratively or properly. 2. That the proper sense implies no humane shape in the Deity. 3. That though God be Infinite and every where, yet there may be a Special presence of him in Heaven. 4. And that Christ may be conceived to sit at the Right hand of that Presence, or Divine Shechina.
1. TO the Ascension of Christ we are to add his Session at the Right hand of God, his ἀποθέωσις, and his Intercession with God for his Church. And for the First there is no difficultie therein, whether we understand the phrase Figuratively, as Calvin seems to doe, (For then by his Sitting at the Right hand of God nothing else is signified, but that he is next to God in the administration of his Kingdome, that he is as his Right hand to sway his Scepter over men and Angels, to bruise the wicked as with a rod of Iron, and to receive the righteous into favour;) or whether we understand it Properly, as some others would have it to be understood. For there is no inconvenience to acknowledge the Glorified body of Christ to be in humane shape, and that this organized light will sit as steadily on an Æthereal throne, as a Body of flesh and bones on a throne of Wood or Ivory.
2. Nor does that expression of the Right hand of God implie any absurdity in it, as if God himself were an Essence also in Humane shape, and that he had a Left hand as well as a Right, and the rest of the parts of the Body of a man. For from the words of the Text, Καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ, a man may as well prove that he has many Right hands as any at all: which shews plainly that the Anthropomorphites have no ground for their fond conceit from such passages of Scripture as these.
3. But yet though God be Infinite, and consequently every where at once, nothing hinders but that there may be some special presence of him in one place more then another, whither if a man had access, he may be truly said to converse with God face to face. We will grant therefore a Divine Shechina and a peculiar visible Glory of God which no creature can imitate residing in the Heavens, which Presence he may manifest in many places at once if he please: But whereever it discovers it self, it is a most certain and infallible sign that God himself is in a special manner there. Which ineffable and unimitable Glory is of this great consequence, that the holy Saints and Angels receive commands from thence as from the very mouth of God, are recreated more by that wonderfull lustre then we Mortals are by the light of the Sun, and <144> that it is an Oracle with whom they may consult, and receive answers of clear and indubitable certitude, and doe divine worship and honour to the external Substance and visible Presence of the Deity.
4. At the Right side of this Glory might Christ in his humane shape be placed, as at the Right hand of his Father that sent him into the world, to whom also he praied with his eyes lift up to Heaven, and to whom he said that he was to return when he left the Earth, with whom also Steven saw him standing, and comforting him at his Martyrdome: whether his Visive facultie was in a wonderfull and stupendious measure fortified to discern so distant an Object, or whether that Object was not so distant as the false conceits of some vain Philosophers would determine; For for my own part, I think that if the true Philosophy were known and rightly understood, there would nothing more facilitate the belief of Christianity then it.
1. The Apotheosis of Christ, or his Receiving of Divine Honour, freed from all suspicion of Idolatry, forasmuch as Christ is God properly so called, by his Real and Physical union with God. 2. The Real and Physical union of the Soul of Christ with God being possible; sundry Reasons alledged to prove that God did actually bring it to pass. 3. The vain Evasions of superficial Allegorists noted. 4. Their ignorance evinced, and the Apotheosis of Christ confirmed from the Immortality of the Soul and the political Government of the other World. 5. That he that equalizes himself to Christ is ipso facto discovered an Impostour and Lier.
1. THere is nothing therefore harsh or incongruous in the Session of Christ at the Right hand of God the Father, the Mystery being fitly explained: His ἀποθέωσις will be found as Reasonable, if rightly understood. By his ἀποθέωσις I mean his Residence in Heaven, and his receiving of Divine Honour and adoration from the Church. In which there can be nothing suspicable, unless there be any danger of Idolatry there where he that is truly God is worshipped. The Apology of the Gentiles you have heard already, and how far guilty they were of that miscarriage in the worshipping of Creatures under the pretense of their being only more eminent manifestations of that One Eternal Deity which they did adore. But the immediate Object of our worship is not simply a Creature, but God properly so called; forasmuch as he is as Really and Physically united with God as our Soul is with our Body. Now as a man is truly said to be a Body or a Corporeal substance because of the real or physical union of his Soul with the Body; so Christ is truly and properly said to be God, because his whole Humanity is joined with God. This is a very easie and intelligible way of conceiving this Mystery; neither does it implie any contradiction or inconsistency in it, <145> no more then is found in the natural Union of Soul and Body; God being as able to find fitting means of really and vitally uniting the Soul of the Messias to himself, as of uniting an Humane Soul to a Terrestrial Body.
2. Now this which was in the power of God to doe, we may be the better ascertained that he did doe it, or is to doe it some time, (For I will not anticipate and fall upon the Third part of my Discourse, before I come at it,) if we consider the Congruities thereof. I have recited to you Examples of the Pagan Apotheoses, how they did Divine honour to men that liv'd amongst them, and were considerable to their Generations for several benefactions and gratifications of the Animal life, whether they were the improvers of their pleasures or their profit, Lawgivers, successfull Commanders in War, or happie Inventours of some usefull things to supplie humane necessities. Hence it came to pass that Venus, Mercurius, Zamolxis, Mars, Bacchus, Ceres and others were deified by them. Now there being so transcendent an advantage to accrew to Mankind by the coming of the Messias into the World, and he being to suffer for the Sins of the people, and so by his Death to vanquish the power of Death, and to set open the gates of Heaven to all believers; that that strong, natural, and at least pardonable propension in Mankind of exhibiting the highest honours they can to their most Heroical benefactors might not be frustrated and seem ever to be in vain; as also that the great humiliation and reproachfull Passion that the Messias was to undergoe might be largely compensated; and that that which is most lovely of all things, and yet in the eyes of men most despicable, I mean the Divine life, might be exalted, even in an outward Homage and Worship, as high as ever the Animal life was, in the World, and that warrantably and without any guilt of Idolatry: God, when he sends the Messias into the World, is so to communicate his own Nature to him, or so really and physically to unite himself with him, that he may be a lawfull Object of Divine worship. Which he is, if not only by a Moral adhesion, or Political institution, but by a Natural and Real union with the Divine Λόγος, he truly become the Son of God.
3. We see then upon what warrantable and rational grounds the Messias is exalted to so high a pitch of honour, God having made him supreme head over Men and Angels: I speak of the very Person of Christ as well as his Nature. For the shuffling and superficial Allegorist will acknowledg that the Divine Nature or upright Being, as some of them call it, is above all. But that they are so shie of taking any notice of the Person of Christ, is either out of ignorance in their understanding, or out of a total misbelief of the History of Christ, wherein is asserted the Existence of Angels and the Immortality of the Souls of men.
4. Now if there be Angels, and if the Souls of men subsist and act out of their Bodies, they must also (as I have already demonstrated in my preparative Assertions) needs fall into Political order and government, and therefore must have some Head over them: Which here the Scripture does plainly assert to be Christ, who is the Captain of our Salvation for to assist, direct and encourage all the Powers of the <146> Kingdome of light to defend themselves and rescue others out of the captivity of the Kingdome of darkness and Tyranny of Devil.
5. Wherefore if any man start up and pretend an Equality with Christ, he is ipso facto convinced of ignorance in the Mystery of Godliness, and deprehended to be an Impostour and a Lyar; or he is haply a Beast and an Epicure, denying the Immortality of the Soul, and thereupon building all his slights and contempts of the Personal knowledge of our Saviour; he deeming him as all men else wholly Mortal, and therefore utterly to have perished above sixteen hundred years agoe.
1. An objection against Christ's Soveraignty over Men and Angels, from the meanness of the rank of Humane Spirits in comparison of the Angelical Orders. 2. An Answer to the objection so far as it concerns the fallen Angels. 3. A further inforcement of the Objection concerning the unfallen Angels, with an Answer thereto. 4. A further Answer from the incapacitie of an Angels being a Sacrifice for the Sins of the World. 5. And of being a fit Example of life to men in the flesh. 6. That the capacities of Christ were so universal, that he was the fittest to be made the Head or Soveraign over all the Intellectual Orders. 7. Christ's Intercession: his fitness for that Office. 8. What things in the Pagan Religion are rectified and compleated in the Birth, Passion, Ascension and Intercession of Christ.
1. BUT it may be further objected, That although it be very Reasonable that the Angels and the Spirits of men, whether in the body or out of the body, be reduced under some Political form of Government; yet it seems very incongruous and disproportionable that some one of the lowest rank of all the Orders of Rational Creatures should be made the Soveraign over all, over Angels and Archangels, and all Principalities and Powers whatsoever, whether in Heaven or in Earth.
2. But to this I answer, That though the Superiour Orders of Intellectual Beings may have far more strength and natural Understanding in them then Man; yet the Humanity of Christ may not be inferiour to them in Humility and an holy adhesion to God, in Self-resignation, and Faith in him who is the Root of all things, in Love also and dear Compassion over the whole Creation, and, in a word, in whatever appertains to the Divine life. But as for the lapsed Angels, let them be otherwise as cunning and knowing in all Arts and Subtilties of Nature, let them be as powerfull & as Gigantick as they will, even to the overturning mountains and striking down steeples at a blow; yet Christ has infinitely the preeminence of them in those Divine accomplishments I have recited; nay, he has a Principle beyond them, removed above their Sphere, as man has a Principle beyond Beasts. And therefore it is no <147> more wonder that God has constituted him Lord over these rebellious Titans, then that Man is made superiour to Lions, Elephants, Whales, and other mighty and monstrous Creatures.
3. But you'l say, Though it seem just that the usurped Empire of the Devil be taken from him, and given to Christ, yet there is no reason that the unfallen Angels should be brought under his sceptre, they being naturally of an higher order then himself, and having forfeited nothing by rebellion or disobedience to God: And therefore it had been more Reasonable for God to have united himself Hypostatically (as they call it) with some Angel then with Humane nature. But what art thou, O man, that pretendest to be so wise as to give laws to God? may not he dispose of his own and of himself as he pleases? Besides, there being so great a Revolt in the Angelical Orders, who tempted also Mankind into their lapse, the pretermission of them all in the conferring of so great an Honour as was conferred upon Christ, was but a just check and slight cast upon all their Orders at once; the Angelical bloud, as I may so say, being tainted with Treason. Again, the revolt and rebellion of the Apostate Angels being nothing else but a wilde and boundless giving themselves up to the pleasures and suggestions of the Animal life, and Christianity (as I have already defined it) nothing else but a Triumph of the Divine life over the Animal; this Triumph, Scorn and Insultation over the Animal life is more exactly pursued, by how much in every place those things that seem of most value to it are left out, as slighted and disregarded; and the whole Mystery of the Recovery of the lapsed Creation to God performed by him who undertook it without the false pomp of those needless circumtances of highness of Order, Nobleness of Birth, worldly Authority, Strength and Beauty of body, Subtilty of Wit, Knowledge of Nature, Plausibility of Eloquence, or whatsoever else seems precious to the mere Natural or Animal Spirit. So that upon this very account the Angels were to be excluded from this function.
4. But fourthly and lastly, If any Angel would have been competitour with our Saviour in this Honour, that question put to Zebedee's Children might well have dash'd him out of countenance in his competition: You know not what you ask: can you drink of the cup that I am to drink of, and be baptized with the Baptisme that I am to be baptized with? that is, Can you undergoe that shamefull and scornfull death of the Cross? Certainly an Angel cannot. For if he could be born into the World in Humane flesh, and suffer those agonies the Soul of the Messias did, this Angel were no Angel, but an Humane Soul. But perhaps you'l replie, that though an Angel cannot suffer death in an Humane body, yet he is so capable of torment and punishment, that he may be made an Expiation for the Sinnes of the World. But I demand how we that are so much concerned in it shall know of that suffering. For the Transactions of men are a spectacle to the Angels, but the Transactions of Angels are not discerned by men by reason of the Tenuity of their Vehicles. But this suffering Angel would have appeared on purpose: Yet how unsatisfactory and phantastical would this have been conceived in com <148> parison of the real and assured Passion of our Saviour Christ.
5. Besides, If an Angel had undertaken this office, he could not have been so fit an Example of life to us as Christ, who was a man subject to the same infirmities with our selves, and who really felt what belong'd to the imbecillity of our natures. For the Passions of his Minde were no more abated nor destroyed by his union with the Deity, then the Passibility of Matter is by being united with a Soul. Wherefore Christ wading thus faithfully without sin or blame throughout all the incumbrances of the Flesh, which are greater then those that the Angelical Orders are liable unto, is a very concerning spectacle of both Men and Angels: But what an Angel could do, would but very little concern us men.
6. Wherefore he who was of so universal a capacity, as to be an Example of Good and a Reprover of Evil to all the Orders of Intellectual Beings that are peccable and mutable, and of so generall a kindness and compassion to all rational Souls, that he could dy a most shameful and bitter death, to reduce them from their rebellion and confederacy with the Kingdome of darkness, to return to the Kingdome of God; this person, I say, whose influence is so great upon all, is fit to be made Head over all, according as himself has declared, To me is given all power in Heaven and in Earth. Whence it is plain that there is none save God himself above him, at whose right hand he fits, and intercedes for his Church.
7. Which is the last thing I propounded, His Intercession; upon which I need make no stay, there being no difficulty at all in it, but a very great congruity, and such as is incompetible to any Angel, as I have already intimated. The Author to the Hebrews takes notice of it, Chap. 4. For we have not an high Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Who therefore must needs prove a very compassionate and potent Intercessour for us with his Father, not onely for forgiveness of sins, but for all needfull supplies of grace and assistance to his Church Militant here on Earth.
8. Thus we have seen how in the Birth, Passion, Ascension and Intercession of Christ is comprehended a full and warrantable completion of those four notable parts of the Pagan Religion which relates to their Heroes, to their Catharmata, their Apotheoses, and Intercessions of their Δαίμονες or Dii Medioxumi. For what they were naturally groping after and mistaken in, in these points, all that is rectified here and made lawfull and allowable, nay meritorious and effectual for both present and future happiness, I mean in Christ Jesus; all businesses betwixt God and us being to pass through his hands, if we look for grace and success. Which accommodation contriv'd by the wisdome of God was of very great virtue for the bringing of the Nations of the World to close with the Truth of the Gospel, they being invited to that upon good grounds, which their blind propensions carried them out to in a way of errour and mistake
 John 2. 19.
 Matth. 12. 39, 40.
 Wisdom, chap. 2. 14, 15.
 1 Cor. 15. 58.
 See Book 7. chap. 4.
 See my Discourse Of the Immortality of the Soul, Book 2. chap. 8.
 Mark 16. 19.
 See Book 3. Chap. 3.
 Matth. 20. 22
 Matth. 28. 18.
 See Book 3. ch. 17. sect. 4.
 Heb. 4. 15.
Cite as: Henry More, An Explanation of the Grand Mystery of Godliness (1660), pp. 137-148, https://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1660-excerpt003, accessed 2023-12-01.